“Because I Live You Shall Live Also”

Sermon outline/slides are available HERE.

John 14:19 & 20:1-23

“Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’[a] head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[c] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Sermon Transcript:

Pastor Thom Rittichier
Well, this morning on Easter, you probably notice that the building sign is out as being for sale, proximately $140,000 is what the going price is. And we have been petitioning the Lord and still will, for what His will is on this. So I’d like you to keep praying. We still having a pending meeting that needs to take place. So I’d like you to keep in prayer on that, if you would. As we come to Easter morning, I want to obviously be drawing your attention to a dramatic event that has taken place in history. And as I do this, I want to reflect with you on an idea that still comes to mind for me. It’s a thought I often have. When we would visit my parents, Aleta and I would go to the homestead in Ohio, the farm that I grew up on. And when we got packed up to leave, looking somewhat like that, (picture a loaded full van) as the family grew. Isn’t it interesting, when you add a family member, how many things needed to be added to your travels. The first one that comes into the family was really quite startling, how you took half the house with you when you left. And so after visiting, we would get packed up and we would start to say our goodbyes. And there was always, always a phrase that my dad would say to me. He came up with to shake my hand and he would always say this, Tom, you know where dad is. It’s such a fondness of that memory that it’s hard to say it without being touched by it. You know where dad is. He’d have this eye to eye lock with me, where he would just kind of expressed that. You don’t have to slug it out alone. We’re here. And you know, over the years, he made good on that promise. He had nine kids, that give him a lot of opportunity to supply needs. I can remember what he did for my older sister, several times and for my older brother and even for us. As I was coming to the end of seminary, I was looking at being able to keep us afloat and kind of came to the conclusion, we’re not going to be able to make this. So we talked to him and he provided the money. We made the arrangement for it to be a loan. And after we got out and got into the ministry, we made I think two payments and we got this back in the mail…paid in full…which was helpful having a little bouncy boy and a baby girl on the way. And then there was the time that our Crown Victoria Station Wagon, in the night, hit an Angus that was in the road. Aleta was driving. There was no way to avoid it. And how my dad stepped up then.

As I think about how my dad always made good on his promise, that’s exactly what Jesus did in his resurrection. He made good on his promise. And we commemorate that here at Heartland, commemorated in churches across the country, around the world, that name the name of Christ, they commemorate that today, His resurrection, in him making good on it. And there is a particular promise that I want to draw attention to on this resurrection morning, one he made good on. We have been in a series for over 55 weeks. This is the 55th message in this series, Over The Top Promises of God. And the purpose of that was to follow along with what Peter had said. That these exceedingly great and precious promises cause us, when we grasp them, hold them, go by them, to become partakers of the divine nature. We actually share in the disposition that God has, as we take these precious promises, hold them, hang on to them, act on them. That His promise, in Peter, what the promises do. And there is a particular promise, many of which Jesus delivered, that I want us to draw attention to. Jesus is speaking here, after informing them of his departure that is coming very, very soon. It is part of his farewell discourse, as it’s called, his parting words. And he says yet a little while, and the world will see me no more. But you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. That’s his promise. He had been with them for over three and a half years, taking care of the problems, handling the difficulties, dealing with the opposition, advancing the cause of the way to go to God, a way of knowing the truth and having a life that was with him. And he said this to them. And in 21 hours, he was dead and gone. How would that strike you? Because I live you will live also. And then he’s dead and gone. Now on this side of the resurrection we know what that meant. The world will see me no more but you will see me and because I live, you will live also. But what that meant to them, well, as Matt read this morning, they did not understand the scriptures, that he was to rise from the dead. They did not yet understand it.

