John 20:1-31

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2023-03-01 13:35.

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Early in the morning of the first day of the week (the day after the Sabbath), Mary Magdalene, the other Mary (the wife of Clopas and the mother of James the less [or the younger] and Joses [Joseph]), and Salome (the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John), with the spices they had prepared before the Sabbath, headed for the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. While on the way, they talked among themselves about who would assist them to roll the stone away from the tomb entrance. Wanting to be at the location as early as possible, the women had left where they were staying while it was still dark. It seems likely that the women from Galilee would have spent the night at various places in Jerusalem, and so a number of them may well have arrived at the tomb later than the others did. (John 20:1; see also Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-3; Luke 24:1.)

John 20:1 does not mention that other women accompanied Mary Magdalene. This is understandable, for the account specifically focuses on her testimony regarding Christ’s resurrection.

When the women approached the tomb, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. Possibly, at this point, Mary Magdalene ran back to Jerusalem to let Peter and John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) know what she had seen. The empty tomb suggested to her that the Lord had been taken away. Including herself with the other women, she said, “We do not know where they have laid him.” Thereafter Peter and John ran as quickly as they could to the tomb. (20:1-3; see also Mark 16:4 and Luke 24:2.)

After the women had left the tomb, Peter and John came running toward it. Probably because of being the younger man and able to move faster, John arrived first, bent down to look into the tomb, and saw the linen with which Jesus’ body had been wrapped. Upon reaching the tomb, Peter immediately entered and saw the linen wrappings. He noticed that the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head was rolled up and lying by itself. John, who had reached the tomb first, entered afterward. Based on his seeing the empty tomb, the wrappings, and the rolled-up cloth, “he believed.” This suggests that what he saw in the tomb convinced him that no one could have taken the body away and left the wrappings and the cloth behind, indicating that Jesus had been raised from the dead. (20:3-8)

In view of John’s believing, the words of John 20:9 appear to be a comment about the disciples as a group. They had not as yet come to understand the scripture, which revealed that Jesus had to rise from the dead. According to John 20:10, they individually went to their respective places.

After Peter and John were no longer at the tomb, Mary Magdalene returned, stood outside the tomb, and began to weep. While tears were flowing from her eyes, she bent down to look into the tomb. Inside were two angels, one was sitting where Jesus’ head had been and the other one where his feet had lain. Asked why she was weeping, Mary replied, “They have removed my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” (20:11-13)

Possibly becoming aware that someone was behind her, she turned around and saw Jesus but did not recognize him. He asked her why she was weeping and for whom she was looking. Thinking he was the gardener, she wanted him, if he had taken the body, to tell her where he had placed it. In her distraught state, she added, “I will take him away.” It is inconceivable that she would have been strong enough to carry the body, revealing that her words were prompted by intense emotion. (20:14, 15)

Seemingly, Mary could not tear herself away from the place where the body had been. Probably, because Jesus did not immediately reply, she again looked in the direction of the tomb. Upon then hearing Jesus call her “Mary,” doubtless in the familiar tone she had often heard, she recognized him, turned around, and said, Rabboni, meaning “Teacher.” (John 20:16)

The account does not say whether Mary then took hold of Jesus but relates his words to her, “Do not touch [or cling to] me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17)

Many have understood the present tense of the Greek verbs to mean that Jesus was then about to ascend to his Father and did not want Mary to delay him from doing so. Mary’s action would then be comparable to what Jacob did when trying to secure a blessing for himself by trying to hold on to the angel who wanted to ascend. (Genesis 32:26) If the present tense is meant to be taken literally, this would mean that the post-resurrection appearances were like those of angels and that the ascension from the Mount of Olives revealed that the disciples should not expect to see him again until his return in glory. (Acts 1:9-11)

If, on the other hand, the present tense simply refers to the future ascension from the Mount of Olives that was certain to take place, Jesus’ words to Mary may mean that the time for close personal association had ended. His having been raised from the dead did not mean a return to the kind of interaction with him that had existed previously.

