Symbols of Resurrection
Easter Artifacts – Message 4
April 3 & 4, 2021
I. Introduction: Today, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! (John 19:38-42).
A. This message, entitled Symbols of Resurrection, refers to physical items, or artifacts, referred to in the passage of the Easter narrative (story) we will focus on today.
- Because the Bible is inspired by the Spirit in both its’ overall themes and the specific words used, every physical item, or artifact, mentioned has specific, spiritual, meaning.
- Today’s theme verse: Luke 24:5b (NLT)—“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?”
- The items included in today’s passage, John 20:1-10, are the Stone, linen wrappings and face cloth [which] reveal the reality of resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus… (John 20:1-10)
A. #1 - Redirects expectations. (John 20:1-2. C/R: Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 8:31–33; 16:5-7,14-16; Luke 24:5-9; John 20:11-18)
- John 20:1-2 (NLT)— 1 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. [She didn’t enter, instead…] 2She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. [John] She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!” [Who? Assumed grave robbers, perhaps Roman soldiers, had broken into the tomb and stolen Jesus’ body.]
- Mary went to the tomb to honor a man she loved and respected, who had delivered her from seven demons, enriched her life and deepened her faith with His words, allowed her to travel with the disciples, aiding and supporting His ministry. (Luke 8:1-3)
- She showed her commitment and affection by her presence at the cross (John 19:25), and now, she came to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with burial spices (Mark 16:1), thinking there had been no one to prepare Jesus’ body for burial.
- She had wondered who would move the huge, heavy, stone that blocked the entrance to the tomb for her (Mark 16:3), but when she arrived, she discovered it had been moved.
- I believe, if you want access to Jesus, God’s Spirit will move, or send someone to move (a pastor, friend, co-worker), whatever prevents you from seeing, from knowing, Him.
- Mary assumed, to her horror, that someone had stolen Jesus’ body!
- She had no idea that Jesus would be alive, though He clearly said, at least three times, He would be killed and return to life on the third day. (Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19)
- Mary’s own expectations about Jesus controlled her thoughts, limited her understanding.
- She saw and heard angels inside the empty tomb, then encountered Jesus in the garden, but didn’t recognize Him untilHe spoke her name, because she expected Him to be dead and that controlled her perception. (John 20:11-16)
- Mary was overjoyed, but she wanted Jesus to return to her and the others like before; He instructed her not to hold on to Him because He would be leaving soon. (John 20:17)
- APP.: Do we want Jesus to meet our expectations, carry out our plans, do what we desire, allow what we want to do, instead of surrendering to His plan? ILL: Graham
The resurrection of Jesus…
B. #2 - Reveals Jesus’ identity. (John 20:3-7. C/R: Acts 2:32-36; Romans 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
- Though skeptical of Mary’s report of the empty tomb, Peter and John, went there.
- John 20:3-7 (NLT)—3Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. [Perhaps fearing what he would see.] 6Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up [lit. rolled up] and lying apart from the other wrappings.
- John 19:38-39 (preceding chapter) tells us that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, following Jewish burial customs, covered Jesus body with a perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes, then wrapped His body tightly with long strips of foot-wide linen from foot to head, applying the ointment to the overlapping strips. (brought 75 pounds)
- The sticky, gummy, ointment, infused with spices, would harden, causing the cloth wrappings to become a stiff, almost solid, covering adhering tightly to Jesus’ body.
- A body could not be removed from such encrusted wrappings without cutting the cloth.
- Peter and John initially saw what looked like a body encased in wrappings on a shelf in the tomb, but they immediately grasped that Jesus was gone, because the rolled-up face cloth was lying some distance away from the cocoon-like empty shell.
- Jesus not only come back alive after being dead for three days; He had passed through the cloth that enclosed Him without tearing it! (Lazarus was unwrapped; John 11:44)
- This proved Jesus was not merely a wise human teacher, not even a Messiah-king who would drive out Rome and rule Israel; He was not merely human, He was divine!
- He had been miraculously, supernaturally, revived and removed!
- Jesus’ body had not been removed by soldiers or robbers who would have stolen the body with the grave clothes intact or stripped them off and left them in the tomb.
- APP.: Has Jesus’ divine and human nature been revealed to you to in an undeniable, experiential, manner that changed the way you view Him?
The resurrection of Jesus…
C. #3 - Results in salvation. (John 20:8-10; C/R: John11:25; Romans 4:23-25; 8:11;1John 5:11-12)
- John 20:8-10 (NLT)—8Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—9for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10Then they went home.
- The open tomb, undisturbed linen wrappings, and rolled-up face cloth, revealed to John the meaning of Scripture that predicting the Messiah’s resurrection. (Psalm 16:10)
- I think the Holy Spirit likely reminded John about Jesus’ prediction of His resurrection, but the idea seemed too far-fetched and didn’t line up with what John wanted.
- Was this when he was saved? Perhaps, because the purpose and identity of Jesus was revealed to him; he understood, spiritually, the meaning of information he had heard.
- The resurrection of Jesus secured John’s faith and it does ours as well by proving that Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins (not His own) was accepted by God. (Romans 4:25; 1 Peter 1:21)
- APP.: Do you believe?
- John 11:25 (NLT)—Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying.” [Ask God to confirm His truth to you!]