It’s kind of like an episode of The Twilight Zone that I saw. You ever watched The Twilight Zone, hosted by Rod Serling? This episode of The Twilight Zone had a guy who was an inmate at prison. And he had to serve a long sentence. So he was trying to figure out some way to break out of prison. And there was one of his fellow prisoners who was on work release. And this is the kind of work release he had. When a prisoner died, the work release for this one who had it, was that he would go out of the prison and he would bury the deceased, dig the grave and put the dirt over the casket. And he would do that all by himself. So this first inmate, who had a long sentence to serve, came up with the idea so that he could escape. He would make arrangement with the inmate who had worked release. And he would get in the casket with a guy who passed away, they’d take him out bury him, and then the work release inmate would dig him up and let him go. Sounds like a good plan, right? So they made the arrangement, they made the negotiation, the process that was involved, the payoff, how it was done. And the day came when somebody in a prison died. And he ended up in the casket. Do you know the episode I’m talking about? And so while the guy is down there, buried, waiting to be dug up, he is thinking… man, this is taking a long time. And can you imagine how claustrophobic that would be? And there’s two in this box! It is made for one and there’s two in there. So while he’s in there, getting kind of antsy, he has some kind of a light and he clicks it on to take a look at his watch. And when he does, he moves the face cover off of his fellow casket member. And guess who it is?! Yeah, the Grave Digger! All hope is gone.

Because I live, you live also. Tom, you know where dad is. And then I don’t know. I don’t know where he is. That’s the kind of circumstances that we’re looking at here. And we’re going to talk about it this morning because we need to, and it’s a fitting day to do so. Jesus statement, because I live you will live also. We’re going to see three things about this promise concerning resurrection and them being informed of this. First, it has past. And second, it provides a future that is steadfast and sure. And lastly, for now, in the present, this promise. And it’s like…Wow.! I know that’s not a very deep statement. But it’s a very fitted one. Wow!

So it has past. I’m going to ask you to turn with me to the gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 19. This had past, by the time we reached the farewell discourse, where Jesus is talking to his disciples about his departureand he says to them, Let not your heart be troubled…trust me, trust God, trust God, trust also me, trust me, trust me. In my Father’s house…and he goes on and explains to them that he’s coming to get them again. Their hearts are sad, because he’s going away, that’s made clear in the passage. Yet the resurrection was alluded to and flat out told to them by Jesus repeatedly. I have put up here a few passages that I want to highlight rather quickly, where Jesus alluded to this. And he out right flatly tells them. In John, chapter two, verses 19-22, Jesus is being challenged by what gives him the right to speak and act for God, as he’s doing here, What gives you the right, and Jesus explanation is to destroy this temple. And I will raise it in three days, and they think…this is the temple, it’s taken 46 years to build this temple, you’re going to raise it again in three days? But the disciples say that he was talking about his body, which they fully understood after the resurrection.

John chapter 10, at verse number 17 and 18. In that chapter, Jesus speaks about no one takes his life from him. He has the authority, he has the power to lay it down, and to take it up again. And he explains this, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.” “I have the authority to lay it down, and I have authorty to take it up again.” You know, it’s very interesting in ministry there’s a passage in scripture that says…and they could not keep themselves alive…you cannot keep yourself alive. And you know, I thought that’s pretty self evident. Until I remember a man talking to me about someone who passed away, and he said that he couldn’t believe the guy was gone. And then he looked at me and he said, I always thought I wouldn’t let it, I wouldn’t let it, wouldn’t let it, wouldn’t let death take me. I thought that was a given, two things that are sure in this life, deaths and taxes, right? He couldn’t keep himself alive. And you know, in that context, I had an opportunity to talk to him. Jesus is the only one who has authority to not let it, he’s the only one who could keep himself alive. He said, I lay down my life for the sheep, I lay it down. I take it up again. I have the power to do that. I have the power to do that. In John 10:17-18, he flat out tells them about the resurrection.

In John, chapter 11, verses 23 and following, he appears at a grave side. And it’s Lazarus. And there’s Martha and there’s Mary. And Mary comes to him. And says, Lord, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know. That God hears you. Remember what Jesus responses was? I am by the resurrection and the life. He who lives and believes in me shall never die. Even if he does die yet shall he live. Your brother will rise. Yes, I know, in the resurrection on the last day. I am the resurrection and the life. Now the reason we’re doing this is because like them, a lot of this, though we hear it goes right by us. I am the resurrection. I have authority to lay it down. And to take it up again. I have…quite literally the statement is, to stand up out of death….I have that power. And he knew it. And he told them.

