Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tragedy or Triumph?

SERMON               GMT16-044

SERIES:              Topical Messages:  Special Days – Resurrection Sunday

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (March 27, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        Tragedy or Triumph? (Mary sees the risen Christ!)

SCRIPTURE:     John 20:11-18

SUBJECT:          Mary sees the risen Christ

SUMMARY:       Mary was deeply grieved not knowing what had been done with Jesus until she recognized Jesus which caused her to obey his instructions.

SCHEME:           To provide testimony in support of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead

Our theme is:       Mary sees the risen Christ

Proposition:         Mary was deeply grieved not knowing what had been done with Jesus until she recognized Jesus which caused her to obey his instructions.

Interrogatory Sentence:  Why did Mary see the resurrected Jesus?

Transitional Sentence:  Our passage reveals four (4) reasons why Mary was able to see the risen Christ; Mary delayed at the grave, Mary debated with the “gardener,” Mary delighted in his grace, and Mary depicted the gig.

[Title of the Message]

Tragedy or Triumph? (Mary Sees the Risen Christ) (Subtitle)

Today’s Truth:

Mary was deeply grieved not knowing what had been done with the body of Jesus until she recognized the resurrected Jesus which caused her to obey his instructions.

[Announce the Text]

Please open your Bibles to John 20:11-18

Prayer for illumination & understanding

Our gracious Father, help us to hear your holy Word that we may truly understand; and that, understanding, we may believe and believing, we may be in all in all things faithful and obedient. Father by understanding your word may we seek your honor and glory in all that we do; through Christ our Lord.

So Father we ask you, through your Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds for the sake, the honor, and the glory of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that as the Scriptures are read and your Word explained, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. We ask you Father to show us all that Christ is and what He has done for us by His atoning work on the cross of Calvary.

 Father, may your word today attack and kill our pride and our dependence on ourselves and may we see the grace of God in this message and exalt that grace.

Father, may the word of God today promote within us a desire to have a clean and holy heart and to live our lives in the pursuit of grace-driven sanctification. Father, will you enable me to clearly communicate the word of God to your people, I ask you for power and unction to preach your word. Amen.

Re-announce and read the text

Our text for today is John 20:11-18

[Main Introduction]

Attention Getter

 Gary R. Habermas & J.P. Moreland, wrote this in their book called Immortality - The Other Side of Death, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers the following:

“Well over three hundred verses are concerned with the subject of Jesus' resurrection in the New Testament.

We are told that this event is a sign for unbelievers (Matthew 12:38-40); cf. John 20:24-29) as well as the answer for the believer's doubt (Luke 24:38-43).

 It serves as the guarantee that Jesus' teachings are true (Acts 2:22-24; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20) and is the center of the gospel itself (Romans 4:24-25, 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Further, the resurrection is the impetus for evangelism (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 10:39-43), the key indication of the believer's daily power to live the Christian life (Rom. 6:4-14, 8:9-11; Phil. 3:10) and the reason for the total commitment of our lives (Rom. 7:4; 1 Cor. 15:57-58).

The resurrection even addresses the fear of death (John 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:54-58; cf. Hebrews 2:14-15) and is related to the second coming of Jesus (Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7).

 Lastly, this event is a model of the Christian's resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:2; 1 Cor. 6:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and provides a foretaste of heaven for the believer (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Peter 1:3-5).”

Gary R. Habermas & J.P. Moreland, Immortality - The Other Side of Death, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992, p. 245. 

Orient the Text: The Central Point of the Text (CPT)

This morning I want to speak to you about the fact that Mary sees the risen Christ. Mary was very deeply grieved because she did not know what had been done with the body of Jesus until she recognized Jesus which caused her to obey his instructions.

It is obvious that the women including Mary Magdalene and the remaining eleven (11) disciples did not understand the fact that Jesus would rise from the dead. God intended that there Christ’s resurrection would be understood and documented. So prior to His eternally purposed ascension to the right hand of God, Jesus intended for a number of witnesses to verify, attest to, and document His actual and physical resurrection from the dead.

