Signs. Jesus did many signs that proved He is the Messiah. That is what the sign pointed to and still points to. John had to sort through and choose the ones that would help us believe and say Lord Jesus – my Lord. I am part of You because of You and not because of me. I have life in the name of Jesus.
Jesus is the Christ.
Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus did His miracles in view of His disciples, and they were seen by many and talked about by many.
This book of John is not a chronological report of walking with Jesus. It is a carefully crafted telling with a specific purpose. When John decided to write these things down he had to select those events that he had found, by his own experience, brought understanding and faith in the truth about who Jesus is. John opens his book with the big picture, then he relates signs along the way that support this truth so we too can believe.
Water into wine at wedding manifested His glory and his disciples believed in him 2:11
Resurrection 2:18 -22 Jesus answered the question of His authority by prophecy of His resurrection. Destroy this type mole and in three days I will raise it up. This was remembered that He said this after His resurrection and they then understood and believed.
Many signs at Passover which bore witness led many to believe. 2:23-25
Pharisee recognizes signs prove He is from God 3:2
Jesus knows people need signs and wonders to believe 4:48, many experienced or saw physical healing and believed. He had a reputation and was sought after.
Jesus healed from a physical distance by His word alone. 4:54 John called the second sign.
Because Jesus healed the sick, many followed and John refers to these headings as signs. Jesus has power over the body. 6:2
Loaves and fishes 6:14 people connected this sign to the prophecy for the prophet who is to come. They expect signs to affirm truth. 6:26 yet some just like to eat. 6:30 the sign was for their sake so that they would believe, yet they ate without understanding of the source.
Many believed because of the many signs as irritable evidence to believe Jesus is Messiah. 7:31
Sinners can’t perform signs. 9:16 therefore Jesus is from God so believe!
Many believed John the Baptist who did no signs, so Jesus, who John pointed to as the Christ and Jesus who did many signs, has to be believed as Messiah. 10-41
The signs were a threat to the established way 11:47 and cause many to believe and are such a credible threat to the Pharisees way of life that they believed the whole country would believe if Jesus was not stopped. So the very opposition to Christ is a sign of the truth of Christ and is a reason to believe.
Resurrection of Lazarus 12:18 many believed Jesus as Messiah 12:18
Some refused to believe the signs or refused to admit their faith 12:37 fulfilling prophecy of hardened hearts. Therefore, in light of all the signs of Jesus, do I believe?
Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path!
Have you believed because you have seen me? Because you have seen me, have you believed?
Jesus asks Thomas why he believes. Is it because he has seen for himself? We say ‘seeing is believing’. We even have a state that is the ‘show me’ state. Thomas saw, Thomas believed. Before, when Thomas had not yet seen, he would not believe. And God went on to work through Thomas mightily. It is said that Thomas was the evangelist who planted the church in southern India. Thomas’s need to see was still blessed. And God blesses those who believe without seeing.
Therefore, how is a God blessing me and others who believe? All the work of God being done is now done without seeing. We, I, have faith and God blesses that belief which comes by hearing. (Yes, some have visions, and are thus led to The Lord and believe.)
What is God blessing in my life because I believe?
Where am I doubting and in need of a touch for my Savior, my lord, my God?
Discouragement is so powerful when we put our confidence in it. The power that overcomes deep discouragement is the experience of truth. Thomas could not or would not allow himself to believe what he had not experienced. And Jesus? He was OK with that. Jesus met Thomas in his unbelief. Thomas was willing but unable until he could see and touch. Thomas required the tangible. That is how he was made and his Maker understood and met him in his need.
Jesus knows how I am made, how you are made. We are each unique and will respond to life from our own perspective. We will have emotions that confuse us, experiences we do not comprehend and thoughts that do not compute. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. So when we need understanding, we can be sure it will be found as we need to find Him.
Have I touched the wounds of Jesus?
Do I need that experience in order to believe?
It’s OK. Ask for it. Jesus can meet that need for you.
Jesus spoke-declared peace be with you as the Father sent Me, I send you.
