Seeing and Believing

Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

John 20:1-18 | April 12 - Sunday Morning,

Sunday Morning,
April 12
Seeing and Believing | John 20:1-18
Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor

Let’s pray as we come before the Word. Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph over His foes. He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever s His saints to reign. He arose, He arose. Hallelujah, Christ arose. We pray, Father, together with the risen Christ that You would send Your Spirit to anoint now the preaching of Your Word, to illumine to us this Word which Your Spirit Himself inspired, and that You would give us ears to hear, that we might be corrected, reproved, strengthened, encouraged, and made competent for every good work. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Our text this morning comes from the Gospel according to John, chapter 20. Soon after I came here in 2017 we had a short series from 1 and 2 Thessalonians and then the fall of that year began a series in the book of John. There’s been some breaks here and there, for Christmas, for summer, but this has been our steady diet for two and a half years, coming up on three years, and we come now to chapter 20.

Nearing the end of this Gospel, Lord willing, over the next several weeks we will come to its completion, and fittingly for today, on Easter Sunday, we come to chapter 20 and the resurrection.

“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’ 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. Then the disciples went back to their homes.”

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as 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. 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.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 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.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). 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.’’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’ —and that He had said these things to her.”

I remember when I was in English classes in high school and we would study all these great pieces of literature, American literature, British literature, world literature, and so often it’s the case that education is wasted on teenagers. Not wasted, of course, not our very gifted and talented teenagers here at our school or those in our church, but other sorts of teenagers who have to read classics of literature or have to make their way through Shakespeare and say, “When am I gonna ever use this in life?” And I remember when I would be studying these works, it would occur to me, aren’t we, aren’t we overdoing things a bit? Looking at line by line words at times, really doing a deep analysis and evaluation on what did the author mean by this imagery and what was he trying to do by using this word or did you notice how he, he’s using words with alliteration, or… And I would think to myself, the poor guy or girl is just writing a story, just writing down whatever came to him. We are really overdoing this literature analysis.

Well, now that I’m a little older and hopefully a little wiser, and now that I’ve written a few books myself, I know that authors, at least good ones, are not looking to waste words, especially in telling stories. And yes, it’s possible that we can see all sorts of things that aren’t meant to be there, but it’s true that these great words of literature have authors who were very, very circumspect in the sort of language they were using and the points that they were trying to make. And if that’s true if you’re reading Shakespeare, how much more is it true when reading the inspired account of Jesus’ life and ministry in the Bible?

Sometimes when you’re reading a story in the Bible, especially a really familiar story, which the resurrection may be to many of you, you want to stop and you want to pay attention, what seems curious? What seems unnecessary? What seems out of place? What might you quickly write off as someone just in a bit of fancy writing more than they needed? But when you really look at it, you say, now what, what is this really doing here?

The story of Jesus’ resurrection was well known to most of John’s audience. Secular writers were aware of Jesus’ death and the presence of a Christian community gathering around some man that they claimed to have died and been raised. Paul tells Agrippa in Acts 26 “this thing,” meaning the resurrection, did not happen in a corner. This was not some secret revelation that happened to some person one day out in a field by themselves, but there were appearances, there were accounts of this all over Judea, and spread throughout the Mediterranean world.

John’s audience was surely aware of the oral traditions, and maybe some of them had already heard from the authoritative books, depending on when the other gospels were written. All four Gospels relay the same basic contours of the story: They have women arriving at the tomb, at least one of whom is Mary Magdalene, an angel or angels will say “do not be afraid, I know who you’re looking for, He’s risen, go tell His disciples,” and then they run off with some mixture of joy or fear, and they announce to the disciples what they have seen and heard.

And that’s the same story here in John’s Gospel. Now some other details that Matthew, Mark, or Luke may have are not found here and we’ll see in a moment some details here are not in the other Gospels. But there’s nothing that makes the accounts mutually exclusive. The other Gospels will have more than one woman at the tomb; here we just have Mary Magdalene mentioned, but you notice in verse 2 she says “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.” So clearly, even though Mary Magdalene is the only one mentioned, there were other women with her.

