Relating In A New Way!

(John 20:10-23)



Piercing Word video of John 20:1-31.



  • ME

    • Relating to my parents as an adult


  • WE

    • Relating to our spouse (levels of intimacy)

        • Boyfriend and girlfriend

        • Engaged

        • Married

    • Relating to fellow employees

        • If you’ve ever been promoted to a supervisory position within the same company

        • The people you worked beside on the same level now relate to you differently

    • Jesus was going to be relate to His disciples and followers differently

        • It all started after His resurrection

        • Let’s pray


  • The First Witness (John 20:10-18)

    • Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb

        • Peter and John had returned home

        • She looked into the tomb again while she was crying

        • She saw two angels in white

          • They are seated where Jesus’ body had been

          • One at the head

          • One at the foot

          • It is a picture of the ark of the covenant with the angels like the cherubim

        • Notice Mary’s reaction to the angels

          • She didn’t seem to be startled, concerned, or fascinated with them

          • We’d probably be taking out our cell phones and either taking a picture or video to post on our social media accounts

          • She had a single focus – Jesus!

    • The angels asked her a question

        • Why are you crying?

        • Mary gives her answer

          • They have taken MY Lord away

          • She uses the word “my” here, because she is fully committed to Him

          • Jesus had freed her from multiple demons

          • She has given her life to serve Him and had followed Him to Jerusalem and was at Golgotha when He died

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when we are fully committed to Him.

            • Can you say today, like Mary, that Jesus is your Lord?

            • If so, that is wonderful! ​​ It means you are fully committed to Him

            • If not, what is holding you back? ​​ (there will be an opportunity at the end of the message to make a commitment concerning Jesus)

            • Maybe you were once fully committed to the Lord, but you have stepped away

            • He is patiently waiting for you to return to Him, just like the father of the prodigal son

            • He is watching and looking for you every day

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Return to the Lord and be fully committed to Him.

          • In the midst of her grief and despair, Jesus was there

          • We can also have confidence that in our grief and despair, Jesus is there

    • Mary sees Jesus

        • She did not recognize Him

          • Skiing – dressed in full camo – Judy didn’t recognize me

          • Stories of men who shaved their beard – children start crying

          • Debbie Frost didn’t recognize her grandson, Nathan, after haircut

        • Jesus asks her the same question, but goes further by asking who she is looking for

        • Mary thinks he is the gardener

        • She is willing to carry His body away

          • Her words reveal her devotion. ​​ She never paused to consider how she would carry the corpse of a full-grown man or how she would explain her possession of it.” ​​ [Tenney quoted in Guzik’s commentary]

          • Mary had a single focus of finding Jesus’ body

    • Jesus revealed Himself

        • He only said her name, Mary

          • Judy recognized me when I spoke to her (dressed in camo)

          • Debbie recognized Nathan when he spoke

          • John 10:3-4, The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. ​​ He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. ​​ When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

          • However Jesus said her name, whether it was with the same tone or flexion that He had said it before, she recognized that it is Jesus speaking

        • She calls Him teacher

        • Jesus gives her a warning

          • Don’t cling to me

            • Actually, the ancient Greek construction of this phrase ‘means to stop an action already begun rather than to avoid starting it.’ ​​ (Tenney)” ​​ [Guzik]

            • So we see that Mary is already on her knees clinging to Jesus’ feet

          • Why did He say, “Do not cling to Me?”

            • He would be relating to her in a new way

            • Jesus’ correction is a spiritual redirection away from Jesus’ physical presence, a preparation for the Spirit that is about to be given.” ​​ [Burge, 557]

            • She had been able to minister to His needs and take care of Him during His earthly ministry

            • But, He had to ascend to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could come

            • Also, she had a job to do – witness about His resurrection

              • She was to tell the disciples what she had seen and heard from the Lord

              • As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been given the same job to do

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God is glorified when we tell others about Him.

                • We need to share with others what we have experienced through the transforming relationship we have with Jesus Christ

                  • Our personal testimony is something that is undeniable

                  • Another person cannot deny that it happened

                  • Even if they try to say that, it does not negate the fact that it did

                • Matthew 28:16-20, Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. ​​ When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. ​​ Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ​​ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Witness about the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in my own life and how it transformed me.

            • Jesus did not want her to cling to Him, because He had a job for her to do

          • He gave her some specific instructions

        • Jesus gives her instructions

          • Go to my brothers

            • He doesn’t call them servants or friends anymore, but brothers

            • John 15:15, I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. ​​ Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

            • That was before His resurrection

            • John 1:12-13, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor a human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

          • Tell them I am returning to heaven

        • Mary obeys

    • Mary goes to the disciples

        • She tells them that she has seen the Lord and what His message was to them

        • There was doubt about the fact that Jesus had risen and that Mary had seen Him

        • Mark 16:10-11, She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. ​​ When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

        • If something happened like that today, we would probably be skeptical too

        • In the 1st Century women were marginalized

          • They were not allowed to be called as witnesses in a court of law

          • Rabbi’s taught this, “It is better that the words of the law be burned than to be entrusted to a woman.” ​​ [Courson, 595-596]

          • Jesus gives the gospel to a woman and entrusts her to share it with His disciples

        • The disciples doubt was about to change


  • The Disciples Saved (John 20:19-23)

    • Jesus appeared to the disciples

        • It happened on the same day they found the empty tomb

        • The disciples are all together

        • They were behind locked doors, because they were fearful of the Jews

    • Jesus encourages them

        • Shalom! – Peace be with you!

          • He does not condemn them for running away in the garden or for being absent at the crucifixion (although John was there)

          • He offers this same peace to us

          • Romans 5:1-2, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

        • He proved that He was alive

          • He showed them His hands and side

          • He encouraged them to touch Him and asked for something to eat

          • Luke 24:38-43, He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? ​​ Look at my hands and my feet. ​​ It is I myself! ​​ Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” ​​ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. ​​ And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” ​​ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

        • The disciples are overjoyed

    • Jesus saved them

        • Jesus again pronounced peace to them

        • He is sending them just as the Father had sent Him

        • He breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

          • At this point, the disciples are born again. ​​ Although they were already following Jesus, they were not yet regenerated because He had not yet died for their sins.” ​​ [Courson]

          • God had created Adam, but he did not have life until God breathed into him

          • Jesus would be relating to His disciples in a new way

          • We know that Jesus taught His disciples for 40 days after His resurrection, before ascending into Heaven (Acts 1:3)

          • Jesus related to the disciples in a new way at Pentecost

          • Acts 2:1-4, When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. ​​ Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. ​​ They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. ​​ All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

        • He states about forgiving and not forgiving sins

          • We know that only God has the right to forgive sins, so what does this verse mean?

          • Jesus gives His disciples authority to announce forgiveness and to warn of guilt, as authorized by the Holy Spirit.” ​​ [Guzik]



We know from the book of Acts that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to share boldly about Jesus. ​​ Jesus related to them in a new way, through the Holy Spirit


Jesus wants to relate to you in a new way today

  • Historical faith says, ‘Christ lives!’

    • This is knowing factually that Jesus came alive

    • It’s knowing that Jesus exists – that God exists

    • It’s having a head knowledge

  • Saving faith says, ‘Christ lives in me!’

    • This is taking your head knowledge and applying it to your heart, which is the center of your emotions

    • It’s saying to God that you recognize your rebellion against Him – that you don’t want anything to do with Him, because you want your own way and not His

    • It’s repenting of your sins and turning to Jesus Christ as your Savior – recognizing His perfect sacrifice for you on the cross (Hebrews 9:22b)

    • It’s accepting God’s offer to become a part of His family (John 1:12, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God)

    • The moment you receive Jesus into your life, you receive the Holy Spirit as a part of your life

    • You will experience just what the disciples experienced – Jesus relating to you in a new way

    • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe that Jesus died, was buried, and came alive again to take my punishment for sin, so I can be a part of God’s family.




In Plain Sight

(Luke 24:13-36)



Judy and I moved to Florida after graduating college. ​​ She started teaching at a Christian school where her friend from grade school was teaching. ​​ At first, they were our only friends. ​​ As we continued to develop relationships, we started hanging out with a couple who were both teachers. ​​ The wife worked at the same school as Judy and the husband worked at another Christian school.


In an effort to expand our friend base, we decided to invite other friends to a get together at the other couples house. ​​ Unfortunately, Judy and I were not able to have any other friends come, but the other couple was able to have a husband and wife come (they were both schoolteachers at the husband’s school).


As we began to share information about our backgrounds, I was surprised to find out that I already knew the husband and wife that we just met. ​​ All three of us were shocked and excited to realize that we had worked together for several summers at a Bible conference in New Jersey as high school students.


Judy and I immediately connected with them and developed an incredibly deep relationship with them.


It was amazing that we were so close geographically, but had no idea that we were.



  • ME

    • In plain sight

        • I enjoy playing with my grandkids and one game that my oldest granddaughter and I play is hide and seek

        • Because she is only three, my hiding places are mostly in plain sight (in a corner, behind a chair, in her play tent, etc.)

        • She does the same thing – hiding in plain sight (under the table, under the piano bench, on the stairs, in her play tent, etc.)

        • While she finds me pretty quickly, I act like I don’t know where she is hiding (that produces a lot of laughter)

        • The longer we have played, the more I have started hiding in places that are not in plain sight


  • WE

    • In plain sight

        • How many of us have “lost” something only to realize that it is plain sight?

        • The reason that we can’t find it is because it is not in the location that we normally put it

        • We rush around the house looking for it and get frustrated when we can’t find it

        • How many of us have experienced losing our glasses only to be informed that they are on the top of our head?


We will see today that Jesus was in plain sight, but two of His disciples did not recognize Him at first. ​​ They were not alone in this, because earlier that morning Mary Magdalene was in the presence of Jesus and did not recognize Him (she thought he was the gardener). ​​ These two disciples went through three stages as it pertained to hope. ​​ First, their hope was ravaged, then hope was revealed, and finally their hope was restored. ​​ What we can learn from this passage today is that . . .


BIG IDEA – Jesus brings hope!


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Luke 24:13-36)

    • Hope Ravaged (vv. 13-29)

        • Same day (v. 13)

          • We have to look back to v. 1 to understand what day it is

          • It is the first day of the week, Sunday

          • It is also the same day that Jesus rose from the dead

          • We don’t know the hour that He rose but it was sometime before 6 am, because that is probably the time when the women went to the tomb with their spices and perfumes

          • There were two disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus

          • They left sometime after the women and Peter and John had returned from the tomb

          • It was probably sometime in the afternoon when they started their journey

        • Jerusalem to Emmaus (v. 13)

          • Emmaus was about 7 miles west and a little north of Jerusalem

          • Since they were walking, it probably took them about 2 ½ hours to make the journey

        • Conversation with each other (v. 14)

          • These two disciples are discussing everything that happened over the past week

          • They were probably discussing what went wrong from the time of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem to His crucifixion and burial

          • They were probably trying to figure out what happened to Jesus’ body, since the tomb He was in was empty and no one knew where the body was, including His closest disciples, Peter, James, and John

          • “We get the impression that these men were discouraged and disappointed because God did not do what they wanted Him to do. ​​ They saw the glory of the kingdom, but they failed to understand the suffering.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 278]

          • We know their demeanor was one of sadness (v. 17, their faces were downcast)

          • The outcome of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was not what they had hoped for

          • Their hope was ravaged

          • Jesus was supposed to rule over them as king and remove the Roman rulers from among them, but now He’s gone

        • A stranger starts walking with them (vv. 15-16)

          • As they are walking along the road to Emmaus this guy starts walking along with them

          • They don’t recognize Him, but they’re cordial enough to allow Him to continue walking with them

          • “Jewish travelers would not consider it unusual for a stranger, who is also a fellow Jew, to join their small company walking for some distance, especially if they assume him to be a Passover pilgrim on his way home.” ​​ [Keener, IVP, Bible Background Commentary, 256]

          • We have the benefit of knowing that it’s Jesus who is walking with them, but the two disciples were kept from recognizing Him

          • You and I can miss Jesus in our lives, because we’re discouraged and angry that God didn’t do for us what we wanted Him to do

            • This is a part of our selfish, sinful nature that we think we know what’s best for us, our family, our state, our nation, and maybe even the world

            • But God is sovereign – He has the right to rule and He rules rightly

            • God is the Creator – He knows everything about this world and the people living in it

            • God is omniscient – He knows everything

            • God knows what’s best for you

            • When you’re feeling discouraged and angry with God, you don’t want to be around other believers, but they are the ones who can help you see that Jesus is right there with you – in plain sight

            • They can help you see that Jesus brings hope!

            • Are you feeling discouraged and angry with God today?

            • Here’s a few steps to take:

              • First, acknowledge your discouragement and anger with God – tell Him how you’re feeling – you’re not going to make Him upset or cause Him to turn His back on you – Heb. 13:5b-6

              • Second, as a follower of Jesus Christ, recognize that He’s right here with you – verbalize it, hear yourself say the words

              • Third, surround yourself with fellow believers and allow them to encourage and comfort you – we are here for you, just reach out, we want to help

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Take time this afternoon to tell God why I’m discouraged and/or angry and that I know Jesus is with me.

              • Reach out to a brother or sister in Christ so they can encourage, support, and comfort you

          • As Jesus and His two disciples are walking along, Jesus asked them a couple of questions

        • Jesus’ two questions (vv. 17-19a)

          • What are you discussing?

