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The text for this lesson is John 20:1–18

Key Point

  • On the first Easter, Jesus revealed to Mary Magdalene and to His disciples that He was alive. Through the Word, the Spirit gives us faith to believe in Christ’s resurrection and comforts us when we mourn the death of loved ones.
  • Law: Death is a consequence of sin and causes me sorrow.
  • Gospel: God comforts me with the promise of the resurrection to eternal life for all who believe in Christ.

Discussion Points

    1. It often happens that several people see the same car crash at an intersection, and yet their accounts of that one crash can differ greatly in certain details. One witness mentions details of the crash that the others missed. Another witness may corroborate the details of the others but then add more details. Does this mean that the accounts of the eyewitnesses are suspect? Should the police discount the eyewitness accounts of the car crash because they don’t agree on every detail? Why or why not?
    2. Read John 20:1–10. According to John, when does this account of Jesus’ resurrection take place? Who are the persons involved in this true narrative? What similarities can you see between this account and the account in Matthew 28:1–10?
    3. In John 20:2, what does Mary Magdalene tell Simon Peter and John? How can we understand this in light of Matthew’s account of the angel revealing the truth about Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew 28:5–8)? What clue does Mark 16:14 provide for why John gives us this detail of the Easter story?
    4. Describe how Simon Peter and John come to the empty tomb, and explain what they see when they arrive. What notable detail does John give about the burial linens of Jesus (v. 7)? Why is this important, and why does it lead to these two disciples finally believing Jesus’ words about the resurrection?
    5. In John 20:14–18, Mary does not recognize the risen Jesus at first. What causes her finally to recognize Him and rejoice to see Him? What does Jesus mean in John 20:17 when He tells Mary not to cling to Him? After Jesus talks to her, what does she do?
    6. For Peter and John, the empty tomb proclaimed the message that Christ is risen, and they believed. For Mary, the tender voice of Jesus calling her name opened her eyes of faith, and she rejoiced and ran to tell the disciples. How does your faith in the risen Savior lead you quite naturally to tell others of the risen Savior?


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