Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #313 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading John 20 today and our focus is on How did the Bible’s Holy Day Switch From Saturday To Sunday? How Can We Know Jesus Rose From the Dead? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
The Resurrection of Jesus is literally my favorite topic in all of the Bible to talk about, so today’s episode is quite fun for me. There’s a double bonus too, because we are also going to talk a bit about one of my top 3 or 4 favorite Bible verses, John 20:31:
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31
Why were the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John written? What is their point? As John tells us, they were written so that we – the readers of God’s Word – might believe that Jesus is the Messiah/Savior and Son of God, and that by believing that, we might have life in His name. That’s the thing about the Bible – it isn’t just a history book – it isn’t just a book of stories, or commands, or rules to live by. It isn’t just a collection of cautionary tales that we read and learn from. This book has life – it is living and active – and it introduces us to Jesus, the one who gives us eternal life in His name. How can that eternal life become available? THROUGH BELIEVING/faith (they are pretty much the same biblical Word) Believing in and following the Words of the Jesus you are hearing about in the pages of John will bring you eternal life in His Heaven forever – that’s great news!
Now, let’s talk the resurrection. In today’s chapter of John, we will see several people have individual experiences of the resurrected Jesus, and they are all quite different. For instance, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb first, while it was dark, and sees the stone has been rolled away. So Mary runs to tell Peter and John that somebody has taken Jesus. Then she apparently comes back to the tomb, and has a personal encounter with Jesus – face to face.
Peter and John, alerted by Mary, run to the empty tomb, but see nothing but the grave clothes there, neatly folded and left behind, which would certainly rule out any sort of grave-robbing scenario. They don’t see Jesus at the tomb site, but encounter Him later, when He appears to them and the other disciples, minus Thomas, in a locked room.
Thomas, missing out on that first encounter, tells his fellow disciples that he won’t believe Jesus is raised from the dead in the flesh unless he can put his hands on and in the wounds of crucifixion on Jesus. One week later, he gets his opportunity as Jesus appears among the gathered disciples, again in a locked room, and He invites Thomas to examine and touch His wounds, which Thomas does, becoming convinced of the resurrection. Thomas has often been called “doubting Thomas” because of his initial skepticism, but to my knowledge, Thomas is also the first in Scripture to so blatantly confess Jesus as GOD, as we see in our chapter:
Thomas responded to him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28 – So, if Thomas did doubt, he didn’t doubt long, and he more than made up for it with his confession!
How can we know, beyond trusting these witnesses, that Jesus rose from the grave? Well, I think that is such a good question that I wrote a whole book on it, Easter Fact or Fiction, in which I give at least 20 reasons to believe Jesus rose from the dead. Click here to check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Easter-Fiction-Reasons-Believe-Jesus/dp/1545407932 We’ll briefly discuss one of those reasons to believe. Do you happen to remember how John 19 ended yesterday? If you don’t, here is the last verse: 42 They placed Jesus there because of the Jewish day of preparation and since the tomb was nearby. John 19:42 The day of preparation refers to the Sabbath. Something quite remarkable happened with many of the Jewish people in regards to the Sabbath after the resurrection of Jesus, and that historical change, I believe, gives evidence for us in favor of a literal and bodily resurrection of Jesus. Here is an excerpt from Easter Fact or Fiction:
The Sabbath day is a critically important Bible topic, especially in the Old Testament. The word itself is used approximately 150 times in the Bible, with several long and detailed discussions in the Old Testament that outlined how the Jewish people were to deal with the Sabbath day. Strangely enough, something radical changed after the resurrection of Jesus, because the Sabbath is only mentioned 11 times, including such verses as Colossians 2 above, which seems to imply quite strongly that individual Christians had liberty as to how they observed the Sabbath. Not only that, but it is quite clear from the Acts passage and the
Corinthians passage that Christians, unlike Jews, met together for corporate worship on a Sunday, and not a Sabbath day (sundown Friday until sundown Saturday.) This might not seem like a huge shift for some, but keep in mind that this represented the changing of thousands of years of Jewish history, and the change happened remarkably fast – in a few years or less. What was the catalyst for this massive calendar change? The resurrection, of course. All the church – even Jewish believers who had been worshipping on Sabbath/ Saturday their entire lives, were worshipping on Sunday, post-resurrection. A major shift had happened, and happened quickly. The resurrection is a very plausible explanation for such a shift. As further evidence of this major shift, and the reasons behind it, here is one of the earliest descriptions of the gathering of the early church, written by Justin Martyr in the 150s A.D.:
On the day which is called Sunday we have a common assembly of all who live in the cities or in the outlying districts, and the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the Prophets are read, as long as there is time. Then, when the reader has finished, the president of the assembly verbally admonishes and invites all to imitate such examples of virtue. Then we all stand up together and offer up our prayers, and, as we said before, after we finish our prayers, bread and wine and water are presented. He who presides likewise offers up prayers and thanksgivings, to the best of his ability, and the people express their approval by saying ‘Amen.’ The Eucharistic elements are distributed and consumed by those present, and to those who are absent they are sent through the deacons. The wealthy, if they wish, contribute whatever they desire, and the collection is placed in the custody of the president. [With it] he helps the orphans and widows, those who are needy because of sickness or any other reason, and the captives and strangers in our midst; in short, he takes care of all those in need. Sunday, indeed, is the day on which we all hold our common assembly because it is the first day on which God, transforming the darkness and [prime] matter, created the world; and our Savior Jesus Christ arose from the dead on the same day. For they crucified Him on the day before that of Saturn, and on the day after, which is Sunday, He appeared to His Apostles and disciples, and taught them the things which we have passed on to you also for consideration.
Justin Martyr quote: 64 Thomas B. Falls with Justin Martyr, The First Apology, The Second Apology, Dialogue with Trypho, Exhortation to the Greeks, Discourse to the Greeks, The Monarchy or The Rule of God, vol. 6, The Fathers of the Church (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1948), 106– 107.
Thompson, Chase. Easter: Fact or Fiction: 20 Reasons to Believe Jesus Rose From The Dead. (Kindle Locations 1611-1612). Kindle Edition.
Bible Memory passage for the month of November: John 14:6 “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
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