Jesus breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit commanding them to receive the Holy Spirit.
Jesus gave then the authority to forgive or not forgive sins.
The Creator of all things enters in one moment. He speaks creatively. His words create as they are spoken. He speaks peace and commissions with full equipping for the task.
Has the Creator spoken peace and sending to me? Then I am fully equipped, for He equips those whom He sends. He includes the power to forgive and gives us the choice. He provides the Holy Spirit for all the needs we may have in order to make that choice.
This section implies so much- as Jesus was sent, so are we. How was Jesus sent? With the authority to forgive sins.
How am I doing with forgiveness?
Is my confidence in me or in the One who has sent me and equips me.
I am fully equipped for the work He has set out for me to do.
And that work, by the receiving of the Holy Spirit, enables me to forgive.
Mary was obedient. What was the response of the brethren? What did they think of her experience? Did they believe her or think her hysterical or overwrought with grief? They were hiding behind closed doors in fear of the Jews, and they were mostly together. Why? When Peter and John left the tomb, we were told they went to their own homes. We can only guess at the turmoil that must have ensued when authorities, Roman and Jewish, learned of the empty tomb. Was there a manhunt afoot? A dead body hunt? Was everyone under suspicion? It must have been frightening enough that the disciples were hidden away together trying to figure out what to do. They had no peace.
When I enter into this story imagining myself in the same situation, where do I identify?
What would I have done upon seeing or hearing of the empty tomb in the midst of such political and religious unrest?
What to make of it all?
In my own life, do circumstances cause me confusion?
Does anything make sense?
Do I just want to go home and sleep or feel safe, yet I find no peace, no safety, no rest?
Or do I go and surround myself with a few trusted friends experiencing the same turmoil?
We are mutually confused and uneasy.
Then Peace entered the locked room. He declares to all present Peace be with you; as the Father has sent me, I also send you.
There is no door, no lock, no power, no situation that can keep out the Prince of Peace!
Mary must feel relief, she can hardly stand. So she clings to Him. Clings to the embodiment of Truth. Clings to her Savior. Clings to the One who has all power. Clings to the Creator. Mary clings to life Himself.
Jesus lets her cling. Yet only for a time. Soak it in, Mary. Heal. Absorb. Gather strength from Him. You are about to need it. Build a memory deep into your muscles. Feel His strength, His power, His abiding love, His personal care for you in the midst of all His followers. He has shown Himself to you, first.
And then, you must let go. You have a job to do. For Him.
To what am I clinging when I should instead be going and telling that Jesus has ascended?
His God is my God.
His Dad is my Dad.
It is good news.
He sits, with full knowledge on the throne in heaven, in full power.
Thus, first, feel His embrace. Treasure it. Then go and tell.
Lord as I admit my grief through my tears, that I have had an expectation that has been crushed and I don’t understand what is going on, that is when You show up. Mary wept because she believed the body of Jesus was stolen and placed elsewhere. She could not see straight. Angels sat at the head and foot of the empty wrappers and all she noticed was no Jesus body there. She expressed and enunciated her confusion. And in this state she turns around.
When I turn around, do I see You Lord? Mary missed You. She was face to face with You and saw You not. Grief will do that. You are there. You wait for comprehension to dawn. You ask the same question, why weep? Grief hid the angels. Grief now hid The Lord. The questions were the same. Yet the second time, a second question built upon her answer of loss. Whom are you seeking?
May it resound deep in the soul of those who suffer grief. Whom are we seeking? This is the Voice of the One who calls the dead out of their graves to life, who had done so a few weeks earlier at the grave of her own brother Lazarus. And through her grief she sees a mere gardener. The things she thinks are facts are not truth. Therefore she is blinded from the truth.
What calls her out of the blindness? Woman, why do you weep? And again Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?
To which she in a desperate plea Sir, if you….tell me…I will take care of Him. Mary lays her heart bare before The Lord whom she thinks is a gardener. Now, He pierces through the fog of confusion and calls her by name. The Great Shepherd, calls her name. A few weeks ago at a tomb like this, He had called Lazarus forth by name. Now He speaks to the living sister and calls her out of deaths confusion, by name, into the truth of life. Mary!
