Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part VII: The Resurrection Of The Messenger Of Salvation
A. Christ's Credibility Seen In The REPORT Of The PHYSICAL Evidence Of His Resurrection
(John 20:1-10)
  1. Introduction
    1. The Christian faith rests on the reality of Christ's bodily resurrection. Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth: ". . . if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15:17)
    2. However, a bodily resurrection is a sheer miracle: such an event is just not done TODAY!
    3. These factors make it important for us to test that resurrection's account to see if it really happened.
    4. We should thus test if there exists objective evidence that defies human wishful thinking of that event:
  2. Christ's Credibility Seen In The REPORT Of The PHYSICAL Evidence Of His Resurrection.
    1. John's record of his finding the objective evidence of Christ's resurrection is psychologically credible:
      1. John's report as an Orthodox Jew that a woman was the first to spot the empty tomb is the opposite that readers in his era would expect from one trying to promote a new and false religion:
        1. A woman's word was then invalid in a Jewish court of law, McDowell, A Ready Defense, p. 237.
        2. For John then to report that Mary Magdalene was the first to notice the empty tomb would be a highly improbable witness for his readers unless his record reveals a very honest eyewitness!
      2. John's report of the errant testimony of Mary Magdalene fits a psychologically valid picture as well:
        1. Mary quickly, errantly assumed Jesus' body had been stolen when she saw the open tomb, 20:1b, 2.
        2. However, John 20:7 [see "B" below] shows the grave clothes were still in the form of the body, meaning Mary was quick to assume an overly negative conclusion about a grave robbery.
        3. Yet, such a hurried, negative conclusion is psychologically tenable: she had seen Christ spitefully crucified much to her horror, and so would have assumed His enemies were desecrating His body.
      3. The personally typical actions of Peter and John in the stressful event argue for an authentic record:
        1. John reportedly outran Peter to the tomb, but at first refrained from entering it apparently lest he defile himself: what he first saw of the graveclothes in the shape of a body explains his hesitation, for he felt the tomb still contained a body, 20:7 (see below; Bible Knowledge Com., N.T., p. 342)
        2. Yet, Peter, the typical type "A" cared nothing about a little temporal defilement, and so burst past John to enter the tomb! Peter's and John's actions under stress fit their various personality profiles.
      4. The tendency of these men who suffered from mental shock themselves simply to go home without encouraging the grieving Mary Magdalene also fits an explainable psychological profile, 20:10-11.
    2. John's testimony of the physical evidence in this psychologically credible record is very persuasive!
      1. John reported he saw the grave clothes still wrapped up in a cocoon shape as through the body were still in them (entetuligmenon is used in the vernacular Greek exclusively for entangling or tightly binding things, UBS Grk. N.T., p. 407; Moulton & Milligan, Voc. of Grk. N.T., p. 219). (Jn. 20:7)
      2. He noted the head piece was still separate from the body wrappings, yet minus the body, John 20:7.
      3. John reported he believed Christ had risen from the dead just from seeing this physical evidence though he did not know as yet that Scripture had predicted it, John 20:8-9.
      4. Also, since he had not expected Christ to rise in view of (a) the depressing shock of Jesus' cruel death, (b) the total lack of a crucified Messiah in Jewish theology, (c) not to mention Mary Magdalene's news of the alleged grave robbery, (d) but rather since John most likely expected to have seen evidence of a defamation of the body by the Jews out of hatred for Jesus, the physical evidence of the tomb and grave clothes must have been very STRONG for John to have come to believe Christ had RISEN!
Lesson: Because of the psychological evidence supplied in the account itself, we know John did not concoct his account of discovering Christ had risen from the dead. As his faith in Christ's resurrection was at FIRST based ONLY on what he SAW, we have solid OBJECTIVE evidence that Christ arose.

Application: (1) In view of the OBJECTIVE evidence of Christ's resurrection, Christianity is true and Christ is to be believed for salvation. (2) As the WEAKNESSES of the humans involved give CREDIBLE supports to the resurrection record, God can use us even in our weaknesses to His glory!