She has a two-part visit. She comes while it’s still dark, and then she comes again with Peter and John. On the first visit, she sees the stone is rolled away and says “I gotta go tell Peter and John,” and then she comes back, and on the second visit she sees two angels and she encounters the risen Jesus. And there’s nothing in this account from John that doesn’t fit with the other accounts, it’s just the same story from a different angle.

But what seems curious to you in John’s account of the resurrection? And by curious, I don’t mean what seems wrong, but what, what prompts you to say, “Now why is this here? Why did we need to know that? Why is the Gospel writer making such a big deal about this seemingly insignificant point?”

I see three odd, strange things in John’s account of the resurrection.

First, why do we need to know who got to the tomb first? You see in verse 4. We have Mary, she’s come and she’s come while it’s still dark at the beginning of the chapter, and John mentions darkness not only to indicate the time of day, but because light and dark is such a prevalent theme. She’s there when it’s darkest, but the light is about to burst forth in glorious day. The stone is gone, she runs to get Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved, which we know the author of this book, John, and they go back to the tomb. But we read in verse 4 both of them were running together, but the other disciple, wink wink nudge nudge, that’s me, John, the beloved disciple, we were running together and that other disciple, he won’t be named, outran Peter and reached the tomb first. Why? Who cares, other than John, apparently?

I mean, it almost seems comical and we almost kind of wonder if John’s let his pride get the better of him. I mean, who says “I am going to tell you the most amazing thing that has ever happened on the planet. This has literally changed history, the world will never be the same, but first I need to tell you, I was booking it. I was really booking it on the way to that tomb that day.” Is John bragging? Was it a race? Was the last one there a rotten egg? Why do we have anything… Why does John bother to mention this?

Well, I think there are at least two reasons. One, because it says something about the relationship and the camaraderie between Peter and John. Peter and John would be two key leaders in the early church, and they are often tied together. Think of Acts 3 and 4. Who do we find preaching there among the Sanhedrin and getting in trouble with the law, but it’s Peter and John. They are together in Jerusalem. James will have a leadership over the church, but we hear more often about Peter and John together preaching. And perhaps there is some suspicion that maybe some thought there was a perceived rivalry or perhaps the potential for some faction.

If you look at the end of the book in chapter 21, verse 20, “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper, and had said ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.'”

So there’s this unique relationship between Peter and John and we’ll come to that, Lord willing, in a few weeks that even at the end there’s John feeling the need to mention that he and Peter were going to it looked like die in very different ways. And might there be some people saying, “Well, I’m with Peter” or “I’m with John.”

We see hints here in this story that Peter, even though John got there first, had preeminence. And might it be actually not a sign of John’s pride but of John’s humility, because you notice John says he was running and he got there first, verse 5, “stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and he went into the tomb.” Now it might be that John is perhaps a bit nervous about going in; it is a fearful event. And then Peter, typical Peter, impetuous, bold Peter, he just rushes right in. I think it’s also safe to assume that John perhaps is waiting there for Peter to come. It’s very likely that there was a significant age gap, perhaps a generation or a half a generation between Peter and John. Church tradition tells us that Peter is going to die many decades before John. Now that will be as a martyr and so it doesn’t necessarily say how old Peter might have been, but if John is going to live as tradition says maybe up to 90 A.D. and this is 33 A.D., he’s got almost 60 more years, so he must be a young man, early 20s, perhaps younger, and Peter already has a wife, a mother-in-law, a family. And so there’s an age gap and there may be already a sense that Peter is going to have a kind of first among equals preeminence in the early church, and so John, quite apart from saying, “aha, we had a race and, you know, old man Peter couldn’t keep up with me,” no, “I got there first and I waited and then Peter went in.” And verse 4, the important part is, these two leaders of the church, they went together.

