John 20:1-18 Unbelievable Morning Discoveries

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John 20:1-18 Why Mary Magdalene’s Shocking Early Morning Discovery Is Turning Heads

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Welcome to Our Gathering

Dear beloved congregation,

As we gather together in the presence of our Lord today, let us open our hearts to receive His grace and wisdom. It is a joyous occasion to come together as a community of believers, bound by our shared faith and commitment to spiritual growth. May our time together be filled with encouragement, enlightenment, and a deepening of our relationship with God. Let us uplift one another in love and unity as we embark on this journey of discipleship together. Welcome, each and every one of you, to this sacred space.

Opening Prayer

Gracious Heavenly Father,

We humbly come before You today with hearts full of gratitude for the opportunity to gather in Your name. As we lift our voices in praise and adoration, we ask for Your presence to fill this place. Guide our thoughts and actions as we delve into Your Word, and grant us wisdom to understand Your teachings. May Your Holy Spirit move among us, stirring our hearts towards spiritual growth and transformation. Bless this time of fellowship and learning, and may it strengthen our bond as brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ name, we pray.

Introduction to Scripture

John 20:1-18 The Resurrection of Jesus

In the early hours of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where Jesus had been laid. To her astonishment, she found the stone rolled away from the entrance. Distressed and confused, Mary ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and told them that the Lord’s body was missing from the tomb. Peter and the other disciple hurried to the tomb and found it just as Mary had said, with the linen wrappings lying there, but the body of Jesus was gone.

NIV Bible Verse: John 20:1-18

  1. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
  2. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
  3. So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
  4. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
  5. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
  6. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
  7. as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.
  8. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
  9. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
  10. Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
  11. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
  12. and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
  13. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
  14. At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
  15. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
  16. Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
  17. 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.'”
  18. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Intercessory Prayer

Lord Jesus,

As we reflect on the account of Mary Magdalene encountering You at the empty tomb, we are reminded of Your victory over death and the hope You bring to our lives. We pray for those among us who are struggling with doubt and fear, that they may experience the same assurance and joy that Mary felt when she recognized You. Help us to hold fast to the truth of Your resurrection and to live as faithful disciples, sharing Your love and message of salvation with the world. May Your presence be palpable in our midst today and always. Amen.

Congregational Response

Boldly, we proclaim, “I have seen the Lord!” Through faith, may we also declare His resurrection power in our lives, bringing hope to the hopeless and light to the darkness. Amen.

Sermon Introduction

Welcome, dear friends, to this time of reflection and spiritual nourishment. Today, we journey into the heart of one of the most pivotal moments in human history, as recounted in the Gospel of John, chapter 20, verses 1 through 18. In these verses, we witness the profound encounter between Mary Magdalene and the risen Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a narrative that not only speaks to us of resurrection power but also illuminates the essence of our Christian discipleship journey.

Setting the Scene Socially and Historically

Two thousand years ago, in the bustling city of Jerusalem, amidst the tumultuous political and religious landscape of the time, a group of devoted followers found themselves plunged into despair following the crucifixion of their beloved teacher, Jesus of Nazareth. Mary Magdalene, a woman of great faith and loyalty, was among them. Her journey to the tomb that fateful morning was marked by grief and confusion, emblematic of the collective anguish felt by all who had hoped in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.

Yet, it is precisely in this moment of darkness and despair that the light of hope begins to dawn. The empty tomb, the encounter with angels, and ultimately, the life-altering meeting with the risen Christ, all serve as potent symbols of God’s triumph over death and the beginning of a new era of redemption and reconciliation. Today, socially and historically, the resurrection of Jesus continues to reverberate across the ages, offering solace to the brokenhearted, courage to the disheartened, and eternal hope to all who dare to believe.

Sermon Title: “Encountering the Risen Lord”

Sermon Outline

I. The Empty Tomb

  • Discovering the Unexpected
  • Facing Our Disappointments

II. The Encounter with Angels

  • Divine Messages in Unexpected Places
  • Embracing Heavenly Guidance

III. The Life-Altering Encounter with Jesus

  • Recognition Amidst Uncertainty
  • Transformed by His Presence

IV. Proclaiming the Good News

  • Bearing Witness to the Risen Christ
  • Inviting Others into Resurrection Life

As we delve into these timeless truths, may our hearts be stirred with fresh revelation and our spirits emboldened with newfound faith. Amen.

The Empty Tomb

The discovery of the empty tomb serves as a powerful reminder that God often works in ways that defy human understanding.

In our own lives, we may encounter situations that seem hopeless or insurmountable, yet God is able to bring about resurrection and restoration in the midst of our deepest pain and disappointment.

