What Happens When You Encounter Jesus

You are listening to:What Happens When You Encounter Jesus

Sermon Series: Kingdom Strong
John 20: 26-29
NLCF Service 4-4-21

Full Transcript TEXT below

We’re in John chapter 20, verses 26 through 29. Amen. Okay, let’s read these four verses together.

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

Amen. May the Lord add a blessing to the reading of His Word for the edification of our souls. Amen. I want you to turn to somebody and say “what happens when you encounter Jesus.” Turn to somebody else and say “what happens when you encounter Jesus.” Amen. You may have your seats.

What happens, Beloved, when you encounter Jesus? I can assure you, when you encounter Jesus it’s different than just seeing Jesus. I can tell you that, to encounter Jesus is different than meeting Jesus. I’m talking about having an encounter with Jesus. And in John chapter 20, this is after Jesus has been crucified and He has been buried all in chapter 19 of the book of John, and they’ve laid him in a tomb and taken Jesus’ body verse 40 (Chapter 19). The two of them wrapped it with spices and strips of linen it was in accordance with the Jewish burial custom at the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden in that garden a new tomb in which no one had ever been, because it was a Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby they laid Jesus there — laid him in the tomb. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. (I’m in verse one of chapter 20.) So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved and said they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have put him.

Now, Jesus had told his disciples, told those whom he loved told those with whom he was in relationship with, that he was going to die. He said it over and over, I’m going to Jerusalem and I’m going to be crucified and He even told them after three days I will rise again. But, given the circumstances and given the turmoil and all that had occurred, there was a disconnect in terms of what the disciples and the followers of Jesus heard from previous conversations with Jesus and what they were experiencing. Amen. And I will tell you this, that the heart of the matter is always a matter of the heart. I want to show you and remind us of the different kinds of hearts that we see here in John chapter 20. And when we see these different hearts, it should remind you of a heart that you may have had at some time or maybe having right now, and I can assure you that the presence of Jesus and an encounter with Jesus can turn your heart from one way to another. It can turn a heart that is grieving into a heart that is loving. Listen, Mary Magdalene, loved Jesus, she was passionate about Jesus. Jesus had changed her life. The scripture says that Mary Magdalene was the one that Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary. Do you know how excited, Mary will be to have her life back, to have some stability to not have all of that chaos in her life? She was in a place of chaos, and Jesus brought her to a place of peace, and when she thought that Jesus was gone, and that they could not find his body, she was overwhelmed with one emotion, grief. Grief. If you thought of her life as a boat, I will tell you her boat was swamped by grief. She had, beloved, a broken heart. And a lot of times when you and I are in places where our hearts are broken, we can’t see straight. We can’t think straight. We don’t remember things that are important. We drift from truth, and we allow our circumstances to dictate how we feel. It’s understandable. He was the Savior. She went early in the morning. And she went to look for Jesus because they had to finish that work of preparing his body. They had to get him in the ground quickly because it was the Sabbath, and they wanted to wait until the third day. So the first day in the week, early in the morning, she came with spices. Amen. The other accounts of the gospel say that there are a couple of women that came with her as well but they were coming to, to prepare his body or finish preparing it, so you she gets there, and she sees that the stone has been removed and now there were all these rumors that were flying around, that the disciples may try to steal the body but there were also other things that they thought that maybe the Romans had done something to the body. All she knew is that Jesus was not there and the tomb was empty. She says “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know,” what, “where they have put him.” She was dealing with a broken heart that was swamped by grief. So Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. Because she went back and told them. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached a tomb first. I believe this is — that verse doesn’t need to be in the Bible. That’s — the disciple whom Jesus loved, this how John referred to himself. Why did he have to tell everybody that he outran Peter. Peter had a head start, but I beat him to the tomb. Okay. I just don’t, I just don’t like that. It’s just, it just seems like a throwaway detail, it just says yeah, both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. That’s how you know they were boys. And what you do, what you notice, you remember last time you thought of Peter or saw Peter, Peter was denying Christ three times, until a rooster crowed, and he was despondent. He was in some kind of way. Peter’s back, though. Peter’s back, and he’s looking for Jesus. She went and told Peter and John. So Peter’s back, and that’s a — that’s a good thing because sometimes you mess up, and you need to come back. Amen. Sometimes you don’t make the right choice, and sometimes you deny the Christ that lives in you by your actions or your attitude or your — or your interactions, and you — you need to be restored. Come on somebody! You need to be renewed. You need to be revived, and here’s Peter running, and he bent over and looked at the strips of the linen that was lined up, but he did not go — that’s John. Then Simon Peter, who is behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. You know, Peter don’t play. Peter’s the one that’s cutting off ears. Peter’s the one that’s always — Peter’s the impulsive one. He gets there, presumably out of breath, but he goes in. What you waiting for? He saw the strips of linen there as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separated from the linen. So they did what I would call an investigation. Criminal scene — a crime scene investigative unit. That’s what it is, you know, CSI. They did a CSI. Look, if, if something happened to him we should come and we should — we should see, it’s disheveled, something. But it says everything is the way it should be. The linens are there, and the headpiece — that the headdress is there. So, what we can conclude is, he’s not here, but we don’t know we don’t exactly know what happened. But everything that they did in this moment was clinical. It was an investigation, and they said, finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. Believed what? That he was gone. Because the Scripture says in verse nine, they still did not understand from the scriptures that Jesus had to rise from the dead. He still didn’t understand. All the time that they spent with Him, all the time that He spent preparing them, when he told them, I go to prepare a place for you, and when I go, I will come again so that I will receive you among Myself, that where I am, ye may be also. That whole kind of conversation that they had, they weren’t — they were not thinking about it, and here are Peter and John, two prominent disciples. They come with their — with their flipbooks, and their notepads to do an investigation on whether Jesus is there or not. She says he’s gone, we don’t know where they laid him. That’s not an encounter with Jesus. You know who had an encounter with Jesus? Mary Magdalene. Why did Mary Magdalene have an encounter with Jesus? Because Mary Magdalene lingered. You didn’t hear me. You never know what you may miss out on, if you don’t linger. You never know what you might miss out on. If you don’t linger.

