Ground-Breaking David L. Larsen January 1, 2005 John 20:1-18 “On the morning of August 27, 1883, the most stupendous explosion ever recorded took place. It was heard as far away as 3,000 miles. “The 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) The 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! I. Easter is an Event . . . and We Can Make a Discovery! (1-8) [In 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] Before 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. The 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? The 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? Young 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.] The 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). The Apostles were furnished with many convincing proofs (cf Acts 1:3) and the empty tomb is one of these. There was much the disciples did not yet understand, but John “saw and believed.” Have we made that discovery? II. Easter is an Experience – and We Can Enter Into its Delight (9-18) There 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. Mary 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. Jesus 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 names! She 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” In returning to the disciples there is no way she can conceal the exquisite delight in her heart – “I have seen they Lord!” After 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 lines: 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. This 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? Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.