So it may something about the relationship between Peter and John that’s important.

The second reason why we may have mention of this supposed foot race, well, it’s not supposedly that it happened, but this foot race, is that it shows that John was an eyewitness of these things that took place. Maybe you’ve noticed in John’s Gospel whenever we have mention of “the beloved disciple,” “the one whom Jesus loved,” and John doesn’t mention his name because he doesn’t want it to be about him, he’s not the point, but this beloved disciple, wherever he shows up, very fine details follow.

If you have a Bible, you can just look really quickly at chapter 13. You see it in verse 23 here at the last supper, “One of the disciples whom Jesus loved was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,” so this is John, “so Simon Peter,” again you see John and Peter together in this unique relationship, “motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom He was speaking, so that disciple leaning back against Jesus said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.'”

So we have very finely woven details here because we are introduced to the one Jesus loved. John is here present, so he’s able to give eyewitness detail and testimony.

Or you turn over to chapter 18, verse 15, Simon Peter, again you’re going to see Peter and John together: “Simon Peter followed Jesus and so did another disciple,” very, very likely this is John, “since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside the door.”

And what we have here are details about conversations that were overheard by John himself.

And then again in chapter 19, verse 35: “He who saw it has borne witness. His testimony is true and he knows that he is telling the truth that you may also believe.”

Which is why we have these details about what took place with the crucifixion, and not tearing His seamless garment and not breaking His legs. Whenever we are introduced to John being right there in the thick of things, we have intricate details that could only come from eyewitness testimony.

So the reason why it’s significant that John outran Peter, why mention that strange detail in the first place? It’s because it’s a detail you would not otherwise know or bother reporting if you are making up a story.

If you and your brother go off into the woods and you come back and you’re trying to trick your parents about what happened there and you tell them, “Mom, dad, we saw an alien spaceship in the woods,” you’d probably say something like, “So we were walking into the woods and we hear a strange noise and then we run there and you’ll never believe what we saw, this massive spaceship.” It takes quite a lot of sibling rivalry to invent in the moment of retelling a story some foot race or who ran ahead to the other one and then waited for the next person to come. It’s not the sort of thing you say unless it happened. Unless you were there. It’s a kind of timestamp on the event. It’s a kind of proof that yes, this incredible story is not incredible; it happened.

I think I’ve mentioned this story before that when I was a seminary student up in Boston and one evening, this is before, you know, Door Dash and Uber Eats and before you can just go online and order stuff, you say I’m hungry, say I want a Krispy Kreme doughnut. And this is before they were everywhere. We, we found out where the nearest Krispy Kreme was and it was in New York City, not right around the corner from Boston. So we piled in in, we did an epic, you know, six guys in a 4-Runner road trip and drove four hours from Boston down to New York City, got there just before it was closed. We bought a dozen doughnuts, we scarfed them like you can do when you’re, you know, 22 years old, and we drove back and I had a seminary class the next morning at 8:00.

And the glaze and the sugar was not preventing sleepiness in the class, and David Wells was my professor, and I remember trying to tell him, or trying to tell somebody else in the class during a break, that we had been to New York City last night to get doughnuts. They said no, you were not in New York City to get doughnuts, who drives from Boston to New York City to get doughnuts. And I said, “Well, we did. I ate it” or “here’s a hat” in trying to prove it. “No, I don’t believe you.” Until I realized that I had in my back pocket my wallet, and in the wallet was the receipt for the doughnuts. And there it was, right there, New York City, and it was timestamped whatever it was, 9:48 p.m., and I could say “There, I’m telling the truth. We were there. It happened.”

And so John, quite apart from giving us just a superfluous detail, it’s a way of saying and showing to us “I was really there, this happened with all of the human moment that you could anticipate as we’re running and I got there first and I waited for Peter, this is not a story that I’m making up. It happened. I was there. I saw it.”

That’s one strange thing.