This is not a time for facts. This is not a time for you to come to church, or come, or hear a sermon or gather information about the Community of Christ. That’s not going to allow you to have an encounter with Jesus. You’re going to have to — if you want to have an encounter, you know, you’re going to need to linger. Why? Because Proverbs, eight and 17 says, I love those who love me, and those who seek me, find me. She was not satisfied with what she saw. And so because of her grief, because of her passion, because of who Jesus meant to her, she lingered. And because she lingered — The disciples went back, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, as she lingered, as she poured out her heart, in her confusion and grief, she said there’s no place — I need to be at least here. I’m not going any place else. This is where it went down, and I need to linger here because I’m confused and I’m hurt, and I’m grief-stricken, but I’m going to linger here. And she saw two angels in white, seated, where Jesus’ body had been one at the head, the other at the foot. They asked her, Woman, why are you crying? They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him. At this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. How come she didn’t realize it was Jesus, because she was filled with grief. Think about the times in your life that you have been grief-stricken and you’ve lost a loved one, or something has happened, and you have a broken relationship, or you’ve lost your job or whatever, and you’re so overwhelmed with grief that you don’t even see that the Savior is standing right there.

Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you’re looking for? Thinking he was the gardener, she says, Sir, if you have carried him away. Tell me where you have put him, and I will get him. And then Jesus said to her, Mary. I get a chill when I hear — don’t you get a chill? Because I think of John 10. My sheep hear My voice, and they know Me and they follow Me. She heard the voice of Jesus. And as she turned toward him, and cried out, in Aramaic “Rabboni,” which means teacher. She just cried out, teacher. You know why? Because in that moment, hearing the voice of Jesus, being able to recognize the voice of Jesus — By His very presence, he was able to rekindle her love. When I say rekindle, I want you to get that picture of a fire, that’s — that obviously has gone out, that is very low, that you don’t really see anything and all you need to do is take a poker, or a stick, and you poke it and you poke it, and you just do it a couple of times and that fire comes roaring back to life. It wasn’t gone. It was just that the overwhelming — the overwhelming emotion in this particular example was grief, and her grief had overwhelmed, and her fire was out, and her love and her passion were out because she was overwhelmed with grief. But just seeing and hearing from the Savior, she was able to hear His voice, and immediately upon his presence, she was able to rekindle her love. That’s what Jesus’ presence does. That’s what an encounter with Jesus will do. You can have a broken heart, that’s filled with grief. But you can have an encounter with the Savior, and he can turn your grief, back into love. He can rekindle you from the place that you were, and so that grief is not the dominant emotion in your life. You remember who you’re connected to. You get excited. You’re able to say Rabboni, teacher, Father, I see you. You see me.

