The Transforming Power of Christ’s Resurrection! (John 20:19-31)
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Challenge: Memorize verse 31
Our Lord Jesus rose from the dead
actually, really, historically.
This is not the story of recovering from fainting (as Muslims believe).
This was actual, real, true death. So, it is actual, real, true resurrection.
The word that he rose began to spread among his disciples – first hesitantly, then enthusiastically.
At first, they didn’t believe the first reports, but as they were continually confronted with the evidence, they believed, and there was very evident and powerful change in their lives. Still today, we can personally experience the same kinds of transformation and powerful change.
So, ask yourself, “Have I personally met the Risen Lord? Has He changed my life personally? and powerfully?”
At least 5 appearances recorded here.
- 1. First to Mary Magdalene on the day,
- 2. Then to other women
- 3. Then to Peter
- 4. Then to other disciples on the way to Emmaus (”what are you talking about?” “Dont’ you know, haven’t you heard? Jesus – there is talk he rose from the dead.” Then, their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared.)
- 5. This now is the fifth appearance after his resurrection (”On that day…” there were 10 disciples (no Thomas and no Judas Iscariot)).
This is Jesus’ fifth appearance on that day of his resurrection. 10 disciples were in one room, in fear of the Jews, so they locked the doors. Why were they afraid?
After his resurrection, the Jews, elders, leaders, gathered together and made a bad plan – they gave lots of money to the soldiers to tell an untrue story about the theft of Jesus body.
At that time, there was NEWS that Jesus rose from the dead, and RUMOR that his disciples stole the body. If they were caught, they would be arrested.
Jesus appeared to them and they were overjoyed. Jesus transformed them from fear to overjoyed, from cowardice to courage.
Some things prove that Jesus rose bodily. “I have flesh and bones.” Also, the women touched his feet. The tomb was empty and the grave clothes in order. Many things prove that he rose in a BODY. (Jehovah’s Witnesses believe he DIDN’T have a body, but a spiritual resurrection)
He rose with an eternal, immortal body – this body is NOT like our bodies. This body is still inhabited by him 2,000 years later – it has not decayed.
Romans 6:9 “We know that since he was raised from the dead, he cannot die again. Death no longer has mastery over him.”
So, HOW did he transform their lives from fear to joy, from cowardice to courage?
1. Jesus came to them.
His appearance alone made them overjoyed.
2. Then, he greeted and blessed them.
“Peace be with you.” (Shalom) He did not rebuke them for their unfaithfulness and cowardice from the previous week (when he was crucified). “Peace be with you.” is repeated 3 times here.
“Peace be with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives…”
He first gives PEACE. He himself is our peace.
3. He reassured them. (v. 20)
He showed them his hands and his side. He reassured them. They let them discover that this was the REAL Savior, the REAL Jesus. His wounds were more than just his identification, but also evidence of the price he paid for us. “By his wounds we are healed.”
We must know that the basis for ALL our peace is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection. Still, he comes to us in grace, and reassures us with his Words.
Even though the door was locked, we must realize that there is NO safe place – without Jesus. Only IN Christ, there is perfect safety and peace (physically and spiritually).
4. He commissioned them (v. 21).
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
What grace! What amazing grace! What an amazing privilege and great responsibility!
Can you imagine? They had deserted him and fled as he died, but now immediately after his resurrection, he sends them out into this world.
In his intercessory prayer in chapter 17, “As you have sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.”
This is the dedication, commitment, of real Christians to the task of world evangelism.
Jesus reconciled us to himself through his death and resurrection, and then gives us his ministry to be ambassadors to the world.
5. Jesus empowered (enabled, anointed) them with the Holy Spirit.
He breathed on them (reminds me of God breathing on Adam – Genesis 2:7 – this was the breath of Life) and gave them the Holy Spirit.
- In his first Creation, the breath of God = physical life.
- In his new Creation, the breath of God = spiritual life.
They would then receive the baptism of the HS at Pentecost. Without the HS, we cannot go out and fulfill his commission. “When the HS comes upon you, you will receive power…”
The HS is essential for us to do God’s job in this world.
6. Jesus gave them the authority of forgiveness. (reminds me of Catholic confessionals)
Jesus says, “if you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven, if not, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus gives us the message of forgiveness, real forgiveness can only be found by accepting Jesus as personal Lord. Imagine if we do not preach this message of forgiveness, they cannot hear it, if they don’t hear it, they cannot believe, if they don’t believe, God cannot forgive them.
We have received the MESSAGE of forgiveness, but NOT God’s own authority to forgive.
If we preach this message and they receive Christ and God’s forgiveness through him, THEN we can authoritatively declare them ARE forgiven.
God transforms them in 6 steps.
- He came
- He greeted and blessed
- He reassured
- He commissioned
- He gave authority of message of forgiveness…
We can see his next appearance one week later.
We don’t know what happened between the weeks, but we know what happened one week later. (Thomas wasn’t there the first week, they told him “We saw Him!” but he said, “I won’t believe unless my eyes also witness this.” A week later, Thomas was with them, and Jesus came, transforming power again. “Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas believed, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed.”)
One week later, the disciples were meeting (was this their worship time? or just meeting?)
Jesus said again, “Peace be with you.”
Main character here is Thomas.
One week previously, he was not there. Maybe one week ago, he was busy, far away, didn’t know about the disciples’ meeting, maybe discouraged or disappointed to join.
Thomas missed much blessing – because of only one week.
He missed seeing the Lord and receiving the blessing, the gift of HS, the commission, the message of forgiveness.
He missed this blessing for one full week.
The others received this one week ago.
So, Thomas had to suffer for one week of doubting, skepticism.
But Jesus transformed him from hiding to confession, from doubting to belief, from skepticism to faith.
“Didymus” means “twin.”
Spiritual meaning today = there are many twins of Thomas today.
Today’s Christians ask not to miss Christian community and fellowship, especially on the Lord’s day.
If we miss Christian community, we never know what kinds of special blessings we might miss.
If we miss this community, this day, today, we will miss it for at least one week. So, we should come every week. ^^
If we are alone, separated, isolated from fellowship, we are weak and weaker, but when we are together, we get strong and stronger. Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. But let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
- Ephesians 2:20 “because we know that in Christ we are being renewed and built together to dwell in the house of God.”
- Ephesians (we are being built together to live as a dwelling for God and his Spirit)
- Eph 2:20 “In Him you too are being built to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
We must do all we can to build together, edify together, fellowship together.
In AICF, our lives are very movable. We are pilgrims in this world. But if you move, the FIRST thing you should do is pray to God for faithful guidance to find a faithful community.
To worship God is our basic blessing (and basic burden). Not only right, also duty. Privilege and responsibility.
The disciples had seen the Lord and believed. They were not saved by seeing. They were saved by believing. They saw, but we cannot see. We have the record, the message. “Faith comes from hearing.” (Romans?)
The main purpose this book is written is so that we may have life.
What kind of life? ALL kinds
abundant, heavenly, glorious, wonderful, spiritual, life.
The whole Bible is full of life which can be found in Jesus.
- Jesus said, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you believe that by them you possess eternal life. But these are the Scriptures that testify about me.”
- John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…the darkness has not understood it.”
- “I am the way the truth and the life.”
- “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
- 1 John 5:11 (Conclusion)
- “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What does this mean? It means that this Jesus 2,000 years ago, who transformed the men from fear to joy, from death to life, from cowardice to courage, is STILL transforming US in this way today – from frustration to peace, etc. And uses us to deliver his message of transforming power to others.