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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
John 20



Verse 1

1. τ. σαββ. Τὰ σάββατα may mean either the Sabbath, on the analogy of names of festivals, τὰ ἐγκαίνια, τὰ παναθήναια, &c., or the week, as the interval between two Sabbaths: here literally, on day one of the week (Luke 24:1). S. John has not mentioned the stone; but he speaks of it as known, τὸν λίθον. S. Mark notes the placing of it, S. Matthew the sealing: all four note the displacement: ἠρμένον ἐκ, lifted out of.

Verses 1-10


Verse 2

2. Concluding that the body must be gone, she runneth therefore to S. Peter. He is still chief of the Apostles, and as such is consulted first, in spite of his fall. The repetition of πρός implies that he was not living with S. John, though (John 20:3) near him. We are in doubt whether δν ἐφίλει applies to him as well as to ‘the other disciple.’ The special phrase for S. John is ὄν ἠγάπα (John 13:22).

ἦραν. She makes no attempt to determine whether friends or foes have done it (comp. Luke 12:20): οἴδαμεν agrees with the Synoptists’ account, that other women came also. She left them to go to the Apostles.

Verse 3

3. The change from the single act, ἐξῆλθεν, to that which lasted some time, ἤρχοντο, is marked by change of tense; see on John 11:29.

Verse 4

4. ἔτρεχονπροέδ. τάχ. τ. Π. Literally, began to run … ran on before, more quickly than Peter: τάχ. τ. Π. being epexegetic. The more usual form θᾶσσον does not occur in N.T. (John 13:27; 1 Timothy 3:14; Hebrews 13:19; Hebrews 13:23). S. John ran more quickly as being much younger. Would a second century writer have thought of this in inventing a story? And how simply does S. John give us the process of conviction through which his mind passed: the dull unbelief beforehand, the eager wonder in running, the timidity and awe on arriving, the birth of faith in the tomb. This is true psychology free from all self-consciousness.

Verse 5

5. παρακύψας. The word occurs again John 20:11 and Luke 24. in a literal sense, of ‘bending down to look carefully at;’ in a figurative sense 1 Peter 1:12; James 1:25 (see notes). In Sirach 14:23 it is used of the earnest searcher after wisdom; in John 21:23 of the rude prying of a fool. Βλέπει is seeth at a glance, as distinct from θεωρεῖ (John 20:6).

Verse 6

6. Both Apostles act characteristically. S. John remains without in awe and meditation: S. Peter with his natural impulsiveness goes in at once. He takes a complete survey (θεωρεῖ), and hence sees the σουδάριον (John 11:44), which S. John in his short look had not observed. How natural is the αὐτοῦ (John 20:7): the writer is absorbed in his subject and feels no need to mention the name. The details (so meagre in Luke 24:12) here tell of the eyewitness: he even remembers that the napkin was folded.

Verse 8

8. καὶ ἐπίστευσεν. See on John 1:7. More difficulty has perhaps been made about this than is necessary. ‘Believed what?’ is asked. That Jesus was risen. The whole context implies it; and comp. John 20:25. The careful arrangement of the grave-clothes proved that the body had not been taken away in haste as by a foe: and friends would scarcely have removed them at all. It is thoroughly natural that S. John speaks only of himself, saying nothing of S. Peter. He is full of the impression which the empty and orderly tomb made upon his own mind; and it is to this that John 20:1-7 lead up, just as the whole Gospel leads up to John 20:29. S. Luke (Luke 24:12—of doubtful genuineness) speaks only of S. Peter’s wonder, neither affirming nor denying his belief.

Verse 9

9. οὐδέπω. Not even yet. S. John’s belief in the Resurrection was as yet based only on what he had seen in the sepulchre. He had nothing derived from prophecy to help him. The candour of the Evangelists is again shewn very strongly in the simple avowal that the love of Apostles failed to grasp and remember what the enmity of the priests understood and treasured up. Even with Christ to expound Scripture to them, the prophecies about His Passion and Resurrection had remained a sealed book to them (Luke 24:25-27). For δεῖ comp. John 3:14, John 12:34; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 26:54; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; Luke 17:25; Luke 22:37; Luke 24:7; Luke 24:26; Luke 24:44. The Divine determination meets us throughout Christ’s life on earth, and is pointed out with frequency towards the close of it. Comp. Ephesians 3:11.

