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I Have Seen the Lord

I HAVE SEEN THE LORD…………………..JOHN 20:11-20

INTRODUCTION:  Today is Easter Sunday…I suspect we may think…I’ve got this…Jesus dies and rises again…lets go eat Easter dinner and hide some eggs.

We have come to Church…sang some songs…prayed…choir…we got this…choir did great.

Reminds me of a country Church…white wooden Church…center aisle…furnace in the basement…you know the iron grate on the floor towards the front…well this one Easter Sunday the choir decided to march in…one by one…Mrs. Jones came in …wearing a new Easter outfit…high heels…and yes she tried to walk over the iron grate on the floor and sure enough her shoe got caught in the grate…well she knew how tough her choir director was so thinking quickly she just slipped out of her shoe and kept in stride with the choir…the person behind her thought you know I will retrieve her shoe…and he was a strong good ole boy but he went to pick up the shoe and yanked on it..and he got the shoe but he also got the iron grate cover…so now there was a barren hole in the floor…well the next choir member wasn’t looking and he fell in…right on down out of sight…he gathered his wits and said…I’m OK…I’m coming up now…and a little girl towards the back said…come on up Jesus we are all out of the way…

We think we’ve got this…Jesus died, He rose again…

I would like to tell you there is more to the story…there are shades to the story we don’t know…and as we grow closer to the Lord we will continue to go deeper in faith…to grow deeper in love for the Savior.  Resurrection can be life transforming.

Now for a true story:  Ruth Dillow remembers vividly February 27, 1991.  It was the height of Desert Storm and she on that day received a sad message from the Pentagon.  It stated that her son Clayton Carpenter, Private 1st class had stepped on a mine in Kuwait and he was dead.

She spoke of her grief, her shock.  It was almost more than she could bear.  For three days she wept…for 3 days she felt the waves of tears, of anger, of why….why my son…for 3 days people awkwardly tried to console her, to no avail…the loss was overwhelming.

Three days after she received that message the phone rang.  The voice on the other end said:  MOM…IT’S ME…I’M ALIVE.  Ruth Dillow said:  at first I couldn’t believe it…but…I recognized the voice…he really was alive.  The message she had received was a mistake.  She laughed, she cried, she felt like doing cart wheels.  Because my son whom I thought was dead…is alive.  She went onto say:  Im not sure any one of you can ever begin to know how I felt.

Probably not…most of us can only imagine how she felt…but it does remind us of the gospel story.  Jesus was crucified…most of the male disciples had deserted Him but John…and several women were there.  Mary Magdalene was one of the women who was there.  Mary was beside Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary the wife of Clopas…they were there.  They watched as Jesus was hung to the tree…they heard Him say I thirst…and he was given spoiled wine on a hyssop  sponge attached to the end of a pole…Mary was there when He lifted up for the last gasp of air…to proclaim it is finished and to bow His head and give up His Spirit…She was there.  I think she may have understood.

Mary loved Jesus.    We don’t know a lot about her…Luke mentions she had been possessed by 7 demons…but she was delivered…and she loved Jesus for it.  Some have tried to guess what the demons were…especially male theologians…the Word just tells us that she was delivered.  She had been a fragile, compromised person…but she had been with Jesus…and she was changed…she loved the Lord….because He first accepted her, He loved her…oh how He loves us.  Mary had watched the Lord die.

Early on the first day of the week Mary went to the tomb and the stone was rolled away…so she went and told the disciples John and Peter.  They must have taken Him from the tomb and I not know where they put Him.  Peter and John ran to the tomb…John got there first and he looked in the tomb and only saw grave clothes but he waited for Peter and Peter went on into the tomb..and then John followed…but all that was there was grave clothes…and the word says at the moment John believed.  And then they went back to where ever they were before…

But Mary went back to the tomb…and now let’s hear God’s word:  JOHN 20:10-18.

Mary loved Jesus and that love changed her life. 

Now the resurrection appearances are there to teach us something about the power of God, the presence of God, the resurrection appearances are filled with the power…and also the mystery…of the Lord-respond with awe and wonder.

If you try and read them only from a historical level, only from a linear level they are confusing…you need to learn to read them from a theological level…His is God talk:  Christ has risen.

What did that mean to the early Church?  What does it mean to us today.

If you put all the accounts of the resurrection together…it can be confusing.  Mark has 3 women at the tomb…John only Mary…why does John have only Mary?  Because we are going to learn from Mary something about the risen Lord…we are going to learn about loving Jesus and what that entails…how that calls us to change…the story of the three women in Mark…there were three inner disciples…they had fled…the three women are called to faith…will they be afraid or follow…a great theological teaching…each resurrection teaching is a teaching about the power and presence of God…

There is more to learn about the resurrection beyond dead…alive…pass the potatoes.

Mary loved Jesus, she is a wonderful model of what new life in Christ can be.

  1.  She was fragile, she was compromised…she was still loved by Jesus.  Some of us need to hear today…we may feel unworthy, we may feel inadequate, we may feel shaky…we might wonder who am I am what am I worth…Jesus loves you…you are still loved by God…some of us may feel like life has tossed us a grenade…come to Jesus…oh how He loves us. 