There’s one other that I just have to have you see. I’m gonna ask you to turn with me to Matthew 20:17-19. You just have to see how clear he becomes on this. He is headed to Jerusalem just before Palm Sunday. Just before the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when they’re singing the Hosanna, Blessed it is who comes in the name of a Lord. Listen to what Jesus says as they approach Jerusalem. He says to them, verse 17, “And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the 12 disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes. And they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles, the Romans, to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” They’re walking into Jerusalem and he tells them plainly.

Then on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb and sees the stone rolled away. And she runs back and tells the disciples, They’ve taken him away and I don’t know where! They’ve taken him! And John and Peter take off running to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, because they are going to check this out themselves. And they go running. It’s very interesting how that all transpires because they take off together, it shows that they’re walking out and all of a sudden, they’re running. And John, the younger one, the lighter one…Peter was a big guy, you know…the younger one, the lighter one, he out runs Peter. And John arrives there, at the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and he’s sees it. Stone is rolled away and he looks in and he sees, in the distance, in that darkness, he sees the grave clothes laying there. And Peter, who was slower, rushes right in. And he stands here. And then John goes inside too. Because they did not understand from the scriptures that he needed to be raised from the dead. So they live, and because it went right by them, they live in fear, they live in anguish, they live in difficulty of the time. The Lord had told them. He had alluded to it and told them. And quite frankly, told them in no uncertain terms, what’s coming down, but it went by them.

And, you know, we have been told some things by The Lord. And sometimes it, quite frankly, in the situations that we’re in, the circumstances and their propensity to fear and anguish and anger, it goes right by us. Listen to what the Lord said. He says in Hebrews 4:14-16, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast, let us hold fast to our confession”…to what we say we believe in, let us hang onto this because it’s so elusive to us… “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are”…Temped not to see it God’s way, tempted not to go God’s way, tempted not to conform my mind to his directions, tempted to go on with the fear, the anguish, the anger, tempted in every way…”yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” But I’d rather have my anxiety! It creeps up on us, we don’t choose it that way, do we. It creeps up on us. This happens to us, it happens to me, happens to me weekly. This happens. And it’s not the way, in my opinion, that it ought to be. So I get angry. And I’d rather have my anxiety than the promise. “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”, Phillippians 4:6-7. But sometimes it goes right by us.

So it has a past. But also it has a future. It’s stated very clearly in John 14:19, “Because I live, you will live also.” You know, Greek verbs are interesting because they have a mood and they have a tense and they have a voice. Now we have some of that but we don’t have the mood like Greek does. Greek has a mood. And the mood is that this is certain. You will live also. Because I live, you will live also. It’s future tense, it’s definitely coming. It’s certain, it’s a certain thing, and you will be actively involved. That’s the nature of what he says here, you will live also. And as we live in the midst of life stuff…anybody have life stuff? Anybody here have life stuffs, things, relationships, people, disappointments, in the midst of life stuff? As we live here, in the midst of life stuff, we need this. Matt Chandler in “Take Heart” says that everything that we encounter…social media, visiting a store, the advertisements, TV…they take your heart along. And in the midst of life stuff, we have the call to set our affections on things above. Not on things of the Earth. It’s a competing affection. It’s a competing affection. I have competing affections. Such reflections on things above, not on things of the earth, for you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God, when Christ who is your life appears you will appear with Him in glory, that’s guarantee, that is a guarantee. It’s based on what Jesus did, his death, his burial, his resurrection, this is a guarantee. And the call that is on us, is to set our affections there, are set our heart there, set our attention there, set my desire there, set your affections there. And then he talks about how we do that. We do it with the stuff that we encounter, I’m not going to preach Colossians 3:2-4, it’d be great to do. But this is the certainty of our future, to set our affections there.

