Wednesday, August 12, 2020

John 20 - Part 1


Read John 20

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding… But they just killed him.  They killed our Lord and our Teacher and our Master.

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight…  But they just killed him.  They killed our Lord and our Teacher and our Master.

I want to trust the Lord, but my eyes tell me that the One who I followed as Messiah and Christ is dead.  The one who was to be my King forever and ever is dead.

Are they coming for me next?

Speaking of next, what would be next even if they don’t come for me?  Fishing? Moving? Trying to go back to normal.  What exactly will be my new normal?

Sometimes the toughest battles that we must fight take place in our own mind.  We often gravitate to the worst-case scenario, but who could blame the disciples, they had killed the Lord?  Surely that’s the worst-case scenario, right?

Then Mary Magdalene returned from the tomb with news.  The stone had been removed.

What?  Didn’t see that coming.  Who would move the stone?

Mary added that they had taken the Lord and we don’t know where they put him.   This was her assessment not raw intelligence.  She saw an empty tomb and made her own conclusions.  Who they was never is defined, but the body of Jesus was gone.

Peter and another disciple (probably John) raced to the tomb.  That was the race that we read about, but I think there were a couple other races.  Do you ever wonder what they were thinking along the way?  What thoughts raced through their minds as their legs propelled them to the tomb?

John won the foot race but stoped at the entrance to the Tomb.  Peter flew by John and entered the tomb.

Peter inventoried the cloths present, strips separated from the head cloth, but no body and no clues.

The scripture said that they saw and believed, but is not specific about what they believed.  Did they just believe he was gone?  Yep, Mary was right.  There’s no body here.

Or did they believe that Jesus had risen from the dead?  John’s gospel noted that these two did not yet understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead.  Did they believe he had risen but just did not understand that it was required by scripture?

Surely, there were many unanswered questions.

The next sentence gives me a run for my money as far as dry humor goes.  Having taken all of this in, the disciples went back to where they were staying. 

Yeah, ok, he’s not here.  Let’s go.

We are blessed to be able to look back across 2000 years and know the story.  We didn’t live it moment-to-moment.  We don’t have to wonder, what’s next.

We know, but what do we see with these two disciples?  These are two from what we might call the inner circle. They saw more than most, but what we see are sheep without a shepherd.

Understand that joy will come, but bewilderment and that feeling of being lost would come first.  He was gone—he died—and they mourned.

He was gone—his body was gone—and they did not understand.

Let’s go back to Peter and John racing to the tomb.  What were they thinking?  Theft? Resurrection? Somebody’s idea of a bad joke?  What had the Master said about…

Such was the condition of the disciples illustrated in these two.

Excitement, confusion, wonder, expectation, uncertainty, and who knows what else. 

We can look back and see these things clearly but do we see them in ourselves.  We want so much to trust in the Lord but we wonder what is going on all around us.

We want to be able to set aside our own understanding but what does our mind retreat to when the stress level goes up?  What goes on in our mind—things called negative fantasies—can be debilitating.

Do we truly acknowledge God in everything we do and say and think or are we just dumbfounded and confused at times wondering why God has not fixed everything?

Do we trust him that the path he has set us upon is the right path?

The disciples were at a loss.  What now?  First, they kill him.  Now they have taken him.  What now?

Because we have read the chapter and the rest of the gospel, we know, but sometimes we are just like the bewildered disciples in the tomb.

This morning, I want to remind you that there is always more to the story.  We will hit some low points in our lives, but we don’t need to stay there. 

We won’t always understand but we must trust.

We won’t always see God’s plan at work but we must acknowledge that he alone is sovereign.  He is Lord.

We know that there is more to this story.

Remember, there is also more to our story as we follow our Lord.

As you read and study, celebrate the resurrection of the Lord.

As you face today and the next, realize that there is more to come as we live out our stories.  Never fear the worst case scenario. 


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