            • Jesus already knew what they were discussing, but this was His way of joining in the discussion

            • He wanted to be included in the conversation so He could teach them some valuable truths [BBC, 612]

            • Here we are given the name of one of the disciples, Cleopas

            • Cleopas obviously assumed this Jewish stranger walking with them had been in Jerusalem over Passover and should have known what was going on

            • “News spread quickly by word of mouth, and public executions at a feast would be widely discussed.” ​​ [Keener, IVP, BBC, 2256]

            • If this stranger was a Jew and had participated in a Passover feast, Jesus’ trial and execution would have been the topic of discussion

          • What things?

            • Jesus asks His second question to encourage these two disciples to discuss what they knew about Him

            • “He wanted them to give Him enough information to permit Him to teach His truths from their subject.” ​​ [BBC, 612]

            • When your child comes to you to tell you something that happened to them, but your spouse already told you the story, do you turn them down? ​​ No, you enthusiastically listen to them as they share it. ​​ You patiently listen to the excitement in their voice and you rejoice with them. ​​ If it’s something sad, you comfort them and cry with them.

            • Jesus already knows everything that’s going in your life, but He desires to hear them from you

              • Jesus is saying to you today, “Talk to Me – about that trouble at work, about that feeling in your heart. ​​ I already know all about it, but I want to hear it from you.” ​​ [Courson, 422]

              • Jesus is so patient with you as He listens

              • He is our Great High Priest and sits at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for you (Rom. 8:34)

              • Because of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection you can come boldly before God’s throne and pour out your heart to Him

              • Hebrews 4:14-16, Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. ​​ For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. ​​ Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

            • So, Jesus wants these two guys to open up and share what they know about Him

        • Their response (vv. 19b-24)

          • Now we see the content of their conversation – it is Jesus of Nazareth

          • What did these two know about Jesus of Nazareth?

            • They knew His name and where He was from

            • They knew He was a Prophet

            • They knew He was mighty in deed and word

            • They knew He was crucified

            • They knew He promised to redeem Israel

            • They knew others had said He rose from the dead

          • The verdict was still out from the perspective of these two disciples

            • They knew Jesus body was not in the tomb, but they had yet to believe that He rose from the dead

            • The testimony of the women seeing the empty tomb and hearing the message given to them by two angels wasn’t enough

            • The testimony of Peter and John seeing the empty tomb with Jesus’ grave clothes lying there undisturbed wasn’t enough proof

            • “Jesus wanted to know from them what He wants to know from (you) today: ​​ can (you) believe without seeing with (y)our own eyes? ​​ Can (you) believe based on the reliable eyewitness testimony of other people?” ​​ [Guzik, 6]

            • I heard a story from a young man who when he was a young boy wanted to know if God was real. ​​ As he lay in bed one night at his grandmother’s house he asked God to prove that He existed. ​​ Almost immediately the blankets that were pulled up to his chest and not hanging over the edge of the bed were pulled down. ​​ He believed!

            • If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you have believed the reliable eyewitness testimony of other people – you’ve believed the testimony of the Apostles and the other biblical writers, some of whom were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection

        • Jesus’ sermon (vv. 25-27)

          • He calls them foolish

            • The Greek word translated foolish actually means, “lacking in understanding.”

            • It’s not the negative way we use the word fool today

            • It’s not the same word that’s used in Matt. 5:22, that we are forbidden to say to our brother

          • Heart issue not a head issue

            • They knew what the prophets had said, that’s probably why they were so excited about Jesus in the first place

            • They hadn’t understood all of what the prophets had said

            • They only remembered the good parts

            • “They did not believe all that the prophets had written about the Messiah. ​​ That was the problem with most of the Jews in that day: ​​ they saw Messiah as a conquering Redeemer, but they did not see Him as a Suffering Savior. ​​ As they read the Old Testament, they saw the glory but not the suffering, the crown but not the cross.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 278]

          • Jesus shared scripture with them

            • Jesus asks them if they remembered that the prophets foretold that the Christ would have to suffer these things and then enter his glory

            • Don’t you wish you could have been there to hear Jesus Christ open up the scriptures from Moses to the Prophets

            • That would have been an incredible sermon

            • “The ancient Greek word for expounded (explained) has the idea of sticking close to the text.” ​​ [Guzik, 8]

            • He probably talked about these things

              • The first promise of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15

              • Abraham placing his son on the altar in Genesis 22

              • The first Passover in Egypt

              • The Levitical sacrifices

              • The Tabernacle ceremonies

              • The Day of Atonement

              • The serpent in the wilderness

              • The Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53

              • The prophetic messages of Psalms 22 and 69

              • He shared with them all that scripture said about Him

            • How did He do this?

              • Did He have all these scrolls tucked under His arm?

              • No, He knew the scripture by heart

              • “Sometimes you might think, I don’t need to study the Word because I’ve already studied it. ​​ I already know it. ​​ Do you? ​​ Can you walk along the road and discuss Genesis 37-50, Ezekiel 44, Luke 21-24, Romans 5-8? ​​ Until you’re at that place, you need to be where the Bible is taught consistently.” ​​ [Courson, 422]

              • “The key to understanding the Bible is to see Jesus Christ on every page.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 279]

              • No matter what kind of Bible teaching you do (Sunday school, youth worker, small group leader, etc.) your job is to look for Jesus in every part of God’s Word ​​ [Courson, 422]

        • Stay with us (vv. 28-29)

          • When they were approaching Emmaus, Jesus acted as if He was going to continue His journey

          • The two disciples urged Him strongly to stay with them for the night

          • This was part of the culture of the day to extend hospitality especially as night was getting close

          • Jesus will not force His way into your life

            • He is waiting for you to invite Him in

            • He reveals Himself to you through other people, His creation, and life circumstances and then He waits for you to respond

            • Your sin

              • God provided the Ten Commandments not as a way to be made right with Him, but to show you that you needed someone to help you with your sin

              • Rom. 3:23 – all have sinned

            • God’s justice

              • Rom. 6:23 – wages of sin is death

            • God’ love

              • Rom. 5:8 – demonstrates His love

            • Jesus’ sacrifice

              • 1 Cor. 15:3b-4 – Christ died, was buried, was raised on third day according to the Scriptures

            • God’s promise

              • John 1:12-13 – received Him, believed in His name, become children of God

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Invite Jesus into my life by receiving Him and believing in His name, so I can become a child of God.

    • Hope Revealed (vv. 30-32)

        • Jesus’ actions

          • As He sat at the table with them He did something He had done at the Last Supper

          • He took bread

          • He gave thanks

          • He broke the bread

          • He began to give it to them

        • Their eyes are opened

          • Whatever had caused them not to recognize Jesus was removed

          • Their eyes were opened to who this stranger was, that they had been traveling with

          • They had been sharing with Jesus about Jesus!

          • They had been taught on the road by Jesus!

          • As soon as they recognized Jesus, He was gone

            • This resurrected body of Jesus was different than a human body

            • He was able to appear and disappear

            • He was able to move through locked doors

        • Hearts burning

          • Their hearts were greatly moved as Jesus was teaching them about Himself from Moses through the Prophets

          • They were probably remembering all they had learned from Jesus during His ministry here on earth

          • They were missing Him and His presence with them

          • Little did they know He was right there with them

    • Hope Restored (vv. 33-36)

        • They returned to Jerusalem

          • They left immediately to return to Jerusalem

          • They couldn’t wait to tell the other disciples what had happened to them

        • Jesus had appeared to Simon/Peter

          • When they arrived, they had to wait to share their story

          • Hope had already been restored in Jerusalem

          • Jesus had appeared to Simon/Peter

          • The Eleven and the others with them were joyfully announcing and believing that Jesus had risen from the dead

        • They share their experience

          • These two finally got a chance to share how Jesus had walked with them on the road to Emmaus

          • They shared about how they recognized Him after He had broken the bread and giving thanks for it and gave it to them

          • While everyone was rejoicing together and reveling in restored hope, something incredible happened

          • Jesus appeared with them and encouraged them with, “Peace be with you.”

        • “What a difference it would make in our church services if everybody who gathered came to tell about meeting the living Christ! ​​ If our services are ‘dead’ it is probably because we are not really walking with and listening to the living Saviour.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 279]


  • YOU

    • Hope ravaged, revealed, and restored

        • You may be experiencing your hope being ravaged today

          • You may feel discouraged and/or angry with God

          • Those emotions are real and they don’t offend God

          • He wants you to talk with Him about what you’re feeling

        • He wants you to know that Jesus is right there with you – this is hope revealed

          • After Jesus ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to guide, illumine, and comfort you and me

          • His plan was never to leave us alone without help or hope

        • He wants you to know that He has placed brothers and sisters in Christ alongside you to help you

          • This is how your hope can be restored

          • Satan wants you to think that you are alone without anyone to encourage you or help you through the discouragement or anger

          • We are here for you

    • Finding hope

        • Your hope comes through Jesus Christ and Him alone

        • The first step in experiencing the hope found in Jesus Christ is to submit yourself to Him and His authority

        • It’s repenting of your sins, turning away from them and not looking back

        • It’s recognizing and admitting your sin to God

        • Believing in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for you

        • Calling on God to be a part of His family


  • WE

    • As followers of Jesus Christ we are witnesses to His resurrection power

        • While we were not there to see Him after His resurrection, we have experienced His healing power in our lives

        • We have been set free from the bondage to sin and self

        • We have hope for the future resurrection of our bodies when Jesus returns a second time

        • We are called to share that freedom and hope with others


“Florida Highway Patrol troopers were surprised and delighted to find that the alleged drug traffickers they pulled over had made their jobs so much easier than they anticipated. Among the materials found in the vehicle was a bag marked in bold text with the words “Bag Full of Drugs.”


Similar bags have been sold for years at novelty shops alongside other gag gifts, but troopers said this bag really did contain a variety of illegal narcotics, including methamphetamine, fentanyl, MDMA, and GHB.


The Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office issued a statement, warning potential lawbreakers that not only can their drug-sniffing canine units smell drugs, but they can also read.


Possible Preaching Angle:

1) Sometimes the truth is hidden in plain sight; we must not be so enamored with being clever that we miss the obvious. 2) Secrets do not remain hidden for long. The truth will ultimately be revealed.



Cox Media Group, “Florida Highway Patrol finds bags full of drugs in ‘Bag Full of Drugs,’” Dayton Daily News.com (2-4-20).





Easter 2022

Authentic Believing

(John 20:24-31)



“Thomas A. Miller, a surgeon and researcher, explores the miracle of Christ's resurrection from a medical angle. Dr. Miller notes that the body contains trillions and maybe even 100 trillion cells. Each one of these cells carries out thousands of different chemical reactions. Thus a bodily resurrection would require ‘some phenomenal power to energize life into all these individual cells, but it would have to do so in such a way that specialized nerve cells could resume their unique function, heart cells perform theirs, blood cells and bone cells do theirs, and so on.’


Dr. Miller continues:


Consider the heart as just one example. It beats on average 70 times a minute, 4,200 times an hour, 100,800 times a day … and 36,288,000 times a year …. And for that to happen, thousands of processes within each cell must act in a coordinated way to ensure that the blood entering the right side of the heart is effectively propelled into the lungs, where the red blood cells contained in it discharge carbon dioxide and pick up oxygen, following which it returns to the left side of the heart where it is propelled to the tissues of the rest of the body, do that they might receive precious oxygen they need to sustain their many functions. This all happens at least every second in such a smooth fashion that we are not even aware of it. And at the moment we die, all these processes came to a screeching halt.


A bodily resurrection implies that thousands of processes in trillions of cells must be restarted with the unique intricacy and inter-coordination that existed before death. Dr. Miller notes that this would require not just incredible power but also unimaginable knowledge. He writes:


Even the latest science has not unraveled the complete mystery of each of the cells of our bodies, and how they interact and "talk" with one another …. But for the resurrection of Jesus to occur, all of that information had to be known in its completeness and totality, and known some two thousand years ago.”


Source: Thomas A. Miller, MD, Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? (Crossway, 2013), pp. 133-136.





  • ME

    • Third party authentication

        • The push to protect our online accounts is never ending

        • In recent years, there has been a push for third party authentication, especially for financial accounts and even email accounts

        • The idea is that every time I login to one of these accounts, they will either text or email me a code that I enter to prove that I am the owner of the account and to protect my account

        • I am not put off by this authentication, because I want to make sure my accounts are secure


  • WE

    • Third party authentication

        • How many of us have had to do that recently?

        • Perhaps some of us do not want to be bothered with receiving a code and entering it in order to gain access to our accounts

    • Banking

        • Some of us don’t use a computer, but we’ve probably been to the bank to withdrawal money or cash a check

        • When we do that, the teller asks us for our ID, so we can prove that we are who we say we are


Jesus appeared to ten of His disciples on the day He came alive again. ​​ There was one disciple who was missing from that initial meeting. ​​ As we learned in the sunrise service, the wound made by the spear would have been a unique identifying factor that it was Jesus who was appearing to them. ​​ No other person, who was crucified, had that unique mark. ​​ We’ll see today that the disciple, who missed the initial meeting, says he’ll never believe that Jesus is alive unless he can put his fingers in the nail holes in Jesus’ hands, and place his hand in the spear hole in Jesus’ side. ​​ He wanted physical proof before he would believe. ​​ Jesus challenges him on this and speaks a blessing over those who believe without seeing. ​​ John wants us to know that . . .


