John 20:1-18

the morning of August 27, 1883, the most stupendous explosion ever recorded
took place. It was heard as far away as 3,000 miles.

whole of the northern and lower part of the island of Krakatoa – lying
between Java and Sumatra – had blown off. Stone, dust and ashes shot up
17 miles above the earth. Entire forests were buried beneath the debris. One
hundred and fifty miles away the sky went dark and people had to use lamps at
midday. The tidal waves reached as far as Cape Horn about 8,000 miles distant.
Across the world the weather and sunsets were dramatically affected for many
months.” (Richard Bewes)

destructive magnitude of this volcanic eruption is staggering – but we
want to consider this morning an even greater detonation but one which has been
constructive and positively transformative in its effect: the bodily resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead!

Easter is an Event . . . and We Can Make a Discovery! (1-8)

such a powerful narrative, help the listeners to feel the force of the story-line:
tell the story! Here is also the place to touch the factuality of the resurrection
of our Lord]

dawn, the women come to the grave of Jesus. The stone has been rolled away from
the entrance. Remember, the stone was rolled away not to let Jesus out but to
allow us to look in to see that the tomb is empty.

women, John and Peter each saw the grave clothes as well as the cloth that had
been around His head, folded up. Where was the body of the Lord Jesus?

sceptical John Dominic Crossan argues that dogs ate the body of Jesus. The French
critic, Charles Guignebert, alleges that the disciples threw the body into a
ditch. Where is the evidence?

John, now emboldened by the more brash Peter’s entrance into the tomb,
enters and he himself believes! [This is not the place for extensive development
of the case, but a few brush strokes can sketch the case for the factuality
of the Biblical representation.]

evidence is overwhelming. Yet here is what is most important: we are to “believe
in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead” (Romans 10:9-10).

Apostles were furnished with many convincing proofs (cf Acts 1:3) and the empty
tomb is one of these.

was much the disciples did not yet understand, but John “saw and believed.”
Have we made that discovery?

Easter is an Experience – and We Can Enter Into its Delight (9-18)

is another kind of demonstration and proof : “You ask me how I know He
lives, He lives within my heart!” Jesus enters into our daily experience.

Magdalene is distraught – she is crying. The resurrection is only a rumor
to her – she is very unsure. She even has conversation with two angels.

was standing there but she did not realize it was He! She assumed He was the
gardener until He spoke to her. Jesus called her by name – He knows our

expected to resume the old relationship with Jesus, but He instructs her to
return to the disciples. He will be ascending to heaven (20:17) – she is not
to try to hold on to Him. Notice the personal pronouns here: “My Father,
your Father, my God, your God”

returning to the disciples there is no way she can conceal the exquisite delight
in her heart – “I have seen they Lord!”

the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, all of India was in deep mourning. Three
days later, Mrs. Naidu, one of India’s greatest poets, wrote the wrenching

O Bapu, O
little Father, come back.
We’re orphaned without you. We’re lost without you.
Come back and lead us. We need you.

was an eloquent plea but there was no answer. Praise be to God that we do not
need to cry “O Jesus, come back!” He has come back – He is alive
and He is at work in His world! We are Easter people – the sons and daughters
of the resurrection of Christ! We are the people of the future! We are the peo-ple
before the time! Will you come and join with us?

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About The Author


David L. Larsen (B.A., Stanford University; M.Div., Fuller Theological Seminary; D.D., Trinity College) is Professor Emeritus of Preaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He pastored churches for thirty-two years and has taught at Trinity since 1981. He is the author of several books, including The Company of the Preachers, The Company of the Creative, The Anatomy of Preaching, and Biblical Spirituality.

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