Jesus could have chosen anyone to appear to as soon as He was resurrected. He could have found Peter, or the inner circle of Peter, James, and John. He even could have appeared to the High Priest or the Scribes and Pharisees. It would have been a great shock to the Sadducees if he had appeared first to them because they denied any such thing as a resurrection. He could have appeared first to his own mother who had stood by while he was brutally treated and crucified.

But Jesus chose to appear to Mary Magdalene. Mary was the first to see Jesus that Sunday morning shortly after dawn. I want to speak to you about the fact that Mary sees the risen Jesus.

Raise a Need: The Reason for the Sermon

 Sometimes we think our life or a certain situation is utterly hopeless. There are times we experience great grief or pain. This passage proves that no situation is beyond hope or help. Mary is an example of someone who wept because she had no understanding of the working of God. The reason must of you weep as well is because you do not understand at times God's perfect plan and you fail to trust him when there seems to be no hope.

This passage serves as an encouragement to you to trust God at all times including those times you do not understand what is going on. 

State the Purpose

My purpose today is to provide testimony in support of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ through the experience of this heart-broken woman whom Jesus had redeemed and appeared to for the purpose of reminding us of the truth that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.

[Sub Introduction]

[Scripture Introduction]

John wrote his gospel for a particular purpose. He wanted to prove that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God and that the Lamb that would take away the sin of His people. John selected a unique method to prove his point. John picked seven miracles performed by Jesus to prove his point.

This miracle I think would be the greatest of the seven that John chose and of all the rest recorded in the other gospels. John chose to write about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. John alone records for us a truth so marvelous and almost unbelievable that I think was designed to give even the chiefest of sinners the utmost confidence that they too will be raised from the dead to be with Jesus.

The fact that Jesus appeared to Mary here in John 20:11-18. If you haven’t done so already, please turn to our passage as we answer the question, “Why did Mary Magdalene see the risen Jesus?”

Background to the Text

[Let me give you a little background on our text…]

This paragraph comes on the heels of the crucifixion of Jesus. He had been nailed to the cross and left to die. A number of prophecies were filled including the utter abandonment of Jesus by God the Father and then Jesus willingly, in his timing declared the atoning work was finished and he gave his spirit into the hands of his father and died. Remember no man took his life, he gave it willingly.

Then Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, a couple of “secret agent” believers asked Pilate if they could take down the body of Jesus and bury it. Nicodemus brought a number of herbs and spices with him in order to rub on the body and put in the burial cloth. It was so close to sunset by this time that the Sabbath was drawing near. So Joseph and Nicodemus placed the body, the women who had accompanied the guys marked the tomb Jesus was buried in.

They probably watched as the soldiers rolled the stone over the opening and set the guard. They all went to their homes to begin the day of Preparation for the Sabbath and the Passover.

Now on Sunday morning just before dawn, while it was dark Mary came to the tomb. She saw that the guards were either asleep, unconscious, or had left and that the stone was rolled away from the opening. So she ran back to where Peter and John was staying to tell them.

Peter and John and Mary started back to the tomb. Apparently Peter and John was so excited they ran ahead of Mary. They stooped down saw the burial cloth folded on the slab Jesus had been placed on. Peter and John and others went back to their homes. But Mary stayed outside the tomb.

[Let me give you a little background on Mary Magdalene…]

Mary is The Woman Who Had Seven Devils

Mary is distinguished from all others Mary’s with the same name as “The Magdalene.” This word identifies her as having been born in Magdala, just as Jesus was called “The Nazarene” because of His association with Nazareth.

Magdala means “tower” or “castle,” and in the time of Christ the city was a thriving, large town on the coast of The Sea of Galilee about three miles from Capernaum. Dye works and primitive textile factories added to the wealth of the community.
It may be that Mary was connected with the industry of her town for it would seem as if she was not without means, enabling her to serve the Lord with her substance.

Family Connections—we have no record of Mary’s parentage, her marital status or her age. That she was free to follow Jesus in His travels would suggest that she had no home obligations.

It is important to separate ourselves from those who want to connect her with the unnamed woman “which was a sinner.” Luke, who knew her, wrote about this woman (Luke 7:37). There is no evidence to show she is the sinful woman in Luke’s gospel.

