TEXT: John 20:11-18:
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.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
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 333.
Dr. Darrell Bock said, “Forgiveness isn’t an end in itself. The point of forgiveness is to remove the barrier that stands between us and God so that He can give us His Spirit and bring us into His everlasting family.”
When Mary realized that it was indeed Jesus — her Master, her Teacher — who was standing before her, she clung to Him. Having gone Him being taken away from her, not only once (when he was killed), but twice (when His body was found missing from the tomb), her reaction is understandable. She did not want Him to disappear again. She was glad that He was alive. But, Jesus tells her, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.”
The translation, “touch me not,” has led to some confusion. The Greek sense is that of a command to cease an already continuing action. Jesus is telling Mary to stop clinging to Him. It was not because Jesus did not want to be made ritually unclean, as some have suggested. Rather, as we will see in a minute, Jesus had a job for Mary to do. But, Dr. John Walvoord has an interesting interpretation of Jesus’ words, “Touch me not.” He writes: “In effect, Jesus is saying, ‘This (physical contact) is not My real presence for the church. A new relationship will begin with My Ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” The disciples had interacted with Jesus on a physical level for three years. Now, Jesus is saying that things are changing. His physical presence is no longer the key to their relationship with Him. Instead, His Spirit — the Holy Spirit — will soon reside in them and they will not have access to Him physically. Jesus is trying to get Mary to understand that before His Ascension: even though He will physically ascend to His Father, He will not leave her or His disciples in the world alone.
In the meantime, however, Jesus has a job for Mary to do. He tells her, “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” Jesus turns Mary into a messenger and He gives her a message to share. ‘Jesus is risen. And, soon, He will ascend to the Father.’
Notice how Jesus refers to the disciples as “my brethren.” Even after they all forsook Him and didn’t stand with Him as He went to the cross, He calls them “brethren.” Previously, He called them servants and friends. But, now He refers to them as part of His family. They are His brethren because of what He has accomplished by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. They are now a part of God’s family. What a wonderful message for Mary to share.
It is significant that Jesus chose Mary to deliver this message. She was the first to see the empty tomb. And she was the first to see the risen Lord. Now, she is the first to proclaim the good news — that Jesus is alive and that because of what He has done, sinful men can join the family of God. This account cannot be disputed because no Jewish writer who was trying to convince others to believe what he wrote would choose a woman as the eyewitness and the messenger of these important events. In fact, Luke tells us that when some of the disciples heard what she had to say, they dismissed it as nonsense. But Jesus chose Mary to deliver the message.
Her message echoes the message of the angels on the night that Jesus was born. Her message was one of glad tidings and great joy. Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus had accomplished the work He was sent to do. Jesus had repaired the broken relationship between God and man. Now, all who wanted to be forever free from sin, death, hell, and the wrath of God, could be saved by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Charles Wesley wrote:
Jesus, the rising Lord of all,
His love to man commends,
Poor worms He blushes not to call
His brethren and His friends.
Who basely all forsook their Lord
In His distress, and fled,
To these He sends the joyful word,
When risen from the dead.
Go tell the vile deserters!—”No:
My dearest brethren tell,
Their Advocate to Heaven I go,
To rescue them from hell.
“Lo! to My father I ascend!
Your Father now is He,
My God, and yours, whoever depends
For endless life on Me.
“Sinners, I rose again to show
Your sins are all forgiven,
And mount above the skies, that you
May follow Me to Heaven.”
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 who invites men to join the family of God and follow Him to Heaven. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.