BIG IDEA – Jesus is pleased when we believe without seeing.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 20:24-31)

    • Thomas’ Unbelief (vv. 24-25)

        • Who is Thomas

          • A twin

            • The name Thomas is Aramaic

            • The name Didymus is Greek

            • They both mean “twin”

            • We’re not told who his twin was

          • A disciple

            • He is one of the Twelve

            • Jesus had chosen him as one of His closest disciples

            • We know from church history that Thomas took the message of Jesus Christ to India and gave his life for the Gospel while there [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament, 596]

          • A realist

            • John 11:16, Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (this was in response to Jesus encouraging His disciples to come with Him to see Lazarus, who had died – Thomas realized the volatility of going back to Judea so soon after the Jews had tried to stone Jesus)

            • John 14:1-6, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. ​​ Trust in God, trust also in me. ​​ In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. ​​ I am going there to prepare a place for you. ​​ And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. ​​ You know the way to the place where I am going.” ​​ Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” ​​ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. ​​ No one comes to the Father except through me.

          • As a realist, he would have been skeptical about the possibility of Jesus’ resurrection, which is why he may not have been together with the other disciples on that first day of the week – for Thomas, the three-year journey of faith was done – perhaps he was feeling hopeless and just wanted to be alone

        • Thomas absent

          • During the sunrise service, we looked at the episode that Thomas missed

            • It was on the evening of that first day of the week – the day that Jesus came alive again

            • The disciples were behind locked doors for fear of the Jews and Jesus miraculously appeared to them and greeted them with “peace”

            • He showed them His hands and side

          • Thomas wasn’t with them when Jesus appeared to them

            • “Thomas is a good warning to all of us not to miss meeting together with God’s people on the Lord’s Day.” ​​ [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 1, 394]

            • Hebrews 10:22-25, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. ​​ Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. ​​ And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. ​​ 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.

            • “Remember Thomas when you are tempted to stay home from church. ​​ You never know what special blessing you might miss!” ​​ [Wiersbe, 394]

            • Application

              • Think about a time when you didn’t “feel” like coming to church, but after you came, you left feeling refreshed, renewed, filled with joy, peace, comfort, and contentment

              • Early in my tenure here, we had a movement of the Holy Spirit that happened during second service that was powerful. ​​ A young man was listening to the message and as I was finishing up, he fell to his knees and began to flail around, knocking down some of the metal chairs. ​​ He stood up and came towards me. ​​ I embraced him as he kept repeating a man’s name. ​​ I asked him what we needed to know about that man. ​​ He eventually looked at me, blinked his eyes, and then said, “what just happened?” ​​ This young man had spoken with me, earlier in the week, about the man, whose name he was repeating. ​​ That man had been going through a difficult time and this young man was trying to help him. ​​ Something supernatural happened that day and not everyone in the church was there to experience it. ​​ The Holy Spirit of God was speaking through this young man and it was powerful!

          • Thomas had missed something supernatural and powerful and the other disciples tried to explain it to him

        • The disciples’ witness

          • Told

            • In the Greek this verb is in the imperfect tense, which means it is a continual or repeated action [Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb/jhn/20/1/t_concf_1017025]

            • The other disciples didn’t just mention it to Thomas once, they kept on telling him

            • I can only imagine that the reason they kept on telling him is because he was shaking his head from side to side in disbelief

            • This didn’t make logical sense to Thomas, the realist

            • My aunt and uncle had a missionary family visiting. When the missionary children were called in for dinner, their mother said, ‘Be sure to wash your hands.’

              The little boy scowled and said, ‘Germs and Jesus. Germs and Jesus. That's all I hear, and I've never seen either one of them.’”

              Source: Vesper Bauer, Audubon, Iowa, Christian Reader (Sep/Oct 1998).


            • The little boy did not understand the importance of washing his hands, because he had never seen a germ

            • Thomas did not understand the importance of Jesus’ resurrection, because he had not seen Jesus like the other disciples had

          • Seen

            • This Greek verb is in the perfect tense, meaning that it was an action completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated [Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb/jhn/20/1/t_concf_1017025]

            • The disciples were telling Thomas again and again that they had seen the Lord – it was a fact – He was alive!

            • Application

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when we tell others about Jesus.

              • “The disciples who had experienced the surprising appearance of Jesus and his empowering commissioning were apparently enthusiastically ready to share the details of their postresurrection experience of ‘the Lord.’” [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 312]

              • I always enjoy being around new believers, because their enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is contagious

              • They aren’t complacent, apprehensive, or fearful about sharing it with anyone and everyone

              • For long-time believers, the enthusiasm seems to wear off, because they have been confronted with those who are skeptical and those who refuse to believe in Jesus – we are no longer enthusiastic and excited about sharing the Gospel

              • I believe the reason this happens in our lives is because we have a false idea of our role as messengers of the Gospel

                • We have this incorrect belief that if people don’t believe in Jesus, after we share the Gospel with them, that we have somehow failed God and Jesus

                • Our responsibility is not to convert and convince, but to communicate

                • 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. ​​ So neither he who plants nor he who waters in anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

                • Planting and watering are both forms of communicating

                  • The planter is the one who shares the Gospel with an individual for the first time

                  • The waterer is the one who shares the Gospel with an individual a second, third, fourth, fifth, or more times

                • Whether or not someone believes in Jesus, when you share the Gospel with them, does not define success or failure

                • When we simply communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone, we succeed in God’s eyes – He is pleased!

                • That should change everything for us

                • We should be excited and enthusiastic about sharing the Gospel

              • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Enthusiastically share the Gospel with my family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

                • Now that we know, success is simply communicating and not convincing or converting, let’s plant and water with enthusiasm and watch as God makes it grow!

                • Who will you plan to share the Gospel with this week?

            • The other disciples were enthusiastically and repeatedly telling Thomas that they had seen the Lord – He was alive!

          • What we see with Thomas’ response is that he probably got tired of the other disciples repeatedly telling him they had seen the Lord

        • Thomas’ demands

          • Thomas wanted proof – he wanted to experience what the other disciples had experienced and even more

            • He didn’t just want to see Jesus’ hands and side

            • He wanted to put his fingers in the holes where the nails had been

            • He wanted to put his hand in the whole created by the spear

          • “Thomas’ words help to understand the difference between doubt and unbelief. ​​ Doubt says, ‘I cannot believe! ​​ There are too many problems!’ ​​ Unbelief says, ‘I will not believe unless you give me the evidence I ask for!’”  ​​​​ [Wiersbe, 394]

            • Some people are right there, right now

            • They are telling us that they will not believe in Jesus unless He gives them the evidence they are asking for

            • They want all their questions answered to their satisfaction

              • If God is all-loving, then why does He allow bad things to happen?

              • If God is all-powerful, then why doesn’t He stop bad things from happening?

              • God is both all-loving and all-powerful in addition to being sovereign, all-knowing, ever present, unchanging, infinite, holy, righteous, and so much more

              • It’s the arrogance of humanity to believe that we can understand all of who God is and how He operates as an infinite God

            • They want physical proof that God and Jesus exist

              • It’s the arrogance of humanity to demand that God provide the evidence we ask for before we will believe in Him

                • Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. ​​ “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

                • 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. ​​ He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

                • Ephesians 3:20-21, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! ​​ Amen.

            • Jesus is pleased when we believe without seeing.

          • Thomas’ declaration

            • Thomas tells the other disciples that he will not believe it without his demands being fulfilled

            • In the Greek there is a double negative, ou mē, which gives his declaration an emphatic push

            • It could be translated, “I’ll never believe it!” [Milne, The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of John, 302] or “I positively will not believe!” [Wiersbe, 394]

            • Thomas is saying, in no uncertain terms, that if his demands for proof are not met, he will never believe that Jesus is alive

        • Jesus is gracious with Thomas, and his demands, and does the supernatural again, within the week

    • Thomas’ Belief (vv. 26-29)

        • Thomas present

          • All of the eleven disciples were together in the same house one week later

          • Perhaps the other ten disciples told Thomas not to miss this Sunday gathering

          • Jesus again appears to His disciples, even though they are behind locked doors

          • He greeted them again with “peace be with you”

          • I’m sure they needed peace as he supernaturally gained access to the room they thought was secure

          • Jesus doesn’t waste any time in challenging Thomas

        • Jesus’ challenge

          • Jesus basically repeats Thomas’ demands back to him

          • “Here you go, Thomas! ​​ Put your fingers in the nail holes in my wrists. ​​ Put your hand in the spear whole in my side.”

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is omnipresent

              • “Here Jesus is teaching a lesson of great import, for in repeating Thomas’s ultimatum, it’s as if He’s saying, ‘Boys, even though you don’t see Me, I’m with you always.’” ​​ [Courson, 597]

              • Because Jesus is omnipresent, He hears and knows our deepest desires

              • Application

                • This is a foundational truth principle for us as believers – Jesus is always present with us

                • No matter what we are going through, we can trust that He is here

                • Maybe you’re feeling lonely, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, worried, fearful, unsure, or concerned

                • You may be struggling physically, emotionally, financially, relationally, and/or spiritually

                • Jesus is right there with you

                • Even if you can’t see Him or feel His presence with you, He is there

                • Hebrews 13:5-6, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ​​ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. ​​ What can man do to me?”

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the truth promise that Jesus is always present with me.

            • The second part of Jesus’ challenge is His exhortation for Thomas to stop doubting and believe

          • Stop doubting and believe

            • The literal translation of the Greek text would be, “Do not become unbelieving [apistos] but believing [pistos].” [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 562] or “Do not be unbelieving but believing.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 657]

            • Thomas wasn’t saying that he couldn’t believe, because there were too many problems (doubt), but rather that he would not believe (unbelief), without physical proof

            • “Authentic believing was the issue,” not doubt [Borchert, 314]

            • Hebrews 3:12-13, See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. ​​ But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

          • Jesus’ presence, challenge, and exhortation was enough for Thomas

        • Thomas’ confession

          • The only response that Thomas could have at this point was to confess who Jesus was – “My Lord and my God!”

          • Thomas’ confession accomplished two things

            • It recognized Jesus’ authority

              • Confessing that Jesus was his Lord, meant that Thomas was submitting to His authority as Master

              • We must do the same thing when we come to believe in Jesus – submit to Him as our Master

            • It recognized Jesus’ deity

              • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus is God!

              • Thomas knew that only God had the power to do the supernatural

              • God is the only One who is always present with us and knows everything about us, including our thoughts and desires

          • Thomas wanted physical, material proof that Jesus was alive

            • Most of the time we refer to Thomas as “Doubting Thomas” and can be pretty critical of him

            • He was in good company though, because Peter, John, and the other disciples didn’t believe the testimony of the women, including Mary Magdalene

            • Peter and John had to see the empty tomb for themselves – they wanted physical and material proof

          • Jesus then offers a blessing over those who would never experience the physical and material proof that Thomas and the other disciples did

        • Jesus’ blessing

          • Jesus tells Thomas that he believed, because He was granted the physical and material proof he had demanded

          • Jesus then blesses those who have not seen and yet have believed

            • If you have believed in Jesus, He was talking about you!

            • You can personalize that part of verse 29 today

            • “Blessed is _______ (your name) who has not seen and yet has believed.” ​​ [have everyone repeat the verse with their name in it]

            • Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

            • Jesus is pleased when we believe without seeing.

        • This naturally transitions to our belief

    • Our Belief (vv. 30-31)

        • More miraculous signs

          • John gives us some concluding remarks, which includes the theme verse for the entire Gospel of John

          • John lets us know that Jesus obviously did many other miraculous signs while His disciples were with Him

          • We don’t know how many miraculous signs Jesus did while on earth

          • It’s also probable that He did miraculous signs when His disciples were not with Him

          • John does not record the other miraculous signs

        • John’s witness

          • John records eight miraculous signs in his Gospel

            • Turning the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-11)

            • Healing of the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54)

            • Healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-17)

            • Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-14)

            • Jesus walking on the water (John 6:15-21)

            • Healing the man born blind (John 9:1-12)

            • Death and resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:1-45)

            • Catching of fish (John 21:1-11)

          • These eight miraculous signs, that John records, are for the purpose of helping us to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

          • When we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then we can have life in His name

            • The life that John is talking about is eternal life

            • He says it this way in John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ​​ For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ​​ Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

            • We are all born in sin, Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world. (Romans 5:12-13a)

            • God sent Jesus to take our punishment for sin

              • God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21)

              • He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

            • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe in Jesus and receive God’s eternal life.

            • We have to believe without seeing the physical and material proof of Jesus’ resurrected body

            • We have to believe the eye witness accounts that are recorded in the Bible

          • Jesus is pleased when we believe without seeing.


  • YOU

    • Are you ready to enthusiastically share the Gospel?

    • Do you need to claim the promise that Jesus is present with you?

    • Are you ready to believe in Jesus without seeing Him and receive eternal life?