Do not hold on to me, I’ve not returned to my father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them I am returning to my Father and your Father to my God and your God. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news. I have seen the Lord! Is there a period after Lord? It’s an exclamation point. She went back and told them. What did the disciples do after their — their investigation with the pencils behind their heads [ears] and the notebooks? Verse 10 says: Then the disciples went back to their homes. It was like, yep, “He ain’t here,” and they just left. Now, I’m not saying they didn’t love Jesus, but they didn’t linger. I’m not saying they didn’t love him, but they — they didn’t have an encounter with Him, not in this moment. Because if you’ve seen the Lord and you understand and you believe or you had an encounter with the Lord, we start moving your punctuation around from periods to exclamation points, and they just went home, so she had to go and tell them: “I have seen the Lord!”

In 1979, the summer of 1979. I am where I often am, at the Riley’s house: me, Pastor Marque, his brothers Brian and Barry, 1979. You would think, if you look at him, that Pastor Marque is probably one of the most laid back cats that you’ll meet. He’s cool. Not in the summer of 1979. I was in the bathroom, cleaning up. I didn’t. This is what I heard. I couldn’t really make it out, but Pastor Marque was screaming at the top of his lungs. This is what I heard: whoo whoo whoo ur ur whoo whoo whoo ur ur. He’s running through the house. He knocks on the door. He opens the door, and I finally understand what he’s saying. He’s saying: It’s a jam. It’s a jam. It’s a jam! It’s a jam. Rick James, you and I. Pastor Marque went through every room in the house that had a radio. He turned it on to the station, he turned it all the way up. Every room. He went running through the house. It’s a jam. It’s a Jam! Rick James, You and I. And when he turned up every radio in the house, he spent the rest of the song, doing the skip. What’s my point? My point is, Pastor Marque didn’t say, yeah I like that song, nice beat, easy to dance to. No. Pastor Marque had an encounter with Rick James, and you and I. That’s an exclamation point. He said, No, I gotta tell — I gotta run tell everybody about Rick James. You know what song is on right now? Everybody needs to hear this song. It’s a jam! And if you didn’t know, now you know. When I hear that song. Even today. I love that song because he loved that song. I’ve never seen somebody — somebody so enthusiastic about a recording in my entire life. And when I told him before the sermon, before the service. I said I’m going to talk about you today. My favorite story. He just looked at me and he said, it’s a jam. Yeah. It’s a jam. That kind of enthusiasm happens when you have an encounter, so that’s why Mary Magdalene came back and said, I have seen the Lord! It’s a jam! It’s a jam! Let me, let me tell everybody. Run tell it. I got to turn up the radio. You guys got to understand, I have seen the Lord, I’ve had an encounter with the Lord, he has rekindled my love. I was — I had a broken heart that was swamped by grief, but he called me by my name, and I have seen the Lord. You got enthusiasm like that? You should, if you’ve had an encounter with Jesus.