The Jewish Talmud states that the city of Magdala had an unsavory reputation, and because of the harlotry practiced there and was destroyed because of it. Doubtless it was from this tradition, and from the fact that Luke’s first reference to her follows the story of the sinful woman, that the idea developed that Mary was a prostitute, but there is not an iota of genuine evidence to suggest such a bad reputation.

Those theologians who describe her as a profligate do her an injustice. To suggest that she was extremely immoral or a prostitute because she was possessed by seven devils is impossible to prove. Demon possession often manifests itself in gross immorality but not always.

Mary Magdalene is mentioned fourteen times in the gospels, and from references to her we can see clearly what she did and how she did it. A striking feature in eight of the fourteen passages is that Mary is named in connection with other women, but she always heads the list, implying that she occupied the place at the front in service rendered by godly females.

In the five times where she is mentioned alone, the connection is with the death and Resurrection of Christ (Mark 16:9; John 20:1, 11, 16, 18). In one instance her name comes after that of the mother and the aunt of Jesus. She stood close by the cross with these women, but because of their relation to Jesus it would not have been fitting to put her name before theirs (John 19:25). No woman, however, superseded Mary in her utter devotion to the Master. 

In Demonic Bondage - Although Mary was a woman of high standing and comfortable circumstances, she suffered from periodic insanity. For “the seven devils” we should read seven demons. There is only one devil—and one is more than enough—but there are legions of demons, or roaming fallen angels, who possessed men and women—and still do!

Seven is a mystic number suggesting “completeness,” implying that when the evil spirits dominated Mary the suffering was extremely severe. Afflicted with nervousness, she may have been the victim of violent epilepsy, and when Jesus saw her with her peace of mind and control of will destroyed she must have been a revolting object to look at with her disheveled hair, glaring eyes and sunken cheeks. Her demonic possession did not seem to affect her morals, only her mind.

When you read the Gospels, in particular Mark’s Gospel, it’s apparent that demons or open demonic manifestation was common at the time of Christ.

The question is why, and is the answer important for us to understand today.

(1) Because after the birth of Jesus, Satan tried every way possible to stop Jesus from accomplishing what he came to do, though I don’t believe Satan knew exactly what that was

(2) By Jesus’ very presence demons reacted: they could not help from reacting when in His presence, for they knew who He was and were terrified.

Simply put, all that was Good and Holy, came to this earth and stood face to face with evil. Spiritual war had escalated.

Our theme this morning is:  Mary sees the risen Jesus

I propose to you that: Mary was deeply grieved because she did not know what had been done with the body of Jesus until she recognized Jesus which caused her to obey his instructions.

[We have to ask ourselves…]

Interrogatory Sentence:  Why did Mary see the resurrected Jesus?

Transitional Sentence:  Our passage reveals four (4) possible reasons why Mary was able to see the risen Christ; Mary delayed at the grave, Mary debated with the “gardener,” Mary delighted in his grace, and Mary described the gig.

[So, let’s begin with the first reason that is revealed in our passage that answers the question today’s question.]

Mary saw the risen Jesus…

1A     Because she delayed at the grave (Vss. 11-13)

Verses 11-13 gives at least three (3) reasons why Mary delayed at the grave or the tomb of Jesus. The first reason is…

1B     She delayed because she sobbed (she was crying)

                    Maria de eisthkei pros to mnhmeion klaiousa exw...

                   “But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb…”

Remember Peter and John had went into the tomb and after seeing the empty grave clothes and that the body of Jesus was missing they left Mary there and went back to where they were staying for the Passover.

Mary had come to the grave presumably to meet the other women with her in order to complete the burial process. It seems that they were able to wrap the body in cloth but there were more things to do. They had been interrupted with the approach of the beginning of the Sabbath. 

The text says that she is weeping. This is the Greek word klaio. It is actually the same word that was used of Mary, Lazarus’s sister as she stood outside of Lazarus’s grave in Bethany. It means to “wail,” “to sob uncontrollably.” It describes constant and unrestrained sobbing.