  • WE

    • Our mission is to pursue, grow, and multiple disciples for Jesus



“Tim Keller tells the following story about the power of Christ's resurrection:


A minister was in Italy, and there he saw the grave of a man who had died centuries before who was an unbeliever and completely against Christianity, but a little afraid of it too. So the man had a huge stone slab put over his grave so he would not have to be raised from the dead in case there is a resurrection from the dead. He had insignias put all over the slab saying, ‘I do not want to be raised from the dead. I don't believe in it.’ Evidently, when he was buried, an acorn must have fallen into the grave. So a hundred years later the acorn had grown up through the grave and split that slab. It was now a tall towering oak tree. The minister looked at it and asked, ‘If an acorn, which has power of biological life in it, can split a slab of that magnitude, what can the acorn of God's resurrection power do in a person's life?’


Keller comments:


The minute you decide to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit comes into your life. It's the power of the resurrection—the same thing that raised Jesus from the dead …. Think of the things you see as immovable slabs in your life—your bitterness, your insecurity, your fears, your self-doubts. Those things can be split and rolled off. The more you know him, the more you grow into the power of the resurrection.”


Source: Nancy Guthrie, editor, Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (Crossway, 2009), p. 136.





Easter Sunday

I Understand!

(Luke 24:36-49)



“Patsy Clairmont beautifully and movingly portrays the reality of recovering from grief. I quote her words because they are so strongly and lovingly written: “We buried my friend’s 26–year–old son last week. An accidental gunshot took Jeff’s life. We have more questions than answers. We are offended at people who have all the answers and no experience with devastating loss.


‘I watched the heart-wrenching scenes as the family tried to come to grips with their tragedy. I can still hear the travailing of the mother’s anguished heart. I can still see the wrenching of the father’s grief-worn hands. I can still feel the distraught sobs that racked the sister’s body as I held her. I can still smell the hospital and the funeral home. Memories march before my mind like soldiers, causing me to relive the agony. If it is this difficult for me, Jeff’s godmother, how much more magnified it must be for his birth mother! I can’t imagine.


As I watched Jeff’s mom, Carol, the week after his death, I observed a miracle. I saw her move from despair to hope. From franticness to peace. From uncertainty to assurance. From needing comfort to extending it.


I witnessed a mom face her worst nightmare and refuse to run away. Instead, she ran to Him. When grief knocked the breath out of Carol, she went to the Breath Giver. I watched as the Lord placed His mantle of grace around her and then supported her with His mercy. The grief process has just begun for Jeff’s loved ones. The Lord will not remove His presence from the Porter family. But there may be moments when He will remove their awareness of His presence. That will allow them to feel the impact of their loss. For He knows it would be our tendency to hide even behind His grace to protect our fragile hearts from the harsh winds of reality. He offers us refuge, but He also promises us wholeness. Wholeness means we are fully present with ourselves and with Him. Therefore, we have to own our pain. If we do not, part of who we are we must either shut down, avoid, or deny. That would leave us estranged from ourselves and divided in our identity. Also, we would never heal in a way that would allow us to minister to others’ (Under His Wings, [Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family, 1994], 139ff.).


The death of Jesus Christ left his followers devastated with grief similar to the Porter family’s. They had lost their best friend, their leader, and their life’s goals, hopes, and dreams. All meaning had disappeared from life. Meeting the resurrected Christ gave them the assurance and power they needed to recover from their grief realistically, regain their wholeness, and renew their commitment to the goal Christ set before them. We have trouble feeling the same grief and loss the disciples felt at Jesus’ death, but we can feel the glory of his resurrection and the joy of being part of his goal for living and for dying.”


[Butler, Holman New Testament Commentary, Luke, 413-14].



  • ME

    • Alternative guitar chords

        • When I first started playing guitar in high school, I took lessons and began to learn scales and chords

        • It was awkward at first trying to get my fingers to hold the position for each chord

        • Once I learned the individual chords then I had to learn how to transition between the various chords, so I could play songs

        • Many years later, while living in California, the worship leader at the church we attended, introduced me to some alternative chords for E, B, A, and C#m

        • This knowledge made it so much easier to transition between those chords and to play many worship songs

        • Let me illustrate it for you this morning on my guitar [Use the song Almighty and show the original chord locations, then show the alternative chord locations]

        • It took me a little bit of time to retrain my brain with the new location for these chords, but once that happen it made playing so much easier

        • I was finally able to say, I understand!


  • WE

    • The nine times table

        • How many of us know our nine times table?

        • Would it be helpful to learn an easy way to remember the nine times table?

        • [Have everyone hold up their hands with their palms facing out]

        • [Show how to lower one finger based on the formula 9 x _ and how the remaining fingers will give them the answer]

    • My guess is that every one of us has a memory of struggling to understand something

        • It may have taken several people explaining it to us in various ways before we got it

        • Once we got it, we were able to say, “I understand!”


The women that went to the tomb early in the morning and the apostles and disciples that were gathered together in Jerusalem did not have a resurrection mindset when it came to the first day of the week after Jesus’ crucifixion. ​​ They had not fully understood Jesus’ teaching from the Old Testament about His purpose on earth and what was going to happen to Him. ​​ So, they were not expecting Him to rise from dead on the third day. ​​ After His resurrection, though, Jesus did something supernatural for them that enabled them to understand the Scriptures and it transformed them all. ​​ This transformation is what motivated them to preach the Gospel to all nations. ​​ We can experience the same transformation today. ​​ Through the Holy Spirit that lives within each follower of Jesus Christ, we have the same power as the apostles and disciples. ​​ We’ll learn from Luke 24:36-49 that . . .


BIG IDEA – Understanding God’s Word, empowers us to witness.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Luke 24:36-49)

    • Physical proof (vv. 36-43)

        • While they were still talking about this

          • We have to go back to verses 13-35 to understand what they were still talking about

          • Those verses share the story of the two believers who encounter Jesus on the road to Emmaus

          • If you remember they were traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus when Jesus began to walk and talk with them

          • Jesus wanted these two men to express, openly, what they were thinking and feeling about His death and burial, so He acted as though He wasn’t aware of everything that had just transpired in Jerusalem

          • After hearing their hearts, Jesus began to use Scripture to explain that everything that had happened over the past several days had been foretold by Moses and the Prophets

          • The two disciples asked Jesus to stay with them when they arrived in Emmaus, which He eventually agrees to do

          • As they were sharing a meal together, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them

          • At that moment, their eyes were opened and they recognized Jesus

          • They weren’t able to talk with Him anymore, because He disappeared

          • They returned to Jerusalem immediately, found the other disciples, and told them what they had experienced

          • This is what the group of disciples was talking about when Jesus appeared to them behind locked doors

        • Jesus’ supernatural appearance

          • Jesus stood among them and greeted them with Shalom

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is all-powerful (omnipotent).

            • The disciples were gathered together behind locked doors for fear of the Jews (John 20:19)

            • Jesus didn’t have the key and He didn’t need a key

            • He was able to supernaturally appear to them

            • We don’t know exactly how He did it, but we know that He did do it, because He is all-powerful!

            • This principle and truth should give us hope as we face life’s struggles

              • The disciples were experiencing fear because of the political and religious atmosphere of their culture

              • Some of us can definitely identify with the disciples – we are experiencing fear because of the political and religious atmosphere in our culture

              • Maybe our fear is centered around our health, with the coronavirus and the vaccine

              • Perhaps our fear and anxiety stem from financial struggles as a result of the coronavirus or the loss of a job

              • There are those who are experiencing fear, anxiety, and depression due to the loss of a loved one or a broken relationship

              • Hebrews 4:15, For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin.

              • Jesus is able to sympathize with us through our weaknesses, heart break, fears, anxiety, and depression

              • He’s not only able to sympathize with us, but He is able to do something about it, because He is all-powerful

              • He is waiting for us to sacrifice our independence and self-sufficiency, and rely completely on Him

              • Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ​​ And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Recognize Jesus’ omnipotence by crying out to Him with my fears, concerns, and anxious thoughts.

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus’ presence brings peace.

            • When we cry out to God and present our requests to Him with thanksgiving, then we will be able to experience His peace

            • It’s a peace we cannot understand, because it’s supernatural – it comes from a source outside of ourselves

            • I’ve experienced it when I’ve gone through difficult times, and I can’t explain the feeling of peace when I should be experiencing a churning stomach and unrest

            • Perhaps there are those of us here today, that have experienced God’s peace that doesn’t make sense to our finite minds

            • We can rejoice and worship the Lord for providing His peace

          • It appears as though the disciples were not experiencing peace, though

        • Disciples’ reaction

          • The disciple’s fears were elevated

            • They were terrified and thrown into fear

            • They were already fearful and on alert because of the Jews

            • And now someone or something had gained access to their secure location

          • It’s a ghost!

            • Ghost stories

              • I remember as a child, waking up in the middle of the night, once, and thinking that I saw the doorknob on my bedroom door twisting. ​​ I tried to work up enough courage to walk past the door to my parent’s room, but it took a couple of tries. ​​ In fact, I didn’t walk – I ran. ​​ I was already wearing glasses at that age, so I’m certain, now, it was just my eyes playing tricks on me

              • My sister has always been attuned to the spiritual realm. ​​ It wasn’t until I was in college or perhaps after Judy and I were married that she told me about seeing the Grim Reaper standing at the foot of her bed. ​​ It didn’t happen just once, but multiple times.

            • Since the disciples had not understood Jesus’ teaching about His resurrection, they were not expecting Him to show up, in person

            • So, their assumption was that this was Jesus’ ghost

          • Jesus realized what they were thinking, so He asks them a question and then gives them two physical proofs that He is real – He is alive – He has been resurrected!

        • Question

          • “Why are you troubled [frightened], and why do doubts rise in your minds [heart]?”

          • If they had understood Scripture and Jesus’ teaching they would not have been frightened or had doubts – they would have been celebrating Jesus’ appearance

            • It meant that He was alive!

            • Scripture had been fulfilled!

            • Jesus had defeated sin and death!

            • God’s plan of redemption for humanity had been accomplished!

          • Perhaps there are those here today who are afraid of death and/or have doubts about life after death or about who Jesus is

            • The Gospel writers and New Testament writers tell us who Jesus is

              • The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

              • He is the way, the truth, and the life. ​​ No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6)

              • He is the light of the world (John 8:12)

              • He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)

              • He is the bread of life (John 6:35)

              • He is the stone the builders rejected that has become the cornerstone and salvation only comes through Him (Acts 4:11-12)

              • He accomplished this through His death, burial, and resurrection

            • We don’t have to fear death or have doubts about life after death, because Jesus has defeated sin and death

              • We may still have to experience physical death, but eternity with Jesus will far outweigh that experience

              • Physical death, for followers of Jesus, means eternal life with Him in a perfected body

              • You can have assurance about life after death, because of Jesus

                • First, we have to admit that we are a sinner (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23) [Ten Commandments]

                • Second, we have to believe in who Jesus is and why He came to earth (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

                • Third, we have to choose to repent and turn to Jesus for salvation

                  • 2 Corinthians 7:10, Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

                  • Repentance is intentionally and purposely turning away from sin and toward righteousness

                • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Choose to repent of my sins and turn to God for His salvation.

                • As followers of Jesus Christ we can claim the promise found in Hebrews 13:5b-6, . . . God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ​​ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. ​​ What can man do to me?”

                • God is always with us – He is omnipresent!

          • Jesus provides two physical proofs to ease the disciples fears and doubts

        • Two physical proofs

          • His body

            • Nail marks in His hands and feet

            • “I have flesh and bones, touch me – I’m real! I’m alive!”

            • “Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones, but I do”

            • This first proof didn’t seem to convince them, probably because they were in shock

            • They were so happy to see Jesus alive, but they were struggling to understand how it happened

            • Nothing like this had ever happened before (someone coming back to life on their own – they had seen Jesus raise Lazarus and others from the dead, but that was different)

          • Food

            • While the disciples are trying to wrap their minds around what they are seeing, Jesus asks them for something to eat

            • This is part of His second proof

            • A ghost was not going to be able to take something tangible, solid and eat it

            • Jesus proved that He was alive by taking the broiled fish and eating it in their presence

        • Jesus provided physical proof on the day of His resurrection that He was real, He was alive!

        • At a later time, He provided intellectual proof also

    • Intellectual proof (vv. 44-49)

        • We don’t know the exact time frame between verses 43 and 44, but it was sometime during the 40 days that Jesus spent with His disciples between His resurrection and ascension

        • Jesus fulfilled Scripture

          • Jesus reminds His disciples that everything that happened to Him while He was on earth was in fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture (Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms)

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God keeps His word, even when it involves things that seem impossible.

            • God promised to send a Savior

              • Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

              • Isaiah 7:14, Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: ​​ The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Immanuel means God with us)

            • Jesus is that Savior – He is alive!

          • Jesus opened their minds so they could understand Scripture

            • It’s not that the disciples didn’t know what Jesus was about to tell them

            • They had heard it countless times, even more times than its recorded in our Bibles

            • They were struggling to make the connection between Jesus and what was written in the Scriptures

            • Electrical illustration

              • In an electrical circuit, all the components are there to have power

              • In order for power to run through the circuit the switch has to be engaged, completing the circuit, otherwise no electricity and no lights

            • This is similar to what had happened with the disciples

              • All the components were present – Jesus and the Scriptures

              • The circuit had not been completed in the disciple’s minds – the switch needed to be engaged

              • When Jesus opened their minds, the switch was engaged, the circuit was completed, and the light came on

              • “We understand! ​​ Why didn’t we see this before?”

