Tim Keller quoted the above from Annie Dillard in last week’s message. It surely seems true of Mary Magdalene. But it is true of every one of us. We don’t really know who we are until we are in Christ, and we don’t really have a song to sing until His Spirit wells up in our hearts. We have been changed by the power of Christ — yet we will be changed again. What we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
Our own Lizzy pulled out this Keller quote from last week which is a perfect set-up for what happens when the truth of the resurrection goes from our heads to our hearts:
“The way you get a secure identity is that someone you adore adores you. Someone that you respect, respects you. Someone you love, comes and loves you and affirms you. Jesus Christ is saying, ‘I, the greatest being in the universe, I love you personally, expensively, and eternally.”
Sunday: God Hunt
- Share a God Hunt from last week — or a way you sensed “the risenness of Christ” in your life.
The breathless wondering begins with the report from the women. Often in Scripture, the lead person is the only one mentioned. We know Mary Magdalene was with the other women reporting to the disciples. We know they thought their words were nonsense. And yet! They run…hopeful, yet fearful because it seems too good to be true.
2. Read John 20:1-9
A. Tim Keller says that there are many details in the scriptural accounts that are not pertinent to the storyline but are simply put in because they really happened — evidence of the truthfulness of Scripture. (Such as the catch of “153 fish.”) Find some of those details John reports about himself in verses 2-5. Why might he have reported those seemingly irrelevant details?
B. What did Peter see and what thoughts do you think went through his head? Some see it as significant that the cloth was folded. Alistair Begg says it simply means Mary taught Jesus how to make his bed. I think it is bigger than that — but eager to hear what you think and why.
C. John’s statement that “he saw and believed” is followed by “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” So, what do you think it was that they believed if it was not yet that He had actually risen?
I’ve wondered if the author of this song had Mary Magdalene in mind. Prepare your heart with it:
The above is the garden tomb in Jerusalem. The fact that Mary assumed Jesus was a gardener means there must have been a garden there. Mike Reeves says that the apostle John always saw a deeper meaning in the mistakes people made, including Mary’s mistaken impression that Jesus was the gardener. But first, let’s look at two other ironical statements.
2. Read John 11:45-53
A. What did the Pharisees fear and why according to verses 45-49?
B. What did Caiaphas say in verses 49-50?
C. Who inspired him to say this and what is the irony?
Pilate wrote Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
3. Read John 19:19-22
A. Why do you think the chief priests wanted Pilate to change the sign?
B. Why do you think he refused?
C. What is the irony?
4. Read John 20:10-18
A. Give all the reasons you can think of for why she didn’t realize it was Jesus.
B. What ironic significance can you see in her thinking He was the gardener? (If you don’t get it, help is coming this week.)
C. This is the second time she reports to the disciples. How is her news different from what the women told Peter and John the first time? (Luke 24) How is the evidence mounting?
D. Did you need evidence that Christianity was true? If so, share how God “mounted the evidence for you.”
Wednesday: The Third Day
Tomorrow and Friday you will listen to Mike Reeve’s amazing sermon, but I want to pull out just one thing he said that was new to me.
5. Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
A. How is Christ described in verse 20?
B. What is the contrast between Adam and Christ in verses 21-22?
C. What do you learn in verse 23?
6. Read Genesis 1:11-13.
A. What happened on the 3rd day of Creation?
B. What kind of fruit did each plant or tree bear according to verse 12?
7. Who was the Master Gardener in creation?
8. How was the resurrected body of Christ different than his earthly body?
9. What will the bodies of those who are in Christ be like — why? How is this like Genesis 1:12?
10. What is the irony of Mary thinking Jesus was the gardener?
11. Share your observations and comments.
12. What is your take-a-way and why?