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When Jesus Seems Distant— Look For the Risen One

Notes & Transcripts

March 29, 2012

By John Barnett

Read, print, or listen to this resource on our website www.DiscoverTheBook.org

Jesus lives—The Tomb is empty.

Death is defeated—The Grave is opened.

God is in control—His Word is true.

The Devil’s power is destroyed—God won.

Historic Faith can say Christ Lives—but Saving Faith always says Christ Lives in me!

Saving Faith says Christ Lives in Me

Have you cried out “God be merciful to me” through Christ and confessed that you have broken God’s Law and are “the sinner” that Jesus died and rose to save?

If not you can today, Jesus is here, alive and with His arms open wide to you!

Today we celebrate Christ's Resurrection. But what does Christ's rising from the dead imply to us today who are saved, and know Him personally? It means that Christ now is free to be everywhere all the time. During His earthly ministry Jesus could only be in one place at a time.

Open with me to the Garden Tomb, on Resurrection morning in John 20:11-16 .

Today, many of us are so often like Mary heading to the Tomb on Resurrection Sunday.

All the memories of Him flooded her mind. Jesus had loved her, forgiven her, and made her so many promises. But now Jesus seemed to be so far away, all of those things seemed distant to Mary.

When Jesus Seems Distant—Find the Risen One

Mary needed to see Jesus. That is why she was last at the Cross, and first at the Tomb. Mary came needing Him, and was now first to see the Risen Christ. Only He could strengthen her faith and comfort her heart and that is what He did.

John 20:11-16 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). NKJV

Do you sometimes feel distant from the Lord? As we go through all the struggles of life, most of us seem to arrive at those distant times, far from the quietness of the garden on Resurrection morning.

We slowly drift away from some of the gracious assurances that Jesus offered to Mary. So much of His ministry was assuring the disciples of what they already knew, and encouraging them to do what He left them here to do.

From the Manger to the Cross Jesus had been for 33 years in only one place at one time. He had humbled Himself, He had emptied Himself, and He had limited Himself. He was localized, operating in one place at a time.

Christ's Awesome Ministry

For 3 years Jesus awesomely served in the power of God. Wherever He went Christ's very Presence made sure that death fled, disease faded, and despair melted.

Broken bodies that came in contact with Jesus were mended, ruined lives repaired, sightless eyes restored, empty ears filled with sound, missing fingers returned, and hungering lives satisfied.

Everywhere he went, wherever he was, whenever he was there the presence of Jesus meant – death, disease, and despair were no more. But Jesus only did that from being in one place at a time.

Crowds came to him, multitudes flocked to him, and none were disappointed—He helped them all. But sometimes the crowds were so great that people were pressed out and had to resort to digging through rooftops, climbing trees, and reaching down through the feet of the crowds just to grab the tassel of his robe. All of this is because He was just one person, who was limited to being in one place at a time. By now after having said it so many times, you have probably caught the drift of where we are going.

As we step into the garden that surrounded the borrowed tomb on resurrection morning—something has wondrously changed. Jesus is no longer trapped by time and space to be in one place at a time. He seems to be everywhere at once. For the next forty days we find that Jesus crisscrosses the tiny land of Israel from north to south.

We find Him on mountaintops, back roads, inside locked rooms, on the shore, and everywhere else that He is looked for or needed.

He meets the grieving women at the Tomb, comforts the sorrowing Mary, calms the frightened disciples inside the locked room without opening the door, shows up at dawn on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, confronts and restores a soaking wet Peter, assures a doubtful trembling Thomas, visits with everyone of the 500 others who had believed on Him.

All that in an occupied country crawling with spies, soldiers, and religious leaders filled with hatred. And for forty days after the Empty Tomb, He is never seen even once by any unloving eyes, He is never touched even once by unloving hands. Christ's Presence was available unstoppably – everywhere.

Now think again with me about Resurrection morning. The Empty Tomb meant something had changed—Christ's availability. For 3 ½ years anyone who could find Him could have any need met, any fear removed, and oppression lifted, any chain broken, any defilement cleansed away…if you could find Him.

Jesus solved all problems by His presence. Jesus came to people where they were and one by one transformed them. But Jesus was only in one place at one time.

Jesus Available Anywhere

But after the Cross and Empty Tomb, Jesus was available anywhere, anytime, by anyone. So because Christ rose: any sin could be forgiven, any doubts could be overcome, any sadness could be comforted, any disappointment could be stopped, any fearfulness could be arrested, any loneliness could be ended, any defilement could be cleansed…anywhere, anytime, and by anyone.

So what does that mean? Jesus demonstrated to us by His visit to John on Patmos what He was doing with every church and for every believer. He was doing for all of us what He did for the disciples during His earthly ministry.

Often we fail to understand the magnitude of what really happened. Here is what had changed—after the Resurrection Jesus was no longer limited to one location. Jesus could be at anytime with everyone in anyplace. Think of all of Christ's power we see in the Gospels available everywhere and all the time! That was God unleashing Jesus Christ to be everywhere available!