Mary Magdalene headed back to Jerusalem and then told the disciples there that she had seen the Lord and what he had said to her. According to Luke 24:10, the apostles heard about the resurrection of Jesus from Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women. In view of the more detailed account in John chapter 20 about Mary Magdalene, the words in Luke 24:10 appear to be a summary statement, with no distinction being made about when the various reports about the resurrection reached the apostles. Although the women told them what they had seen and heard, the apostles did not believe them. Whether the apostles dismissed the women’s testimony as empty talk because of a prejudicial view about the reliability of the word of women is not revealed in the account. (Luke 24:11) That such prejudice appears to have existed among Jewish men is evident from the words of the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, “Let not the testimony of women be admitted, on account of the levity and boldness of their sex.” (Antiquities, IV, viii, 15) (20:18)

It was late on that day, that first day of the week when, much earlier, Jesus rose from the dead. Being fearful on account of the unbelieving Jews, the disciples had chosen to be assembled behind locked doors. Suddenly they saw Jesus standing in their midst. His first words to them were, “Peace [be] to you.” Jesus’ death had plunged them into a state of fear and uncertainty, robbing them of peace, an inner sense of calmness and well-being. Despite his reassuring words, the disciples were frightened. The manner in which he had suddenly appeared in their midst caused them to imagine that they were seeing a spirit, a phantom, an apparition, or a ghost. They reacted as on an earlier occasion when they saw Jesus walking toward them on water while they were in a boat. (Mark 6:49) 20:19; see also Mark 6:49 and Luke 24:36, 37.)

In response to their reaction, Jesus asked why they were troubled and why doubts had arisen in their hearts. He made it clear to them that he was indeed in their midst. They were not seeing an impalpable apparition. “See my hands and my feet,” he continued. “I am he. Touch me, and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see me have.” (Luke 24:38-40) According to John 20:20, he showed them his hands and his side.

On this occasion, Jesus again expressed his desire for his disciples to have peace. Just as the Father had sent him, he was then sending them forth, the implied purpose being for them to make known the good news about him and his resurrection. Possibly to assure the disciples that they would be certain soon to receive the holy spirit to assist them in carrying out their commission, he blew upon them and said, “Receive holy spirit.” (20:21, 22)

As the disciples would be carrying out their commission as persons whom Jesus had sent forth, the community of believers would grow and certain ones in their midst would fail to conduct themselves according to his example and teaching. This would require the disciples to render judgments about such erring associates. Regarding those who committed serious sins, Jesus said to the disciples, “If you forgive [their] sins, they are forgiven them. If you retain [their sins, not forgiving them], they are retained [against them].” In the case of individuals who unrepentantly persisted in a life of sin, the retaining of their sins would signify their no longer being part of the community of believers. (20:23; compare 1 Corinthians 5:1-7; 6:9, 10.)

Thomas (called Didymus or the “Twin”) was not with the other apostles when Jesus appeared to them. Later, they told him, “We have seen the Lord.” Thomas, though, did not believe them, saying, “Unless I see the impression of the nails in his hands and place my finger in the impression of the nails and put my hand in his side, I will not believe.” (20:24, 25; in the Greek text two words for “not” appear, indicating that Thomas would positively not believe unless he had concrete evidence.)

After “eight days” (counting the day on which the apostles saw Jesus as one of the eight), or a week later, Thomas and the others were together behind locked doors. Jesus, as on the previous occasion, appeared in their midst, saying to them, “Peace [be] to you.” Turning his attention to Thomas, he said, “Place your finger here, and see my hands, and take your hand and put it in my side, and cease being unbelieving but become believing.” Upon hearing an echo of the words he had used in his response to the other disciples when they told him that they had seen Jesus, Thomas was overcome with emotion. He exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (20:26-28)

The words of Thomas (“My Lord and my God” [John 20:28]) somewhat parallel how Manoah expressed himself when he and his wife saw the angel who had appeared to them ascend in a flame. Overwhelmed by the emotional impact, Manoah said to his wife, “We will certainly die, for we have seen God.” (Judges 13:20-22)

Whether Thomas actually felt Jesus’ hands and his side is not revealed in the account. The words directed to him appear to have been enough to convince him. Jesus continued, “Do you believe because you have seen me? Fortunate are those who have not seen and [nevertheless] believe.” (John 20:29)

For the many millions who have put their faith in Jesus throughout the centuries, the kind of proof that Thomas wanted has not been granted. Yet, they believed and their lives were enriched. As Jesus said, all such believers are “fortunate,” “blessed,” or “happy,” enjoying the enviable state of well-being that comes from knowing the Son of God and his Father and being sharers in all the blessings associated therewith.

The editorial comments found in John 20:30, 31 could also have been written regarding the three other accounts. Jesus performed many more signs or miracles that the disciples witnessed but which were not mentioned. The narrations included sufficient essentials to provide a solid foundation for believing that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, you may have life in his name.”

The name represents the person. In the case of Jesus, his name represents him as the Christ and the unique Son of God, with all the power or authority that his Father has granted him. The real life of an enduring relationship with the Son of God and his Father can only be attained through unqualified trust or faith in the Son and loyal life. attachment to him. Therefore, it is “in his name” that believers come into possession of this life, the eternal life.