John 20:1-10 The little signs that points to our victory
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face- cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes. John 20:1-10
It was now the third day, morning after Jesus was buried. Mary and the disciples came to the tomb but found it empty. However, Jesus did not immediately appear to them, but He left certain signs that pointed to His resurrection. However, despite the signs, the disciples could not recollect the words of Jesus concerning His resurrection. God deliberately left signs in our life during difficult times that pointed us to His faithfulness and eventual victory. These signs required a heavenly mindset to receive them and turn them into faith.
1. And he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. The author described the scene of the resurrection: first, the stone that blocked the tomb’s entrance was taken away. Then, the linen wrappings laid there, but the face-cloth was positionally separated from the rest of the linen. It seemed that Jesus upon receiving His resurrection body deliberately lifted the face-cloth from His face, rolled it up and placed it neatly apart from the linen wrappings. Hence, a casual examination of the tomb’s exterior and interior, the stone being moved, the position of linen and face-cloth would definitely bring to mind Jesus’ words concerning His own resurrection. Jesus deliberately placed the signs at the scene, as He wanted to remind the disciple of His words and promises.
2. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. The author’s comment serves to accentuate the difficulties that Jesus faced when He tried to teach His disciples concerning the heavenly things. Jesus spoke openly about what would happen to him: “The Son of Man must suffer many thing and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Even the Jews remembered Jesus’ claims and together with Pilate tried to “prevent” His resurrection,
“Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘ After three days I am to rise again. ’ Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead, ’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.” Matthew 27:63-66.
It seemed the disciples were extremely dull or selective in their perception of Jesus’ words.
1. The heavenly revelations must be received not with the earthly mindset, but with the heavenly mindset. The earthly things can be received by reasoning through the earthly mindset and principles, but the heavenly things can only be received by reasoning with the heavenly mindset where all things are possible. The nature of man is to reason with their fleshly mindset. Jesus said to His disciples,
“Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?” (Mark 8:17-18).
The heavenly mindset has the following characteristics:
a. Let God be God. I believe God’s ways and truth is the only way to abundant living.
b. Keeping an open mind. Even when I could not understand, but when I humbly seek God’s face, He will reveal all things to me.
c. Nothing is impossible. God’s blessings in His Kingdom are unlimited. When I seek God’s help, I can do the impossible.
The earthly mindset has the following characteristics:
a. Things must be done in my way and on my terms.
b. If I could not understand it, it cannot be true.
c. No one including God can help me. I will not seek God’s help, for I alone will be responsible for my failure or success.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 speaks of a distinction between the heavenly (spiritual) and the earthly (natural) mindset:
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because such things belong to the spiritual realm and requires a spiritual mindset to receive them. But he who is spiritual in his mindset evaluates all things in a comprehensive manner, yet he himself may not be understood by others. For who can know the mind of the Lord. How can one be taught? But we understand all things, for we have received the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16, paraphrased).
2. God uses circumstances to remind us of His promises. God reminds us of His word and promises through signs if we bother to notice them. He sends people to remind us of His mercies and plans in our life. The little signboard at the hallway, the things that people say that caught your ear are the signs that God uses to remind us of His faithfulness.
1. Write down on paper what God has spoken to you regarding a certain situation. He may speak through the bible or through signs that pops out throughout the day. Spend some time reading it again and again. If conviction increases, then that is where God is leading you.
2. We all hear God with different degrees of sensitivity depending on our degree of openness towards Him. We tend to be open in certain areas and closed in some other areas. Some are open to God regarding their career choices, and yet remain closed in matters pertaining to relationships. God blesses the areas in our life that are open to His guidance. What are the areas in your life that you struggle with?
Dear Lord, I treasure Your words that promises of victory if I do not give up. I open my heart and mind to receive Your instructions even if I do not yet fully understand. Help me to be sensitive to Your guidance through visible signs that attest to Your continual presence in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.