Friday, October 26, 2018

John 20:1-18: In the Garden: The Sequel

1. What are the ways that Jesus’s followers respond when they find that Jesus is not in the tomb?

2. The first one at the empty tomb is Mary Magdalene? What is so significant about her being the first witness to the empty tomb and the resurrection?

3. Mary, Peter, & John all bring their curiosity, their fear, their confusion, maybe even their doubt to the tomb, and they investigate, they look into the empty tomb. They examine the evidence, they take everything into the tomb to confront the linen cloths, the face cloth, the emptiness of the tomb. What fears, confusions, doubts do you wrestle with? Have you brought those doubts to the empty tomb and to the resurrected Jesus?

4. The disciples returned home, but Mary stood weeping at the tomb. She brings her disappointment, her hopelessness, her tears to the tomb as well. Frederick Buechner says this about tears:

“You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you've never seen before. A pair of somebody's old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.

They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next.”

Mary brings her tears to the tomb. What disappointments, dashed hopes, and tears plague you? Have you kept them to yourself or brought those things to the empty tomb and to the resurrected Lord?

5. What causes Mary to finally recognize Jesus? What does this tell us about who Jesus is and who Mary is in light of John 10:1-18?

6. Finally, Jesus gives marching orders at the empty tomb, a miniature great commission in 20:17b, and Mary obeys. What are the elements of Jesus’s marching orders to Mary? How are those marching orders the same for you as a follower of Christ? How are they different?

7. Remembering that the creation story and the fall take place in the context of a garden, what is John hinting at as he points out that Jesus is resurrected in a garden. On what day of the week is Jesus resurrected?

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