          • Once the switch was flipped, Jesus reminded them of the past and foretold the future

            • The recent past

              • While it was written about, hundreds of years before, the events had just happened days before

              • The Christ will suffer (Isaiah 53)

              • The Christ will rise from the dead on the third day

              • Both of those things happened to Jesus

            • The future

              • Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem

                • Jesus was telling them what they would be doing in the future

                • They would tell others what they had seen and heard concerning Jesus and His ministry (that’s what being a witness is)

                • They were going to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the known world

              • They had to wait for the empowering of the Holy Spirit before they began their mission

                • Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

                • Acts 2:1-4, When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. ​​ Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. ​​ They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. ​​ All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

                • We know that Peter stood up with the Eleven and preached the Gospel boldly and about 3,000 were added to their number that day (Acts 2:14, 41)

            • Application

              • Understanding God’s Word, empowers us to witness.

              • PRINCIPLE #4 – The Holy Spirit gives us power to witness for Christ.

                • The same power that the Eleven experienced at Pentecost is living inside of every follower of Jesus Christ

                • The Holy Spirit comes to live within us when we repent and turn our lives over to Jesus Christ

                • The command and commission that Jesus gave to His disciples is for us also

                  • Mark 16:15-16, He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. ​​ Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

                  • Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ​​ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

                • Fear

                  • Many of us have fear about sharing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others

                  • Remember, we have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us to help us share

                  • The Holy Spirit has opened our minds to Scripture and with that understanding we are empowered to witness for Christ

                • #3 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to empower me, through the Holy Spirit, to be a witness of the Gospel to someone this week.


  • YOU

    • Do you need to recognize Jesus’ omnipotence by crying out to Him for help today?

    • Do you need to rest in the fact that Jesus’ presence brings peace?

    • Will you repent of your sins, today, and turned to God for salvation?


  • WE

    • Who will we witness to this week?

    • Who will we pray for and then invite to the revival services on May 17-23, 2021?



“After years of urban living had ground down my childhood love of nature, I found it suddenly rekindled through my friendship with a young photographer named Bob McQuilkin. I was working as a magazine editor at the time, and Bob seemed determined to drag me out of my stale routine and reintroduce me to the joyous world outside.


Once Bob drove his jeep to my office and insisted that I come see two baby owls he'd just rescued. For months he fussed over those scraggly orphaned owls, chasing barn mice and lizards to feed them, then trying to teach them to hunt on their own, and to fly. (Bob teaching a bird to fly!) They'd flutter in soaking wet from a rainstorm—not wise enough yet to find shelter—and Bob would patiently pull out his electric hair dryer and blow them dry. …


Bob was as fully ‘alive’ as anyone I have ever known. And so when I heard [in the fall of 2000] that Bob had died on a scuba-diving assignment in Lake Michigan, I could hardly absorb the news. Bob, dead? It was inconceivable. I could picture Bob doing anything at all—anything but lying still. But that is my last image of him: a 36-year-old body in a blue-plaid flannel shirt lying in a casket. … I would never ski with Bob again, never sit with him for hours viewing slides, never again eat rattlesnake meat or buffalo burgers at his house.


Susan, his widow, asked me to speak at Bob's memorial service. Without a doubt, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. When I stood before them, the magazine editors and art directors and family and neighbors and friends, they reminded me of little birds—Bob's owls—with their mouths open begging for food. Begging for words of solace, for hope. What could I offer them?


I began by telling them what I had been doing the very afternoon Bob was making his last dive. That Wednesday I was sitting, oblivious, in a café at the University of Chicago, reading The Quest for Beauty, by Rollo May. In that book the famous therapist recalls scenes from his lifelong search for beauty, among them a visit to Mount Athos, a peninsula of monasteries attached to Greece.


One morning, Rollo May happened to stumble upon the celebration of Greek Orthodox Easter, the tail end of a church service that had been proceeding all night long. Incense hung in the air. The only light came from candles. And at the height of that service, the priest gave everyone present three Easter eggs, wonderfully decorated and wrapped in a veil. ‘Christos Anesti!’ he said—‘Christ is risen!’ Each person there, including Rollo May, responded according to custom, ‘He is risen indeed!’


Rollo May writes, ‘I was seized then by a moment of spiritual reality: what would it mean for our world if he had truly risen?’


I read Rollo May's question the afternoon that Bob died, and it kept floating around in my mind, hauntingly, after I heard the news. What did it mean for our world that Christ had risen? Why were monks staying up all night to celebrate it? The early Christians had staked everything on the Resurrection, so much so that the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, ‘And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.’


In the cloud of grief over Bob's death, I began to see the meaning of Easter in a new light. …


On Friday Jesus' closest friends had let the relentless crush of history snuff out all their dreams. Two days later, when the crazy rumors about Jesus' missing body shot through Jerusalem, they couldn't dare to believe. … Only personal appearances by Jesus convinced them that something new, absolutely new, had broken out on earth. When that sank in, those same men who had slunk away in fear at Calvary were soon preaching to large crowds in the streets of Jerusalem.


At Bob McQuilkin's funeral, I rephrased Rollo May's question in the terms of our own grief. What would it mean for us if Bob rose again? We were sitting in a chapel, numbed by three days of grief and sadness, the weight of death bearing down upon us. What would it be like to walk outside to the parking lot and there, to our utter astonishment, find Bob. Bob! With his bounding walk, his crooked grin, and clear, grey eyes.


That image gave me a hint of what Jesus' disciples felt on the first Easter. They, too, had grieved for three days. But on Sunday they caught a glimpse of something else, a startling clue to the riddle of the universe. Easter hits a new note, a note of hope and faith that what God did once in a graveyard in Jerusalem, he can and will repeat on a grand scale, for the world. For Bob. For us.”


Source: Philip Yancey, "The Great Reversal," Christianity Today (April 2000).






From Seeing To Believing

(John 20:1-23)



I want you to think about the very beginning of the COVID-19, Coronavirus. ​​ There were news reports coming out of Wuhan, China that people were getting sick with a terrible virus. ​​ The initial reports talked about how this virus was particularly serious for children and the elderly. ​​ Now, I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t too concerned about the novel Coronavirus, simply because it was halfway around the world and I wasn’t planning on traveling to that part of the world anytime soon.


We heard about how cruise ships were quarantining crew members and passengers for 14 days, when confirmed cases of the virus were discovered. ​​ Again, I wasn’t too concerned, because I wasn’t going on a cruise anytime soon.


When the first cases hit the state of Washington, I started to think more seriously about this new virus, but again wasn’t anxious or fearful. ​​ There was a progression of understanding, as cases of the virus began to pop up in New York and New Jersey (that’s closer to home).


When federal and state authorities closed schools for two weeks, we all started going through a progression of understanding about this virus and its seriousness. ​​ I’ve been keeping an eye on the Pennsylvania state map and the graph of new cases that Senator Doug Mastriano provides every day (show map).


We are continuing to move through a progression of understanding as it pertains to the Coronavirus – should we wear masks and gloves when we have to go out, how long can I wait before I have to go to the store, when will my children be returning to school, when can I return to work, is my work considered essential or not, as a first-responder, am I going to get infected, if I’m infected am I asymptomatic, if I’m infected will the hospital have the medical supplies available to help me?



  • ME

    • Learning Greek

        • When I would read technical commentaries that had the actual Greek letters without an explanation of which English word it was referring to, I would use the same filler word when reading the sentence

        • I could visibly see the Greek word, but I had no idea what the word was or even how to pronounce it

        • Then I took the Greek Language course at seminary

          • At first, I was still looking at Greek words and didn’t know how to pronounce them

          • I had to start with the Greek letters and learn each one of those

          • Then I was able to sound out some basic Greek words

          • I learned a lot of Greek vocabulary words at the beginning

          • As I continued to study, I learned that there were various case endings that helped in understanding how the word is used in a sentence

          • Eventually we began translating simple sentences and then multiple verses

        • Intermediate Greek – fall of 2015

          • This course required translation of larger portions of scripture each week, from the beginning

          • It was and still is exciting to see and understand the nuances of Biblical Greek and the understanding that it brings to what scripture really means


  • WE

    • School

        • The COVID-19, Coronavirus has taken almost every student and teacher on a learning curve ride

        • While cyber school is becoming a more popular alternative to traditional public and private schools, the vast majority of students and teachers still use the traditional schooling approach

        • Since federal and state authorities have implemented social distancing as a way to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, students and teachers, in traditional schools, have had to make some pretty major adjustments to how they are learning

        • Now every student and teacher are experiencing online learning

        • They have had to go through a progression of understanding in order to make online learning work

          • Teachers have had to learn Microsoft Teams and other software options to teach remotely

          • Students have also had to learn different software options

          • Parents aren’t exempt from learning different software options, but they are also learning how to be a teacher

    • Work

        • When you start a new job, there is always a learning curve

        • You have to learn the ins and outs of how the company does certain things

        • After a couple of weeks, you begin to get the hang of it, but you may not have figured out all of the inside lingo, the chain of command, the authority structures, or the unspoken expectations

        • Eventually you understand all of that and you fit right in

    • Church

        • When attending a new church there is also a progression of understanding

        • When do we stand, when do we sit, what is the order of the service, do we raise our hands and/or clap when we’re worshiping, where is the bathroom, is there children’s church and Sunday school, where is the nursery, are food and drink allowed in the sanctuary, how do I find out more information about the ministries of the church

        • Eventually all of those questions are answered and we feel comfortable coming to church

        • Of course right now, you should have all of those questions answered, because you’re probably worshiping in your own home and you can stand, sit, raise your hands, clap, eat, drink, and use the bathroom whenever you’d like

    • There is a progression that takes place in school, work, church, and other areas of life

        • We’ll see in John 20:1-23 that the disciples went through a progression of understanding as they tried to comprehend Jesus’ resurrection

        • HI – Believing in Jesus’ resurrection requires a progression of understanding.


  • The Empty Tomb (John 20:1-9)

    • The women were up early

        • We know from the other three Gospel passages that there were more women with Mary Magdalene

          • She was the one whom Jesus freed from seven demons that possessed her

          • Mary loved Jesus deeply

          • She was one of the women that followed Joseph and Nicodemus to the tomb to see where Jesus would be buried

        • Mary’s statement to Peter and John in verse 2 also tell us there were a group of women that went together, because she uses the word “we”

        • They were on their way to the tomb while it was still dark

          • Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had bought spices to anoint Jesus’ body (Mark 16:1-2)

          • They went to the tomb very early on the first day of week

          • They were talking about who would roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb

        • They find that the stone has been rolled away

          • It is significant that the first witnesses of the resurrection of Christ were believing women. ​​ Among the Jews in that day, the testimony of women was not held in high regard. ​​ ‘It is better that the words of the Law be burned,’ said the rabbis, ‘than be delivered to a woman.’ ​​ But these Christian women had a greater message than that of the Law, for they knew that their Saviour was alive.” ​​ [Wiersbe]

        • Mary Magdalene immediately assumes Jesus body has been moved and starts running

    • Mary Magdalene comes to Peter and John

        • Since John is writing the Gospel account, he does not mention his own name, but rather calls himself “the other disciple, the one Jesus loved”

        • She would have probably come to the house of John

        • Peter was staying with him

        • She tells them that they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and that she and the other women don’t know where they have put him.

    • Peter and John go to the tomb

        • John outruns Peter

        • But, John is contemplative, so he doesn’t enter right away

        • When Peter arrives, he goes right in

        • The linen that was around Jesus’ head was folded nicely

          • Most commentaries state the linens around Jesus’ body still had the shape of his body, like an empty cocoon

            • Now, the Greek construction indicates that the linen clothes that were wrapped around Jesus were still lying in a circular form as though a body were in them.” ​​ [Smith]

            • That would have been an amazing sight

          • No grave robbers had stolen his body, because they would not have left the linens so nicely

          • They would have stolen the linen burial clothes instead of the body, because they would have been brand new and made of fine linen

          • The fact that the cloth that had been around Jesus’ head was folded up by itself, separate from the linen is significant

            • This would have allowed Peter and John to see that even though the other linens had the shape of a body that there was no body there

            • Jesus was not there

        • John sees the empty tomb and believes

          • The empty cross and the empty tomb are God’s ‘receipts’ telling us that the debt has been paid.” ​​ [Wiersbe]

          • Significant of “saw,” “saw” and “saw” in the Greek

            • Verse 5 (NASB) – “and stooping and looking in, he [John] saw the linen wrappings lying there. . .” – the word “saw” in the Greek is ble’-pō (bleh-poe), meaning “to look at, to see visibly

            • Verse 6 – the Greek word is the-ō-re’-ō (thay-o-ray-o) which means, “to study more carefully” We get our English word “theory” from this Greek word

            • Verse 8 – The Greek word is ā’-dō (eye-doe) and means, “to perceive with intelligent comprehension” We get our English word “idea” from this, so it can also mean “I get it”

          • First you’re exposed to some piece of information. ​​ You hear what the teacher is saying. ​​ Then you give it some more thought down the road. ​​ And finally comes that moment when you really get it. ​​ It’s not just a concept theologically – but it becomes part of your life personally.” ​​ [Courson]

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is pleased when His people see the empty tomb and believe in Jesus.

        • Why were they slow to believe what they were seeing?