Here’s another strange occurrence. What about verse 7? Why do we need to know about this face cloth? Why is it so significant that when they see the linen cloths and the face cloth separate from them, folded up in a place by itself, that John goes in, sees it, and believes?

It says in the next verse “they didn’t yet understand the Scripture.” So they weren’t putting it all together, but there was something about the face cloth folded up in the corner that John said “I believe He’s risen.” Well, that seems strange.

You may know about the so-called Shroud of Turin, which claims to be that, well, it doesn’t claim anything, but people claim for it to be this face cloth that then has the, the imprint of the face of a man, and the best testing has shown this to be from the 14th century, not from the 1st century. John Calvin wrote about the Shroud of Turin; it wasn’t yet in Turin then, but wrote about it in his treatise on relics. He said: “How is it possible that those sacred historians who carefully related all the miracles that took place at Christ’s death should have omitted to mention one so remarkable as the likeness of the body of our Lord remaining on its wrapping sheet?”

So this Shroud of Turin was not unknown to the Reformers and Calvin said, look, if this was authentically Jesus’ face cloth and it had the mark of His face in it, surely that would have made some mention by the Gospel writers.

So, no, the significance of the face cloth here is not that it miraculously bore the imprint of Jesus’ face and it still does today. No, the explanation is much more ordinary, but actually much more theologically significant than that. There is meant to be a deliberate contrast with Lazarus.

Now look back up at chapter 19, verse 40: “So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices as is the burial custom of the Jews.” So Jesus was buried just as was Jewish custom, so we can surmise that Jesus was buried very much in the same way that Lazarus would have been buried. Your body was placed on a large sheet, which was folded over from the head down to the feet, the ankles were bound, the arms were tied to the body, and then the face was covered with a separate cloth.

So Lazarus, when, when Christ calls him forth from the grave, would have been just hopping, shuffling out. He has this long, this long blanket which is bound at his feet. Lazarus comes out of the grave literally in the bands of death, which is why we read in John 11:44: “The man who had died (Lazarus) came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to him, ‘Unbind him and let him go.'”

His face wrapped with a cloth. Sudarion is the word in the Greek. It’s the same exact word used here in verse 7.

So do you see the massive difference. Oh, Lazarus was a miracle. Jesus called him forth from the grave. But he came forth with the bands of death still wrapped around him, new life resuscitated, given to him. His was a restoration, a resumption of normal, mortal existence, and very poignantly he was still shrouded in death. Jesus had to order for those bands to be unbound and unwound from him.

No, we have something very different when Jesus strides forth from the tomb. 1 Corinthians 15 says He was given a new spiritual body, the first fruits of the final resurrection to come.

And part of the significance here is not only that Jesus’ resurrection was of a wholly different character than Lazarus, but that He comes forth with no need for grave clothes. You won’t be needing these anymore because death has no hold on me. I’m done with death, I’ve conquered death.

So often, especially in the winter months, when my wife is in the house inevitably colder than I am, and I’m trying to tidy up and trying to pick up the blankets off the couch and it’s one of the few things I’m really good at as a husband, is I can take rectangular blankets and fold them up and put them into the chest there where they belong, but often as I’m pulling it to fold it, my wife will say, “No, don’t, don’t fold it up. I’m not done with that yet. I’m coming back to that. I’m getting dessert; I’m coming back to sit on the couch. I still want that blanket. Just leave it where it is. Don’t fold it up.” When do you fold it up? You fold it up when you’re done with it.

Some of you are doing now, or you’ve already done. You folded up all the winter clothes, you put them in a bin, you put them in storage somewhere so you can forget where they are because winter is over. You’re done with those clothes, fold them up, put them away, and so to see the face cloth folded up, lying there in the corner, is to say, and John certainly saw it and heard it, this message: We don’t need those anymore; I’m not coming back here.

Lazarus would die again. Jesus would not.