On the evening on the first day of the week when the disciples were together with the doors locked, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. That’s not a broken heart, beloved. That’s a weak heart. Broken hearts are filled with grief. Weak hearts are filled with fear. That’s why you say when you see somebody on a football field, that won’t make the play, boy ain’t got no heart. And then what we say, wish that boy just had a little bit more heart, just not, you got to be fearless when you play you gotta say boy ain’t got no heart. Well the disciples, even having, having heard what — what Mary Magdalene said, were still fearing the Jews and like we’re in trouble. We don’t know where the body is. And if we don’t know, they don’t know, they may come looking for us and ask us what we did with it because we were supposed to. They said that we might try to steal it away, to, to have a false resurrection. So they were sitting there and they were in there and they were filled with fear, with a weak heart. Let me tell you this, just like you’ll never know what you may miss out on when you don’t linger. You never know what you may miss out on when you’re hiding in fear. Now God can come to you, God can come straight through the door straight through the wall come straight to you and say peace be with you, but I would like to think what would have been the situation, knowing that she Mary Magdalene has said, we have seen the Lord, they should have all turned up every radio. They should have all been out. It’s like Mary Magdalene has seen the Lord. He’s alive! He’s arisen! Just like he said he would. They should have been in the streets, but instead, they were hiding from fear. Weak heart, filled with fear. But Jesus comes to them and says to them, Peace be with you and, after he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were now then — what — the scripture says overjoyed when they saw the Lord. His presence, an encounter with Jesus, His presence, beloved, can revive your hope. Amen. It can revive your hope. He came to them and said simply, Peace be with you. Amen. And they became overjoyed. Their hope became — again was revived, because when you, when you’re fearful, you’re not hopeful Amen. When you’re fearful you’re looking at circumstances. When you’re hopeful you’re looking at your God, and in this particular situation, you’re looking directly at your Savior. He says I’m here. Peace be with you. It’s like you know what, our hope is back. He rekindled Mary’s love. He revived the disciples’ Hope. And He says to them, again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, am I now sending you. And then he says, receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone sins, they are forgiven if you do not forgive sins they are not forgiven. He wasn’t imparting upon them at that exact moment, the ability to forgive sins because according to Mark chapter two, he told him that the Son of Man hath authority on earth to forgive sins he said But would you rather see me forgive sins I said tell this man take up your bed and walk. He wasn’t telling them, he didn’t give them that, other than to say this if you look at Acts chapter two and verse 38 Verse 37 when the people heard Peter’s message at the day of Pentecost they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, Brothers, what shall we do? Peter said Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

He was commissioning them and reminding them they were going to be His ambassadors. How are you and I in the sin forgiving business? We’re in the sin forgiving business, as long as we’re in the Gospel proclaiming business because the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. And so He’s saying, I’m going to be with you. Just as the Father sent me, now, I’m sending you. He gave them hope. He gave them a — an assignment. It’s like Don’t be filled with fear. As you look at Acts chapter two, there was no fear, there was a boldness when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they preached the world with boldness, and they said 3000 got saved on that day, again, 3000 folks who came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and had their what — sins forgiven. You don’t get in the salvation proclaiming business while you’re hiding in fear in the upper room. You can’t hide in fear and proclaim the good news of the gospel at the same time. Amen. And so you and I, we can’t have weak hearts that are filled with fear. We have to have hearts that are filled with what — hope. Now, Jesus — Now Thomas, one of the 12 was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, we have seen the Lord! Exclamation point. But he said to them — this boy is something else — Unless I see the nail marks in his hand and put my fingers where the nails were, and put my hand into his side — again I don’t understand why you have to thrust your hand into my side just to see that it’s been wounded, but I digress. He said I won’t believe it.