          • Verse 9 tells us

          • . . . They did not consider, and apply, and duly improve, what they knew of the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” ​​ [Henry]

            • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4a, For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: ​​ that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that ​​ he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

            • Isaiah 53:5, But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

          • We know they eventually understood

            • Luke 24:6-8, He is not here; he has risen! ​​ Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ​​ “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” ​​ Then they remembered his words.

            • Luke 24:45-48, Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. ​​ He told them, “This is what is written: ​​ The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. ​​ You are witnesses of these things.

          • They definitely took the Gospel to all nations!

          • We are commanded to do the same thing

          • Do you understand from the Bible that Jesus had to rise from the dead?

            • This is an important truth of the Gospel

            • Many self-proclaimed prophets have died, but none have come back to life

            • Jesus wasn’t a prophet – He was the Son of God

            • God allowed Him to come alive again proving that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice was full payment for our sins

          • There was a progression of understanding for Peter and John as they examined the empty tomb

            • Where are you at in that progression?

            • Are you just seeing it for the first time, but not understanding?

            • Are you examining it more closely?

            • Are you at the “got it” stage, where you understand why Jesus had to come alive again?

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Move to the next phase of understanding concerning why Jesus had to rise from the dead.

            • Maybe you need to see it for the first time

            • You may be ready to study it more carefully for yourself (we’re here to help you with that)

            • Perhaps you’re ready to move to full comprehension (we’re here to help with that move also)


  • The First Witness (John 20:10-18)

    • Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb

        • Peter and John had returned home

        • She looked into the tomb again while she is crying

        • She sees two angels in white

          • They are seated where Jesus’ body had been

          • One at the head

          • One at the foot

          • It is a picture of the ark of the covenant

    • The angels ask her a question

        • Why are you crying?

        • Mary gives her answer

          • They have taken MY Lord away

          • She uses the word “my” here, because she is fully committed to Him – she has given her life to serve Him

          • Are you fully committed to the Lord?

          • Can you call Jesus your Lord?

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s desire is that His people are fully committed to Him.

          • Believing in Jesus and being fully committed to Him are two different things

            • James 2:19, You believe that there is one God. ​​ Good! ​​ Even the demons believe that – and shudder.

            • Mark 8:34-38, Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. ​​ For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. ​​ What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? ​​ Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? ​​ If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

            • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus, being fully committed to Him as my Lord!

    • Mary sees Jesus

        • She does not recognize Him

        • Jesus asks her the same question (why are your crying?), but goes further by asking who she is looking for

        • Mary thinks he is the gardener

          • She asks if he has carried Jesus body away

          • She is willing to go wherever the body is and carry it away

          • Her words reveal her devotion. ​​ She never paused to consider how she would carry the corpse of a full-grown man or how she would explain her possession of it.” ​​ [Tenney quoted in Guzik’s commentary]

    • Jesus reveals Himself

        • He only says her name, Mary

          • However, Jesus said her name, whether it was with the same tone or flexion that He had said it before, she recognizes that it is Jesus speaking

          • John 10:3-4, The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. ​​ He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. ​​ When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

            • More than one shepherd would keep his sheep in a fold over night

            • When morning came, each shepherd would go to the fold and call to his sheep

            • They recognized his voice and they would come out of the fold and follow him

          • Mary recognizes Jesus’ voice when He says her name

        • She calls Him teacher

        • Jesus gives her a warning

          • Don’t cling to me

            • Actually, the ancient Greek construction of this phrase ‘means to stop an action already begun rather than to avoid starting it.’ ​​ (Tenney)” [Guzik]

            • She was worshiping Jesus at this point

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – God is overjoyed when His people worship Jesus.

          • Why did He say, “Do not cling to Me?”

            • She would see Him again

            • He had to ascend to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could come

            • She had a job to do

        • Jesus gives her instructions

          • Go to my brothers

            • He doesn’t call them servants or friends anymore, but brothers

            • John 15:15, I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. ​​ Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

          • Tell them I am returning to heaven

    • Mary goes to the disciples

        • She tells them that she has seen the Lord and what is message was to them

        • There was doubt about the fact that Jesus had risen and that Mary had seen Him (Mark 16:9-11)

        • That was about to change


  • The Disciples Saved (John 20:19-23)

    • Jesus appears to the disciples

        • It happened on the same day they found the empty tomb

        • The disciples are all together

        • They are behind locked doors, because they are fearful of the Jews

    • Jesus encourages them

        • Shalom! – Peace be with you!

          • He does not condemn them for running away in the garden or for being absent at the crucifixion (although John was there)

          • He offers this same peace to you

          • Romans 5:1-2a, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

        • He proves that He is alive

          • He shows them His hands and side

          • Hebrews 9:22b, . . . without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

          • He encourages them to touch Him and asks for something to eat (Luke 24:38-43)

        • The disciples are overjoyed

    • Jesus saves them

        • Jesus again pronounces peace to them

        • He is sending them just as the Father had sent Him

        • He breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

          • At this point, the disciples are born again. ​​ Although they were already following Jesus, they were not yet regenerated because He had not yet died for their sins.” ​​ [Courson]

          • God had created Adam, but he did not have life until God breathed into him

          • The Gospel

            • Every person who believes in Jesus receives the Holy Spirit as their guide and comforter

            • John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

            • Why do I have to believe in Jesus?

            • Every human being is born with a “want to” to sin (Romans 3:23)

            • Because God is holy and just He has to punish sin (separated Adam and Eve from the Garden, work the ground, increased pain in child bearing) otherwise he wouldn’t be holy and just (Romans 6:23)

            • Another attribute of God is that He is loving (Jeremiah 31:3, I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.)

            • Out of His great love He sent Jesus from heaven to earth, to grow up to be a man, and then to give His life to take away our sin and provide eternal life to those who believe

            • Believing is not a once-and-done act, but rather a continual, active turning away from sin – that’s called repentance

            • The Holy Spirit helps us to know what to do and what not to do – He is that still small voice

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Receive God’s love and believe in Jesus so I can have eternal life.

        • He states about forgiving and not forgiving sins

          • We know that only God has the right to forgive sins, so what does this verse mean?

          • Jesus gives His disciples authority to announce forgiveness and to warn of guilt, as authorized by the Holy Spirit.” ​​ [Guzik]


  • YOU

    • People who hear about the resurrection for the first time may need time before they can comprehend this amazing story. ​​ Like Mary and the disciples, they may pass through four stages of belief.

        • At first, they may think the story is a fabrication, impossible to believe (20:2)

        • Like Peter, they may check out the facts and still be puzzled about what happened (20:6)

        • Only when they encounter Jesus personally are they able to accept the fact of the resurrection (20:16)

        • Then, as they commit themselves to the risen Lord and devote their lives to serving him, they begin to understand fully the reality of his presence with them (20:28)” [NIV Life Application Bible]



Just as believing in Jesus and accepting His resurrection took a progression of understanding for the disciples, it sometimes takes a progression of understanding for us to accept others who may be different than us.


“Once upon a time I had a young friend named Philip. Philip was born with Downs Syndrome. He was a pleasant child—happy, it seemed—but increasingly aware of the difference between himself and other children. Philip went to Sunday school at the Methodist church. His teacher, also a friend of mine, taught the third-grade class with Philip and nine other eight-year-old boys and girls.


You know eight-year-olds. And Philip, with his differences, was not readily accepted. But my teacher friend was creative, and he helped the group of eight-year-olds. They learned, they laughed, they played together. And they really cared about one another, even though eight-year-olds don't say they care about one another out loud. My friend could see it. He knew it. He also knew that Philip was not really a part of that group. Philip did not choose nor did he want to be different. He just was. And that was just the way things were.


My friend had a marvelous idea for his class the Sunday after Easter. You know those things that pantyhose come in—the containers that look like great big eggs—my friend had collected ten of them. The children loved it when he brought them into the room. Each child was to get one. It was a beautiful spring day, and the assignment was for each child to go outside, find a symbol for new life, put it into the egg, and bring it back to the classroom. They would then open and share their new life symbols and surprises one by one.


It was glorious. It was confusing. It was wild. They ran all around the church grounds, gathered their symbols, and returned to the classroom. They put all the eggs on a table, and then the teacher began to open them. All the children stood around the table.


He opened one, and there was a flower, and they ooh-ed and aah-ed. He opened another, and there was a little butterfly. ‘Beautiful,’ the girls all said, since it is hard for eight-year-old boys to say ‘beautiful.’ He opened another, and there was a rock. And as third-graders will, some laughed, and some said, ‘That's crazy! How's a rock supposed to be like new life?’ But the smart little boy who'd found it spoke up: ‘That's mine. And I knew all of you would get flowers and buds and leaves and butterflies and stuff like that. So I got a rock because I wanted to be different. And for me, that's new life.’ They all laughed.


My friend said something to himself about the profundity of eight-year-olds and opened the next one. There was nothing there. The other children, as eight-year-olds will, said, ‘That's not fair — that's stupid! — somebody didn't do right.’


Then my friend felt a tug on his shirt, and he looked down. Philip was standing beside him. ‘It's mine,’ Philip said. ‘It's mine.’


And the children said, ‘You don't ever do things right, Philip. There's nothing there!’


‘I did so do it,’ Philip said. ‘I did do it. It's empty. The tomb is empty!’

There was silence, a very full silence. And for you people who don't believe in miracles, I want to tell you that one happened that day last spring. From that time on, it was different. Philip suddenly became a part of that group of eight-year-old children. They took him in. He was set free from the tomb of his differentness.


Philip died last summer. His family had known since the time he was born that he wouldn't live out a full life span. Many other things had been wrong with his tiny body. And so, late last July, with an infection that most normal children could have quickly shrugged off, Philip died. The mystery simply enveloped him.


At the funeral, nine eight-year-old children marched up to the altar, not with flowers to cover over the stark reality of death. Nine eight-year-olds, with their Sunday school teacher, marched right up to that altar, and laid on it an empty egg—an empty, old, discarded pantyhose egg.”


Harry Pritchett, Jr., condensed by permission of The St. Luke's Journal of Theology, School of Theology, The University of the





Easter 2019

Same Power

(Matthew 28:1-10)



“Nelson Mandela, who opposed the South African apartheid regime and was imprisoned for almost 3 decades, knew the power of words. He is often quoted today, but while in prison his words could not be quoted for fear of repercussion. A decade after his release he said: ‘It is never my custom to use words lightly. If 27 years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are, and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.’


King Solomon, author of most of the Old Testament book of Proverbs, wrote often about the power of words. He said, ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue’ (Prov. 18:21). Words have the potential to produce positive or negative consequences (v. 20). They have the power to give life through encouragement and honesty or to crush and kill through lies and gossip.”


By Marvin Williams, Our Daily Bread, August 26, 2015





  • ME

    • Hurting Judy with my words

        • We let our guard down when we’re at home, especially when it comes to our words

        • I know in my own life that I have said things in the past that have hurt Judy

        • It may have been the content of the what I said, but also the tone with which I’ve said it

        • I don’t intend to hurt her with my words, but it happens

    • Hurting my boys with my words

        • I’ve done the same with my boys

        • One thing I’ve learned recently is that I need to communicate with my boys in the same way they’re communicating with me

          • If they’re expressing feelings or emotions, I need to respond with feelings or emotions

          • If they’re sharing facts, I need to respond with facts

          • What normally happens is that I respond with facts, when they’ve communicating with feelings or emotions

          • I’m still learning how to do this, because it’s new to me

        • An example

          • Levi was expressing frustration with his cell phone, because it wasn’t working properly

          • He was telling me that he needed a new(er) phone

          • He was expressing his feelings of frustration about not having a phone that was working correctly

          • What I heard was, “I need a new phone!” and my response was factual, “We can’t afford to get you a new phone.”

          • My response should have addressed the feelings of frustration he was having instead of telling him, “just the facts”

          • I should have said, “I understand how frustrating it can be when something doesn’t work properly.”


  • WE

    • Letting our guard down at home

        • Every one of us has probably said things to our family members that we regret

        • We let our guard down at home and we don’t watch what we say

        • We may say things in the heat of the moment that show our true feelings, that we would not normally say out loud

    • Guarding our tongue

        • It happens to all of us, we sometimes don’t guard our tongue, but allow it to say things that are hurtful

        • Gossip is something that is so easy to do, because we “feel better” after we share something about someone else

        • Unfortunately, our words have the power to crush and ruin those around us

    • The great thing is that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we have the power within us to guard our tongue and use it to encourage and build others up, because of the Holy Spirit


I want us to look at how God and Jesus Christ used the power of their words to do some pretty incredible things throughout history. ​​ The greatest display of God’s power is what we’re celebrating today. ​​ We will see today that the same power, God used to raise Jesus from the dead, lives in us. ​​ Our big idea today is that . . .


