SATURDAY, JULY 15 | JOHN 20
Have you ever seen a homeless person on the road asking for money or food? What is your initial reaction when you see them? Have you ever taken time to hear their story, their background? In today’s study, you’ll learn about Jesus’ resurrection. But, try to pay special attention to the types of people He visits upon His resurrection. It would have been easy to go back to the crowds that demanded His death. He could have rubbed death on a cross in their faces. But, instead, He decided to visit others for a specific purpose.
Read John 20:1-10
The first person to see that Jesus was no longer in the tomb was Mary Magdalene. What was her initial reaction to seeing that the stone had been removed from the grave? She knew that the disciples needed to know that their Savior was no longer there. The idea of a resurrection did not even cross her mind. Yet, when John and Peter arrived and looked inside the tomb, they saw the cloth and linens lying exactly where the body of Jesus lay previously. It was as if the body had simply evaporated and not taken off.
Read John 20:11-18
Notice that Mary speaks directly to the angels. This is one of the few times in the Bible where someone speaks to angels without being completely taken with fear (for example, the shepherds in their fields when Jesus was born). Also, the fact that the resurrected body of Jesus was seen by a woman first is significant. The testimony of a woman would generally not have been respected by society, but Jesus values it. What does this tell us about the difference between what we, as Christ followers, should value versus what society values?
Read John 20:19-23
It was not until this point when the disciples finally believed that Jesus had resurrected. They had to see His hands and His sides in order to fully believe. Also, despite the disciples deserted Jesus during His crucifixion, Jesus responds with peace. What does this display about the character of Jesus and His understanding of what was needed to be accomplished?
Read John 20:24-31
Thomas provides an example of what many unbelievers desire from God. They desire to see, touch, and then believe. While Jesus is more than willing to let Thomas see and touch, He blesses those who believe without doing so. However, Thomas also represents a very important idea for truly believing in Christ. He did not believe simply because others said he should. He did not go along with everyone despite not understanding. He desired to know truth, to understand, and then make his own decision based off of what he knew. In many ways, Thomas reflects what many believers go through in terms of their own convictions.
The resurrection of Jesus is vital to understanding and truly believing that Christ died for our sins. If He wasn’t resurrected, then our sin would have died with Christ, but the death of sin would not have been defeated. However, as you’ve gone through BOS this summer, perhaps you’ve seen many different aspects of what The Salvation Army looks like in real life. It might mean shelter, support, church, faith, food, or many other things to many people. And yet, they are all aspects of who Christ is. More importantly, they show that Christ is available to everyone, regardless of status. How can you show Jesus to everyone, regardless of their status, recognition, or position today? How can live you joyfully within the context of Jesus defeating sin and resurrection? What does that look like within your own life today?