Verse 10

10. ἀπῆλθονπρὸς αὐτούς. The reading is doubtful: αὑτοὺς = ἑαυτούς is best. Comp. ἀπῆλθον καθ' ἑαυτούς (1 Samuel 26:12).

Verse 11

11. ΄αρία δἑ. She had returned to the sepulchre after the hurrying Apostles. Mark 16:9 states definitely, what we gather from this section, that the risen Lord’s first appearance was to Mary Magdalene: the details of the meeting are given by S. John alone. She continued standing (John 18:5; John 18:16; John 18:18, John 19:25) after the other two had gone.

Verses 11-18

11–18. It has been noticed that the three manifestations in this Chapter correspond to the three divisions of the Prayer in Chap. 17. Here we see Jesus Himself; in the second, Jesus in relation to His disciples; in the third, Jesus in relation to all who have not seen and yet have believed.

Verse 12

12. ἀγγέλους. Here only do angels appear in S. John’s narrative. Comp. John 1:51, John 12:29, [John 5:4]. An appearance of angels to women occurs in all the accounts of the Resurrection. We are ignorant of the laws which determine such appearances; the two Apostles had seen nothing. For ἐν λευκοἱς comp. Revelation 3:4 : in Revelation 3:5; Revelation 4:4, ἱματίοις is added.

Verse 13

13. τ. κύριόν μουοἶδα. In John 20:2 it was τ. κύριον and οἴδαμεν. In speaking to Apostles she includes other believers; in speaking to strangers she represents the relationship and the loss as personal. These words express the burden of her thoughts since she first saw that the stone had been removed. She is so full of it that she has no thought of the strangeness of this appearance in the tomb. We may reasonably suppose that the Evangelist obtained his information from Mary herself. “The extreme simplicity of the narrative reflects something of the solemn majesty of the scene. The sentences follow without any connecting particles till John 20:19. Comp. c. 15.” (Westcott).

Verse 14

14. ἐστράφη. Perhaps she becomes in some way conscious of another Presence. But Christ’s Risen Body is so changed as not to be recognised at once even by those who had known Him well. It has new powers and a new majesty. Comp. John 21:4; Luke 24:16; Luke 24:37; Matthew 28:17; [Mark 16:12].

Verse 15

15. κηπουρός. Because He was there at that early hour. The omission of His name is again (John 20:7) very natural: she is so full of her loss that she assumes that others know all about it. Σύ is emphatic; ‘Thou, and not some enemy.’ For ἐβάστασας see on John 12:6. In her loving devotion she does not measure her strength: κἀγὼ αὐτὸν ἀρῶ. Note that it is τ. κύριον (John 20:2), τ. κ. μου (John 20:13), αὐτόν thrice (John 20:15); never τ. σῶμα or τ. νεκρόν. His lifeless form to her is still Himself.

Verse 16

16. ΄αριάμ. The term of general address, Γύναι, awoke no echo in her heart; the sign of personal knowledge and sympathy comes home to her at once. Thus ‘He calleth His own sheep by name’ (John 10:3). The addition of Ἑβραϊστί is of importance as indicating the language spoken between Christ and His disciples. S. John thinks it well to remind Greek readers that Greek was not the language used. Comp. Acts 22:2; Acts 26:14, and see on John 5:2. The form Ῥαββουνί or Ῥαββουνεί occurs also in Mark 10:51, but has been obliterated in A. V. It is said to be Galilean, and if so natural in a woman of Magdala. Would any but a Jew of Palestine have preserved this? Its literal meaning is ‘my Master,’ but the pronominal portion of the word had lost almost all meaning: comp. ‘Monsieur.’ S. John’s translation shews that as yet her belief is very imperfect: she uses a mere human title.