BIG IDEA – God’s power lives within us.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (Matthew 28:1-10)

    • Background

        • I want us to walk through Scripture for just a moment and remember how powerful God and Jesus’ Words were

        • Creation

          • And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1:3)

          • And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” (Genesis 1:6)

          • And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” ​​ And it was so . . . Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: ​​ seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” ​​ And it was so. (Genesis 1:9, 11)

          • And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” ​​ And it was so. ​​ (Genesis 1:14-15)

          • And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” ​​ (Genesis 1:20)

          • And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: ​​ livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” ​​ And it was so . . . Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” ​​ (Genesis 1:24, 26)

        • Exodus

          • Then say “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: ​​ Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. ​​ But until now you have not listened. ​​ This is what the Lord says: ​​ By this you will know that I am the Lord: ​​ With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. ​​ The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.” ​​ (Exodus 7:16-18)

          • Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: ​​ Let my people go, so that they may worship me. ​​ If you refuse to let them god, I will plague your whole country with frogs. ​​ The Nile will teem with frogs. ​​ They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on hour people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. ​​ The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials.’” ​​ (Exodus 8:1-4)

          • Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: ​​ Let my people go, so that they may worship me. ​​ If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. ​​ The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground where they are. ​​ But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. ​​ I will make a distinction between my people and our people. ​​ This miraculous sign will occur tomorrow.’” ​​ (Exodus 8:20-23)

          • Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ​​ ‘Let my people go, so that they may worship me.’ ​​ If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, the hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field – on your horses and donkeys and camels and on your cattle and sheep and goats. ​​ But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’” ​​ (Exodus 9:1-4)

          • Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ​​ Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth . . . Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.’” ​​ (Exodus 9:13-14, 18)

          • So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ​​ ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? ​​ Let my people go, so that they may worship me. ​​ If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. ​​ They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. ​​ They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. ​​ They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians – something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’” ​​ (Exodus 10:3-6)

          • So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ​​ ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. ​​ Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the cattle as well. ​​ There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt – worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. ​​ But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.’ ​​ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. ​​ All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ ​​ After that I will leave.” ​​ Then Moses, hot with anger left Pharaoh. ​​ (Exodus 11:4-8)

        • Jesus

          • Jesus’ first miracle

            • The Gospel of John is the only Gospel that records Jesus’ first miracle

            • We know that Jesus and His disciples are at a wedding at Cana in Galilee

            • His mother is also in attendance and tells Jesus that they have run out of wine

            • “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. ​​ “My time has not yet come.” ​​ His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” ​​ Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. ​​ Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” . . . He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. ​​ (John 2:4-8, 11b)

            • We know that when they took the sample of the water to the master that it had been turned into the best wine

            • Jesus simply spoke the words and told the servants what to do – there was power in His words

          • Jesus casting out demons with a word

            • When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. ​​ This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ​​ “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.” ​​ (Matthew 8:16-17)

            • Jesus had just crossed the Sea of Galilee and entered the region of the Gerasenes, when He was approached by a demon-possessed man. ​​ The demon, whose name was Legion, begged Jesus not to torture them or drive them out of the area. ​​ The Gospel of Mark tells us, For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” ​​ (Mark 5:8). ​​ The demons were granted their request to be sent among a herd of about two thousand pigs, which then ran into the sea and drowned

            • A Greek woman from Syrian Phoenicia heard that Jesus had arrived in the vicinity of Tyre and she went to Him to beg Him to drive the demon out of her daughter. ​​ After Jesus uses the situation to teach this woman what was right, He said, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” ​​ She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. ​​ (Mark 7:29-30)

          • Jesus healing with a word

            • Roman Centurion (Matthew 8:5-13)

              • When Jesus entered Capernaum, a Centurion asked for His help concerning his servant was paralyzed and in terrible suffering

              • Jesus told him that He would come and heal his servant, but the Centurion tells Him to just say the word

              • Jesus explained to the crowd the incredible faith that the Centurion demonstrated

              • Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! ​​ It will be done just as you believed it would.” ​​ And his servant was healed at that very hour. ​​ (Matt. 8:13)

            • Government officials son (John 4:46-54)

              • Jesus had returned to Cana of Galilee and when a royal official heard about it, he came to Jesus to ask Him to heal his son

              • The royal official wanted Jesus to come with him to Capernaum to heal his son, but Jesus had a different plan

              • Jesus replied, “You may go. ​​ Your son will live.” ​​ The man took Jesus at his word and departed. ​​ (John 4:50)

              • When the official talked with his servants on the road, they all realized that his son was healed at the exact time that Jesus said the word

            • Paralyzed man (Luke 5:17-26)

              • A paralyzed man had some very great friends

              • They brought him on a mat to Jesus, but had to lower him through the roof, because it was so crowded

              • When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” ​​ (Luke 5:20)

              • This didn’t sit well with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who were present

              • Which is easier: ​​ to say, “Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? ​​ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . .” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up take your mat and go home.” ​​ Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. ​​ (Luke 5:23-26a)

          • Jesus during His passion

            • Garden of Gethsemane and Mount of Olives

              • After the last supper, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with His disciples

              • During that time, Judas brings a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees

              • Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” ​​ “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. ​​ “I am he,” Jesus said. . . . When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. ​​ Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” ​​ And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” ​​ “I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. ​​ (John 18:4-8a)

              • We see the power of Jesus’ words at His arrest

            • Jesus on the cross

              • As Jesus is hanging on the cross, He cries out to God saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ​​ (Matt. 27:46b)

              • He is offered a drink of wine vinegar

              • He then says in a loud voice, “It is finished.” ​​ (John 19:30)

              • At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. ​​ The earth shook and the rocks split. ​​ The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. ​​ They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. ​​ (Matt. 27:51-53)

              • There was power in Jesus’ final words on the cross

        • All of this leads us to the culmination, the climax, of God’s power

    • Jesus is alive! (Matthew 28:1-10)

        • “One sleepy Sunday afternoon when my son was five-years-old, we drove past a cemetery together. Noticing a large pile of dirt beside a newly excavated grave, he pointed and said: "Look, Dad, one got out!" I laughed, but now, every time I pass a graveyard, I'm reminded of the One who got out.”

          Phil Callaway, from the April 16 entry of Men of Integrity (March/April 2006)


        • The empty tomb (vv. 1-7)

          • “Jesus’ resurrection had already occurred, notwithstanding the massive stone barrier (v. 6). ​​ The resurrection itself is never described anywhere in Scripture, presumably because no one ever saw Jesus leave the tomb.” ​​ [Blomberg, New American Commentary, Matthew, 427]

            • It’s likely that Jesus left the tomb prior to the stone being rolled away, as we’ll see in a moment, but we don’t know how far in advance it happened

            • We can be sure that it was not the night before, because He said, prior to His death, that He would raise up the temple again in 3 days – referring to His resurrection

            • Since Jesus’ resurrection is not described in Scripture, we can only speculate about how it took place

              • I would like to think that God simply said, “Jesus, it’s time to rise!”

              • That idea meshes well with what we’ve seen throughout Scripture about God’s power through the spoken word

            • So, by the time the women go to the tomb, it’s already empty

          • Women went to the tomb

            • The Sabbath was sacred for the Jews, which meant that nothing could be done during the Sabbath

            • While they may have finished purchasing the necessary spices after sunset on Saturday, they waited until just before sunrise on Sunday to go to the tomb

            • Most of us wouldn’t blame them for waiting until sunrise, because most people have a fear of cemeteries, especially after dark

            • At the earliest opportunity we see two women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, headed to the tomb

            • Some of the other Gospel writers include other women in the group

            • There is a discussion between the women about who is going to roll the stone away, so they can complete the embalming process (Mark 16:3), but we see that they don’t have to worry about that

          • Angel rolls the stone away

            • A violent earthquake

              • Matthew’s account tells us that a violent earthquake happens when the angel of the Lord comes down from heaven and rolls the stone away

                • It could have been an aftershock from the earthquake that happened when Jesus died

                • “While not uncommon in this region, this second earthquake surrounds the supreme supernatural event, the resurrection of Jesus. ​​ A. T. Robertson quotes Cornelius à Lapide as saying, ‘The earth, which trembled with sorrow at the Death of Christ as it were leaped for joy at His Resurrection.’” ​​ [Wilkins, The NIV Application Commentary, Matthew, 937]

                • It seems clear that the earthquake was a result of the angel coming down from heaven and rolling the stone back from the entrance to the tomb

                • We see that, with the word “for,” used after the mention of there being a violent earthquake

                • The “for” means that this is the reason why the violent earthquake happened

              • Rolling this enormous stone away from the entrance of the tomb was nothing for the angel of the Lord, so he just sits on top of it and waits for the women to arrive

            • Appearance of the angel

              • The appearance of the angel should not come as a surprise to us, especially after our study in Revelation and how the New Jerusalem will not need a light source, because the glory of God is all the light that is needed

              • This angel has been in the presence of God’s glory, so his appearance is like lightning and his clothes are as white as snow, representing purity

              • The glory of God reflecting from this angel is obviously too much for the guards who were standing watch at the tomb

                • The purity of God reflected in His angel strikes fear into the guards

                • Their fear was so real that they shook and became like dead men

                • “The ones assigned to guard the dead themselves appear dead while the dead one has been made alive.” ​​ [Donald Hagner cited by Wilkins, 938]

                • We know that eventually the guards regain their composure and report what they saw to the Pharisees and religious leaders, who coach them concerning what to say

            • It appears as though the angel does not speak to the guards, but he does speak to the women when they arrive

          • The women encounter the angel

            • He tells them not be afraid, which is probably why they did not end up like the guards – shaking in fear and becoming paralyzed

            • They’re at the right tomb

              • Have you ever driven somewhere that you’ve only been to once or twice and when you arrive, you begin to second guess whether or not you’re at the right place?

              • There is no question that the women have arrived at the right tomb, because the angel tells them that he knows they are looking for Jesus who was crucified

            • Jesus has risen

              • He is not in the tomb, because He did exactly what He told them He would do – He kept His promise

              • He had shared, on multiple occasions, with the Twelve and the other disciples, who followed Him, that He would be crucified, buried, and come alive again in 3 days

              • “‘Come and see the place’ verifies that this is the correct tomb and correct location within the tomb, thus stressing that he really is alive.” ​​ [Blomberg, 427]

              • It also helps the women, and us, understand that Jesus’ resurrection was not only spiritual, but also physical – His physical body was not there

            • The angel gives them instructions

              • The women are the first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection – they have a responsibility as witnesses

              • The same is true when you and I witness an accident or some other crime – we have a responsibility as witnesses to tell what we saw and heard

              • The women were given the responsibility of sharing the incredible news of Jesus’ resurrection with His disciples

              • They were told what to tell the disciples – “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. ​​ There you will see him.”

              • Because of the amount of time the disciples had spent with Jesus in Galilee, they probably knew right where to go – it would have been a spot where they had spent a lot of time with Jesus

            • The angel had completed his task

          • The women immediately began their task

        • Jesus appears to the women (vv. 8-10)

          • The women had two emotions running through their bodies

            • They were afraid, probably because they had never encountered an angel before

            • They were filled with joy, because Jesus was alive

            • While they were trying to deal with these opposing emotions, Jesus meets them on the path

          • Their response to seeing Jesus

            • Jesus basically says, “Hello!”

            • They obviously recognized Him immediately, because they bowed down to worship at His feet

            • This is the correct posture to have when confronted by the King of kings and Lord of lords

          • Jesus comforts them and reiterates the angels instructions

            • Knowing that the women were afraid after encountering the angel, Jesus tells them not to be afraid

            • He gives them the same instructions that the angel had given the – “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

            • He calls the disciples His brothers, which could simply mean that they are now part of the family of God through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection – God’s redemptive plan for humanity had been completed


  • YOU

    • Followers of Jesus Christ

        • We’ve seen today that God is all-powerful (omnipotent)

        • He has the power to simply use words to do the miraculous

        • As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the same power living in us, through the Holy Spirit of God

        • It’s the same power that allowed Jesus to come alive again

        • Life’s difficulties

          • Financial, emotional, physical, mental, spiritual

          • God is able to help you through every one of those

          • Read Ephesians 3:14-21

        • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Recognize that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have the power of the Holy Spirit living in me to overcome any difficulties in life.

    • Those seeking a relationship with Christ

        • If you’ve never pursued a relationship with Jesus Christ, then you don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit living in you, but you can change that today

        • Jesus died on the cross to take your punishment for sin

          • We’re all born with the same condition – sin (Rom. 3:23)

          • God is holy (perfect), so He has to punish sin (Rom. 6:23a)

          • God is also loving, so He made a plan to deal with our sin (Rom. 5:8)

          • Romans 10:9-10, 13, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. . . . for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

        • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe that God used His incredible power to raise Him from the dead to take my punishment for sin so I can be saved.


  • WE



We’re going to close this morning with the song “Arise My Love” written by NewSong and performed by The Akins.






Selfless Sacrifice

(Philippians 2:5-11)



“Millionaires are booming in the U.S.


Since 2008, the country has added 1.1 million millionaires to its roster – a growth rate of 28.6 percent.


What do they know that the 99% don’t?


There’s one key investing concept millionaires have mastered, according to Brent Fykes, a senior investment partner at GenSpring:


They know when to stop being greedy.


‘[Most average investors] tend to want to dabble in the stock market and buy the latest hot stock like Facebook or Apple,’ he told Bankrate.com.


On the other hand, wealthy investors ‘by nature are less risky because they’ve created a nest egg and don’t need it to grow at incredible rates . . . They just want to stay rich. ​​ On the whole, the 99 percent is in the get rich mode.’


