Country Pastor: I know that my Redeemer lives!
By Les Johnson, pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church
"Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb." John 20:1
Even though Easter has come and gone we are still in the Easter Season of the church year.
When Jesus rose from the dead, Mary and others went to the tomb of Jesus and witnessed the stone having already been removed. A common misconception is that the stone had to be removed so that Jesus could get out. The real purpose of the removal of the stone, however, was so that the world could see in and witness the resurrection for themselves! Today we still witness the empty tomb through the message of the Bible.
We read in John 20 that when Peter and John to the tomb looked inside and witnessed that it was empty. John's use of words for the verb "see" is significant in John 20:4-8 and encourages us today in our "look" at the risen Lord.
In verse 5 John writes of himself that "he saw the linen wrappings..." while remaining outside.
The word for see used here in the original language indicates simply "physical vision." John saw with his physical eyes the empty tomb. Although we cannot "see" the tomb as John did, we do need to "see" or acknowledge the reality of the resurrection. This is more than many are willing to do in our day.
In verse 6 John writes of Peter that, having also come and entering the tomb, "he beheld the linen wrappings." The word translated here "beheld" is a word in Greek that emphasizes to "look with interest; to carefully observe the details." This word is where we get our English word "theorize." As we think of our relationship to Jesus and His resurrection, we too must do more than acknowledge its reality—we must "look with interest..." for this has great personal implications for our lives!
Finally, in verse 8, John writes again of himself that he also entered the tomb and "saw and believed." The Greek word here translated "saw" shows that John had grasped the significance of the undisturbed clothes! He had done so in such a way that it led Him to believe that Jesus was alive! We, too, must come to that point of faith in regards to Jesus' resurrection. Romans 10 verses 9 and 10 state "If we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved." Belief in a risen Savior is essential to our salvation!
Today we thank God that He rolled that stone away so that the world could see in! We thank God that Peter and John were able, on the morning of Jesus' resurrection, to come to faith in Him as the risen Savior! We thank God that today we can "see" with the eyes of faith through the power of the Word and of the indwelling Spirit and believe! Let us sing with an even greater conviction:
I know that my Redeemer lives!
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, Who once was dead,
He lives, my ever living Head.