John 20.9


1. Turn in your Bible to John chapter 20. Letís stand for the reading of Godís Word, beginning with verse 1, reading through to my text for this morning, verse 9:

1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

2. There are a number of observations I would like to make in this exposition, then brother Isenberger will come and lead us in singing a wonderful hymn before this morningís sermon.


1B. My Friends, These Men Had Eaten With, Slept With, Traveled With, Conversed With, Seen Miracles By, And Been Taught By The Lord Jesus Christ For Three Years. Yet John, Writing Under Inspiration Of The Holy Spirit Of God, Surmises "For As Yet They Knew Not."

2B. Though I Will Deal With This More Thoroughly In My Sermon, This Is One Of Those Incidents Which Completely Destroys Contemporary Evangelistic Practice And Shows Decisionism To Be Completely Bogus. If The Chosen Apostles Of Jesus Christ Did Not Understand One Of The Main Tenets Of The Faith After Spending Three Years With The Savior, Then How In The World Can Any So-Called Soul Winning Be Sure A Sinner Will Understand The Gospel Tract He Has Just Been Led Through. And How Can Any Pastor Be Sure Someone In The Audience Really Knows What He Is Doing When He Supposedly Bows His Head In Prayer To Trust Christ?

3B. There Are Two Commonly Used Greek Words In The New Testament That Are Translated Into Our English Word "Know," The Word "Ginwskw" And The Word "Oida." The First Word General Refers To Knowing Something By Discovery, While The Second Word Generally Refers To Knowing Something As A Result Of Understanding. Of Course, As With Any Two Words Such As These, There Is Considerable Overlap In Their Meanings. But It Seems Here That These Two Apostles Simply Did Not Comprehend, Conceptually, The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ From The Dead.

4B. My Friend, There Are Certain Things You Will Never Know, No Matter How Hard You Try To Understand, Unless And Until God Enables You To Understand. This Doesnít Mean There Isnít Value In Struggling To Understand, Because There Certainly Is Value In Striving To Know Truth. But Spiritual Realities Are Godís To Dispense As He Chooses.

5B. Does This Mean Peter And John Are Unconverted At This Point? I Donít Pretend To Know. I Do Know This: If They Are Still Unconverted, After All That Time With The Savior, They Will Definitely Be Converted In Short Order, Verse 22. That Evening, Appearing To Them Again, Jesus "breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." So, If Not Already Converted They Are Converted At This Point.


1B. What Scripture? For A Considerable Time The Savior Had Sought To Focus The Attention Of His Disciples On His Approaching Death, Burial And Resurrection. Turn To Matthew 16.21: "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." So, The Events Of The Last Four Days Did Not Come Unannounced To These Men.

2B. But What Scripture Is Referred To Here By John? There Can Be No Doubt That The Saviorís Teaching On This Subject Was Saturated With Scriptural Truth From The Hebrew Bible, Our Old Testament. But What Portion Of Scripture, Precisely?

3B. Was It Psalm 16.10? "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." It Would Be Difficult To Imagine The Savior Not Referring To This Verse Frequently.

4B. But Other Passages Might Also have Been Included, Such As Isaiah 25.8: "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it."

5B. Or Perhaps Hosea 13.14: "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction."

6B. Whether These Or Other Scripture Passages Are Referred To Here, John Admits In Our Text That He And Peter Simply Did Not Comprehend The Straightforward Thrust Of Godís Word For The Necessity Not Only Of The Messiah Death And Burial, But Also The Absolute Requirement That He Rise From The Dead.

7B. Which Brings Us To The Last Phrase Of Our Text.


1B. There Is No Wiggle Room Here. There Is No Space For Equivocation Or Explanation Or Interpretation In These Words. How Different From The So-Called Holy Writings Of Other Religions, Whose Words Are Nebulous And Fuzzy And Incoherent. In Godís Word The Statements Of Scripture Are Direct, Are Obvious, And Are Demanding. "He Must Rise Again From The Dead."

2B. If Jesus Did Not Die On The Cross, We Have No Christian Faith. If Jesus Was Not Taken From The Cross Already Dead, And Then Buried In A Rich Manís Tomb, We Have No Christian Faith. If The Body Of Jesus Was Not In The Rich Manís Tomb For Three Days And Three Nights, We Have No Christian Faith. And If Jesus Did Not Physically Rise From The Dead, Conquering Death In The Process, We Have No Christian Faith.


