Sermon Notes: John 20: Jesus Is Alive!

The only conclusion of the Bible’s witness about Jesus’ resurrection is that Jesus is alive!

These gospel writers are presenting their eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ being alive as well as honest bewilderment at his resurrection in spite of Jesus having told them he would be raised. 

They are simply astounded. 

NOTE: IN 20:9 JOHN IS REFERENCING MT. 26:54 AND LUKE 18:33. WE CAN SEE HOW JOHN SEES THE EARLIER GOSPEL WRITING AS SCRIPTURE. IT IS ALSO VITAL TO NOTE THAT NONE OF THE GOSPEL WRITERS REFER TO OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES AS A PROOF OF JESUS’ RESURRECTION. JESUS HIMSELF REFERS TO THE SIGN OF JONAH REGARDING HIS RESURRECTION. THE GOSPEL WRITERS DON’T DO THAT IN THEIR RECORDING OF THE HISTORY NOR THEIR TETHERING OF THE EVENTS AND WORDS OF JESUS REGARDING THE RESURRECTION. THE GOSPEL WRITERS ARE NOT TRYING TO PROVE ANYTHING. THEY ARE JUST MARVELING, WHILE RECORDING WHAT HAPPENED, AT THE FACT THAT JESUS IS ALIVE!!!

There is an array of people who saw Jesus and testified to his appearing alive, including up to 500 at one time, according to 1 Corinthians 15:6. 

Even non-Christian historians witness the viability of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection (See Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, 18:63).

Jesus is alive and the testimony of his resurrection is glorious!

Let’s read John 20.

6 Truths of the Resurrection

  1. The resurrection is the good news that Jesus is the only true God who claims absolute allegiance from everyone and everything in creation.
    1. Romans 1:1-4 (CSB) 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures—3 concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh 4 and was appointed to be the powerful Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection of the dead.
    2. John 5:39 (CSB) 39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me. 
      1. If Jesus does not rise from the dead, the testimony of his identity as the God of the Bible is false. 
      2. But Jesus is alive!
  1. The resurrection is urgent news to be told. V. 1-18
  1. Mary runs to tell the disciples that Jesus was not in the tomb. 
    1. The resurrection was urgent news. 
  2. Peter and John run to see if what Mary said was true. 
    1. It was urgent news. 
  3. Mary testified to the group that she had seen the Lord (v. 18), and the group testified to Thomas they had seen the Lord (v. 24). 
    1. The resurrection is urgent news that is to be told.
  4. NOTE: They never try to defend their claim. They just told the news, and let Jesus do the convincing. 
    1. Application:
      1. Be quick to tell about Jesus’ resurrection, and don’t feel like you have to defend it. Just unleash it. 
        1. The gospel writers don’t do a lot of philosophical and medical proving regarding Jesus’ resurrection. 
        2. You don’t have to either. 
        3. Just unleash this good news, and watch the Holy Spirit do miracles with this gospel. 
          1. We don’t have to defend the good news, just unleash it.
  1. The resurrection is transforming news. V. 11-18
    1. We can unleash the news of Jesus’ being alive because it is powerful by itself to save. 
      1. Romans 1:16 (CSB) 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.
    2. When Mary encounters the resurrected Jesus and he calls her name, her eyes are opened and she worships Jesus. 
      1. Jesus speaks, as Mary’s Creator, the gentle and life-giving name he gave her at creation, “woman”. 
      2. This is not demeaning or rude or oppressive. 
      3. This is the Creator speaking the language over Mary he spoke over our mother in Genesis at creation. 
      4. Jesus, in using this language, is re-asserting his role as the Creator in his resurrected state as the one who has the authority to call his creatures from death to life by speaking to their nature and being. 
        1. I get this image of Aslan calling creatures to life from the earth when I see Jesus with Mary at the tomb. He begins to speak life into her dead state as he speaks to her being.
        2. And when he calls Mary by name, she has no option but to come to life. 
      5. Jesus calls Mary’s name, and in doing so he calls her from death to life. 
      6. When Jesus, by the Holy Spirit through the preached gospel, calls people to himself, he powerfully brings them to life because he is Creator and Savior, and in his gospel, he re-creates life in his kingdom. 
        1. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (CSB) 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
          1. Application:
            1. Have confidence in the gospel message of Jesus’ resurrection to bring folks to faith in Jesus from death to life. 
            2. When you preach the resurrection of Jesus you are speaking supernatural words that Jesus himself will empower to bring life. 
            3. Have confidence in the gospel message of Jesus’ resurrection to continue producing life in his church. 
  1. The resurrection is Joyful news. V. 19-20
    1. When the disciples witnessed Jesus, they rejoiced! Christian worship, when we are gathered, and Christian joy when we are sent together on mission, is a real and tangible reality we have access to because of the resurrection. 
      1. Application: Make it a discipline to joyfully remember the resurrection daily. 
        1. Make it a discipline to joyfully communicate this good news to yourself and others around you. 
        2. Be a joyful people when we walk in this space to worship Jesus together. 
  1. The resurrection is peaceful news. V. 19, 26
    1. The disciples were gathered in the upheaval of fear for what the Jewish government might do to them. 
      1. In this upheaval of fear, Jesus reveals himself to his disciples and speaks to them, “Peace be with you.”
      2. The curse of sin brings with it the upheaval and chaos of a thousand dysfunctions. 
        1. The supernatural truth of the resurrection, when believed and daily remembered, can calm fear and renew faith. 
        2. Jesus is alive! He has conquered death, and we don’t have to worry about death and we don’t have to create peaceful faith. 
      3. Application:
        1. Are you fearful? Exercise the Holy Spirit’s fruit of self-control. 
          1. How? Take some deep breaths, and set your thinking on Jesus’ resurrection and the peace he gives his people. Do this until he gives Scripture and brings peace and fear begins to subside. 
          2. Take as long as is needed. 
  1. The resurrection is faith-giving news. V. 24-31
    1. In my opinion, Thomas gets a bum deal from us. 
      1. If I was part of that crew, I would have said the same thing Thomas said. I need to see it, experience it before I believe it. 
      2. That’s not all bad. 
    2. Jesus lovingly provides what Thomas needed. 
      1. Jesus invited Thomas to experience his real flesh resurrection. 
      2. Jesus is alive, and he invited Thomas to feel and see and believe. 
    3. Jesus is not rebuking Thomas because he needed to see to believe. 
      1. Think about it…they all saw and believed. 
      2. Mary saw and didn’t understand until Jesus brought her to life by calling her name. 
      3. Thomas is not in an inferior position. 
      4. Those of us who didn’t witness the resurrection with our own eyes as they did are truly “blessed” as Jesus says because we get to experience new birth in a unique way by the preached gospel, but Thomas’ faith is in no way inferior to mine nor mine to his. 
        1. Jesus is the object of faith for both of us. 
        2. The quality of his faith and ours is not a point. 
    4. The point is that the good news of Jesus’ resurrection gives saving and sustaining faith by it’s power alone not the means of our reception of that good news. 
      1. Application:
        1. Are you struggling in faith? 
        2. Good news! It’s not up to you to keep it all by yourself. 
        3. Jesus is the giver of your faith, and he is the sustainer of your faith. 
          1. Do we have a part to play in feeding that faith after he gives it? Yes. 
          2. Do we have to keep it up alone? No. 
        4. What Jesus gives he will sustain, and yet he uses means. 
        5. What powerful means we are reminded of today? 
          1. The resurrection! 
          2. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and his resurrection, and enjoy the gift of faith!
            1. When we look to Jesus, he will cause the darkness of unbelief to fade and will bring the light of faith to bear. 

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