To best see what Jesus is doing today, turn with me to Revelation 1:9-18, which is the only eye witness account with a complete description of the Risen Christ. It was over sixty years after Resurrection Sunday another meeting took place. It was also on a Sunday, a Lord’s Day.

And in the flawless record of that meeting comes seven perfect descriptions of what Jesus looks like. And from those seven descriptions we find out exactly what He is doing then and now!

Will you see Jesus anew and afresh with me, and experience all that He wants to do in your life and mine today, and in the days ahead—if we will invite Him to be at work in us?

Seeing the Risen Christ

Revelation 1:9-18:

"I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” 12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp stands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lamp stands: One like the Son of Man; clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

If you’ll closely look at each of these seven descriptions John records, you will find the Four Gospels describe a matching ministry of Christ's while He was on earth.

John actually sees Jesus doing after the Resurrection, just what He did while He was here on Earth before His death, burial and Resurrection.

Jesus is the same—yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). And how John needed that reminder—and so do we!

What did John see? Pencil these in your mind, mark them in your Bibles, and hold tight to them in your heart—He saw Jesus and tells us of it.

When John sees the Risen Christ, He is--

1. Reminding us that He is Human. v. 13a “like a Son of Man”. So He can truly have compassion upon us. Jesus can feel my needs completely.

2. Praying for us. v. 13b-14b “robe, sash, white hair”. So He can truly forgive us. Jesus prays for me constantly.

3. Watching over us. v. 14c “eyes like a flame of fire”. So He can truly see us where we are. Jesus can see me always.

4. Protecting us. v. 15a “feet like fine brass”. So He can truly protect us. Jesus can help me anytime.

5. Comforting us. v. 15b “voice like the sound of many waters”. So He can truly encourage us. Jesus can comfort me anywhere.

6. Offering Himself to us. v. 16b-17a “face like the Sun shining in its strength”. So we can truly worship Him. Jesus wants me to worship Him everywhere.

7. Reaching out to us. v. 16a; 17b-18 “hand upon me”. So He can truly help us. Jesus wants to touch me daily.

Today we need to experience the reality of what Jesus is waiting to do for us who love and seek Him, as we understand:

Christ's Risen and Glorified: Humanity Jesus Can Feel My Needs Completely

v. 13a “One like a Son of Man”.

The book of Hebrews describes the 100% humanity of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 2:14-18 "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted." NKJV

And again:

Hebrews 4:15 "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."

Jesus was made like us; He can feel our needs completely—so He can truly have compassion upon us. Every time the verb “showing/having compassion” is used in the New Testament (12x) it always refers to Jesus!

As we read the Gospels, what do they emphasize about what Christ did on earth? They show His great compassion upon weak and wandering humans.

Matthew 20:34 "So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him."

Mark 6:34" And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things."

So what does He do now? He has compassion upon us in all our needs!

Remember when John saw Jesus in Revelation 1:13 “…and in the midst of the seven lamp stands [One] like the Son of Man”? Jesus was with His Church, us believers, His born-again saints. So that means Jesus is here this today!

Jesus is checking our hearts to see if we came to church cleaned up and prepared to seek Him. He comes to see if we came spiritually cold or if we came with our “first love” for Him.

Anyone felt they could come to Him, He was approachable: a woman with blood, a leper, a dad with dying daughter, someone with a sick servant. Jesus has compassion.

Are you weak? He understands, and looks upon you with compassion.

Are you afraid? He is acquainted with all we face, and knows our fears—and looks upon us with compassion.

Are you alone? He faced the long loneliness of the Garden of Gethsemane, the Wilderness temptation, and the hours of darkness on the Cross—He know what it is like to be alone, He feels our weaknesses—and looks upon us with compassion.

Christ’s Omniscience Jesus Can See Me Always

v. 14c “eyes like a flame of fire”. So He can truly see us where ever we are.

Do you remember how the Gospels picture Christ's ministry to His disciples when He was on earth? He always knew where His disciples were and what they needed.

There is a spot, often referred to in the 4 Gospels as “the mountain”. It was the spot Jesus went to pray, to call His disciples, to give them the Great Commission, and other events. It was a place they knew so well that after one of His times in Jerusalem after the Cross, Jesus told the disciples that He’d meet them next on “the mountain” in Galilee.

Today that mountain is called Arbel; and if you turn to Matthew 14:22 we can see a beautiful reminder of how Jesus can always see each of us, and how He responds to what He sees (Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:46-48; John 6:15-21).

Matthew 14:22-33 "Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Mark 6:46-48 "And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by."

So what does He do now? He knows every detail of our lives, every fear we dread to face, and every weakness that can defeat us—so He can always help us!

Hebrews 4:15-16" For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Hebrews 7:24-25 "But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

Today there is more proof that Jesus lives than of any other truth in the Universe. The proof is written in the hearts and lives of those who stand around you.

