Topic: Stand Alone Passage: John 20:1–18, 1 Peter 1:3–5
Christopher Rich – April 17, 2022
LIVING HOPE | John 20:1-18 & 1 Peter 1:3-5
Introduction | Hope Renewed
Good Morning! Happy Easter! Welcome to Mercy Fellowship where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we join with
Christians around the world celebrating Resurrection Sunday! What we are doing today in gathering is not expecting to hear something new, but be reminded of what is true. We need to be reminded what is true so we can have our hope renewed. We look out at the world and something within us cries out “It shouldn’t be this way!” We begin to search for answers, we seek comfort, and rest for our souls. We desire purpose and wholeness. We believe this can be found in the resurrection of Jesus. We believe Easter & Resurrection are not just an idea to consider, but an event to behold!
What is your most significant day? What is that moment when you look back it there was life before and life after. These are days that are so significant they have changed our expectations of and engagement with every other day since. Some of these are great days… I didn’t know what flourishing life was like until that day!!! You celebrate those days, wedding anniversaries, when a child was born, or when something painful ended, Some of these are bad… I haven’t truly known joyful life since. Things in life seem stable, even good, until tragedy stuck so rather than feeling safe and secure you have suffering and shame. These could be either individual or communal. Both types of days are significant… and foundational to who we are now, how we see others, the world, even God. What day for you has tangibly defined your life today the most?
As Christians, we see the world in terms of significant days. We believe God created the
world in the first days and made it all good. We believe there was a day when humanity rejected God, sin and death entered the world separating us from God, (life/purpose), each other (broken relationship/war), and ourselves (shame/fear). Where we acted in sin, God answered with a promise, a day would come when a savior-king would arrive to save God’s people, live with perfect obedience, set captive sinners free, sacrifice for us and raise again victorious, all pointing to a final day where there is no more sin, suffering, or tears. That day of arrival is celebrated at Christmas, the birth of Jesus (God-Man, Sacrifice and Savior) the Christ. This is Holy Week(set apart) to remember, reflect, and reorient our lives around Jesus’ work in our
place on the Cross. Friday - Death, loss, burial, hopelessness (Hint of promise – Jesus said he’d rise on the third day) Jesus has suffered on the cross in our place for our sin… there is sadness but there is substitution. We don’t get the joy of the resurrection without the sorrow of the cross. Conversely Friday is Good because Jesus is on the cross and you’re not, but Friday can’t be good if there isn’t something else that comes from it. Day defined by death.
Saturday- Hebrew Sabbath. An intentional day of rest, even recovery after a long week of
intense Passover observance. But instead, it was marked by tension, anxiousness, uncertainty,
reanalyzing everything for those who followed Jesus. It’s a day defined by things being
unresolved for real people who needed real hope.
Sunday – First day of the week back to work. Story over, close the book and move on and
forget about Jesus. But we remember not a dark story ending but a new hopeful chapter
opening with LIVING HOPE on Sunday.
PART I | Empty Tomb |John 20:1-10
John 20:1-10 | 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. 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.” 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.
First day of the week. Rest over, Jesus died, move on without him. In early morning
darkness, a women, Mary is at the tomb with a scary and disorientating experience. She is
preparing to encounter dead Jesus. She came with some other women (WE don’t know where
the body is) She’s not avoiding grief. She is a dedicated mourner and a faithful follower. In the
previous day’s betrayal and trial of Jesus, while men all around her (Peter most notably) are
crumbling under the stress and pressure of what is happening to Jesus, with Jesus, she was
ever present and steadfast. She remained at the cross to the bitter end. Now she’s first to the
tomb at the beginning of a new week to serve and be near where she believes Jesus body is.
