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You May Have Life in His Name
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: The Gospel of John was written for the express purpose of convincing readers they could have eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Of all the signs that John employs to demonstrate the truth of Jesus’s messianic identity, the resurrection surpasses them all in its importance and application. It was also the sign which the followers of Jesus were slowest to comprehend, due to their inability to understand Scripture, their vulnerability from past experience, their susceptibility to give in to fear, and their hesitancy to believe the testimony of others. None of these reasons disproved the resurrection of Jesus or reversed its results; instead, those who believe, then and now, are forgiven by God, have peace with God, belong to the family of God, and have eternal life with God.
01. Denying the reality of Jesus’s resurrection, whether based on intellectual, emotional, or personal reasons, does not disprove the resurrection or the message of the church.
02. Believing the reality of Jesus’s resurrection extends beyond the intellect and emotions; it involves a personal commitment to Christ and the life of the church.
03. Living in the reality of Jesus’s resurrection provides intellectual joy, emotional security, and personal fulfillment, flowing from Christ and shared through the church.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. The mistaken reports about the body being taken (verse 2) and the multiple references to running (verses 2-5) are clues John provides to indicate no one expected Jesus to rise from the dead. Why do you think the disciples were clueless about the resurrection, even though they had been informed ahead of time by Jesus? (see Matthew 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19)
2. Have you discussed the resurrection of Jesus with anyone who does not believe that it actually happened? What reason(s) did they provide? How did you respond to their objections?
3. What continuities do we find with regard to Jesus’s pre-resurrected body and His post-resurrected body? What discontinuities do we find? How does this information help us understand how we will live after the final resurrection?
4. In what way does Jesus’s breathing on the disciples in verse 22 mirror God’s breathing into Adam in Genesis 2:7? How does this passage point forward to the reception of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-4? How is their task of forgiving or withholding forgiveness thus directly tied to, and therefore not independent of, the proclamation of the gospel?
5. Does the fact that John intends his book to be an evangelistic treatise (verses 30-31) take away from the truthfulness of his story at all? Why is it mistaken to assume that complete objectivity must also come with complete neutrality? Put another way, conceding that John tells the truth about Jesus’s ministry, why should anyone be surprised that he became a believer and that he wants every reader also to believe in Jesus?
For Further Reading: Paul Beasley-Murray, The Message of the Resurrection (InterVarsity Press, 2000)