Celebrate The Resurrection    John 20:19-29    March 27, 2005

Introduction
        He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed! Christians have the privilege of making that joyous exclamation when we celebrate the resurrection. In fact every Lord's Day represents such a celebration. On one occasion a missionary in India noticed quite an excitement coming from the priests of Buddha. He asked what caused the excitement, and heard they had found what was believed to be some of the bones of Buddha. One of the Buddhist priests said, "don't you wish you could find some of the bones of Jesus?" The Christian missionary replied "if we did it would destroy the Christian Faith; for we serve the resurrected Jesus."

1.    Celebrate The Resurrection with the . . Presence of Jesus. 20:19-20

A.    Celebrating the Presence of Jesus Causes the . . Removal of Fear. v 19 a
        19 In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were [gathered together] with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews.

B.    Celebrating the Presence of Jesus Causes A . . Rejoicing in Fellowship. v 19 b - 20
        Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!" 20 Having said this, He showed them His hands and His side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

        When believers sense the presence of Jesus they experience the removal of fear. You and I can face unusual obstacles if we believe Jesus is with us. We can do all things through the strength He gives. When a church recognizes His presence and it permeates the fellowship a rejoicing follows as a natural bi-product. People are attracted to such a church.
 

2.    Celebrate The Resurrection with the . . Peace of Jesus. 20:21-23

A.    The . . Charge to Celebrate the Peace of Jesus Resurrection. v 21 a
        "Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you!

B.    The . . Commission to Celebrate the Peace of Jesus Resurrection. v 21 b
        ". . . As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."

C    The . . Capability of Celebrating the Peace of Jesus Resurrection. v 22
        "After saying this, He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

D.    The . . Certifications from Celebrating the Peace of Jesus Resurrection. v 22
        "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain [the sins of] any, they are retained."

        The facts of the resurrection bring peace. In our text Jesus makes a pronouncement of peace that is a charge to all disciples. It is a charge because as Eph 2:14 says ". . . he is our peace, . . ." As we celebrate the peace He gives, we recognize His commission given in this verse; which tells us as the Father has sent Him; He sends us. It is interesting to note the Great Commission as told in Matthew gives us one promise, and that is our living Lord's presence. The giving of the Holy Spirit enables us to be capable of fully celebrating the resurrection. Without the leading of the Holy Spirit the atmosphere of celebration displays a fleshly aroma rather than a spiritual one. The text also speaks of the spiritual certifications revealed when Christians properly celebrate the resurrection. As we present the gospel the sins of the people may be forgiven; but the power for forgiveness always remains in the hands of the Lord.
 

3.    Celebrate The Resurrection with the . . Proofs of Jesus. 20:24-28

A.    Celebrate The Resurrection with the . . Proofs of Testimonies. 20:24-25 a
        "But one of the Twelve, Thomas (called "Twin"), was not with them when Jesus came.25 So the other disciples kept telling him, "We have seen the Lord!. . . "

B.    Celebrate The Resurrection with the . . Proofs of Touch. 20:25 b - 27
    ". . . But he said to them, "If I don't see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!" 26 After eight days His disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, "Peace to you!" 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don't be an unbeliever, but a believer."

C.    Celebrate The Resurrection with the . . Proofs from Thankfulness. 20:28
        "Thomas responded to Him, 'My Lord and my God!'"

        What proofs do we have of the resurrection? First we have the proof of testimony.  Ten disciples told Thomas they saw the resurrected Lord. Do you realize we believe because of someone's testimony? Thomas was the Missouri Disciple, and had to be shown, so he received the proof of touch, and after gaining the joy of seeing and touching the Lord he expressed the proof of thanksgiving. He became, so to speak, a convinced customer. What a joy to read his exclamation "my Lord and my God."
 

4.    Celebrate The Resurrection through the . . Proclamations of Jesus. 20:29

A.    Celebrate The Resurrection through the . . Proclamation s of Sight. 20:29 a
        "Jesus said, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed.. . ."

B.    Celebrate The Resurrection through the . . Proclamations of Sightlessness. 20:29 b
        ". . . Those who believe without seeing are blessed."

        Jesus proclaimed a blessing to Thomas because he saw and believed. Then Jesus proclaimed a blessing to millions including you and I who have not seen the Lord as Thomas did, but nevertheless believe. Truly to Celebrate the Resurrection remains a blessing for us. Amen? Amen!