Inter-Community Church of God
May 1, 2022 Service
      • Psalm 30ESV

  • Private Appearances of Jesus Resurrected

    We have been in the Gospel of John since February 13, 11 weeks, and for the next 6 weeks, we will finish the message of John’s Gospel, using the times that Jesus appeared to his closest disciples, as John records the story for us.
    We know that fear had gripped the disciples since the arrest of Jesus. They hung out together, well, because mostly the weren’t from Jerusalem. They were in rented quarters, and locked the doors. So I can say with assurance that...

    Fear Locked Them In, Freedom Loved Them Out.

    And the second half of that statement is what brings great importance to the Gospel story. For with all their weakness and failure, Jesus loved them through their struggles and led them to truly believe as he fulfilled some final teaching to prepare them for the mission of sharing Jesus in a world which doesn’t want to hear of why they need a savior.
    Jesus had been. . .

    Trying to Tell the Truth to His Disciples

    John 20:18 ESV
    18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
    OK, that is well and good, in fact it is very clear that she gave testimony of Jesus, alive and resurrected.
    Mark says,
    Mark 16:9–11 ESV
    9 Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
    Then Luke says just a touch more; well, she might have had a little too much Passover Punch:
    Luke 24:10–11 CSB
    10 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things. 11 But these words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women.
    Mark 16:12–13 ESV
    12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
    The two on the road to Emmaus is in Luke 24:13-35
    Luke’s story of the Emmaus encounter with Cleopas and another tells us that not only did they tell the rest of the gathered disciples, but that Luke 24:36
    Luke 24:36 ESV
    36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
    So let’s get back to the story as we have it recorded by the Apostle John. Now, I chose John as the Gospel to follow through the last days of Jesus on earth because he was one of those who had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry. His accounts of the scene on Golgotha are those of an eye-witness of the events. And John writes what he does so that people will believe in Jesus Christ. He says that plainly in John 20:31
    John 20:31 ESV
    31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
    You remember what I shared about the setting here, from John 20:18
    John 20:18 ESV
    18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
    And Mary’s reward was disbelief. It didn’t change the reality of what she witnessed, and all four Gospels are clear that Mary met the Resurrected Jesus outside the tomb.
    Yet, as I shared with the verses from Mark and Luke, the others didn’t believe her story. In fact, Luke says they thought she was spouting nonsense.
    And, if you think about it, it would have sounded nuts to us too.
    Just because we are on the side of the cross where we get to look back on the record of the resurrection, doesn’t mean faith comes from the facts.
    Just like these first witnesses to the resurrection, we need to find our faith in Christ so we can absorb the testimony of these things.
    Faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is coming to grips with what we can’t quite believe—because people just don’t come out of the grave. It takes time to let it soak in and process. Reading about it doesn’t make us different than they were.
    Well, the women had given their report of the empty tomb. Peter and John had seen the tomb was empty and the grave-clothes set aside. But those two just went home until supper. Then, back together with the others, minus Thomas who was still grieving on his own,

    Jesus Pops In to the Upper Room

    And this is still the first day of the week. Sabbath was finished as dark fell the night before. Yet here, John records the day as if he is using the Roman timing of the day beginning at midnight. Just a little clue there to the reports of the timing of the time Jesus spent in the tomb.
    So we read...
    John 20:19 ESV
    19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
    Apostles in their prison of fear
    Apostles facing the shock of the appearance of Jesus.
    Now hearing what their hearts needed: Shalom.

    Jesus Shows his Wounds

    Because without proof, anyone might just confuse what they were seeing, this possible phantom appearance, as just a smoke screen, or some other mob hysteria.
    Jesus knew what was needed for them to come nearer to soaking this all in. And he knew also that we would need to know that this was not just a specter of some other ghost, but really the same Jesus who was executed on a Roman cross for our sins.
    So John records...
    John 20:20 CSB
    20 Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
    Finally, this was some real evidence.

    Jesus Speaks Peace — and Sends them Out.

    Remember the definition of apostle: one who is sent.
    John 20:21 CSB
    21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”

    Jesus Breathes the Holy Spirit on them

    Then comes one of the most significant events of this day.
    John 20:22–23 CSB
    22 After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
    Here is Jesus. Meeting the disciples where they are.
    Coming to the ones who didn’t know what to believe with some evidence of his resurrection.
    Making sure they know who this is: Really Jesus. Really resurrected. Really present. really loving them. Really being their Rabbi and Master.
    And then,

    Jesus empowers them for the mission.

    Which is the real reason we hear of the Holy Spirit given here.
      • John 20:18HCSB

      • Mark 16:9–11HCSB

      • Luke 24:10–11HCSB

      • Mark 16:12–13HCSB

      • Luke 24:36HCSB

      • John 20:31HCSB

      • John 20:18HCSB

      • John 20:19HCSB

      • John 20:20HCSB

      • John 20:21HCSB

      • John 20:22–23HCSB

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