What’s interesting about this is just like you never know what you miss out on if you don’t linger. You never know what you miss out on when you don’t. When you’re hiding in fear. You never know what you miss out on when you’re not in fellowship, never know what you miss out on. Everybody else was there, everybody else had an encounter with Jesus everybody else had their hope revived everybody else got a chance, when Jesus said he showed them his, and he said he said look at look at my. So after this he showed them his hands and his side, I showed it to him, they said we have seen the Lord. Now they got that same exclamation point, that Mary had. Why? Because they’ve had an encounter with Jesus. And when you have an encounter with Jesus, He changes your punctuation from period to exclamation point. But he wasn’t there, and you never know what you miss out on when you’re not in the room. It’s fine if there’s a circumstance that doesn’t allow us to be connected, we can be connected, but you and I should always be striving to be in fellowship because you never know what you miss out on when you’re not here. Thomas missed out on an opportunity, along with everybody else to have his hope revived. And he was like Nah, son. Unless I see. I will not believe it. Look how long he had to wait — a week later. His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Thanks for showing up Thomas. But I digress. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. Peace be with you. And he said to Thomas, like we got some business to finish here. Put your fingers here, see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop doubting and believe. Thomas said to him, My Lord and my God! Exclamation point. Before, his other sentence put in my head, I will not believe. But now that I’ve seen the Lord I had an encounter with him you know why because His presence, renewed his faith. Amen. He’s not called Doubting Thomas for nothing. He didn’t have a broken heart. He didn’t have a weak heart. Thomas had a hard heart. The hard heart is the one that’s filled with doubt, the weak heart is the one that’s filled with fear and the broken heart is the one that’s filled with grief. Thomas had a hard heart, that was filled with doubt, and Jesus still came to him as he was a doubter, but he still came to him and then he had an encounter with Jesus where he said listen, Peace be with you. I’m here, reach out, Touch my — touch my side and see my hands. Stop doubting and believe. And then his punctuation — and then his — his game — his game changed from period to exclamation point. Stop doubting and believe. And he said, My Lord and my God! Because you have seen me you have believed, but blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe because those that don’t see and believe — their punctuation game, excuse me, their punctuation game changes from a period to an exclamation point. And the difference is His presence, His presence brings peace that’s what he kept saying I’m showing up on the scene and I’m bringing peace. And I love this there’s a subtlety here verse 19 He says, Peace be with you. I’m telling you, when he’s saying that he’s saying you are with me. You’re with me, that’s the peace of redemption. You’re with me. So you can have peace, you’re with me, I’ve redeemed you. You’re with Me. And then he says that in verse 21 Peace be with you as a father has sent me, I am sending you. That’s the first one is the peace with God we’re reconciled with God, it’s a piece of redemption, but the peace of God is a piece he gives, That’s the peace of relationship, that’s the piece that doesn’t say you’re with me, that’s the piece that says I’m with you. Double Peace. You got peace because you’re with me, but you also have peace because I’m with you. Isn’t that exciting? And here’s the last thing. Did you notice? He — an encounter with Jesus can rekindle your love, can revive your hope, [and] renew your faith. Faith, hope, love: First Corinthians says these — these three remain but the greatest of these is love, but he says, that’s what the, the life of a believer is all about faith, hope and love. You can have your love rekindled if you have an encounter with Jesus. You can have your hope revived if you have an encounter with Jesus and you can have your faith renewed. If you have an encounter with Jesus, he can take your broken heart that’s filled with grief, and he can change it, he can take your weak heart that’s filled with fear and he can change it, and he can take your hard heart that’s filled with doubt and change it. But there’s one more heart that he’s so concerned about, and it’s in verse 31. That’s the dead heart. The dead heart is the heart that’s filled with unbelief. And as much as God wants to rekindle your love and revive your hope and renew your faith, there’s a first thing that he wants to do. that makes it possible for him to say you’re with me and I’m with you. What God wants to do more importantly than anything in your life, and this is the gospel message that we have to share, Jesus — an encounter with Jesus can resurrect your life. He said these things were written that you might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that by believing ye might have life in his name. John said, I’m not telling you a bunch of stories because I was bored. I’m telling you about somebody that says in Scripture that, that I’ve tasted I’ve handled and I walk with it I live with, I’m telling you he is the Son of God, these things that I’ve written and they said I could have, I could have filled volumes of the world’s books would never be able to contain if I told you everything I knew about the man of God or the, the man that was known as Jesus the Son of God, with the world’s books couldn’t even fill it. He says, I’ve seen the Lord! And I’m so excited, he says these things are written so that ye might believe and that by believing, ye might have life in His name, Jesus wants — He resurrected His life, so let him resurrect your life. That’s why he came to resurrect your life. He didn’t — The scripture says He didn’t come to condemn the world, but the world through him might be what — saved! He’s looking to resurrect your life. He’s looking to give you life and life more abundantly. He wants to take a dead heart and resurrect it and make it alive. That’s why he came. An encounter with Jesus can do all of that: resurrect your life, rekindle your love, revive your faith, or revive your hope, excuse me, and renew your faith. But you got to know him. Just to know him. You’ve got to know him, so that when you see him, you recognize him, so that even if your eyes are filled with tears, when he calls your name, and says “Kimberly,” My Lord and my God! Thomas saw Him. My Lord and my God! Exclamation point. Exclamation point! God is all about exclamation points when it comes to Jesus Christ because he is a jam!

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