1. Our text is an admission by one of the apostles of Jesus Christ that he and another apostle simply did not comprehend that Jesus rose from the dead until they saw, with their own eyes, that His body was gone.

2. This is an admission by John that he and Peter did not believe Jesus, did not believe the Word of God, until they had verified with their own eyes the fact that Jesus had risen.

3. Thomas, another of the apostles of Jesus Christ, is far more blunt in his admission. In John 20.24-25 we read, "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe."

4. My friend, those men were wrong. If you insist on dealing with the truths of the Gospel in the same fashion you will be left in your sins, you will die, and you will go to Hell. Jesus rose from the dead only one time, and showed Him self alive with many infallible proofs to only a select group of people. The rest of us are left to rely on the truthfulness of Godís Word.

5. Itís solid footing, to be sure. But itís the footing of faith in things not seen, not the footing of sight. Before this morningís sermon, letís stand as brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song.


1. I tend to think that the apostles of Jesus Christ, with the exception of Judas Iscariot, were converted at the time Jesus called them to be His apostles.

2. If thatís the case then their lapses of faith at the time Jesus was crucified and their initial reluctance to believe He had risen from the dead were serious lapses, indeed. But Iíve never seen a child of God who did have lapses of faith, sometimes very serious lapses, only and always to see a recovery and reinforcement of that once lapsed faith.

3. Perhaps thatís what we have here. I tend to think thatís what we have here. But the lapse of those two men, who were later filled with Godís Holy Spirit and who went forth with the flaming torch of the Gospel, turning the world upside down with their testimonies of what they had seen and heard, is a boon for you here today who are not converted.

4. You see, whenever a man, a Christian man or an unsaved man, decides that he will not believe until he sees, he sets himself up to be the final authority, he established himself as the presiding judge.

5. But the Bible teaches us that the just shall live by faith. And faith, without which no man can please God, is the substance of things not seen. And did not Jesus, Himself, say to Thomas, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20.29?

6. In the time we have left to us this Easter morning, about seventeen hours after that time in the afternoon before, so long ago, when Jesus rose from the dead, and about six or seven hours yet remaining from that time when He finally revealed Himself to all of them except Thomas, let me walk you through matters pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and how critical is the resurrection to the Christian faith, and to you getting saved.

7. Seven matters to deal with.


1B. Revelation Has To Do With God Communicating Divine Truth To Someone In A Manner That Has Nothing To Do With Discovery, Or With Learning.

2B. When God Spoke To Abram In Ur Of The Chaldees, That Was Revelation. When God Communicated To Jacob In A Dream, About A Ladder From Earth To Heaven With Angels Ascending And Descending, That Was Revelation.

3B. Revelation Was How Paul Came To Know The Gospel, As He Testifies In Galatians 1.11-12: "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

4B. Without Going Into The Specific Details Of It This Morning, God Chose To Communicate To Men By Revelation That There Would Some Day Be A Resurrection. Joseph Knew About It, Which Was Why He Exacted The Promise That His Bones Be Taken Back To The Promised Land From Egypt In The Exodus. Job Knew About It. And They Knew About The Resurrection By Revelation, God Directly Communicating to Them By Supernatural Means That Men Would Rise From The Dead.

5B. And, Of Course, If Men Would Someday Rise From The Dead, There Must Be A First. The Lord Jesus Christ Is The First. He Is Our Champion. He Leads The Way.


1B. If Revelation Is The Means By Which God Communicates Divine Truth To Individuals, One At A Time, Then Inspiration Is The Supernatural Means By Which God Places Truth Before Larger Numbers Of People For Their Benefit. God Revealed To Joseph, But There Is Not Indication That Joseph Was Inspired.

2B. But Moses And David And Daniel And Paul And Peter And John Were Men God Both Revealed Truth To And Worked Through To Provide For Us Inspired Scripture. When Holy Men Of God Are Moved By The Holy Ghost To Write Authoritative Scripture Without Any Admixture Of Error, That Process Is Called Inspiration.

3B. And What Does Inspiration Have To Do With The Resurrection? Under The Inspiration Of God The Bible Contains Many, Many Passages Addressing The Issue Of The Resurrection In General, As Well As Specific Details Concerning The Resurrection Of Godís Son.

4B. And Here We Get To The Crux Of The Matter With John And Peter. Though Both Of These Men Would Later Be Divine Instruments To Pen Inspired Truth In Godís Word, When Our Text Was Written They Simply Did Not Understand Truth That Had Previously Been Given By Revelation And Which Had Been Recorded By Inspiration For Their Careful Examination.

5B. There They Were, On That Sunday Morning, With The Benefit Of Truth having Been Given By Revelation And Inspiration. But Did It Do Them Any Good? Did They Understand? Did They Comprehend? No! John Admits That They Did Not Understand. And Later On Thomas Admits The Same Tragic Thing.

6B. And Is That Not The Same Boat You Are In This Morning? God Communicated It Long Ago To Select Men. It Was Inspired Long Ago In Godís Infallible Record, The Bible. But Does It Grab You? Does It Move You? Does The Truth Inflame You? No.

7B. Listen To What Paul Wrote To The Corinthian Church, In First Corinthians 2.9-11: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."

8B. Revelation Is Wonderful, But God Doesnít Communicate To But A Few Select Individuals By Means Of Revelation. Inspiration Is Wonderful, But Sinful Manís Own Depraved Nature Renders It Impossible For Him To Comprehend The Mind Of God As It Is Revealed In The Word Of God. Something Else Is Needful, And We Call It Illumination.

9B. Illumination Is When The Spirit Of God Makes A Truth Understandable. Of Course, The Risk Is Always That The Sinner Will Think He Is Converted Because He Now Has Understanding Of Some Previously Unknown Truth. But While Illumination Does Not Prove A Person To Be Saved, Illumination Is Necessary For A Person To Get Saved. Let Me Proceed With These Matters In The Hopes That It Will Come Together In Your Thinking.


1B. Itís A Pity John And Peter Did Not Accept The Testimony Of Scripture And Have Confidence That Jesus Would Rise From The Dead, And That Thomas As Well Did Not. But I Suppose It Was Necessary For Them To have A Lapse Of Faith So As To Prevent Anyone From Worshiping Them Or Thinking They Were Somehow Superior To Other Men Apart From The Call Of God.

2B. But It Was Necessary For Those Men To Actually See That Jesus Had Risen From The Dead. They Needed To See The Empty Tomb And To See The Risen Savior. Though Doubt Had Given Occasion To It, It Was Good For Thomas To Feel The Saviorís Hands And To Thrust His Hand Into The Wound In The Saviorís Side.

3B. There Must Needs Have Been Demonstration Of The Facts Related To Inspiration And Revelation, To Provide Verification! Faith, You See, Is Not Blind. Neither Is It A Strongly Held Believe That Flies In The Face Of Facts. Faith Is Built On Facts, On Truths, On Real Events. So, It Was Good That 2000 Years Ago There Was A Convincing Demonstration Of The Facts Of The Gospel, To Show That Revelation And Inspiration Are Reliable, To Provide Eye Witnesses Of The Fact Of The Resurrection Of Christ.

4B. But The Demonstration Has Been Made. Simon And John And Even Thomas Have Been Convinced. Their Confidence In Revelation And Inspiration Has Been Shored Up. But You Remain Unconvinced. Oh, You Say You Believe Jesus Rose From The Dead. But Youíve Not Cast Yourself Upon Him For Salvation And Cleansing And Forgiveness. You Do Not Bow Before Him As Your Risen Lord And Master. You See, There Is As Yet No Illumination Of Your Understanding.


1B. Let Me Point Out To You Something That The Disciples Failed To Do In The Last Hours Before The Savior Was Crucified That His Enemies Did Do . . . Give Consideration To His Words. When You Read The Bible, Which For Most Of You Is Almost Not At All Except When You Are Made To Read It, Godís Words Are Just As Quickly Removed From Your Mind As Possible. This Is A Great Error.

2B. Matthew 27.62-66: "Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch."

3B. Astonishing! The Enemies Of The Son Of God Considered His Words. They Listened To What He Said And Pondered Them. What Would Have Happened Had The Disciples Done As Much? What Would Happen To You If Only You Would Do As Much As His Enemies Did? Listen To The Word Of God. Consider It! Donít Force It From Your Mind As Soon As The Service Is Over.


1B. We Know From Psalm 1 And Psalm 2 That Both The Righteous And The Wicked Meditate On Things Continually. The Righteous Meditates On The Law Of The Lord, Psalm 1.2, While The Wicked Imagines, Different English Word But The Same Hebrew Word, A Vain Thing, Psalm 2.1.

2B. But What Is Meditation, Whether It Be The Righteous Or The Wicked? Meditation Is The Process Whereby A Point Of View, A Piece Of Information, A Truth Or A Lie, An Impression, Is Transferred From The Mind Where It Is First Apprehended To The Heart, Where It Will Be Held. You Need To Hang On To This Historical Fact, This Inspired Truth, This Revealed Incident, Called The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ. You Need To Think About It, Chew On It, Meditate On It, Transfer It From Your Mind To Your Heart.

3B. Donít Let Go Of This Or Let It Drift Away. The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ From The Dead Is One Of The Pivotal Events In Human History. It Is One Of The Five Or Six Most Important Things That God Has Ever Done For The Benefit Of Sinful Man. And It Is Vital That You Consider, That You Ponder, That You Meditate Upon The Fact That You, In Your Present Lost Condition, Pay Less Attention To What He Said He Would Do Than Did Those Who Actually Crucified Him.

4B. What Does It Say About You That You Pay Less Attention To His Words Than Did Those Who Ordered And Conspired To Bring About His Execution? And What Must It Mean About Your Concern For Your Own Soul That You Have So Little Regard For One Who Is Your Declared Enemy, Though He Conquered Even Death?

5B. Does It Surprise You That I Declare The Lord Jesus Christ To Be Your Enemy? It Shouldnít Surprise You At All. Did He Not Say, "He that is not with me is against me" In Matthew 12.30? And You Are Not With Him, Are You? You Do Not Worship Him. You Do Not Serve Him. You Do Not Declare In Public That You Are One Of His Own. Therefore, You Are The Enemy Of One So Powerful That He Conquered Death. You Do Not Choose Your Enemies Well.


1B. If Jesus Rose From The Dead (And There Is More Proof That He Did Than There Is That Shakespeare Wrote MacBeth) Then The Other Things About Him Must Be True. You Need To Contemplate The Implications Of These Things.

2B. If There Is A Savior, Who Left Heavenís Glory To Suffer The Ignominious Brutality Of The Cross, Who Then Triumphed Over Death And The Grave By A Glorious Resurrection, When What Will Be His Disposition Toward You Who Reject His Claim Upon Your Life?

3B. What Will Be Your End Should You Die Without Christ? Surely, Without The Victor Over Death As Your Savior You Can Have No Hope Of Triumph Over The Grave And Over Death. And Since You Will Not Accompany The Savior To Heaven You Must Accompany The Damned To Hellfire. There Is No Alternative.


1B. You See, When You Consider The Resurrection And The Other Details Of The Gospel You Are Open To The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit. And The Same Is True When You Meditate On These Things, And When You Actually Contemplate The Implications Of His Resurrection And Begin To Think About What It Would Be Like To Become A Christian.

2B. The Spirit Of God Is That Member Of The Trinity Whose Ministry It Is To Press Homes The Claims Of Christ, To Garner Attention To His Doing And Dying For Your Sins, To Show You What You Are And To Show You How Exalted The Lord Jesus Christ Is.

3B. If You Will Preoccupy Your Mind With These Things Then The Holy Spirit Will Have Liberty To Conduct His Ministry. While Thinking On These Things You Are Not Nearly So Likely To Repel Him And Grieve Him, To Push Him Away And Refuse To Address Issues He Brings To Your Mind And Heart.

4B. Thus, When The Holy Spirit Is Free To Convict And To Convince, It may Be That You Will be Fully Persuaded To Come To Christ In Faith Believing. And Should You Do That The Holy Spirit Will Regenerate You, Will Make You Alive Unto God Through Jesus Christ, the Lord.


1. What good does it do to believe that Jesus rose from the dead if you are not converted?

2. If Jesus Christ is the risen Savior and you are yet in your sins then you have before you an irresistible enemy who will some day come back to judge you.

3. But if you come to know Him as your Savior then His resurrection from the dead is the prelude to your own glorious resurrection.

4. The Scripture declared that He must rise again, and He did Let us stand, therefore, and praise His holy name.

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