Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Soul Prep Day 20

It's pretty difficult to read the Easter story with fresh eyes, isn't it? Even for folks who don't have a long background in church, it's still fairly familiar. And for those who have been in church for a while, you've likely heard it so many times that you can recite much of it from memory. It's not that you've tried to memorize it, but it's like watching a movie over and over again. After some time, it just kind of sinks in to a permanent part of your memory.

For me, that's what John 20 is like. I find myself skipping words or even full sentences. I've read it so many times. On the one hand, it's a blessing. On the other, it's kind of a hindrance.

So, lets see if we can somehow find John 20 with fresh eyes.

Some questions come to mind that I've not considered:
  • Why did Mary Magdalene run back as soon as she saw the stone was rolled away? (I think the possibility that Jesus had risen never entered her mind, which is remarkable given her devotion to him.)
  • What were Peter and 'the other disciple' thinking as they ran to the tomb? (The other disciple is John, by the way. He is the 'one that Jesus loved'.)
  • Why wouldn't John go into the tomb when he got there?
  • A very odd thing happens at the end of v.8. "they saw and believed". Believed what, exactly? Because in v.9, John tells us that they still didn't understand.
  • Mary seems to be completely overwhelmed, and John and Peter aren't very pastoral because they just sort of leave her there and run back!
  • Mary finally sticks her head in and there are 2 angels sitting there. There is some significance to their placement, too. John wants us to know that they were seated at either end of the table where the body was - one at the head, the other at the foot.
  • Jesus' appearance had somehow changed, because Mary didn't recognize him. However, she DID recognize his voice and the way he called her name (there is a LOT wrapped up in this!)
  • Jesus insists that no one can touch him. Why did it matter that Jesus hadn't returned to the Father? Was he afraid they'd dirty his clothes? I think here we get a glimpse of John's major concern that he wants everyone to know: Jesus was REAL. Not a hologram. He could physically be touched. (See one of the early posts in this series about that)
  • v.22 is kind of unusual. It suggests that there is someone who stands in between me and God. If I petition God for forgiveness of a sin, but the disciples refused to forgive me, would God say to me, "well, Brian, I'd love to do it, but you HAVE to convince John. He's being a little obstinate right now..."
  • Three times Jesus says the phrase "Peace be with you!"

I guess you can see a familiar story with fresh eyes, because most of what I put here in these bullets are new and fresh observations to me. And any one of them is worth digging into. What is God saying to you on Day 20?

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