Mary is broken-hearted. She is deeply grieved. We don’t know what Peter and John felt but they did not hang around like she did. The text doesn’t record their reaction or emotions, but John says she “down right bawled.”

So, Mary delayed outside the tomb in order to have a good cry. Jesus had not only been cruelly treated and crucified, but now it seems that Jesus body had been stolen or hidden by Jewish or Roman authorities.

[She delayed at the grave because her overpowering grief had overwhelmed her. ]

[The second reason we see is that…]

          2B     She delayed because she stooped

                   Ws oun eklaie parekuyen eis to mnhmeion.

                   “As she wept she stooped to look into the tomb…”

Harry Ironside tells us that the opening to the tomb and the stone that covered the opening was about 3 to 3 ½ feet in diameter. The depiction on your handout is probably closer to the size of the opening that what we generally see in pictures where the stone is huge.

We aren’t told the exact configuration of the tomb. At the time of Jesus there were several different ways in which a body could be buried and sealed inside. Sometimes there was a stone bench that ran along the inside of a wall where a body could be placed. Sometimes a slab was cut out of the wall of the tomb.

We are told that the opening was small and near the ground because she had to bend down or stoop low to see inside.

Remember, Peter and John had looked in the doorway and then went inside for a closer look. She hadn’t gone it as of yet.

And when she did look in she saw what John simply records as, “and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.”

Luke writes about “two men dressed in clothes that gleamed like lightning. Matthew writes that an angel with the appearance of lighting and wearing a garment as white as sow rolled back the stone and frightened the guards.

The angels spoke to her. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

This question does not seem to be designed to have her give an 
explanation. It is actually a gentle rebuke. Mary should not be weeping. She should have believed that Christ rose from the dead as he had prophesied on several occasions. It was if they were asking was Jesus’ teaching about his death and resurrection in vain. Aren’t you ashamed of your sorrow? Mary was looking for a body, not a resurrection!

[Mary is delayed because she sobbed and because she stooped to look into the tomb. Next we see that…]

          3B     She delayed because she searched

                   legei autois, oti hran ton kurion mou, kai ouk oida pou
                   eqhkan auton

“She said to them, ‘they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

Mary was searching for answers. Mary had great reasons to search out this mystery. She had great reasons to be devoted to Jesus.

·        He had rescued her from a life of demon-possession.

·        She had placed her faith in him for eternal life

·        She had endured hardships to follow Jesus around Galilee

·        She had supported Jesus with her own money

And now not only was he dead, his body was missing and she couldn’t even finish the burial tasks in his honor. And as she searched for information they didn’t even answer her or wait for her to answer them.

Mary saw the risen Jesus because she delayed at the tomb.

[Next we see the second reason that Mary saw the risen Jesus…]

2A     Because she debated with the “gardener” (Vss. 14-15)

kai tauta eiponsa estrajh eis ta opisw

“Having said this, she turned around…”

We don’t know why Mary turned around at this point. There is a lot of speculation:

·        Some think that the angels told her to turn around and look

·        Some think that the angels simply pointed behind her

·        Some think she senses something that caused her to turn

·        Some think that she heard Jesus walk up to where she was standing

John says when she finished asking the angels where Jesus body was lain, she turned around. and saw a man standing there. His caused her to converse with this man. She “debated” or conversed with this man for three reasons:

          1B     She “debated” because of an observation

kai qewrei ton Ihsoun estwta kai ouk hdei oti Ihsous estin

“…and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus…

When she turned she observed a person standing there. But she did not know that it was actually Jesus standing there. We are not told why she did not recognize Jesus.

·        It may be that she was so overwhelmed in her grief

·        Her eyes may have been swollen or closed because of the intense crying

·        It might have been still dark, just before dawn and if Jesus were in the shadows she might not have recognized him.

All we know is that she debated with him because she did observe a man standing near her.

Secondly, Mary…

          2B     She debated because of an opinion

                   kekinh dakousa oti o khpouros

                   “…supposing him to be the gardener…”

Mary, for whatever reason did not realize that this man was Jesus, came to the opinion that he was the gardener.

