Family Bible Study lesson for July 15: Recognizing the Risen Lord
June 22 2001 by Catherine Painter , John 20:1-6a, 8, 10-18

Family Bible Study lesson for July 15: Recognizing the Risen Lord | Friday, June 22, 2001

Friday, June 22, 2001

Family Bible Study lesson for July 15: Recognizing the Risen Lord

By Catherine Painter John 20:1-6a, 8, 10-18 Christianity would have died in the first generation had it not been for Paul, that renegade Jew," our guide said when we visited a synagogue as a class project. "I beg to differ," I ventured cautiously. "Christianity would have died had it not been for the empty tomb."

Job asked, "If a man dies, will he live again" (John 14:14)? The world said no on Friday, but God said yes on Sunday and issued Satan's death sentence without a chance of reprieve.

Either we believe Jesus knocked a hole through the tomb, making it a thoroughfare to heaven, or agree with Shakespeare's Macbeth, "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."

The resurrection continues under attack. Let's call witnesses.

Mary's testimony - the empty tomb (John 20:1-6a, 8, 10-16) MARY MAGDALENE: "I followed Jesus and ministered to Him (Mark 15:41). My personal means helped provide His support (Luke 8:1-3). Women are not reliable witnesses? Jesus changed that. Women were last to leave the cross and first to reach the tomb, and Jesus commissioned me first to "go ... and tell" (John 20:17).

"Doubters suggest I went to the wrong tomb. How was that? I'd witnessed the burial (see Mark 15:46-47), never expecting to see Him alive again. When I found the stone rolled away, I ran to tell Peter and John, relaying the angel's message, "He is risen ..."(Matt. 6a). They went running, entered, looked around and returned home. Weeping, I stayed.

"Then a voice: 'Who is it you are looking for?' (John 20:15). Was that the gardener? "Sir, ... tell me where you have put him ..." (v.15b). He knew my voice. He knows us all, you know: Nathanael for sincerity, Peter for impetuousness, John for love ... how does He know you?"

Joseph's testimony - the borrowed tomb (John 19:38-42) JOSEPH: "Mark identifies me as "a prominent member of the Council ... who went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body" (Mark 15:43). I agree my tomb was a generous gift. Rabbinical law doesn't allow families to be buried in tombs defiled by anyone executed.

"I didn't consent to the Sanhedrin's decision and action (see John 23:51a). Yes, I kept my faith secret "for fear of the Jews" (19:38). Is your witness any different?

"I painstakingly washed His body. Nicodemus brought seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes, which we inserted between strips of linen. Wrapped mummy-style, when the sticky myrrh dried, it formed a rock-hard coffin. Jesus' body, plus linen and spices, weighed about three hundred pounds. Don't believe He struggled out of that! Resurrection was a supernatural act of God - not resuscitation."

John's testimony - the grave clothes (Selected verses) JOHN: "No, we didn't steal His body (see Matt. 27:62-66). A posted guard and a Roman seal prevented tampering. We hid, fearing our fate would match His. Mary located Peter and me, and we ran to the tomb. The position of the grave clothes convinced me He had risen.

"Doubters say the resurrection was a 'fish tale' growing as it circulated. Just the opposite: from vast evidence, I wrote only enough for you to believe (see John 20:31, 21:25).

"Others claim we hallucinated. Preposterous! We insisted on seeing before believing. Thomas even asked to touch His wounds (John 20:24b). Once, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred (I Cor. 15:6). Would that many hallucinate, then suddenly stop after Jesus ascended into heaven?

"Believers applaud the change in us. Out of hiding, we saturated the world with the gospel, 'turning the world upside down' (see Acts 17:6). A lie, was it? All but one of the eleven died for it. Only fools die for lies!"

My testimony - recognizing Jesus (John 20:17-18) Mary recognized Jesus, proclaiming, "I have seen the Lord!" (v.18). It's important to recognize Him. I wasn't at the Last Supper, but I see Him at our communion services. I never looked into His eyes, but I recognize Him in the eyes of the folks at church.

I didn't touch His wounds, but I've touched Him the few times I've ministered to others (see Matt. 25:40). I didn't see Him raise Lazarus, but He's present when I stand at an open grave.

I wasn't hiding with His disciples when He appeared in their midst (John 29:19), but He appears to me often in many circumstances. He's not the Christ of history, but of experience - just present in ordinary life.

"We recognize Him, knowing that because He lives we will live also (John 14:19). Paul said, "... God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms ..." (Eph. 2:6a)

Excuse me, is that the "Hallelujah Chorus" I hear?

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6/22/2001 12:00:00 AM by Catherine Painter , John 20:1-6a, 8, 10-18 | with 0 comments
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