Just as Mary Magdalene and the disciples were initially perplexed by the absence of Jesus’ body, we too may struggle to comprehend God’s plans in the midst of trials.

However, the empty tomb teaches us to trust in God’s sovereignty and to hold onto hope even when all seems lost.

Ask Yourself: How can I trust God’s plan when faced with uncertainty or disappointment?

The Encounter with Angels

The presence of angels at the tomb underscores the supernatural dimension of Jesus’ resurrection and the divine orchestration of events.

Similarly, in our own lives, God often sends messages of hope and encouragement through unexpected sources.

It may be a word of comfort from a friend, a timely Scripture verse, or a sense of peace that surpasses all understanding.

As disciples of Christ, we are called to be attuned to God’s voice and open to receiving His guidance, even when it comes in ways we least expect.

Ask Yourself: Am I attentive to the ways God speaks to me, even through unexpected means?

The Life-Altering Encounter with Jesus

Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Jesus transformed her grief into joy and her doubt into faith.

Likewise, when we encounter Jesus personally, He has the power to transform our lives in profound ways.

Whether it’s through prayer, Scripture reading, worship, or moments of quiet reflection, every encounter with Jesus has the potential to leave a lasting impact on our hearts and minds.

As disciples, we are invited to draw near to Jesus with expectant hearts, knowing that He longs to reveal Himself to us in intimate and life-changing ways.

Ask Yourself: How can I cultivate a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus in my daily life?

Proclaiming the Good News

Mary Magdalene wasted no time in proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ resurrection to others.

As disciples of Christ, we are called to follow her example and boldly testify to the reality of Christ’s victory over sin and death.

Our words and actions have the power to point others to the hope found in Jesus, inviting them into a relationship with Him that brings true freedom and abundant life.

Let each of us be faithful witnesses, sharing the love of Christ with a world in desperate need of His saving grace.

Ask Yourself: How can I more effectively share the good news of Jesus with those around me?

Personal Thoughts

Reflecting on the account of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb reminds me of the profound mystery of God’s ways.

Just as Mary’s initial confusion turned to joy upon encountering the risen Jesus, I am reminded that God is always at work, even in the midst of our darkest moments.

May we, like Mary, approach each day with expectant hearts, trusting that God is able to bring beauty from ashes and resurrection from death.

Personal Commentary: Christian Discipleship

In the story of Mary Magdalene, we see the essence of Christian discipleship – a life transformed by encountering the living Christ.

As disciples, our journey is marked by a continual seeking after Jesus, a willingness to follow Him wherever He leads, and a commitment to sharing His love with others.

Just as Mary was commissioned to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, we too are called to be bold witnesses, shining the light of Christ in a world that desperately needs His hope and redemption.

Personal Reflection Commentary: Spiritual Growth

The account of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus challenges me to reflect on my own spiritual growth journey.

Am I actively seeking opportunities to encounter Jesus in my daily life?

Am I allowing His presence to transform me from the inside out?

As I meditate on these questions, I am reminded of the importance of cultivating a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus, one that bears fruit in every area of my life.

May we all press on in our journey of spiritual growth, trusting that God is faithful to complete the work He has begun in us.

Final Thoughts

As we conclude our reflection on the powerful encounter between Mary Magdalene and the risen Lord Jesus Christ, let us be reminded of the transformative power of resurrection hope in our lives.

Just as Mary’s grief turned to joy upon seeing Jesus, so too can our lives be filled with hope, purpose, and joy when we encounter the living Christ.

Moving forward, let us commit to deepening our relationship with Jesus through prayer, Scripture study, worship, and fellowship with other believers.

May we embrace each day with expectant hearts, trusting in God’s faithfulness to lead us into a life of abundant joy and eternal significance.

Moving Forward in Our Christian Lives

  1. Seek Intimate Encounter with Jesus: Set aside time daily to seek God’s presence through prayer and meditation on His Word.
  2. Cultivate a Spirit of Bold Witness: Look for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus’ resurrection with others, both in word and deed.
  3. Embrace Resurrection Hope: Trust in God’s promise of resurrection life, allowing His hope to permeate every area of your life and outlook.
  4. Live in Community: Surround yourself with fellow believers who can encourage and support you on your journey of faith.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father,

As we depart from this time of reflection and fellowship, we are grateful for the truth of Your Word that has been revealed to us today. May the story of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration in our lives. Fill us afresh with Your Holy Spirit, empowering us to live as bold witnesses of Your love and resurrection power in the world. May we walk in the confidence of Your promises, knowing that You are always with us, leading and guiding us into abundant life. In Jesus’ name, we pray.


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