Read: John 20:1-10: A Sharper Ax
The followers of Jesus had lived with him for 3 years. They practically did everything with him, and Jesus revealed himself to them such that he considered his work finished (John 17:1-18). The work that Jesus had set out to do in his ministry leading up to his crucifixion was to invest in the twelve so that they would be equipped to go out and deliver the message that Jesus gave them so others might believe (John 17:20). The work of Jesus had been accomplished, but the disciples did not fully understand it — yet.
When Mary went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away, she automatically assumed what most anyone would assume: they moved the body. She had gone in the morning in the typical tradition of mourners to the place that the deceased were buried to mourn there. She knew Jesus was dead as did all the disciples and everyone else who watched him die. While she and the other disciples had the head knowledge about Jesus and the resurrection, they had not made the connection with the empty tomb and a resurrected Jesus. When Mary goes to find the rest they go to the tomb and find the burial clothes of Jesus. Peter and the other disciples did not know what to make of what they found either, so they believed Mary’s conclusion that they had moved the body.
The particular references to the resurrection are not given by John, but Isaiah 53 is often applied to Jesus as it speaks to one who died for the iniquities of many, but whose soul was not counted among the dead. Psalm 22 is also applied by Jesus to himself. It does not mention a death and resurrection per se, but does mention one who has been utterly humiliated and reduced such that his bones are showing and his heart is melted, but is raised up in victory such that the world turns and worships God. There are many other possible passage applicable to Jesus too. Jesus after the resurrection open their hearts and minds to the Scriptures (Luke 24:27,44-47). He walked through the Old Testament pointing out from the beginning that it was God’s plan concerning Jesus from the beginning. How Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament is the subject of discussion for much of the New Testament, particularly the book of Hebrews. Hebrews, at a high level, talks about Jesus being superior to the prophets, priests, temple, and sacrifices of the Old Testament. Uncovering the depths of this is no easy task and takes lots of time. It took Jesus 3 years to teach the disciples, and even after this, they still did not fully understand!
Jesus is still revealing his truth to Christians every day. On this side of the cross, Christians have a distinct advantage that the disciples and Mary had not yet received: the Holy Spirit. Two of the roles of the Holy Spirit are to teach believers and remind believers of what they have learned (John 14:26). But the Holy Spirit cannot remind believers of what they do not know, and the Holy Spirit can only teach believers who are willing to learn. For this reason, it is imperative for every believer to move beyond the elementary teachings concerning Jesus so that they can become mature in their own faith (Hebrews 5:11-14, Hebrews 6:1). God will take immature believers, but wants believers to be mature in every way so they can be a useful tool for his kingdom work, much like a sharp ax. A dull ax will do the trick, but requires a lot more work. A sharp ax is much better (Ecclesiastes 10:10)!
Lord, help to know the Scriptures so I can make use of them in my life!