And so we’re meant to see a deliberate contrast between Jesus’ resurrection and Lazarus. And it is another piece of evidence that demands a verdict, which is why the face cloth leads John to believe. That cloth, folded up, sitting there, is a silent witness of Jesus vanquishing power over death.

John is going to say at the end of the Gospel there are more signs than can, than can possibly be written. All of the signs that Jesus did. Well, here was another one. Seemingly ordinary, just a piece of cloth folded up. Because, see it means that this was not the act of grave robbers. If grave robbers had come, and there were certainly grave robbers in the Roman Empire. By the time of Emperor Claudius, grave robbing, destroying tombs, stealing bodies, would be punishable by death.

But no, no, no. This tells us that this is not the hand of grave robbers – this is the hand of God. That this body was not snatched away by friend or foe, that Jesus had not just swooned and had gotten sick and now he sort of stumbles out. No one who’s trying to make Jesus into a resurrected hero grabs His body and unbounds Him and then sends Him out and then folds up His face cloth. No grave robbers come in and pay attention to the laundry. No, no, no… His body was not stolen. Jesus did not stumble. This is not a prank. This is not a joke. This is not today a euphemism for bringing victory out of defeat. No, there was a dead man in there, and He’s not dead anymore. He’s alive, just as He said, and death has no hold on Him any longer.

So we see far from being an extraneous detail, the folding of the face cloth is what leads John to say “I believe.”

And then finally, verse 17, why does Jesus speak this way to Mary Magdalene? Presumably, she came back with Peter and John, and presumably she did not go into the tomb to see all that they saw, but she, we’re told deliberately in verse 11, was there weeping outside the tomb. And she sees the angels and then she speaks to Jesus, and then He says, in this moment of tender affection, “Mary.” I just, I just wonder what that sounded like, “Mary.” It’s the living embodiment of John 10:3 and 4, “The sheep know the voice of the Master, and the Master knows the sheep and calls them out by name.”

She didn’t know who He was. There was something about His body. We see this tension in the New Testament, that the resurrected body of Christ on the one had it can be touched, it has visible wounds, it can cook fish, it can eat, and yet it can pass through grave clothes, it can appear in a locked room, and sometimes, here to Mary, to those on the road to Emmaus, it’s unrecognizable until He speaks her name.

Are any of you this morning hearing Jesus speak your name? Calling to you to believe, to repent. Perhaps you’ve been around church your whole life, but, but now, with everything going on, and on this Easter Sunday, you say I, I truly believe, this is not a story. This is life, this is history, this is doctrine, this is everything to me. She hears Him speak her name. And when she hears His voice, she clings to Him.

But Jesus says something strange: Do not cling to Me. Now, it’s not a, it’s not a big bear hug and it’s certainly not an affectionate embrace. Matthew 28:9 says “The women took hold of His feet and worshipped Him.” So she’s down on her face in a posture of worship, clinging to His feet, and He says “don’t cling to me.”

Now, okay, maybe He just doesn’t, I mean, this is the first act of social distancing, what’s going on here. No, because He gives the for, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” So this is curious. What does “I have not ascended to the Father” have to do with “do not cling to me”? If anything, you think it should be the opposite: “Cling to me now because when I ascend to the Father, I’m going to be gone and you’re not going to be able to physically touch My feet.”

So how are these two clauses connected? “Don’t cling to me for I haven’t ascended.” Well, this is the point: The state of the resurrection is in one sense not complete until Jesus returns to the Father. We are so locked in when we read the Gospel to the cross and to the empty tomb, and rightly we should be, that we miss how often Jesus talks about the importance of His ascending.

Chapter 3: No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descends to earth, the Son of Man.

So already there, from the beginning of John’s Gospel, Jesus is looking toward that literal climax when He will ascend and return to the Father.

What He means in verse 17 is “My salvific work has been accomplished, but I have not reached My goal. I am on My way, going to the Father.”

Jesus talked this way all the time. In John 14, verse 4, when He is going to say that He’s the Way and the Truth and the Life, He says “you know the way to where I am going.” And then down in verse 12, “whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do, greater works than these because I am going to the Father.”