Why would Mary have the opinion that this man was a gardener?

·        Due to her unbelief & grief she was not expecting a resurrected Christ

·        Some have surmised that Jesus might have had a different appearance

·        Most people would have expected to see a care-taker or gardener in a garden

[Because this seems to be a reasonable opinion that he was the gardener…]

          3B     She debated because of an obligation

                   legi auth o Ihsous Tunai, ti klaieis tina zhteis? legei autw, kurie
          ei su ebastasas auton, eipe moi pou eqhkas auton, kagw authon

“…she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’”

There are several things that we need to consider at this point.

First of all – she makes this request because she still feels an acute obligation to finalize the burial process. She still is not looking for a resurrected Christ, her obligation requires her to find his body.

Second – the obvious question is, even if there is a body, and even if this is a gardener who could answer her question, how was she going to take a body away?

Third – if the man was the gardener and had moved the body, would he even tell her or could he tell her where it was now? 

Regardless the answers to these questions, Mary debated with a man she thought was the gardener. She debated because she observed him standing there, because she formed the opinion that he was the gardener, and because she still felt an intense obligation to complete the burial process.

[Next we see that Mary saw the risen…]

3A     Because she delighted in the grace (Vss. 16-17)

          1B     She delighted in the grace of the master

                    legei auth o Ihsous, Maria!

                    “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’”

This reminds me of John 10:4 where John says that His (Jesus) sheep know his voice.”

Mary’s heart opens her eyes! She knew that voice! Now Mary is delighting once again in that amazing grace she had experienced.

·        She delighted in the grace that removed 7 demons from her life

·        She delighted in the grace that redeemed her

·        She delighted in the grace that revealed the resurrected Christ

Wouldn’t you have loved to hear him speak her name? I would!

Mary responded to his voice in two ways:

                   etrafeisa ekeinh legei autw Rabboni! (o legetai disaskale)

                   “She turned and said to him in Aramaic, Rabboni!”

John translates this Aramaic word for his Greek readers with this parenthesis, and says, “to say, Teacher!)

This word originally meant my teacher or my master. It came to mean something similar to the Jewish word Rabbi. It was typically used for very elite or superior teachers like Gamaliel I or Gamaliel the II. It was actually used very little. 

It is somewhat surprising that Mary used it, except to surmise that she instinctively knew that this was Jesus the Christ when she spoke her name. By the way, the blind man healed in Jericho also used this word of Jesus.

Yes, Mary delighted in the grace of the Master, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

But not only was she thrilled by his calling of her name, she, what rednecks and hillbillies would say, “She grabbed holt of him.” The grabbed on to him. The text doesn’t say how – maybe she hugged him, grabbed his hands, or his feet.

We know this because we hear Jesus say:

legi auth o Ihsous, mh mou aptou,

“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me [pres/mid/ind]

She was clinging to Jesus. This is not a command to “don’t do something.” It is in the present tense, Jesus is saying “Stop clinging to me! Stop it, quit it.” She was already clinging when Jesus commanded her to stop.

Jesus was saying you have to let me go. We see why as Jesus finishes his sentence in verse 17. She delighted in the grace of the master by an overwhelming response to hearing her name which caused her to recognize Jesus and to grab holt of him.

[We see that…] 

          2B     She delighted in the grace of the message

                   outw gar anabebhka pros ton partera mou

                    “…for I have not yet ascended to my Father…”

This is short, simple, and sweet. Mary can’t cling to or hold on to Jesus is that now that he has been made alive and resurrected, he needs to go to His father and present himself.

This was the first day after the Sabbath. It was the day that the High Priest was required by the Law to take the sheaf of the first fruits and wave the sheaf before God (1 Corinthians 15:23) Christ didn’t want her to hold on to him because he was going to ascend to God and present himself as the first fruit of the dead.

Mary probably didn’t grasp this but she did would have delighted in the fact that Jesus was going to ascend to the Father.

Mary delighted in the grace of the person of Jesus and she delighted in the grace of the message that was implied when Jesus told her to stop holding on to him.