Take your grief and confusion and turmoil to Him. Pour out your heart and listen for Him to call you by name. Worship Him. Jesus is the fact.
Mary did not enter. She did not understand. She did not have the facts. She stood outside of the facts, filled with imaginations, exhausted from several trips back and forth from the city and overwrought with grief and confusion. The last few days had been a whirlwind of confusion. Heart broken. All her life she had had things taken from her. Used to abuse by men yet her life had changed when she wept before her Lord, anointing him with precious perfume, and been forgiven of all her sin. She had out of her grateful heart, served and followed Him, seen Him hung on the cross, and here she had come to tend to His remains only to have that too taken from her.
How does a good and loving God break through our confusion and lack of comprehension?
Mary did not enter, but she did look. And what she beheld she did not understand. She saw two angels in white that asked her why she was crying. She did not know who they were; she supposed them men of sorts. Her grief comprehended only her need alone to find Jesus’s body.
God’s tender and gentle response to our own traumatic grief can feel off balance, while in fact it meets us exactly where we need. The angels comprehend, and spoke to Mary and Mary does not know that they are God’s messengers, she thinks them only men. In our own grief and lack of understanding, God has sent messengers of His love, who confront us with the question: Why do we weep?
We weep because we have the facts wrong.
Jesus was not dead. He had arisen. Death is dead.
What am I weeping over?
What do I need to enunciate and admit to that I am weeping over?
Peter entered. He saw. What he saw was the empty wrapper and the folded face cloth. It is finished.
John entered. He saw the same things, and he believed. Yet they did not understand. They had the facts with that the understanding of them. So, what did they do? They went home. To their own homes, not together.
How much do I too not understand even though I know? With You Lord, I am home. Lead me into understanding.
Short prayer, but deep longing. We go through so many experiences in life, we learn and we begin to understand yet there is so much we do not know. And then comes an experience that crumples our comprehension and we are dazed. We apprehend but do not comprehend. And it’s normal. And some people respond by accepting the incomprehensible facts and then going home. Perhaps to wait, to get other things done, until time has done its work and other events transpire so that comprehension dawns.
We learn to live with the incomprehensible, and when we put our faith in it, we begin to see His power at work.
Where am I today in that process?
How am I living today, with comprehension?
With my faith in action?
Empowered by trust?
Who do you suppose carried the wrapper away and hid it, or disposed of it to attempt to eliminate the truth?
Do I see what they saw as they looked into the tomb?
Do I comprehend that the wrapper is likened to a cocoon?
It was not unwrapped, all those cloths layered upon His body. What they beheld was the undisturbed fully wrapped finished death dressing of spiced fabric strips, still wound around the now empty space that the body of death had recently occupied. The only thing that had changed was the head wrap cloth was now neatly folded on the stone and the body wrap sagged over empty space. Do I get it?
John stopped at the door. Was he there when Joseph and Nicodemus had the body laid in the tomb? He knew exactly which tomb He was in, so had Mary. So they must have been there for the burial. I assume that all those who had stayed at the cross had also followed to the tomb.
Peter had to go in. He had to see for himself. He had to get up close to the evidence so that the truth could sink in. It was not the recent reality of death that had to be understood, but it was that the trauma of that death. Reality now had to discover in the powerful opposite, the removal of all trauma sources, the reality of life beyond death. It takes away, as Paul put it, the sting of death.
Trauma has no ultimate power when death is not an end.
Death becomes a temporary reality adjustment not a life ending closure.
Death becomes the end of a chapter, not the end of a book.
It’s a new beginning, a new adventure a mystery of life that is lived through.
Through resurrection, as it dawns in our hearts and minds, the monster of death, formerly empowered by our own faith, is destroyed by the truth from The Creator and the barrier between life, death and life, crumples in our own hearts. The veil is torn in two. From top to bottom!