In this sermon, our founding pastor examines what John and Peter saw when the entered the tomb. Each saw things differently, and so it is with what different people see in Christianity. Here are some excerpts:

What They Saw

“It is probably true to say that we only see what we are looking for…”

Now, in these verses of our text, we are told what Peter and John saw at the sepulchre on the first Easter morning… Three times in these verses we find the words “he saw” – but they are three different and distinctive verbs in the original, suggesting that there are three varieties of vision.”

1. Verse 5.

“John won the race to the sepulchre, possibly because he was a younger and more agile man than Peter… He simply stooped down, and literally peeped in…”

“…Yet, John’s action is very like the attitude of a good many people today toward religion…”

2. Verse 6.

“…Peter, utterly fearless, strode right into the tomb, and his daring was rewarded, for he thus had a much fuller view…”

“…But what I want you to notice is this: the word associated with Peter’s seeing really means — “to be a mere spectator… He didn’t understand its inner meaning or significance…”

3. Verse 8.

“No doubt John’s courage speedily returned. At any rate, he felt emboldened to enter the tomb himself, and we read that ‘he saw and believed’…”

“…Some of us, perhaps, have been content with a casual glance, a peep at Christ; others have been mere spectators. But if we are to be Christians in the true New Testament sense…”


Graham has a lot more to say about this topic. If you would like to learn more, please download and read the attached transcript of the sermon, as the above excerpts do not even scratch the surface. If you would like to do a word search on the transcript, download the file, and then open the file with your web browser after downloading and use your browser’s find feature.


April 15, 1990

John 20:3-8

Rev. W. Graham Smith

Download Transcript (PDF)