    Mary loved Jesus because Jesus first loved her.




    Mary at first did not recognize Him.  Maybe her grief was just too strong.  She looked in the tomb…why are you crying?  They have taken the Lord away, I don’t know where they have taken Him…notice she is talking to angels…still can only think of a dead body.

    Be open to the presence of God…she is so full of grief she misses out on realize…I’m talking to angels…she is so wrapped up in the historical event of the cross…she is so traumatized still not responding in faith. 

    Hear also…faith can be reasonable…it is to be experienced…beyond reason.  Who are you looking for…she turns and see Jesus…Woman why are you crying…who are you looking for?  She still does not recognize what is happening…she thinks he must be the gardener…and says..sir if you have carried Him away tell me where you have put him and I will get Him.

    O Church…don’t look for the living among the dead…look for a risen Savior.  Oh Church how many times have you just held onto the past instead of embracing the power and presence of the Holy One.  Look for the risen Savior.  I’m not here to give you a history lesson.  Experience the risen resurrected Lord.

    Why didn’t she recognize Him?

    GRIEF.  She might have been so wrapped up in her grief that she was slow to realize what was happening around her…she might have literally had tears in her eyes…and didn’t see as well.

    RESURRECTION TRANSFORMATION…Jesus may not have looked the same…there are other passages which speak of people not at first recognizing the risen Christ…He was transformed.  Resurrection appearances…can eat…can walk through doors…He was recognizable but changed….gives us a clue about heaven by the way…changed but still recognizable. 

    OLD THINKING…maybe she was so wrapped up in her way of thinking, of her way of seeing, that she was unable to see with new eyes.

    MARY, JESUS SAID…and she recognized His voice.

    Sheep recognize the Masters voice. 

    Church-hear His voice!  Accept Christ as Savior…learn His Word…allow the Word to speak to you…learn to pray…learn from older Christians…learn to listen…learn to intuit the presence of the Lord.  Allow Christ to speak your name.

    Jesus calls her name and the spell is broken.

    Isaiah 63:11…fear not, I have redeemed you…I have call you by name, you are mine.


  3.  Rabbi…means teacher…and she clings to him.  Now you might think, it is natural to hold onto someone who was dead but now alive to you.  I suspect that when Ruth Dillow’s son came back from Desert Storm she held onto him and held onto him.

    Mary held onto Jesus…she loved Jesus…He tells her not to cling.  Here is the difference:

    She is not dealing with the resurrected Lord.  He is more than a teacher…He did not return from the grave so that things would stay the same.


    Mary loved Jesus, but that love must deepen, must grow, must change.

    Jesus is ascending to the Father.  You can’t keep things the way they were.  Sometimes when I hear some of the current praise music I think it is narcissistic.  A friend of mine calls it Jesus is my boyfriend music…

    Allow faith to grow…love Jesus…allow Christ to be Lord of your life.

    Mary at this moment is beginning a new adventure.  She will receive the spirit of Christ in her life…she will learn to intuit His presence.  She will learn to hear His voice without His physical presence. 

    Unless I go away the counselor will not come to you…but I go, I will sen Him to you… the spirit of truth will guide you.

    Don’t cling Mary…in the future you will experience me differently, not in an earthly form…you will learn to recognize me..you will learn I am with the father…you will recognize me and my father…for now as you believe He is our Father…He is my God, he is our God.


    Mary went and said to the disciples: 


    Go tell the brothers Mary, I am returning to My Father and your Father…Listen Church..go tell the brother and sisters, I have seen the Lord.

    My prayer, I will be like Mary…my prayer, you will be like Mary…this is a resurrection story…a story of how we are called to believe, how we are called to believe in the risen Christ.


    More than that, recognize the risen Christ.

    Accept Him, believe in Him…allow Him to call you by name…more than that allow His resurrected presence to move us forward in faith:  HE IS LORD.

    Allow His resurrected presence to change us…don’t cling to the past, He is Lord…allow His presence to move us forward in life, confident, secure, He is RISEN.

    Accept Him.  Now listen, you don’t need to understand everything to belive.

    I’m still learning and growing…so much about the Word I don’t yet know.  Do know that He is Lord and be able to say…I have seen the Lord…


    This reading:  I learned that Jesus telling Mary to go tell the brothers is probably a quote of Psalm 22…Now Psalm 22..is one of the great prophecies of the crucifixion of our Lord…poured out like water, bones out of joint, heart burned to wax, tongue stick, to roof of mouth…evil men pierced my hands and feet, cast lots for my clothes…who else could this be?

    The Psalm goes onto say…22:22 I will declare your name to my brothers…Mary go tell the brothers…In the congregation I will praise you…you who fear the Lord, praise Him.

    Church-fear the Lord praise Him.

    All you descendants of the Lord, honor Him….honor Him Church.

    Revere Him…all you descendants of Israel.

    The poor will eat and be satisfied.  They who seek the lord will praise Him….may your hearts live forever…all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord.

    All families and all nations will bow down before Him…for dominion belongs to the Lord…He rules over the nations….Mary go tell the brothers…and she did.  Church go…go live out your faith in the resurrected Lord.

    He is Risen:

    He is risen indeed.


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