Not she with traitorous kiss her Master stung, Not she denied Him with unfaithful tongue; She,
when Apostles fled, could dangers brave, Last at the Cross, and earliest at the grave. – Poet
She is dedicated to Jesus because She’s had been changed by and transformed by
Jesus. She had been in great spiritual, emotional, physical oppression and bondage. Luke 8
tells us she (and some other women) was met by Jesus in terrible state and was cured of
disease and spiritual attack/oppression. It says she had 7 demons come out of her. Life before
was bondage without Jesus then, with Jesus, life since she has been free. She has affection for,
and allegiance to, Jesus because of the compassion she’s experienced from Jesus. Going to
the tomb, what they find is disorienting. They run back and find two of Jesus’ closest disciples,
Peter and the other disciple (John) and tell them the news. Not good news, but bad news, the
body’s been taken and is missing. It elicits an urgent respond from these men. They both take
of running for the tomb to see what Mary’s seen and investigate. John makes it to the tomb first
and tells us twice!
John waits outside, Peter is second but rushes past John at the door to get all in the
tomb. Then we get specific details about burial clothes and linens, where they’re placed, etc.
What is the point? John is letting us know the other explanations we might hear or be tempted
to believe like “grave robbers stealing the body” are not plausible. Grave robbers would have
taken the linen and spices (that’s what they were usually taking) This is a rich man’s tomb (We
know there were Roman soldiers charged with the consequences of death to make sure no one
got in or out) Jesus said numerous times “I will die, and on the third day rise.” There was
intentional care to make sure Jesus disciples didn’t try to take the body to pull off a hoax and
that Jesus enemies couldn’t steal the body to desecrate it. The OT prophesies talked about a
risen savior who would not be held by death. Jesus is gone and His facial covering was neatly
folded them as if to say “I’m not going to be needing this any longer.” How did they each
John saw and believed. I don’t need to see the risen Jesus to know He’s risen. Seeing the
empty tomb and folded linens is enough. Later Jesus says “Blessed are those who don’t see
and yet believe” (John 20:29) Peter Marveled (Luke 24:12)- Marveled is pondering,
considering. Peter is “in process”. What about Mary?
PART II | Full Hearts | John 20:11-16
John 20:11-16 | 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to
look into the 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. 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. 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and
said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means 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.” 18 Mary Magdalene went
and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to
The men have moved on, but Mary is still wrecked. Mary can’t imagine life without Jesus.
But she also can’t believe Jesus is alive. She doesn’t have a life without Jesus. Peter was a
fisherman before meeting Jesus, and we know he actually went back to fishing for a while. John
was of wealthy background, his dad had multiple fishing boats and hired servants. Mary was
diseased and demon possessed a few months ago and has experienced a new life with Jesus.
She was in great need and Jesus met her need with freedom and healing. She might not
have anywhere to go. She was with Jesus asN he breathed His last on Friday at the cross and
she was the first to the tomb, revealing a mystery but now she’s alone still grieving.
Disorientation has been moved to full despair as she’s stuck weeping at the tomb. In her pain,
she is visited with hope and correction.
Two angels who ask her “Why are you weeping? This is not about feelings, it’s a mild
admonishment. Mourning should be over; sadness should be moved to Joy and action. But
she’s stuck worried Jesus is dead and the body is gone. There is a pretty clear sign of God
working in this situation, you’ve got two angels who’ve show up. Clearly there has been some
divine intervention in the case of the missing body of Jesus. Her anguish and sadness is so
deep she’s not even shaken out of it by the presence of Angels. She is still believing the
enemies of Jesus are working and winning “They have taken the body.” Panic/doubt has
locked her into a hopeless narrative. Jesus body is missing and it’s not because of
resurrection but desecration. He’s not alive. That means He’s not present. We cannot trust
His promises, He’s not powerful. She she’s been in bondage before, maybe she’s thinking this
has been a nice run of being free from oppression, but now there is nothing stopping it from
coming back. Maybe you’ve decided Jesus is dead too. Dead Jesus doesn’t break chains.
