Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Jesus Appeared to Mary Magdalene (Jn. 20:11-18)

This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 27 October 2013 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church Singapore. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 20:11-18

The Son of God came through virgin Mary.  Nearing His death, Mary (sister of Lazarus) used expensive perfume to anoint Jesus. And when it was time for the gospel to be preached to the world after Christ’s resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. 

The book of Luke recorded angels’ words to the women who came to the tomb, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead.”  John recorded from a different angle.  He recorded Mary Magdalene remaining in the tomb and crying.  When the angels asked whey she was crying, she said her Lord had beenn taken away. (Jn. 20:11-13)

In saying this, she demonstrated how low her faith was.  The Lord she believed in could be killed, could not rise, and could be stolen.  When Jesus asked why she was crying, she could not see it was Jesus, thinking he was the gardener. (v.14-15)

The Lord stood right before her and she could not recognise Him.  She believed in Him who was dead.  She did not think He would rise again.  She was overcome by sorrow.  That is how pathetic her faith was.  Many Christians’ faith is expressed by shallow knowledge.  If you do not have enough faith, you cannot see the Lord is with you.

When Jesus called her name “Mary” (v.16), she recognised the voice of the Lord and immediately responded, “My Teacher”.  The Jesus who stood there was not the Jesus Mary thought or imagined out of her mind.  This is a real encounter.  God is not a topic for discussion.  He is real.  He is the Object of our worship.  The subjectivity of the truth is revealed in Jesus.  Human search for truth ends when God revealed Himself through Christ.

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (v.17)

Why was Mary not allowed to touch Jesus?  Why could His disciples touch Him later?  Had He ascended to His Father and then descended again?  Jesus’ words “Do not hold on to Me” mean He should not be regarded in the physical manner He was regarded in the last 3.5 years.  He now has a glorious and resurrected body.  They should not cling to Him like the way they cling on Him in the past.  Because He would go to the Father and He will be with them spiritually.  They are to preach the gospel of the resurrected Lord to the world, starting from this woman Mary Magdalene. 

Jesus came from the Father and entered the world.  And He died for us like a sinner.  Then He was resurrected, as the Son of God and was going back to the Father.  This summarised the gospel of John.  Mary was blessed to be the first tasked to preach the gospel of the resurrected Christ. 


Post a Comment

<< Home