Again in verse 28: “You have heard Me say I am going away and I will come to you.”

In chapter 16, verse 5, remember, He says that He is going away, but now none of you ask where are You going.

And again and again, He says that’s how He will convict the world, the spirit of judgment, of righteousness, because I am going to the Father.

So Jesus all throughout the upper room discourse was speaking of this as His terminus, as His goal.

So what He’s saying to Mary is something like this: Don’t cling to me like I’m about to disappear permanently, I’m on My way to the Father, and your Father. Go tell the disciples, because when I go to the Father, I will then send the Spirit and you will be able to dwell with Me forever. My identify is no longer a closely guarded secret. Go, tell.

And part of what Mary was to tell, undoubtedly, was the message where Jesus puts it there in the present, “I am ascending to My Father.” He doesn’t mean literally right now I’m floating up, but now that I’m resurrected I am in the process of returning to My Father.

And He says something very striking: “Go tell my brothers.” Now He doesn’t just mean His literal brothers or cousins, He’s speaking in a way that He hasn’t spoken very often. The promise of son-ship was there at the very beginning of John’s Gospel. Remember John 1: But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

So this promise was there from the beginning: You will be a child of God.

But Jesus hasn’t said much about it – it’s been all about Father/Son, God is His Father and He’s the unique, the only begotten Son. But now that His work is complete and He has almost reached His goal in the ascension, He gives them the right to son-ship. He says “go tell My brothers, I am ascending to My Father,” and now He adds “and your Father.” To My God, and your God.

The right of son-ship, in other words, can only come to the disciples after Jesus has completed His earthly mission, and now that His work is complete He can return to the Father. You are now my brothers, my Father is your Father, my God is your God. That’s why Jesus says to Mary Magdalene “don’t cling to me. Trust me, you do not want to keep Me here. I have to finish My journey, I have to return to heaven and to My home and return to My Father, and it will be better that I go because I will send the Spirit and now that My work is coming to its completion, you’re family, and My God is your God and My Father is your family, your God.”

Think of all then that Jesus’ resurrection means. It means we have a new Adam. We have Jesus doing what the first Adam could not do, “on the day that you eat of that fruit, you will surely die.” Jesus has overcome the power of death. Death could not hold Him because the wages of sin is death, and He paid all the wages of sin so that death no longer had a claim on Him. He could not stay dead. He’s a new Adam, and He brings us into a new family, where we are counted as His brothers and sisters, and now we who know and call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ have God as our heavenly Father.

He gives us a new Adam, a new family, a new beginning. This is a new epoch in salvation history, a new, a new community, a new era. There are very few times you can say “and the world will never be the same.”

Now, COVID-19 is going to change a whole bunch of things and the way we live and its affecting people’s jobs and its affecting people in very sad ways, health and losing loved ones. It’s a major, major event. Will it be remembered in 2000 years? 200 years? Doubtful.

This history will never be forgotten. A new beginning.

And the resurrection assures us of a new ending. Death does not have the last word. We can endure Holy Saturday, silent Saturday, because we know that Sunday is coming. We know that the tomb does not stay empty.

Well, brothers and sisters, all of you who are Christians, we are different because we know the end of the story. We don’t have to wonder how this story ends. We don’t have to wonder if there is a happily ever after. We don’t have to wonder if good triumphs. We don’t have to wonder if death has the last word; it does not.

And one day every tear will be wiped away and death will be no more and all of the caskets will be set aside and all of the burial cloths will be folded up, put away, not just for winter but forever. A new Adam, a new family, a new beginning, and a better ending than we ever thought possible.

Let’s pray. Our Father in heaven, we ask now for Your grace to not only hear but to believe, to look in through the eye of history, by eyewitness testimony, and believe and worship. We pray that You would work so in our hearts by Your Spirit. In Jesus we pray. Amen.