Dead Jesus is just a good example to try to live up to, not a one who empowers us to live a new
life. If Jesus is dead and gone than, His direct influence is over, we’re alone, and maybe the
transformation she’s experienced could end too. She’s been met by Jesus, set free by Jesus,
transformed by Jesus, she’s been faithful to Jesus but now she’s become hopeless. Jesus
meets her, in her in her place of greatest hopelessness, to give her Joy and commission
her for mission. Why doesn’t she recognize him? Likely her eyes are filled with tears and its’
early in the morning she’s standing near the tomb and maybe Jesus is back lit, maybe there is a
spiritual or mental block she doesn’t expect Jesus to be present. Regardless, He doesn’t start
with saying “Mary it’s me Jesus!” He engages her at a heart level asking her two deep
questions: Why are you crying? – Death sin, fear, pain, grief, bondage, loss. Jesus is dead
and God’s promises, presence, and power are not active in our lives.
What are you looking for? - She’s looking for a dead Jesus she can serve. She wants to
process grief and have closure. What she needs is the living hope of a resurrected Jesus who
has conquered death who has served her (and us) by dying for our sin, shame and separation
from God and has giving us new life with Him now and forever.
I want you to ask yourself the same questions Jesus asks her: Why are you weeping?
What is causing you the most pain? Where you the most hopeless? What are you looking for?
What are you hoping is going to fix what is wrong, fill what is lacking, break what is binding, give
you provision, protection, and purpose?
In doubt, we underestimate the risen Jesus. She thought He was the Gardner – She has
great doubt and distress. What she longs for is too little (a dead body of a martyr) what she’s
presented with is so much more (a risen living savior! A Living Hope!) What she truly needs is a
renewal of the promise of God in Jesus that there is more life now and there is a greater
Kingdom of God thriving than we can see. Evil, sin, death doesn’t get the last word, but
there is a God who has answered what makes us weep with life in Jesus that brings us
Joy. We can be so blind even when the truth is so near. She’s focused on a dead Jesus when
the fact of the live Jesus is right in front of her. Even if you can’t recognize or even fathom
Jesus being near and present in your life doesn’t mean He’s dead or distant. Jesus can meet
you in a place of hopelessness and despair to show you Life and Joy with Him. The turn is
when he calls her by name. “Mary” – There is recognition and relationship. WAIT! I know that
voice! “Anguish and despair are instantly swallowed up by astonishment and delight.” DA
Mary’s grief and mourning has been transformed to joy knowing Jesus is alive and Jesus knows
her personally. Jesus being resurrected has universal implications because it means Jesus who
He says He is, Jesus is God (and Savior-King of God’s People) So you can believe it or not but
it doesn’t make it more or less true based on your response. But there is an individual/personal
implication for those who have their ultimate faith and trust in Jesus as their savior King. They
are called and known by God. Relationship is real, His victory is real. I don’t know your name.
But Jesus does and He’s calling you to believe and follow Him.
We don’t stay at the tomb. Mary moves wallowing in grief to beholding the Glory of Jesus. This
is her turning point, she thought it was when she was freed from spiritual/emotional bondage.
This is the moment that will define her life, she never wants this moment to end. When we’ve
been met by Jesus, and believe in Him, our first inclination is to want to say where we
are… with Jesus. Even on Sunday, our life with Jesus is not one where we’re stuck just
outside of the tomb clinging to Jesus, holding on for dear life hoping He never leaves, or worried
that we’ll be without Him. No! Later we’re told by Jesus “behold, I am with you always to the end
of the age.” We don’t have to tremble in fear of losing Jesus if we don’t hold on tight enough. We
walk in boldness with purpose, comforted knowing we’re held by Jesus. We don’t stay stuck
at the turning point we move on and move outward. Mary is the first evangelist… Go tell …..
“I have seen the Lord”
We are God’s Children - Jesus is telling her (and us) the nature of who He is and who we
are. We are distinct, it’s not our Father/God, but mine, and yours. Jesus is God’s Son that is
who He is by nature. We call God our Father through adoption. Having our faith in the
resurrected Jesus is our adoption day where we’re are welcomed into a new family. Because
Jesus is alive we can trust Him for eternal life because He has shown He is who He says He is
(Christ, Savior-King, Son of God) and He can do what He has said he can do (forgive sin that
leads to death and give us life everlasting) because Has conquered death. He’s alive, He’s
ruling in Heaven right now… He’s coming back and He’s told us to tell everyone… Joy of
resurrected Jesus moves us away from a place of death to a purposeful life…Purposeful, not
perfect life Following Jesus with Living Hope.
