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John 20:6-10 • They Did Not Understand

"And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes."
    —John 20:6-10 (NASB)

There is much to learn from the sequence of events pertaining to Christ's resurrection, just as much as the sequences pertaining to His trial and crucifixion, His ministry on earth, and even His birth. The order in which He would appear to specific individuals and groups is first and foremost an example of the biblical principle "the last shall be first, and the first last". (Mt. 20:16; Mk. 10:31; Lk. 13:30) It's also a very powerful lesson as to where signs and wonders fall in importance to one's faith. Because the greatest proof of faith is not in attesting to a sign or miracle, but simply believing in the Word of God alone.

For much of this first day of His resurrection, Jesus leaves those closest to Him with only the physical proof that something happened. They see with their eyes that something happened at the tomb. They return home knowing in their heart of hearts that something has happened. But "they did not understand the Scripture". They were given the opportunity to place their faith solely on Christ's Word alone that He would rise again after three days. (Mt. 27:63; Mk. 9:31) This wasn't an exercise in knowledge, but an opportunity for faith.

This is all the more apparent when He appears to Thomas who only confesses belief at seeing Him personally, having rejected the word not just of all the others who said they'd seen Christ, but the Word of Christ Himself that He would so rise.

"Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'"
    —John 20:29 (NASB)

I suspect that this is a very strong teaching that is especially meant for those of us living in the Last Days. It's not whether or not as witnesses of End Times events we can declare them true, but has far more to do with our faith to begin with that we've ALWAYS simply believed solely because of His Word. None of the things which will fulfill Scripture in the Last Days is to change anything about our faith; our faith is supposed to be intact and operating regardless. In fact, I'm quite sure that some of the End Times signs will be so close yet different from what we expect, that it's our own faith that's being tested.