Experience the re-telling of the resurrection through the eyes of the apostle John. Take a fresh look at Jesus in John 20:1-23.
With the sting of denial and the heaviness of Jesus' death around our necks, we silently watched the walls, watched the door, watched the cricket bouncing across the floor, anything to take our minds off of reality. Thoughts of returning to the fishing business ran across my mind. But, I had experienced too much to go back to a life of fish and nets. Anyway, we would be stuck here for a long while. The soldiers would most definitely be on the hunt for Jesus' friends.
These thoughts were suddenly interrupted by Mary barging into our room. She scared us with her abrupt entry. But then her words shook us to the core.
She shouted at us, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!"
Without consulting one another, Peter and I did the same thing. We bolted out of the room. I knew I had to see for myself. As I ran, I desperately tried to push out thoughts of soldiers stealing Jesus body. Fear crowded in on me. Fear propelled me. I outran Peter to the tomb (just for the record). But, I stopped short when I saw the tomb with the stone rolled away. The fear was real. The thought that Jesus actually rose was inconceivable. I slowly approached the tomb, bending over, squinting for focus.
But Peter kept running. He went right inside the tomb. He called out to me, "John, he's gone. His burial clothes are still here. The cloth that was around his head is folded up right beside…." Peter's words tumbled out one after the other, calling me inside to look.
It seemed as if time stood still. I came into the tomb, and sure enough, the clothes were there, but he was gone. The memories of Jesus' words foreshadowing this moment rushed to my consciousness. And in a sudden revelation to my soul, I believed. He told us this would happen. And it did! He's alive. But where is he?
Peter and I walked home discussing all the possibilities… the millions of thoughts tumbling through our minds. Mary, who followed us back to the tomb at a slower pace, remained behind. She told us later of her most privileged encounter with our risen Savior. But, we went back home… still wondering where he might be.
When we arrived back at home, our friends let us in, as we quietly whispered our identities. Since Jesus' death, our door remained locked. No one entered without the identifying whisper. Peter and I reported our story, just as Mary had before. A mixture of wonder and unbelief filled the room. Many disciples wished the resurrection of Jesus was true. But, it was a truth almost too hard to embrace.
And then another quick knock, followed by the identifying whisper, and Mary burst into the room. "I've seen him. I touched him. He talked to me. He's alive, He's alive, He's alive," She shouted in a frantic, hushed tone. Questions poured out from the other disciples.
"What did he look like? What did he say? What it his ghost?" Mary was peppered with questions in quick succession. But, in the end, she couldn't prove it. She couldn't materialize the body.
"If only Jesus would show up to me," each one of us thought privately. But fear began to overwhelm the excitement of the moment. Even if Jesus was alive, the soldiers could be here at any moment to drag us away.
James and I were assigned food preparations for the night. A simple meal of fish and herbs was on the menu. As the fish cooked on our small fire, smoke began to fill the room due to the locked doors and windows. People began waving their coats to clear the air. Whose idea was it to start a fire?
In the hub bub of coats waving and coughing, suddenly several disciples started gasping. I thought it was smoke inhalation. But, no something else was going on. Who was that? It looked like…. No it couldn't be. It all happened so fast. Where did he come from?
And then he said, "Peace be with you." It was Jesus!
I shouted, "Jesus, it's you!" I ran to him and threw my arms around him. We all did. The joy that filled the room was palpable. As we huddled around him, touching his head and hands, confirming to ourselves that this was real, he spoke to us again.
"I am sending you out. Receive my Holy Spirit." Words and phrases from the past began to fill my mind. Puzzle pieces slowly fit together. Jesus came back for a reason. And it had to do with me… with us. We were meant to do what he did. He gave us himself… his Spirit. How little I understood. And he was gone. As quickly as the smoke dissipated, Jesus disappeared. Where did he go? All I knew was that I touched him. I heard his voice. He most definitely was alive.
Missionary. Teacher. Worship Leader. Deeply desiring to make God's Word accessible and understandable to all. May you be transformed as God's Word fills your life.