[Thirdly we see that…]

          3B     She delighted in the grace of the mission

                   poreusu de prostous adelfous mou kai eipe autois,
                   anabaiwn pros ton patera mou kai patera umwn kai
                   qeon mou kai qeon umwn.

“…but go to my brothers and say to them, ascend to my father and your father and my God ad your God.”

                   Jesus gave her a job to do, he sent her on a mission.
First, of all we don’t know why- John does not tell us why he used the Greek word for “brothers” instead of the usual word for “disciples.”

Second – we do not think based on the information we do have that Jesus was not sending Mary to his unbelieving half-brothers.

Third – it would be crazy to think that Jesus would send Mary to his half-brothers and not the disciples who were sad and confused.

Now, let say something I found interesting. John Calvin thinks that Jesus appeared to Mary first and not his little elite band of disciples as a “punishment.” Now, I may get into some deep dodo here, but the OT and NT makes it clear that women are not to assume authority and teach men in a corporate “religious” setting.

He thinks the desires were getting “spanked” by Jesus for not believing his statements of his death and resurrection. He thinks it was a loving but implied rebuke. We don’t know.

But Mary did rejoice and delight in the opportunity to take the news of Jesus resurrection to them.

And so Mary delighted in the grace that she found in her Master, she delighted in the grace that she found in the message from Jesus and she delighted in the grace that she found in the mission given to her by Jesus to tell the disciples that he was ascending to his Father and God and their Father and God.

[Finally, we see that Mary saw the risen Jesus…] 

4A because she depicted the gig (Vs. 18) 

First, let me apologize for the word gig. I don’t mean to trivialize this point, but it does start with the letter “g” She relayed what had taken place in her encounter with Jesus.

This point will also be short and to the point.

[First of all…]

          1B     She depicted the encounter with Jesus

                   ercetai Maria h Magdalhnh, apaggellousa tois mafhtais
                   oti efqrke ton kurion

“Mary Magdalene went and announced [pres act ptc] to the disciples, ‘I have seen [perf act ind] the Lord’…”

Mary did as she was told. She went back to the disciples and told them she had seen the risen Lord. She didn’t just report it once, John uses the present tense participle, which means that she announced, announced it again, and kept announcing it. She told everyone and anyone that she came across. She didn’t stop telling it!

John also uses the perfect tense for “have seen” – this gives us the impression that this experience left a lasting impression because it burned itself into her mind. She never forgot this as long as she lived. 

          2B     She depicted the exchange with Jesus

                   kai tauta eipen auth.

                   “…and that he had said these things to her.”

She told them that Jesus was going to ascend to God. Unfortunately we do not have their reaction. John did not record what they said, did, or how they felt. What a bummer!

The highlight is that the emphasis is on her experience, her encounter, her exchange with the risen Lord.

And so we see Mary depicted the entire gig to the disciples as Christ had commanded.

Our theme has been:  Mary sees the risen Jesus

From our passage I hope you have seen revealed the four (4) reasons why Mary saw the risen Jesus:

Because she delayed at the grave – she lingered there when the women and the disciples left and went back to their homes.

Because she debated with the “gardener” – she engaged in a dialogue with whom she thought was the gardener in order to obtain information of where the body of Jesus had been taken.

Because she delighted in the grace – she was overwhelmed by the grace of God as Jesus spoke her name, and in the fact that he gave her information about his immediate plans

Because she depicted the gig – she depicted or told the disciples the entire experience and exchange that she had with Jesus

I have proposed to prove to you that:  Mary was deeply grieved not knowing
what had been done with Jesus until she recognized Jesus which caused her to
obey his instructions.

I have tried to answer the question of:  Why Mary saw the risen Jesus

[What do you say we wrap this up?]


Let’s conclude with this short summary:

Mary Magdalene, a woman was the first person:

  • ·        To see the risen Jesus 

  • ·        To hear his voice after his resurrection 

  • ·        To touch Jesus after his resurrection 

  • ·        To be commissioned by Jesus after his resurrection 

  • ·        To tell the good news of His resurrection 

Let’s pray! J

No comments: