TEXT: John 20:11-16:
11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 332.
George Eldon Ladd said, “A close study of the text nowhere suggests that the stone of the tomb was rolled away from the tomb to let Jesus out. The earthquake and rolling back of the stone is recorded as a sign of a wonderful event, not as the event itself. There can be only one conclusion: the body of Jesus was gone before the stone was rolled away. It did not need to be removed for Him to escape the tomb; He had already escaped it. The removal of the stone was for the disciples, not for Jesus.”
When Peter and John left the empty tomb, they acknowledged that Jesus had risen from the dead, although they did not understand fully what this meant. Either they did not communicate what they had concluded to Mary or Mary did not believe them, for she remained weeping at the tomb. When the disciples had left, she looked into the tomb one last time to examine the scene. Instead of seeing the grave clothes lying alone, she now saw two men, angels, standing at the place where Jesus’ body had been laid.
Mary did not react with fear or apprehension as most others in the Bible did when they encountered angels. Her grief over Jesus’ death and her concern about His missing body were too great. She did not even seem to react to the fact that these two men were now in the tomb where they had not been just a moment before. When they ask her, “Woman, why weepest thou?”, she responds, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” She, like several of the women who followed Jesus, had a deep love and respect for the Lord — so much so that when He was being crucified they did not run away, but stood by through the whole gruesome ordeal.
When Mary turns away from the angels in the tomb, apparently concluding that they could not help her, she sees someone else standing by the entrance. John tells us that this was Jesus, but that Mary did not recognize Him. There was something about Jesus’ glorified body that prevented people from immediately identifying Him when they saw Him. The same thing happened to Cleopas and the other disciple on the Road to Emmaus. We do not know if this was deliberate on Jesus’ part or if those who knew Jesus simply needed to have their spiritual eyes opened in order to see Him in this new form.
Either way, Mary mistakes Jesus for the gardener. And she expresses the same concern about Jesus’ body as she did to the angels. She said, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” Her single-minded focus was on locating Jesus’ body. Apparently, she did not consider that Jesus had risen from the dead. She was devastated that, after all that had happened, the enemies of the Lord had robbed them of a proper burial for their teacher.
Jesus does not allow her to remain in this delusion for long. Verse 16 says, “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” When Jesus calls her name, she immediately recognizes Him as her Master and Teacher. Dr. John Walvoord and Dr. Roy Zuck write, “The fact that Jesus appeared to Mary rather than to Pilate or Caiaphas or to one of His disciples is significant. That a woman would be the first to see Him is an evidence of Jesus’ electing love as well as a mark of the narrative’s historicity. No Jewish author in the ancient world would have invented a story with a woman as the first witness to this most important event. Furthermore, Jesus may have introduced Himself to Mary first because she had so earnestly sought Him. She was at the cross while He was dying, and she went to His tomb early on Sunday morning.”
Mary’s experience reminds us that those who seek the Lord will find Him. It is also a demonstration of Jesus’ words that, as the Good Shepherd, He calls those who belong to Him “by name” and they respond to His call. Jesus’ call of Mary was, as Spurgeon said, ‘a one-word sermon.’ Jesus identified Mary as one of His own. He let her know that He was risen from the dead. And He brought enormous comfort to her heart. Mary was also eager to believe. She did not try to figure out how or why Jesus had risen from the dead. She no longer had questions about the empty grave clothes. As soon as she identified her Lord, she believed in Him as Teacher, Master, and Savior.
Philip P. Bliss wrote:
At the feet of Jesus,
Pouring perfume rare,
Mary did her Savior
For the grave prepare;
And, from love the good work done,
She her Lord’s approval won.
At the feet of Jesus
Is the place for me,
There, in sweetest service
Would I ever be.
At the feet of Jesus,
In that morning hour,
Loving hearts, receiving
Haste with joy to preach the word;
Christ is risen, praise the Lord!
At the feet of Jesus,
Risen now for me,
I shall sing His praises
In the record of the Gospels, in the testimony of the disciples, and in the testimony of Mary today, Jesus has revealed Himself to us, not only as the coming Savior, the dying Savior, and the buried Savior, but also as the risen Savior. With His identity fully revealed, what will you do? Will you believe in Him as Mary did and embrace Him as your Savior, Master, and Teacher? Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at email@example.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.