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Sermon Notes + 4.7.2024

Do Not Cling to Me
John 20:11-23
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead PastorOverview: The empty tomb did not prove that Jesus had risen from the dead but led initially to speculation about what might have happened to Jesus’ body. Mary Magdalene stood weeping outside the tomb under the impression that someone had taken the body of her Lord away. Despite seeing two angels and even Jesus Himself, Mary is unable to grasp that she is standing before the Risen Lord. Jesus makes Himself known by calling her name, to which Mary responds by clinging to Him in worship. Jesus sends her to tell the disciples that He has risen and will ascend to the Father. The disciples encounter Jesus that evening when He visits them behind closed doors. His first word to them calms their fears and sets in motion the mission to tell the world what He has done in order for sins to be forgiven. The fact that Jesus is ascending to the Father and the Spirit is descending upon the church indicates that God’s plan of redemption extends to the present time and will continue until Christ returns.

01. Do cling to Jesus. He loves us like no other and calls us by name; through Him we have peace with God and have become part of the family of God; He has conquered death and quieted our fears; and He is the Risen Savior who reigns from on high.

02. Do not cling to Jesus. He commissions us to tell others about Him and what He has done; He imparts the Holy Spirit so we can serve in His power instead of ours; He provides forgiveness of sins to all who believe; and He is the resurrected, reigning, and returning Lord.


1. John notes that he and Peter went back to their homes after discovering the empty tomb, presumably to process what happened (verse 10). Mary Magdalene stays at the tomb weeping (verse 11). What do their reactions suggest about the different ways we handle grief? Are you more analytical or emotional when it comes to dealing with grief? What common thread occurs in the text to alleviate their grief?

2. Why didn’t Mary immediately recognize the angels or Jesus? Was it because of her distress and confusion, or was it because the angels and Jesus are recognized only when they choose to be? (See 2 Kings 6:15-16). How did Jesus reveal Himself to Mary? If someone asked you how can you believe in Jesus when you have never seen Him, how would you respond?

3. What was the nature of Jesus’ resurrected body? Was His body recognizable and touchable as before? How did He enter a locked room without the disciples opening the door? What do these indicators suggest about the final resurrection of all who trust in Jesus? See 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 for further insight.

4. What is the first word that Jesus speaks to His disciples? (verse 19). Why was this word so important for them to hear? In what ways does Jesus grant peace to His followers today? If all the world around you is falling apart, do you still have the peace that passes all understanding in light of the resurrection of Christ?

5. How does the reception of the Holy Spirit in verse 22 correspond with Jesus’ instructions in Acts 1:8 and the pouring out of the Spirit in Acts 2:1-4? Why is the promise and power of the Spirit so essential to the mission of the church? Are you extending the message of forgiveness through Jesus by the power of the Spirit to family and friends? Pray that God will lead you to share the gospel with someone this week.

For Further Reading: Christopher Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (IVP: 2013)