Jesus said “Destroy this temple (His Body) and I will rebuild it in three days (His Resurrection)” and He did.

Now Jesus is the Temple by which we can worship God anywhere, anytime, and always. He has become the Universal Meeting place for all of us worshippers of the true and living God.

1. Jesus Can Feel My Needs Completely—because of His Humanity

2. Jesus Prays for Me Constantly—because of His Priesthood

3. Jesus Can See Me Always—because of His Omniscience

4. Jesus Can Help Me Anytime—because of His Omnipotence

5. Jesus Can Comfort Me Anywhere—because of His Omnipresence

6. Jesus Wants Me to Worship Him Everywhere—because of His Majesty

7. Jesus Wants to Touch Me Daily—because of His Touch

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APPENDIX: The Rest of Christ's Attributes Available today by Faith

Christ's Priesthood

Jesus Prays for Me Constantly

v. 13b-14b clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow,” So He can truly intercede for us.

First of all, what did Jesus do on earth? He forgave sins!

Mark 1:41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

Mark 2:1-5 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. 3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

John 8:11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

So what does He do now? He forgives our sins.

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

Hebrews 7:24-25 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

• Do you feel defiled? He alone can forgive and cleanse.

• Do you feel the fear of future judgment? He can take that penalty you deserve away forever.

Christ’s Omnipotence

Jesus Can Help Me Anytime

v. 15a “His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace”. Those feet of brass speak of strength and power. He reveals that strength to remind us that He can truly protect us.

First of all, what did Jesus do on earth? He was always delivering them from danger, and stilling their storms (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:23-25).

Mark 6:46-48 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.

Luke 8:23-25 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

So what does He do now? He ever lives to intercede and help us in every danger we face.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Hebrews 7:24-25 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Christ's Omnipresence

Jesus Can Comfort Me Anywhere

v 15b “voice like the sound of many waters”. Have you ever noticed that Jesus was always speaking to people at their time of greatest need? His voice can be heard anywhere, for He is everywhere present. So He can truly encourage us.

First of all, what did Jesus do on earth? He was always meeting their most desperate needs.

John 20:13-16 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

John 21:15-17 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

So what does He do now? He is always with us, He promises to never leave our side! He can encourage and help us always, anywhere, and anytime—just invite Him to come to your rescue.

Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Christ's Majesty

Jesus Wants Me to Worship Him Everywhere

v. 16b-17a “face like the Sun shining in its strength”. One look at Jesus and John crumbles in awe and wonder filled worship at His feet. He is glorious in Majesty and power. He reminds us of that glory so we can truly be worship Him.

First of all, what did Jesus do on earth? He was always inviting the worship of those who loved Him.

Matthew 14:33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Mark 6:51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

So what does He do now? He is always waiting for us to lavish our love upon Him and worship Him.

Luke 24:52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Christ's Touch

Jesus Wants to Touch Me Daily

v. 16a; 17b-20 “16 He had in His right hand seven stars; He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands which you saw are the seven churches.”

He holds His church, He guards its message and its messengers. And when John was overwhelmed, Jesus reached down to strengthen him. He can always help us. Just think of Peter as he sank, the Leper as he pleaded for cleansing, and Thomas as he knelt before the Risen Christ.

First of all, what did Jesus do on earth? He was always touching those He loved with strength and help.

Peter at his direst moment full of fear. Matthew 14:30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

The leper at his direst moment full of decay. Luke 5:12 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Thomas at his direst moment full of doubt. John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

But that was 2,000 years ago—and it seems so long ago and so far away.

We live so distant at times from the quietness of the garden on Resurrection morning.

But that is only our fault, because the truth of the resurrection is that Jesus is alive. And since He is alive He is doing the same things He did then.

Did you catch that? Jesus wants us to know that He is still doing just what He did that morning, and in the days that followed. So much of His ministry was assuring the disciples of what they already knew, and encouraging them to do what He left them here to do.

This morning, have you meet again the Risen Christ?

Have you seen what He is doing today? That is what He wants for us--to see Him, and even, more believe Him. And then respond to His work in us through His Word.

Will you see Jesus anew and afresh with me, and experience all that He wants to do in your life and mine today, and in the days ahead—if we will invite Him to be at work in us.

So what does He do now?

He is always there to touch us, lift us, encourage us, restore us, and remind us that all that He promised is true.

Hebrews 13:5, 8 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

When Jesus Seems Distant—

Look For the Risen One

1. Jesus Can Feel My Needs Completely—because of His Humanity

2. Jesus Prays for Me Constantly—because of His Priesthood

3. Jesus Can See Me Always—because of His Omniscience

4. Jesus Can Help Me Anytime—because of His Omnipotence

5. Jesus Can Comfort Me Anywhere—because of His Omnipresence

6. Jesus Wants Me to Worship Him Everywhere—because of His Majesty

7. Jesus Wants to Touch Me Daily—because of His Touch

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