Monday, May 9, 2011

Bible Study John 20 The Resurrection of Jesus

The most important event of the whole history of mankind is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus would be meaningless if there was no resurrection. He would be just like any other great man of the past and we would still remain in our sins. 1Co 15:17  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

But Jesus has been raised from the dead! In Adam, we all die but in Jesus Christ we shall all be made alive (1 Cor 15:20-22).

Now we shall examine the evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus just from this record of John, our first hand witness.  There are many good books written about the resurrection of Jesus such as "Who Moved the Stone".

Q1 Make a list of the sequence of events about the resurrection of Jesus.
  1. On Sunday early morning, Mary Magdalene (Mar 16:1 added Mary (Mother of James) and Salome) came to the tomb. v1.
  2. She saw the stone was moved away. v1.
  3. She ran to tell Peter and John that they had taken the body of Jesus. v2.
  4. Peter and John ran to the tomb to check. v3.
  5. John reached the tomb first and peeked into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there. v4-5.
  6. Peter came and they went into the tomb. Besides the linen cloths, they saw the face cloth folded up and place by itself. v7.
  7. They believed, first ever, that Jesus had risen from dead according to the scripture. v8-9. They actually never did believe what Jesus told them earlier that Jesus will rise from dead! It is common for people to see what they want to see. But the disciples had saw something that they were not expecting.
  8. They went back to their home v10. But Mary stood outside the tomb v11 and had a special and great encounter with Jesus.
Q2 What is the significance of John mentioning the Linen and Face cloths?
If the body of Jesus have been taken away as Mary's belief and claim, then it would be strange to leave the linen cloths behind. Even more strange is to expect the clothes to be neatly folded and placed there. One would have taken the body with the linen clothes together. If there is any loose ends, they would be left there in a mess. The circumstantial evidence fit the resurrection model better than body-stolen model.

Q3 Describe the encounter between Mary and Jesus. What significances do you find in what Jesus said.
  1. Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. There must have been something in the tomb that attracted her attention (light coming out from within the tomb?). She stooped in and saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and another at the feet where Jesus' body was laid. v11-12
  2. The angels even spoke and asked Mary about her weeping. v13
  3. While answering them, Mary felt someone enter the tomb and turned told him that she did not know what they took Jesus. Mary still could not believe that Jesus has risen and stick to 'stolen-body' story. v14.
  4. Jesus had to draw Mary's attention by calling out her name. It might have been a unique way that Jesus called her name because she immediately recognized that it was Jesus v16.
  5. She instinctively moved to want to touch Jesus. But Jesus stopped her.
  6. Jesus said 3 important things:
    1. He has yet to ascend to the Father (may be to receive the Holy Spirit and other things...)
    2. Go to tell 'my brothers' i.e. the disciples are now His brothers.
    3. My Father and Your Father, My God and Your God. Jesus and His believers are now one in the family of God with God as the Father!
  7. Mary did as instructed and told the disciples what Jesus had said v18.
  8. Mary is the 1st person that had seen the resurrected Christ.
Q4 Describe the events of Jesus first appearance to His disciples.
  1. Time : Sunday evening (the same of the resurrection) v19
  2. Location: in a house with locked doors for fear of the Jews v19
  3. Who: The disciples (11 or more? Women too?) except Thomas.
  4. Jesus: 
    1. appeared in their midst (closed doors could not keep the resurrected Jesus out)
    2. He said "Peace be with you". Peace is to overcome their fear in v19.
    3. He showed them His hands(nailed to the cross) and His side (pierced) to show that He was the crucified one and not someone else. v20.
    4. His commission "As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you" v21
    5. The giving of the Holy Spirit for them to do the mission v22.
    6. The authority of the forgiveness or withholding of sins v23. This is a very powerful thing. The forgiveness of sin result in the healing of paralytic in Luke 5:24. Peter in Act 3:6 raised up lame man and preached the gospel. By proclaiming forgiveness in Jesus Christ, the believers can remove the curses of sins.
Q5 What can we learn from the 'Doubting Thomas'?
  1. Thomas would not believe any hear-says. 
  2. He want to make sure the resurrected one is the same Jesus that was on the cross. He wanted to check the wounds. v25
  3. We can learned from Thomas the right way to think and examine the evidences. Don't just believe any prophecies but check them.
Q6 How was Thomas convinced? What can we learned?
  1. 8 days later, this time Thomas was with the others.
  2. Their doors are still locked.
  3. Jesus appeared among them and addressed Thomas directly and asked Thomas to verify the evidences. 
  4. I do not think Jesus repute Thomas for his doubts. Jesus was just proclaiming blessings for us, who could not witness first hands, but who believe in the disciple testimonies. We should thanked Thomas because he made the evidence stronger. Doubts per se do not weaken faith but are precursor of faith. Doubts answered strength our faith.
  5. If there by any doubts, ask Jesus, and be fully satisfied and you could move forward with full faith. 
  6. See a related post "Doubts? It is good to have doubts".
Q7 What is the purpose of John's writing this book?
John told us that there were many more evidences and signs not written to prove the resurrection and identify of Jesus. But he considered he had written enough for us to believe that 'Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.' v 31.

You may think that this is the end of the book. But John wrote another chapter to close the outstanding issues and disclosed to us about the future of the church.

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