读经： 林前15章 2/3/2003 艾伦弟兄
* “并显给矶法看，然后显给十二使徒看”（5节）; * “后来一时显给五百多弟兄看”（6节） * “以后显给雅各看，再显给众使徒看。”（7节） * “末后也显给我看”（8节，“我”就是保罗）
约翰福音20：13 天使对她说：“妇人，你为什么哭？”她也不可能为其他的原因哭，因为耶稣的身体“不在了”。 约翰福音20：14马利亚渐渐的转变了“她转过身来”，她转过身来可能是因为当耶稣进来的时候，两个天使站了起来，于是马利亚想看发生了什么。
因此，对我们来说，复活的力量也改变了我们。 正是因为这些人看到了复活后的耶稣，所以保罗在哥林多前书15：20中说：“但基督已经从死里复活，成了睡了之人初熟的果子。” 所以，我们今天的人也应当对我们的复活有确据。
Reading I Corinthians 15 For Sunday 2/3/2003 Bro Allan
THE IMPACT OF THE RESURRECTION
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Our reading from 1st Corinthians 15 gives us great confidence that the resurrection of Jesus Christ really did occur and that he has achieved victory over death for our sakes. The chapter finishes with the grand words of thanks: verse 57: "Thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ".
The certainty of the resurrection has changed our lives, just as it did to the first century believers.
In the first eight verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul tells the Corinthians about the experiences of the believers in seeing the risen Christ. The Corinthian teachers were discussing whether there ever could be a resurrection, but Paul said he had actual experience of resurrection. Paul had actually seen a person who had died and been resurrected. And we stand on that same firm belief.
In verse 4 Paul adds in the word "buried" to a brief statement of Jesus death and resurrection. Jesus really had been dead. His burial is mentioned in all four gospels records. So, when they saw him again, he really had been resurrected from the dead.
Notice how in each of verses 5 to 8 Paul says that Jesus "was seen": * He "was seen" by Cephas (that is Peter) and then the twelve (v5); * He "was seen" by 500 brethren (v6); * He "was seen" by James and all the apostles (v7); * He "was seen" by Paul (v8).
As a result of seeing Jesus again, all these people became convinced that Jesus had been raised.
Other people also saw Jesus; for instance Jesus appeared to the women. What we want to do this morning is consider the experience of the women during the weekend when Jesus died and rose again.
The Days Following the Crucifixion
Amongst the women believers were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome, Mary the mother of James, and Jesus' own mother Mary. What were they doing in the dark days between the Lord's death and his resurrection?
They had seen the terrible crucifixion of Jesus. Their faithfulness had lead them right to the cross, though they "stood afar off, beholding these things" as Luke puts it. They were extremely upset and confused.
Jesus' mother Mary felt the sword directly though her heart, as had been prophesied. Jesus words to her from the cross, "Woman behold thy son," were of comfort to her, yet the words made the parting with her son all the more real and difficult.
Mary Magdalene had wept more than once in the Lord's presence (for instance when she anointed his feet with oil) and now wept in his absence. More tears yet would be shed by her before the empty grave.
But if Jesus was forever parted from them, the women were not going to stop their service to him until they had done what they could. So Luke records (in Luke 23:55-56) how they beheld where the body was laid "and they returned and prepared spices and ointments and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment". Jesus wasn't coming out of the grave, they thought, but at least they could do with his body the best they could.
The First Meeting of the Resurrected Christ
John 20 tells us of the visit of the women to the tomb. John mentions only Mary Magdalene in verse 1, but other women were with her, for she says in verse 2, "we know not where they have laid him".
As soon as she saw the stone moved, Mary Magdalene promptly assumed that the enemies of the Lord had been there. She thought that, not content with his death, they had stolen his body and taken it elsewhere. She left the others and ran as hard as she could to where Peter and John were staying to tell them (John 20:2). There was no thought in her mind of any resurrection.
Her desperation to tell the disciples showed the depth of her feeling for the Lord, but what could they do?
