From Sorrow to Joy!

Gospel of John #51: an exposition of John 19:31-20:18. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, February 12, 2012.

You know the movie was good when you walk out of the theatre and you are drained.  You’re not even sure you’re going to make it to the car.  You’ve been sitting for the last two hours and watching a movie but you are drained.  You are exhaust because the movie was so intense.  You traveled the whole range of emotions.  You just don’t have anything left.  You’re worn out, drained, dead on your feet and you look at your spouse and you say, “I could see that again!”

The problem is when you see that movie the second time – it’s lost something.  It is not quite as intense the second time around.  You know the hero is going to make it out alive.  You know how it is going to end.  Oh, you may still enjoy the movie but it just doesn’t compare with the first time.

There is, however, a story that never grows old.  A story so shocking, so wonderful, so vivid and so significant – that no matter how often you hear it there are aspects you’ve never explored.  There are subjects you can never exhaust.  It is the story of the cross and the resurrection.  The old, old story of how Jesus, as the Lamb of God, secured our salvation.  The story of history’s most daring rescue mission.  The story of the final battle in the cosmic war for the souls of men.

John, the beloved, took up his pen to write an account of the life and ministry of Jesus.  He tells us that the purpose of his writing is that we might know that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God and that we might have life by believing on His name.  John’s Gospel is not a biography, it is a selective history with a purpose and that purpose is to bring us to faith.  Throughout his Gospel John has referred to various “signs.”  Back in chapter 2 when Jesus cleansed the Temple at the beginning of His ministry – he was asked by the Jews to perform a sign to demonstrate His authority.  Jesus responded by saying,  “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”  On another occasion He responded to those demanding a sign – “The only sign you will be give in the sign of Jonah.”  These were references to the cross and the resurrection.  This morning we look at the “great sign” of John’s Gospel.  Our text is found in John chapters 19 and 20.

Text: John 19:31-20:18

For several weeks now we have been treading on holy ground.

We have witnessed His betrayal.
We have witnessed the hateful mocking of the soldiers.
We have witnessed the injustice of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin.
We have seen the cowardice of Pilate.

Last time we entered behind the veil in to the most holy place as the Lamb of God was slain for our sin.  Jesus, the great high priest entered into the presence of God into that tabernacle not made with human hands and offered the once and for all sacrifice for sin.  Redemption’s payment was made.  Salvation was secured.  We heard the shout of triumph as Christ the victor declared – “It is finished!”

But the story does not end there.  The story did not end with a lifeless body on the cross.  That is only part of the story.

As we explore our text we are going to discover that:

Thesis: The horror of the cross is swallowed up in the glory of the resurrection.

As the drama unfolds in our text is naturally falls into three parts.

  1. Note first of all, the horror of the death of Jesus.  (19:31-42)
  2. Second note, the confusion of the empty tomb.  (20:1-10)
  3. Finally note the glory of the risen Lord.  (20:11-18)

In a matter of hours the disciples have moved from fear to despair,  from confusion to glory running the full gamut of emotions as the drama of redemption played out.  John says, “You want proof that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God?  There is no greater proof than the cross and resurrection.

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