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The Blue Letter Bible

Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for John 20:11

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A. As we had suggested last week, after Peter and John had left the sepulchre, Mary lingered on, standing outside and weeping.
1. As she wept, she stooped and looked into the sepulchre.
a. Usually the opening of the sepulchre was not very large, and it was usually low.
b. In Jerusalem today you have three classic examples of sepulchres from the ancient days.
1. One is known as the king's sepulchre. It is in a large carved out area replete with carved stone steps leading to the lower level, and cisterns carved into the rocks. The sepulchre itself is in an area carved out of the rock, and has a large stone that was made to roll in front of the opening.
2. By the King David Hotel there is what is known as Herod's sepulchre, another great example of stone that was designed to roll over the opening.
3. Then there is that which is known as the Garden Tomb. Here you can see the groove in which the stone fit to be rolled over the opening.
4. In each of these sepulchres, the opening is quite low and you must stoop to enter.
2. For you who have been to Israel, you can easily see why it declares that she stooped to look in.
B. She saw two angels in white, one was sitting at the place where the head of the body of Jesus was, and the other at the feet. The linen cloth was probably still there between them.
1. They asked her the question, "Why are you weeping?"
a. She answered them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."
1. Note the statement, "My Lord." Though He had been crucified, and buried, and now the body is gone, He is still her "Lord."
2. Jesus at one time in defending a lady who was a notable sinner, and had been washing His feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair. Said to His host, "He who is forgiven much, loveth much."
3. There is no question of the deep and sincere love that Mary had for Jesus.
4. Before she had met Jesus, her life had been as miserable as one could ever imagine. Her body was possessed by seven demons.
5. Jesus had set her free from these powers of darkness, and she loved Him intensely.
2. "And when she had thus said, she turned herself back."
a. She was so intent on finding Jesus that the sight of two angels did not interest her.
b. She wanted Jesus and angels were not a satisfactory substitute for Him.
c. Much as when the Lord promised Moses that He would send His angel with Him, Moses replied, "If your presence does not go with us, do not send me from here." Moses did not want an angel who he did not know, he wanted the Lord whom he did know.
d. Asaph, the psalmist, said in 73, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none I desire upon earth beside Thee."
3. She then saw Jesus, but did not recognize Him. She supposed that he was just the caretaker of the garden.
a. Suggestions are given as to why she did not recognize Him:
1. One; that her eyes were blurred by the tears.
2. Two; that it was still too dark to see clearly.
3. Three; that she was looking into the rising sun and the sun blinded her eyes.
4. Many people today are blinded from the presence of Jesus by their tears.
5. For sorrow, they cannot behold Him, though He is standing near.
b. Jesus asked the same question as the angels, "Woman why are you weeping?" He added however, "Whom seekest thou?"
1. If you only knew all of the truth, you would not be weeping, but rejoicing.
2. She was blinded by her unbelief in the resurrection to the presence of Jesus next to her.
c. She responded, "If you have taken Him from here, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away."
d. I do not know how much Jesus might have weighed, nor do we know how large a woman Mary might have been, but the thought of her carrying His body must have seemed rather ludicrous.
4. At this point Jesus said, "Mary."
a. I wonder if He chuckled as He said, "Mary," chuckled at the thought of this frail little thing carrying His heavy body. Was it the chuckle she recognized?
b. As we have pointed out, Mary was a very common name and the gospels speak of about five Marys that were with Jesus and the disciples.
c. It is quite possible that Jesus had a special inflection to distinguish between the Marys when He called to them. Maybe He said, "Mary" with the special intonation that she knew was special for her.
d. Jesus had said, "My sheep know My voice, and they do follow Me."
5. Whatever it was, there was recognition, and she cried out, "Rabonni." John tells us which is to say, "Master," in the sense of teacher.
a. To the angels she had referred to Him as her Lord, and now she calls Him, "Master."
6. Jesus said unto her, "Touch Me not." Some have suggested a rendering here as "Do not take hold of Me." Do not cling to Me.
a. It is suggested that Mary got sort of a death grip on Jesus, as if to say, I will never let you go again. In the Song of Solomon the Shulamite woman said, "I found him whom I loveth; I held him, and would not let him go."
b. We do know that in a few minutes, He will meet the other women who have left the tomb, and they will hold Him by the feet.
c. This would lead us to the conclusion that Jesus made a quick trip to the Father and returned between the time He said to Mary, "Touch Me not," and when he appeared moments later to the other women who held Him by the feet.
d. Or He was declaring that there is to be a new way in which His disciples will be touching Him after His ascension into heaven.
e. When He ascends to the Father and receives the gift of the Holy Spirit to impart to the church, they will be touching Him in a greater and more intimate way, then when they were with Him while He walked with them on the earth.
A. Through faith in Jesus Christ we have received the power to become the sons of God. The Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. We have the spirit of adoption whereby we cry "Abba, Father."
1. Jesus calls Him "His God, and our God."
a. On the cross He had cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
b. Jesus acknowledged the Father as His God.
2. The Father also acknowledged Jesus as God.
a. Hebrews 1:8: "Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne O God is forever and ever."
b. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. His name shall be called, the mighty God."
3. She was commissioned by Jesus to be the first eye- witness of the resurrection of Jesus.
4. She was the first to proclaim the gospel of the resurrection.
B. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
1. Luke tells us that their stories seemed as idle tales to the disciples. Luke 23:10.
2. Remember the two disciples later that day who were walking to Emmaus. They told Jesus of how the ladies had declared that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that Jesus was risen.
3. How unbelief will keep you from the joy of His victory.
a. The disciples should be rejoicing, but they are still filled with sorrow and hopelessness.
b. If they only knew the full story.
c. If we only knew the full story.
Sermon Notes for John 20:11 ← Prior Section
Sermon Notes for John 20:13 Next Section →
Sermon Notes for Luke 1:5 ← Prior Book
Sermon Notes for Acts 1 Next Book →
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