PART III | LIVING HOPE |1 Peter 1:3-5
1 Peter 1:3-5 | 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great
mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in
heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to
be revealed in the last time.
Hope in New Life & Forever Life - FUTURE HOPE, for Former Sinners. Sin separates us from
God, ourselves, and others. But we can be Born Again by Mercy – God is rich in mercy for us.
He gives us a spiritual rebirth into new life with the real hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead. Jesus’ death and resurrection in the past foreshadow our hope for an
eternal inheritance in God’s kingdom. Our Living Hope is ROOTED in the character of God,
here clearly displayed in Jesus Christ! We have both an identity and a hope we didn’t earn. God
has such mercy that HE has caused a present better than our past and far better than our
certain future without Him in our sin. He has such great mercy because He meted out great
Justice on Jesus. So there is hope for a way out of the Justice we deserve for our sin.
Without Jesus there is NO hope because if hope is the anticipation of a better future, then you
cannot have that without salvation for your sin. This day, or maybe a thousand more you have in
this life is as good as it can possibly get. After your death the only expectation is not forever in
paradise, but the judgement of God for sin. That is not good news, but God is gracious. In
Jesus, our failure doesn’t define our future destiny.
We have Hope we have been made new. We are born again, born from above. We have a
new life with God, with ourselves, a new identity. One where we no longer are our old selves,
we are made new. The hope we have in being made new is that we don’t have to fear who we
once were, because they’re gone.
Jesus is our Living Hope, so hope is active. The source of our hope is not in our
circumstances it is in the person of Jesus. We don’t have slain hope dead and buried. We have
risen hope living and active. That means there is never a time that Hope is dead or that Hope is
not working. This means when even with we think hope is distant, it is in fact present, and can
be a comfort to us. Jesus gives us hope in our future destiny.
Hope for an inheritance. There isn’t hope if things are not going to be better for ever. We look
to our past first because we think it defines our identity. God points us to our future to
describe our destiny. He wants us to find our identity not in what we’ve done or who
we’ve been but what He has done and where we are going. We are Born again, recipients of
mercy and grace, in Christ we have a promised Future inheritance that is better.
Imperishable - It will never die it is not capable of ending. There is not worries of another
kingdom coming in threating to kill steal or destroy. In that future, we will finally exhale and
tears and fears will be no more.
Undefiled – This kingdom has no sin It is a place of purity. Where people made clean by God
will remain clean for God. The impacts of sin are memories long forgotten, the potential for sin is
zero, purity is infinite.
Unfading – This kingdom is glorious, radiant, beautiful. It doesn’t get better, peak, fade, and
decline. It only gets better and better. Meaning it is a kingdom of eternal hope of a better and
Secured by God - This a hope of a future with God that is protected by God. It is safe, it cannot
be lost, it is secure. This gives us the simple truth that the best is not now but that the best is yet
Who are you in this story? Or when are you in the story? WE remember Friday (every
week) because it’s significant (our sin is dealt with and paid for!) but our hope isn’t in a dead
Jesus. We sit in tension on a Saturday. Are you in Saturday (of tension, anxiousness, etc.) Are
you in a Saturday, thinking hope is over? Are you still believing Jesus is dead and there is no
hope beyond these days? Are you like Peter, where you know you’ve failed God, but are now
confronted with what to do with an empty tomb? Are you John, who believes and needs to
continue in faith? Are you a Mary who is in grief and despair needs to be met by Jesus and
called by name and be moved from weeping to worship? Let today be the day that reframes and
reorients your life around our savior-king’s resurrection when you… Trust Jesus.
More in Easter
April 9, 2023Easter Service | Risen - Jesus is Alive | Chris Rich
April 2, 2023Sunday Sermon | Arrival | Palm Sunday
April 15, 2022Good Friday