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

Part VII: The Resurrection Of The Messenger Of Salvation
B. Christ's Credibility Seen In His Post-Resurrection Appearance To Mary Magdalene
(John 20:11-18)
  1. Introduction
    1. We have noted that the Christian faith rests on the reality of Christ's bodily resurrection. As Paul put it, " . . . if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15:17)
    2. One of the most impressive evidences for the bodily resurrection of Christ is the testimony of His first post-resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalene. At the time, she was as far from faith in Christ's bodily resurrection as anyone could be. Yet, something intensive enough happened at the tomb to change her mind. John includes this event in His Gospel that we might believe in Christ, John 20:30-31.
    3. We view this event for evidence for our faith, and to find encouragement on God's help for the distraught:
  2. Christ's Credibility Seen In His Post-Resurrection Appearance To Mary Magdalene, John 20:11-18.
    1. When the Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, she was quite far from faith in His resurrection:
      1. Mary's faith would have been very badly hurt by the crucifixion of Christ:
        1. Jesus had rescued her from demon possession by seven demons, so Mary had come to appreciate more than most people the liberating salvation found in Jesus, cf. Luke 8:2.
        2. For Jesus of all Persons then to be brutally crucified, and mocked by Israel's religious leaders, mistreated by the Gentiles and even reviled by the two thieves crucified with Him would have hurt and dismayed such a person beyond the norm, cf. Matthew 27:27-44.
      2. John's account of Mary's actions at Christ's tomb gives evidence of how very dismayed she was:
        1. Though John's witness of the tomb's body wrappings led him to faith that Jesus had risen, Mary did not notice or consider the evidence as seen in her rush to assume Jesus' body was stolen, 20:7, 1-2.
        2. In fact, even when she stooped to look into the tomb where the grave clothes lay, and further conversed with two angels, she stuck to her belief that Jesus' body had been stolen, John 20:11-13.
        3. Additionally, when the risen Lord Jesus Himself appeared to Mary as she turned around outside the tomb, and asked the same question the angels had asked her, "Woman, why weepest thou?", Mary not only stuck to her belief that Jesus' body had been stolen, but assumed Jesus was the gardener. She asked if He knew where the body had been relocated so she could take it away, John 20:15.
        4. Mary's interactions indicated she felt Jesus was so hated that His body had been simply discarded or mutilated. Hers was a deeply wounded faith that kept her from belief in the resurrection even in the face of the evidences from the grave clothes, the angels and the appearing of the risen Lord Himself!
    2. Nevertheless, an event occurred that shifted this believer's mind about what had happened to Jesus, 20:16.
    3. What had shifted Mary from her very depressed, unbelieving state of mind to faith that He was risen was the voice of Jesus calling His own "sheep" by name in fulfillment of John 10:27-28.
      1. John had recorded Jesus' former prediction that He knew His sheep, that they heard His voice, 10:27f.
      2. When Jesus then spoke Mary's name at the tomb, she immediately recognized His voice and responded to His authority, calling Him, "Rabboni," meaning in Aramaic, "My Teacher!" (John 20:16)
      3. This reveals that the God-incarnate Shepherd of Mary had indeed risen from the dead!
      4. Mary then came and told the disciples Jesus had appeared and spoken to her, John 20:17-18.
Lesson: Though Mary Magdalene was in NO frame of mind to think Jesus had risen from the dead, her MIND was radically CHANGED when the risen Lord spoke her name. This indicates that the Party that met her at the tomb was the risen God-incarnate Shepherd Who still ruled His sheep, Mary.

Application: (1) Since Mary Magdalene would have been of no mind to adopt the notion that Jesus had risen from the dead, but her senses were actually DULLED due to her sheer HURT at the degree to which Jesus had been mistreated and died, her CHANGE of MIND to assert Jesus had indeed risen acts as a great evidence for the reality of Christ's resurrection. (2) Since Jesus went the "extra mile" to reveal Himself to the distraught Mary, be sure He is nigh when we are of a crushed spirit, cf. Ps. 34:18. (3) Also, be sure the risen Lord can STILL lead US ALSO when WE are dulled and confused in life!