This passage from Investopedia drives the point home:

Perhaps the No. 1 killer of investment return is your emotions. ​​ The axiom that fear and greed rule the market is true. ​​ Do not let fear or greed overtake you. ​​ Focus on the bigger picture. ​​ Stock market returns may deviate wildly over a shorter time frame, but over the long term, historical returns for large cap stocks can average 10 to 11%. ​​ Realize that, over a long time horizon, your portfolio’s returns should not deviate much from those averages. ​​ In fact, you may benefit from the irrational decisions of other investors.”


Mandi Woodruff, “Consider Greed The First Deadly Sin Of Investing,” http://www.businessinsider.com/greed-is-the-deadly-sin-of-investing-2013-3



  • ME

    • Envy

        • Envy is easy to fall into, especially in this age of technology

        • It’s not hard to do in the pastorate, because I see what other churches are doing and wish that we were able to do those same things here

        • If I allowed envy to have full reign in my life, it wouldn’t be long and I would become discontent here and begin looking for another church where I could serve

        • Envy can drive us to do things we wouldn’t normally do

          • Judy and I were on vacation one year and because of that we let our guard down

          • The sales representative played on our desire to have a nice place to stay when we went on vacation – something better than a hotel or motel room – something with multiple bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen, and living room

          • We were cautious, but still invested in something that we probably shouldn’t have

          • These deals are not easy to get out of – they’ve designed it that way on purpose

          • We were really envying how other people take vacations instead of being content with what we normally do

        • Those desires of envy boil down to the fact that I want to feed my own pride

    • Pride

        • Envy and pride go hand-in-hand

        • I want people to look up to me and consider me to be a success and a great leader

        • It’s the desire to be known that feeds pride in me

        • It’s a reflection of the sin of selfishness in my own life

        • This sin of selfishness can take many forms – envy/pride, greed, ambition/peer pressure


  • WE

    • Envy

        • Perhaps you struggle with envy in the position that you hold at work

          • It doesn’t make any sense how or why that other person got the promotion when you should have gotten it

          • You’re better at what you do than anyone else

          • When you allow envy to control you, you struggle with contentment at work

          • It affects your relationships with others

          • You can become paranoid of why people are doing and saying certain things

          • You can incorrectly read something into a statement or action that is said or done

        • As a young person your envy is primarily directed toward those at school

          • You wish your hair, eyes, body, teeth, etc. were like someone else’s

          • You wish that learning came as easy to you as it does to that really smart guy or girl in your class who always gets an “A” on the tests and throws off the grading curve

          • If you’re on a sports team, perhaps you envy the person who seems to be able to excel at the sport without trying very hard

    • Greed

        • Greed is defined as, “Excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions.” ​​ [dictionary.com]

        • Maybe this form of selfishness is the one you’re struggling with

        • Everything you do is centered around making money so you can purchase things

        • The show Clean House highlighted those who had an excessive desire for possessions

          • The show helped families get their house in order

          • It also helped the family overcome some emotional issues that had led to the “mayhem and foolishness” as the host of the show always says

        • Envy can lead to greed

          • Perhaps you’ve done some things that you would not normally do in order to achieve greater wealth

          • You work out a business deal that will make you a bigger profit, but jeopardize the safety of your product – you just hope that most of them will be fine

          • Many times you will compromise your value system in order to achieve greater wealth or possessions

          • Maybe you work out a deal with your friends at school to help you fund a project or event that will benefit you the most – you use your influence and persuasive abilities to convince them that it will benefit them more than it actually will

          • You know that trading a certain toy with another boy or girl at school is not an equal trade, but will benefit you more than them, because you’ll receive the more valuable toy

        • This is a reflection of the sin of selfishness in your life

    • Ambition/Peer Pressure

        • Perhaps the driving force in your life is status or prestige

        • Greed many times accompanies ambition or prestige

        • Your desire to maintain the status you have may drive you to not do what’s right

        • You may begin to listen to the voices of those around you who’ve made you what you are today instead of listening to the truth of God’s Word or being confident in what you know is right

        • Your beliefs become skewed and tainted by what others think

        • You are no longer your own

    • Biblical examples

        • There were two individuals and one group who struggled with these sins of selfishness as it pertained to the life of Jesus and the final days before His death, burial, and resurrection


  • GOD

    • Selfishness

        • Judas Iscariot – Greed (John 12:4-6; Matthew 26:14-16)

          • Judas struggled with the sin of greed

            • John 12:4-6, But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? ​​ It was worth a year’s wages.” ​​ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

            • When Mary anointed Jesus feet with perfume (pure nard), we see in John 12:4-6 that he was indignant and scolded Mary for being wasteful

            • He tried to sound spiritual by saying that the perfume could be sold and the proceeds used to help the poor

            • He knew the value of the perfume and how much money could be added to the disciples coffer

            • He was the one who took care of the money bag for the disciples and routinely helped himself to what was in there

            • His intentions were not pure, but rather greedy

          • Jesus scolds Judas for bothering Mary

            • No one really enjoys being corrected, but this is what happened to Judas in public

            • We then see in Matthew 26:14-16 that Judas meets with the chief priests and asks them what they are willing to give him in exchange for handing over Jesus

            • The chief priests count out 30 silver coins and gave them to him

            • From that point on he watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over

          • It was selfishness expressed through greed and perhaps pride that caused Judas to reject Jesus and follow Satan

        • Chief Priests – Envy/Pride (Matthew 26:59-68; 27:18)

          • Imagine being a chief priest in the Jewish tradition during this time

            • You were highly respected and rarely questioned if at all

            • Achieving this level of prestige was something that perhaps many Jewish priests aspired to

            • Everyone looked up to you and would listen to every word you had to say

            • You would teach, and people would take it as law

            • You had the power to influence people in any direction you desired

          • Jesus arrives on the scene

            • He begins to draw large crowds and people begin to follow Him and listen to every word He says

            • They are no longer listening to you

            • In fact, Jesus scolds you on multiple occasions in public, making you look foolish instead of intelligent

            • Even when you finally are able to arrest Jesus because of a traitor in his inner circle of 12, you can’t make any of the false accusations stick

            • You finally have to claim blasphemy as your reason for condemning Him to death, but your Jewish law doesn’t allow you to put anyone to death

            • You take Jesus before the Roman governor because the Roman law allows for death

            • The Roman governor tries to protect Jesus because he knows why the chief priests have handed Him over

            • Matthew 27:18, For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.

            • The chief priests were jealous and envious of the power that Jesus exhibited not only in His teaching, but in His ability to heal people

            • They were envious of the fact that Jesus was doing things on the Sabbath that they, had been falsely taught for years, was wrong

          • It was selfish envy that caused the chief priests to reject Jesus as the Messiah and turn Him over to Pontius Pilate to be crucified

        • Pontius Pilate – Ambition/Peer Pressure (Matthew 27:15-26)

          • Questioning of Jesus

            • After talking with Jesus, Pilate knew that the trumped up charges of causing riots, claiming to be a king, and encouraging people not to pay taxes, were false

            • He wasn’t dull and was able to see through the smoke screen to the real reason the Jews brought Jewish to him – it was envy

            • That’s why Pilate stated multiple times that he found no basis to charge Jesus with any crime

          • Pilate’s wife

            • Pilate’s wife had a dream about Jesus that caused her great suffering

            • She encouraged Pilate not to have anything to do with an innocent man

          • Other avenues

            • Pilate tried desperately not to be a part of salvation history

            • He sent Jesus to Herod, so he wouldn’t have to make a decision

            • He tried offering to release Jesus or a real criminal and the Jews chose the real criminal, Barabbas, over Jesus

            • He tried washing his hands of the situation, so he would not be held accountable

          • The decision

            • Pilate’s final decision was made because of his selfish desire to remain as the governor instead of doing what he knew was right

            • Matthew 27:24-26, When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ​​ “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. ​​ “It is your responsibility!” ​​ All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” ​​ Then he released Barabbas to them. ​​ But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

            • John 19:12, From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. ​​ Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

            • Pilate had already been in trouble with Tiberius Caesar on at least two other occasions and he could not afford to be in trouble with him again

            • Caesar only allowed men to remain in positions of power who were able to maintain control of the people

            • So Pilate gave in to the will of the people

          • It was Pilate’s selfish desire to preserve himself and his status that caused him to reject Jesus and hand Him over to be crucified

    • Selflessness (Philippians 2:5-11)

        • Greed (2:5-6)

          • Philippians 2:5-6, Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, . . .

          • Jesus is the Son of God

          • He was there when the world was created

          • He knows about the riches of Heaven

          • He owns everything

          • He has unlimited power

          • Jesus sacrificed all of that for you

            • He set aside the right to his glory and power

            • Even as He suffered a horrible beating at the hands of Roman soldiers, He did not use His power to avoid it

            • As He suffered the brutal death of crucifixion on a cross, He could have called down angels from heaven to minister to Him but He chose not to

            • He showed no signs of an excessive desire for wealth or possessions

          • He was selfless

        • Ambition/Status (2:7)

          • Philippians 2:7, . . . but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

          • Jesus made Himself nothing

          • He took on the very nature of a servant

          • Jesus was selfless when it came to ambition or status

          • He did not allow what others thought about Him to affect what He came to do

            • Mark 8:31-33, He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. ​​ He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ​​ But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ​​ “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. ​​ “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

            • John 11:7-8, Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” ​​ “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”

          • He knew what was right and He followed through with it even though the Roman soldiers mocked Him and beat Him

        • Envy/Pride (2:8)

          • Philippians 2:8, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!

          • Jesus showed humility as He went to the cross

          • He didn’t let His deity stop Him from accomplishing His mission and goal

          • He wasn’t prideful about His position as the Son of God, but was willing to take on the essence of man in order to save you and me

          • Perhaps the chief priests wouldn’t have envied Jesus if they had understood who He was and why He had come to earth

          • Jesus selflessly became obedient to death on the cross

        • Jesus’ Exaltation (2:9-11)

          • Jesus death brought you victory, because His death destroyed the devil who holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14) ​​ [Stott, The Cross of Christ, 233]

          • Jesus’ resurrection vindicated Him and declared with power that He is the Son of God and that His death was effective for the forgiveness of sins [Stott, The Cross of Christ, 233]

          • Philippians 2:9-11, Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


  • YOU

    • Jesus died for your sin

        • If you’re struggling with the selfish sin of envy/pride, Jesus died to take your punishment

        • If you’re struggling with the selfish sin of greed, this excessive desire for wealth or possessions, Jesus paid your fine

        • If you’re struggling with the selfish sin of ambition/compromise, Jesus shed His blood so you could be set free

        • My greatest desire for you is that you’ll recognize all that God has done for you through His Son Jesus Christ

          • Romans 3:10-12, As it is written: ​​ “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. ​​ All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

          • Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          • Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: ​​ While were still sinners, Christ died for us.

          • Romans 10:8-10, 13, But what does it say? ​​ “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: ​​ That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved . . . for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

        • You may be here today and can say that you know about God and you know what Jesus Christ did for you when He died on the cross, but there is something that is holding you back from giving your life completely to Him as your Savior

    • Rejecting Jesus

        • Judas, the Chief Priests, and Pontius Pilate all knew about God and saw Jesus face-to-face and yet they rejected Him

        • Perhaps it makes perfect sense to you why Judas Iscariot rejected Jesus

          • Maybe you are seeking true happiness by accumulating wealth or possessions

          • You may have the misconception that if you dedicate your life to Jesus Christ, that He will require you to sell all of your possessions or empty your bank accounts and give to the poor

          • You’re concerned that you’ll have to live like a pauper and never be happy

          • When Jesus comes into your life, He will change your desires to coincide with God’s purposes

          • The Holy Spirit will teach you how to deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23-24)

        • Maybe you continue to reject Jesus because of pride

          • You want to be in charge of your life

          • You don’t want anyone telling you what you can and cannot do

          • You view the Bible as God’s rule book and rules are meant to be broken

          • You don’t want to admit that you could use someone else’s help with the situation(s) you are currently going through

          • Perhaps you’ve seen answered prayer in someone else’s life, but you’re too prideful to experience it for yourself

        • You may be dealing with peer pressure, which has caused you to reject Jesus

          • You know what’s right to do, but you’re afraid of what your friends might think if you turn your life over to Jesus Christ

          • You’ve allowed them to influence how you think and act, but you’ve felt the leading of God’s Spirit in your life

          • He’s calling out to you to follow Him

        • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to read the Gospel of John in the Bible for the next month and ask God to reveal Himself to me.


  • WE

    • We have a responsibility as Christ followers to share this transformational Gospel with those in our sphere of influence

    • After Jesus’ resurrection, he stayed on the earth for 40 days, teaching His disciples

        • They were the ones who were going to carry the Gospel to the known world

        • Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ​​ Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

        • These are our marching orders – Jesus is alive! ​​ The world needs to know



“In his best-selling book, The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey contrasts the humility that characterized Jesus’ royal visit to planet earth with the prestigious image associated with world rulers today:


In London, looking toward the auditorium’s royal box where the queen and her family sat, I caught glimpses of the…way rulers stride through the world: with bodyguards, and a trumpet fanfare and a flourish of bright clothes and flashing jewelry.


Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited the United States, and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved: her four thousand pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion, a mourning outfit in case someone died, forty pints of plasma, and white kid-leather toilet seat covers. She brought along her own hairdresser, two valets, and a host of other attendants. A brief visit of royalty to a foreign country can easily cost twenty million dollars.


In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. A mule could have stepped on him.”


Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan, 1995)