Peter and John both ran as hard as they could to see the sepulchre (John 20:4). Mary Magdalene obviously trailed behind, tired because she had already run one way. Everything about this part of the story suggests that the minds of the women and also Peter and John were shut to the possibility that Jesus had risen from the dead. That was the last thing they were thinking of.
After Peter and John had left, Mary Magdalene still stayed in the garden where the tomb was. John 20:11 "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping". There was no reason for her to stay, except that this was the spot where she had last set eyes on her Saviour.
In the past two days, she would have shed tears as never before. Now, more than ever, they refused to be restrained. If only she might do something for her Lord! If only she could have made sure that his poor crucified body was properly prepared for burial. But now that his body had been mysteriously removed, even this act of love was denied her.
Could Joseph of Arimathea have moved the body? But why so soon? And why didn't he tell Jesus' disciples? She can make no sense of the situation.
She decides to look further inside the sepulchre. As she stooped down, there were two men there! But no Jesus. John 20:12 "And saw two angels in white sitting, the one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had laid".
The record in John does not indicate that Mary was greatly surprised - perhaps she just thought that these were two of Joseph of Arimathea's men. Only in later days would she recognise the significance of two angels sitting in this dark Holy of Holies and between them the stain of blood, shed to take away the sin of the world.
John 20:13 The angels ask her "Woman why weepest thou?". She would have had more cause for weeping if Jesus' body was there!
John 20:14 Something happened to make Mary turn around: verse 14 "she turned herself back". Maybe the angels had stood when Jesus approached the sepulchre.
Starring out into the light of the morning, Mary Magdelene was able to see only the outline of the stranger who now drew near. Against the light, she couldn't recognise the stranger's face.
John 20:15 Mary thought that the stranger must be Joseph's gardener who surely would know what had happened. So she asks him where Jesus' body was and said, "I will take him away". As if she, by herself, could do that! Her tears blinded her to the difficult task of carrying back the body of the man who meant so much to her.
At that stage she must have turned away from the man she thought was the gardener. She expected nothing of help or comfort.
John 20:16 But while she was turning away, she heard one word, spoken with that familiar voice, that stopped her in her tracks - "Mary".
She turned towards him, starred with amazement and then in a moment was at his feet grasping hold of him.
The impossible had happened. What could not be understood, now became certain. It was Jesus. The oil of sadness was turned to joy. "Now hath Christ risen, risen from the dead".
There was nothing Mary could say, but one word "Rabboni, Master". She used the same title as blind Bartimaeus used when he was healed of his blindness. She too could now see.
Mary would no doubt have lingered there, convincing herself again and again that it really was this same Jesus. But he had to leave and she had a mission to fulfill - "Go to my brethren". Her mission was to be the first to say to the disciples, "Christ has risen from the dead."
No messenger ever had more joyful news to tell. She left the garden as fast as she could to find Peter and John again, to gasp out excitedly to them the news of the empty tomb, but this time with the assurance of the resurrection.
It was to dear Mary that the resurrected Jesus was first seen. Within a few hours, all the other women, Peter and the remainder of the twelve would be convinced of the resurrection and experience its joy.
They could hardly believe "for joy and wonder" Luke 24:41
John 20:20 says "Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." They were now women and men transformed by the power of the resurrection; who within a few weeks would seek to change the world by their preaching.
The Effect On Us
So with us. The power of the resurrection has changed us.
Because these people saw the resurrected Jesus, Paul could write in 1 Corinthians 15:20 "but now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept".
And we, in our day, have the great certainty of our resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:51 "We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:54-55 "Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
We can come today to remember our Lord Jesus Christ through the bread and the wine with the certain belief that he was raised from the dead so that we can have life. Well may we say: "Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).
May our lives be lived following his example of kindness and compassion, following the ways of our Father in heaven as shown in his life. Just as he was raised to walk in a new life, "so we also should walk in newness of life", as his disciples, in hope of the Kingdom to come.
Allan A February 2003