Christ Covenant Church
Jon Marq Toombs
8 January 2017 / Epiphany
John 20:1-18

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[Note: These are sketch notes, not a manuscript.]

Our sermon text for today is John 20:1-18. If you are willing and able, please stand for the reading of God’s Holy Word. The word of God reads:

The word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God!) May God add his blessings to the reading, the hearing, the preaching, and the praying of his word. All the church says, Amen!

[1] Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

This story is filled with creation echoes and motifs.

Lit. first of the sabbaths = first day of the seven days / start of a new creation week

dark/ness – see John 1 et al

Like the old earth, the tomb was empty and darkness covered the surface of the deep.

[2] So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

do not know = unknowing / ignorance

[3] So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. [4] Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. [5] And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. [6] Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, [7] and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. [8] Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; [9] for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. [10] Then the disciples went back to their homes.

run = trek

linen cloths = priestly garments left behind (see JJ Burial Clothes Theopolis)

face cloth = moses veiled glory / folded up = Jesus’ unveiled glory

unknowing / ignorance

scripture = must rise from the dead / trace out =

Psalm 16:10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Job 19:25-27 As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another.

Isaiah 26:19-21 Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

Ezekiel 37:12-14 Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves…I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life,” declares the LORD.’”

[11] But Mary *stood* weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.

Like the Spirit of God at creation, Mary hovered and brooded over the deep darkness of the empty tomb.

[12] And she saw two angels in white, *sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.

tomb is like a holy of holies / angels seated on “new ark of covenant” at head and feet

[13] They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

[14] Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus *standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

*movements – stooping, sitting, standing = body posture is important in the story. The angels sit, all the disciples stoop, and Jesus stands.

[15] Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Gardener = new adam in new creation / God-man in new world

[16] Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She *turned* and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Effectual calling = just as Jesus called Lazarus only out of death, so he calls Mary out of un-knowing (ignorance).

Conversion = she turned

Confession = When he calls your name, you confess his in response: Rabboni / Teacher.

[17] Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mystical = Jesus started ascending in 13:1 (!). His suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection were all part of his ascent to the Father. The way up is down. He has been between worlds since 17:11 (“And I am no longer in the world”)

[18] Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

see = The eyes of her heart were opened when Jesus called her name.

Mary Magdalene Book Ends

They / we –> I / He

speculation –> revelation

bad news –> good news

Now think about the fact that a woman was the first witness to testify of the Risen Lord! That might not seem like such a big deal to you, but in the Judeo-Roman world, it was massive. Why? Because in most cases, a woman’s testimony was considered unacceptable and inadmissible on the basis of her gender. Yet what does God do? Against all odds, he stakes the truth of the resurrection of his Son and our Savior on a woman’s testimony. And not just any woman. An emotionally distraught woman; a woman with a sketchy past (she was once possessed by demons); a single woman with no husband to back her.

“It’s alright, it’s alright, alright — He moves in mysterious ways.”

Here’s an interesting article on the significance of the linen cloths