Now, I have settled this so we could come to this point. This is the biggie and with this, we’re done. This is the biggie. And now in the present. And this is when I want to take you from the John 14 passage over to the John 20 passage, which we’ve already begin to describe. In this now, John chapter 20, we’ve already seen Mary Magdalene show up with the disciples and then the running to the tomb. And them already recognizing that they did not yet understand the Scripture, John 20:9, that he must rise from the dead, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their own homes. Now remember, they were in Jerusalem, and that these guys are from Galilee. So it’s not like they have a summer home in Jerusalem. They went to the place that they were staying. That’s where they went. So each one went to the place that they were residing in Jerusalem. But Mary. You know, it’s very interesting, what Jesus is about to do, he intentionally does with a female. He let his apostles go home, go home. They didn’t understand from the scriptures that he is going to rise from the dead….I’m going home. A little bit later, they’re hanging out, and Peter says, you know, nothing’s really happening with all this, I’m goin fishing. We’re go with ya. Come on, let’s go fishin…So Jesus has Mary Magdalene, you remember who Mary Magdalene was? You know, the one with oil and the hair and his feat, forgiven much. You can look it up. I’m not going to go into it now.

And it’s Mary Magdalene. And she’s invested. Starting at John 20:11, “But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb,” that was empty, and the stone was rolled away, and there were grave clothes in there. And she wept. “She stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. And they said, ‘Woman, why are you crying?'” And I want you to see how involved Mary is here. Mary is so involved that look at what she says, she didn’t say, Who are you? What are you doing? And this is what she does, “they’ve taken away my Lord and I do not know where they’ve laid him.” That’s the second time she said that. First to the disciples, here she says it again. And she’s invested here. And having done that. She turned around. And there was this guy standing there. And the guy said, John 20:15, “Woman, why are you weeping?” And for the third time, she says it again. She says, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Do you know where they’ve laid him? Do you see how invested she is? She’s invested. And that’s the one Jesus chose to speak to, verse 16, “Mary.” That voice, I know that voice! That’s all it took. Because his sheep know His voice. And they recognize it. And they follow. “And she turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means teacher).” Verse 17, “And Jesus said to her”, Mary. You have to know what happens here. She has missed this guy. He’s back! There he is and she’s hugging those feet again! She’s got a grip on him. And she’s not letting him go again. And he says, “do not cling to me, for i have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers”, interesting phrase, go tell my brothers, announced to the disciples, “I’m ascending to my Father andyour Father, to my God and your God.” Why did he do that? Why? Why did he get a female to do? I want you to know. It has to do with your heart towards the Lord. That’s what it has to do with. It has to do with a responsive heart, that’s what has Him come to you and reveal Himself to you. That’s what Jesus said. And she does.

And there are four things when he meets the guys, there are four things: it’s NOW and it’s WOW! Verse 19, “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,” the day of his resurrection, “the doors being locked”, they were shut in. They were locked down tight. The disciples were there because they were afraid. They were afraid of the circumstances. Jesus had just been put to death. These Jewish leaders had said they were going to put out of the synagogue, anybody, anybody who sided with him, whoever went that way they were out. And they were afraid. They were afraid of the political situation. They were afraid of the religious situation. They were afraid of what the atmosphere was at the time and and they were afraid. Jesus came and stood among them, in their midst, and there is this peace that He grants. And he does it twice, again in verse 21. There were good reasons for them to be uptight here. There are good reasons for them to be hanging out…afraid, locked up, shut away, angry, fearful…good reasons. But when Jesus is consciously present with them, he says, “peace be with you.” And this peace refers to a quietness that settles inside, that formerly what was distraught is set at harmony again. You see, now there is this, WOW, peace. Look at how the disciples responded. Verse 20, “When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. And the disciples were glad.” They took cheer, they rejoice, there was this inside that said, Yes! We’re with the Lord. There was this peace thing, which he says again, peace be with you.

