GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now
“Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:46). “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2: 10).
Back in my “working life” I received personal satisfaction when it was my privilege to introduce others to South America. I always enjoyed the visit to Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã soccer stadium.
Completed in 1950 for the World Cup games it was the largest stadium in the world. At the time it would seat 173,000 paying spectators but was estimated that more than 200,000 were inside as Brazil lost to Uruguay in the final game of that year’s soccer grand finale. The World Cup’s championship match is set before millions of spectators across the globe every four years.
One reason I liked the stadium tour was upon occasions it would be led by one of the old workers, who not only participated in its construction but, who also lived its game after game, decade by decade history. Eye witness tour guides are rare creatures.
In the Gospel, the Apostle John is that rare guide. His purpose is not totally grasped until he reveals it at the end. That is, his tour sites are chosen for a specific purpose. He invites us to come and see so that we might believe.
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31).
In our last stop with the apostle he asked us to see hope buried. John knew the pain. He was present at the cross. It’s almost like he can’t dwell on the burial. The silence of death is more than he can bear.
Saturday hope lays in silence. There is no action or story for an entire day. Nothing, until John call us for our next stop on Sunday. It will be a sight and a sign to create belief. Maybe—just maybe—hope is alive.
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.
So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.
The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed (20:1-8).
The tomb was empty. There was something about the head cloth and those empty grave linens that caused the spark of hope to reignite in the depths of John’s soul. In that dark tomb the apostle saw the linens and remembered anew the signs. Jesus had left a sign to create belief.
He must have remembered the words of his master, “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe” (4:48). “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am” (13:19).
Would empty grave wrappings have been enough for me to resurrect hope? How vital is the site of the empty tomb to your faith?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Come and See an Empty Tomb