John chapter 20

Jesus Christ resurrects. He appears to Mary Magdalene, and then to the disciples. He commissions them to minister to others. He gives them the Holy Spirit.

 


 

THE RESURRECTION

This section is a powerful eyewitness testimony.

 

VERSE 1. Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went early, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb.

the first day of the week. This was “Day One” after the Sabbath. That is, “Sunday.”

while it was still dark. Without Jesus Christ in our lives, everything seems dark.

Mary Magdalene went … to the tomb. The “mighty” apostles were hiding in the Upper Room, cowering in fear. It was Mary Magdalene who acted with courage and faith.

It was Mary Magdalene who discovered the empty tomb, and not the “mighty” apostles.

The word “Magdalene” probably means she came from the town of Magdala on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

 

VERSE 2. Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”

we don’t know where they have laid him. Mary Magdalene speaks in the plural. “We” don’t know …” Perhaps she was not alone.

the other disciple whom Jesus loved:

John 13:23. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was at the table, leaning against Jesus’ breast.

John 19:26. Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

John 20:2. Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”

 

VERSE 3. Therefore Peter and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb.

 

VERSE 4. They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter, and came to the tomb first.

They both ran together. Peter and John are in a footrace to the tomb.

 

VERSE 5. Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying, yet he didn’t enter in.

Stooping. The Greek word is “hblepei.” It means bent over.

he didn’t enter in. John is the first to arrive at the tomb. But he waits for Peter to go in first. Then John follows.

 

VERSE 6. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying,

He saw. The Greek word for “saw” is “htheôrei.” It means “beheld attentively.”

 

VERSE 7. and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself.

 

VERSE 8. So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed.

 

VERSE 9. For as yet they didn’t know the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

Even after an extended time of teaching by the Lord Jesus, the disciples still did not understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

 

VERSE 10. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

 

JESUS APPEARS TO MARY MAGDALENE

 

VERSE 11. But Mary was standing outside at the tomb weeping. So as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb,

Mary was standing outside. There were several Marys. This one is almost certainly Mary Magdalene.

We saw a few verses earlier that Mary Magdalene had acted with great courage and faith. Now God blesses her fantastically:

She is given a mystical encounter with two angels.

She is the first human to meet Jesus Christ since his burial.

She is the first human to comprehend the reality of the resurrection.

She is the first human to announce the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

VERSE 12. and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

she saw two angels. Many people imagine that angels have wings and halos. But that is because artists have made that up. In the Bible, angels look like ordinary people.

 

VERSE 13. They asked her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.”

 

VERSE 14. When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn’t know that it was Jesus.

she turned around and saw Jesus. It is often when we are turned around that we see Jesus most clearly.

The fact that a woman is the first witness attests to the historic reality of this event. That is because no author in the ancient world would have invented a story where a woman is the first witness.

didn’t know that it was Jesus. She did not expect to see Jesus.

 

VERSE 15. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Who are you looking for. The Lord Jesus Christ knew the answer to this question. But he asked it anyway.

 

VERSE 16. Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Rabboni!” which is to say, “Teacher!”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” As the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ calls his sheep by name:

John 10:3. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.

And his sheep know his voice:

John 10:4. Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

Rabboni. This is Hebrew or Aramaic for “my master.” It is a variation on “Rabbi.”

 

VERSE 17. Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold me, for I haven’t yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”

Don’t hold me. Mary may have embraced Jesus physically.

Matthew 28:9. As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.

 

VERSE 18. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had said these things to her.

told the disciples. However, the cowardly unbelieving apostles rejected Mary’s words:

Luke 24:11. These words seemed to them to be nonsense, and they didn’t believe them.

 

JESUS APPEARS TO HIS DISCIPLES

 

VERSE 19. When therefore it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the middle, and said to them, “Peace be to you.”

for fear of the Jews. The disciples are afraid. Their faith has not made them strong. At least not yet, anyway.

 

VERSE 20. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad when they saw the Lord.

his hands. The Greek word can also include the forearm. The forearm is where the nails were often driven in crucifixions.

 

JESUS COMMISSIONS US TO MINISTER TO OTHERS

 

VERSE 21. Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel According to John and from the entire Bible.

This verse seems like a command! Would you consider acting on it? More commands of Jesus Christ from the Gospel According to John and from the entire Bible.

As the Father has sent me. What was the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ? How did he himself define it? Here are the verses we find in the four gospels.

so I send you. Jesus had been put to death on Friday, and a few of his supporters buried his body. On Sunday, Mary Magdalene went to visit the tomb. Two mysterious angels appeared to her. Then Jesus himself was there. They spoke. Jesus sent her to his disciples with a message. That night, the disciples were gathered. Despite their locked doors, Jesus appeared to them. He showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. Jesus wished them peace, and he sent them on a mission.