And then he says this. There is purpose that he hands out. He said, verse 21, Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I’m sending you.” Life now has purpose, there is purpose, there is purpose above and beyond problems, there is purpose, a purpose the Jesus hands out that involves these problems that you’re having, that his hands and his side can cause us to cheer and be glad, because there is purpose above the problems. Sometimes it goes right by us, because of the present distress. There is purpose. You know, a lot of people live without purpose. When I was retiring, I retired now. Did you know that? I’m retired. When I retired, I heard this line…well, you’ll find something to do. You have to have something because breakfast just isn’t a good enough reason to get up in the morning. There needs to be purpose. There’s purpose! Every problem that you fear, that you have anxiety about, and you are stirred up about, with Jesus present, consciously, there is peace that he delivers, and purpose that is above and includes the problem. That folks, is the resurrection now!

And this, there is presence of His Spirit. And when he had said this, that he gave them purpose, to bear witness of the truth, that was what his purpose was, the same thing the Father had sent him for. He was now sending them. “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” I’ve come to bear witness of the truth. Hey, folks, believe me on this. We will speak the truth! What ever our circumstances in this nation or in Mexico or in any nation, we will speak the truth! And it’s our purpose. What if somebody gets mad? We’ll be kind. We’ll be gracious. But we will speak the truth. “And he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.”, verse 22. There is this presence of His Spirit that we need to seize. When he breathed on them saying receive, he’s talking about grasp it, the Spirit here. And he provides it, it’s not our spirit. It’s His Spirit. We have the presence of His Spirit. That’s what that John 14:9 passage was about…I won’t leave you as orphans. I will come to you. I will come to you in the Spirit!

And there’s one other thing here. There is the power of forgiveness, verse 23, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” There is the power of His forgiveness. Do you realize what power we hold? Power of extending God’s forgiveness and the power of not extending God’s forgiveness. If you forgive any, they are forgiven. If you hold back on forgiving, they are not forgiven. You know what he’s talking about? He’s talking about the granting of his forgiveness to us that we hold out to others. If we don’t hold it out, we retain it, they’re not going to be forgiven. If we do hold it out, they’re forgiven by God. It’s a passive on their part, he forgives. Is it down on us? No, we’re in accord with him. You know, I want to highlight for you a statement about holding out forgiveness. This was kind of brought home to me. Do you have any folks you know who aren’t believers? You have some? I do. Holding out forgiveness to them, well, it’s so scary. They may reject me, they may reject it. I’ll just hold it back here, not giving them an opportunity. It was suggested to me that in doing that, we may need to ask forgiveness of some folks. Ask them for forgiveness. Hey, Bill, I need to ask your forgiveness. Why? Well, I need to ask your forgiveness because all this time I should have told you this great thing that God has done for me, and I didn’t do it. Would you forgive me? How’s that for an introduction. I need to ask your forgiveness. Why? Because I should have told you a long time ago what God has done for me. And I didn’t. What’d he do for you? Oh, thanks for asking. Hold it or withhold it, offer it or withhold offering.

I’m gonna close right now on Easter Sunday morning. And I want to close with this. As fond as my memory is of my dad saying ‘Tom, you know where dad is’ and as much as that endears me. And as much as I have thought of that over and over throughout my lifetime. I want you to know that one day it dawned on me that this has a “til death do we part clause” on it? Every human promise, every human relationship has a “till death do we part” clause, that we experience. By His resurrection, Jesus shattered the “till death do we part” experience. He shattered it. And what do we do with that? What do we do with this? We have this option, we can dismiss it from our minds and focus our time on what we’re interested in. Nice to hear about on Easter, but just dismiss it from our minds and focus on what we’re interested in. Or we can trust him with our life, believe in Him, like the scripture has said, trust him. Trust Him with your life, believe on Him and for the rest of your life aim at giving a good and accurate opinion of Him to the world by what you say and what you do. Like saying, Bill, I need to ask you to forgive me. Forgive you for what? Because all this time and I haven’t told you. Told me about what? What God has done. Folks, our whole life is on this balance. You can dismiss it and focus on what you’re interested in or trust him with your life and spread a good opinion of who he is and what he’s done.

We’ve got a song for you this morning. Father in heaven, hear our song we pray as an expression of our hearts. Lord, let us be with Mary and have a heart that’s responsive to your voice. In Jesus name, amen.

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