IN THEIR DAY, with regard to peace, they were unlikely recipients.

First, as known associates of Jesus, whom the government put to death, the disciples were living in fear of arrest, and so they were probably flooded with adrenalin.

Second, they were huddled together behind locked doors, and so their fears were probably infecting each other.

And third, it’s quite likely that they were stressing over their abandoning Jesus. When the scary moment arrived, they ran away. They fled for their lives. Would Jesus come back like a ghost and haunt them?

Now here he was. He was with them, behind locked doors. The very first thing Jesus said to them was peace. He’s not an angry ghost back to haunt them, and he wishes for them to not be stressed.

The second thing Jesus said to them was to give them a mission. He was sending them. They were to be his emissaries, his ambassadors to the whole world.

In the fullness of time, this frightened band of believers would indeed go out. They and others who joined them would soon reach the entire known world, with the message of Jesus Christ.

IN OUR DAY, Jesus wishes us peace, and he sends us on a mission.

With regard to peace, you might feel yourself to be an unlikely recipient. But Jesus wishes you peace. How can you grow in experiencing the peace that surpasses all understanding?

With regard to a mission, if you’re a Christian believer, Jesus has a mission for you. You’re his emissary, his ambassador to the world.

The word “mission” is pretty much synonymous with the word “ministry.” The number of Christian ministries is nearly limitless. At Explore the Faith, we zoom in on five. We call them the Five Key Ministries. These five are the ministries we feel are the best ones for us to focus on.

Evangelism is the ministry of interacting with non-Christians about Jesus Christ, aiming for their eventual conversion to faith in Jesus Christ.

Discipleship is the ministry of mentoring a fellow believer into mature Christian discipleship. That believer was recently converted to faith in Christ or was recently awakened.

Apologetics is the ministry of having kindly philosophical discussions with a naysayer of the Christian movement. It’s not at all about arguing or fighting or winning.

Ecumenism is the ministry of building bridges of unity with people from other Christian denominations and movements.

Interreligious Dialogue is the ministry of building bridges of unity with people from other religions, such as Jewish people, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and more.

The Lord Jesus calls us to take his Gospel to the whole world. Here are the key Bible verses about this »

 

JESUS GIVES THEM THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

VERSE 22. When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit!

Genesis 2:7. The LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Ezekiel 37:9-10. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and tell the wind, ‘The Lord GOD says: “Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

 

VERSE 23. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they have been forgiven them. If you retain anyone’s sins, they have been retained.”

This verse seems like a command! Would you consider acting on it? More commands of Jesus Christ from the Gospel According to John and from the entire Bible.

2 Corinthians 2:10. Now I also forgive whomever you forgive anything. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

 

JESUS APPEARS TO DOUBTING THOMAS

 

VERSE 24. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came.

 

VERSE 25. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

said to him. The Greek word is “elegon.” It is an imperfect tense, which indicates continual activity. They kept saying to Thomas.

his hands. The Greek word can also include the forearm. The forearm is where the nails were often driven in crucifixions.

 

VERSE 26. After eight days again his disciples were inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the middle, and said, “Peace be to you.”

 

VERSE 27. Then he said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believing.”

Don’t be unbelieving, but believing. The Lord Jesus Christ challenges Thomas to finally set aside his skepticism and accept the evidence before his very eyes.

 

VERSE 28. Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

My Lord and my God. It took a great deal of firsthand evidence before Thomas came to this conclusion.

Wisdom 18:15. Your all-powerful word leaped from heaven out of the royal throne, A stern warrior, into the midst of the doomed land,

John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 20:28. Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Titus 2:13. looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 1:8. But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your Kingdom.”

Revelation 19:13. He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called “The Word of God.”

 

VERSE 29. Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed.”

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel According to John and from the entire Bible.

Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed. This is us. We have not seen the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh. Yet we believe.

 

THE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK

 

VERSE 30. Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book;

not written in this book. The Bible does not tell us everything. It only tells us what is necessary.

 

VERSE 31. but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel According to John and from the entire Bible.

that you may believe. John tells us why he wrote this book. It is that we may believe …

that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The identity of Jesus Christ is the essence of the Christian message.

and that believing you may have life in his name. Our belief in Jesus Christ does something for us. It brings us to eternal life.

 


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JOHN

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize, Commands, Spirituality

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.