Verse 17

17. μή μ. ἄπτου. This is a passage of well-known difficulty. At first sight the reason given for refraining from touching would seem to be more suitable to a permission to touch. Comp. John 4:44. It is perhaps needless to enquire whether the γάρ refers to the whole of what follows or only to the first sentence, ‘I am not yet ascended to the Father.’ In either case the meaning would be, that the Ascension has not yet taken place, although it soon will do so, whereas Mary’s action assumes that it has taken place. If γάρ refers to the first clause only, then the emphasis is thrown on Mary’s mistake; if γάρ refers to the whole of what is said, then the emphasis is thrown on the promise that what Mary craves shall be granted in a higher way to both her and others very soon. The translation ‘touch Me not’ is inadequate and gives a false impression. Ἄπτεσθαι does not mean to ‘touch’ and ‘handle’ with a view to seeing whether His body was real; this Christ not only allowed but enjoined (John 20:27; Luke 24:39; comp. 1 John 1:1): rather it means to ‘hold on to’ and ‘cling to.’ Moreover it is the present (not aorist) imperative; and the full meaning will therefore be, ‘Do not continue holding Me,’ or simply, hold Me not. The old and often interrupted earthly intercourse is over; the new and continuous intercourse with the Ascended Lord has not yet begun: but that Presence will be granted soon, and there will be no need of straining eyes and clinging hands to realise it. (For a large collection of various interpretations see Meyer.) The reading πρὸς τ. πατέρα (without μου) agrees better with πρ. τ. ἀδ. μου. The general relationship applying both to Him and them is stated first, and then it is pointedly distinguished in its application to Him and to them.

ὰναβαίνω. I am ascending. The change has already begun: earth is His home no longer. In Luke 24:44 Jesus says, ‘These are My words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you.’ Mary’s error consisted in supposing that Jesus was again with her under the old conditions. He is with them no longer after the flesh: He only appears to them. Soon He will be in them as the glorified Christ. The present interval is one of transition. But He remains perfect Man: He still speaks of ‘My God.’ Comp. Revelation 3:12. Thus also S. Paul and S. Peter speak of ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Comp. Ephesians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 11:31; 1 Peter 1:3; and see on Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3, where the expression is blurred in the A.V.

Verse 18

18. ἔρχεταιἀγγέλλουσα. The more usual form is ἐλθοῦσα ἀγγέλλει; John 11:17, John 16:8. Comp. John 20:6. She becomes an Apostle to the Apostles.

Thus as Mary’s love seems to have been the first to manifest itself (John 20:1), so the first Manifestation of the Risen Lord is granted to her. It confirms our trust in the Gospel narratives to find this stated. A writer of a fictitious account would almost certainly have represented the first appearance as being to the Virgin, or to S. Peter, the chief of the Apostles, or to S. John, the beloved disciple, or to the chosen three. But these are all passed over, and this honour is given to her, who had once been possessed by seven devils, to Mary of Magdala, ‘for she loved much.’ A late and worthless tradition does assign the first appearance to the Virgin; but so completely has Christ’s earthly relationship to her been severed (John 19:26-27), that henceforth she appears only among the other believers (Acts 1:14).

Verse 19

19. οὔσης οὖν ὀψ. Note the great precision of the expression. When therefore it was evening on that day, the first of the week: that memorable day, the ‘day of days.’ Comp. John 1:39, John 5:9, John 11:49, John 18:13, where ‘that’ has a similar meaning. Evidently the hour is late; the disciples have returned from Emmaus (Luke 24:23), and it was evening when they left Emmaus. At least it must be long after sunset, when the second day of the week, according to the Jewish reckoning, would begin. And S. John speaks of it as still part of the first day. This is a point in favour of S. John’s using the modern method in counting the hours: it has a special bearing on the explanation of ‘the seventh hour’ in John 4:52. See notes there and on John 19:14.

τ. θυρῶν κεκλ. This is mentioned both here and John 20:26 to shew that the appearance was miraculous. After the Resurrection Christ’s human form, though still real and corporeal (Luke 24:39), is not subject to the ordinary conditions of material bodies. It is ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ, ἐν δόξῃ, ἐν δυνάμει, πνευματικόν (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Before the Resurrection He was visible, unless He willed it otherwise; after the Resurrection it would seem that He was invisible, unless He willed it otherwise. Comp. Luke 24:31. Οἱ μαθηταί includes more than the Apostles, as is clear from Luke 24:33. It was natural that the small community of believers should come together, to discuss the reported appearances of the Lord, as well as for mutual comfort and support under the (prevailing) fear of the Jews (comp. John 7:13). The Sanhedrin might go on to attack Jesus’ disciples; all the more so now that rumours of His being alive were spreading.

ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰ. It is futile to discuss how; that the doors were miraculously opened, as in S. Peter’s release from prison, is neither stated nor implied. For εἰς after ἔστη comp. John 19:13, (John 21:4). His greeting is the ordinary greeting intensified. For this very simple form of it comp. Judges 6:23; 1 Chronicles 12:18. His last word to them in their sorrow before His Passion (John 16:33), His first word to them in their terror (Luke 24:37) at His return, is ‘Peace.’ Possibly the place was the same; the large upper room where they had last been all together.

Verses 19-23


Verse 20

20. καὶ τ. πλευράν. S. Luke, who does not mention the piercing of the side, has καὶ τ. πόδας (Luke 24:39-40, the exact parallel of this, is of very doubtful genuineness). Τὸν κύριον (not αὐτόν) is important: till then they had seen a form, but like Mary of Magdala and the two at Emmaus, they knew not whose it was. Thus their sorrow is turned into joy (John 16:20).

Verse 21

21. εἶπεν οὖν. He said therefore: because now they were able to receive it. Their alarm was dispelled and they knew that He was the Lord. He repeats His message of ‘Peace.’ For ἀπέσταλκεν and πέμπω see on John 1:33. Christ’s mission is henceforth to be carried on by His disciples. He is ὁ ἀπόστολος (Hebrews 3:1), even as they are ἀπόστολοι. The close correspondence between the two missions is shewn by καθώς, even as (John 17:18). Note the present tense, I am sending; their mission has already begun (John 17:9); and the first part of it was to be the proclamation of the truth just brought home to themselves—the Resurrection (Acts 1:22; Acts 2:32; Acts 4:2; Acts 4:33, &c.).

Verse 22

22. ἐνεφύσησεν. The very same verb (here only in N.T.) is used by the LXX. in Genesis 2:7 (Wisdom of Solomon 15:11) of breathing life into Adam. This Gospel of the new creation looks back at its close, as at its beginning (John 1:1), to the first Creation.

We are probably to regard the breath here not merely as the emblem of the Spirit (John 3:8), but as the means by which the Spirit was imparted to them. ‘Receive ye,’ combined with the action of breathing, implies this. This is all the more clear in the Greek, because πνεῦμα means both ‘breath’ and ‘spirit,’ a point which cannot be preserved in English; but at least ‘Spirit’ is better than ‘Ghost.’ We have here, therefore, an anticipation and earnest of Pentecost; just as Christ’s bodily return from the grave and temporary manifestation to them was an anticipation of His spiritual return and abiding Presence with them ‘even unto the end of the world.’ Verus homo, qui spirare, verus Deus, qui Spiritum potuit donare (S. Anselm).

λάβετε. Take ye, implying that the recipient may welcome or reject the gift: he is not a mere passive receptacle. It is the very word used for ‘Take’ (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:17) in the account of the institution of the Eucharist; which somewhat confirms the view that here, as there, there is an outward sign and vehicle of an inward spiritual grace. The expression still more plainly implies that some gift was offered and bestowed then and there: it is wresting plain language to make ‘Take ye’ a mere promise. There was therefore a Paschal as distinct from a Pentecostal gift of the Holy Spirit, the one preparatory to the other. It should be noticed that πνεῦμα ἄγιον is without the article, and this seems to imply that the gift is not made in all its fulness. see on John 14:26, where both substantive and adjective have the article.

Verse 23

23. ἄν τινων ἀφῆτε. Comp. ἄφες in the Lord’s Prayer. This power accompanies the gift of the Spirit just conferred. It must be noticed [1] that it is given to the whole company present; not to the Apostles alone. Of the Apostles one was absent, and there were others present who were not Apostles: no hint is given that this power is confined to the Ten. The commission in the first instance is to the community as a whole, not to the Ministry alone. Of course this does not imply that all present were raised to the rank of Apostles; which would contradict the plain narrative of the Acts; nor that the commission could not be delegated to the Ministry; which would contradict the history of the Church.

It follows from this [2] that the power being conferred on the community and never revoked, the power continues so long as the community continues. While the Christian Church lasts it has the power of remitting and retaining along with the power of spiritual discernment which is part of the gift of the Spirit. That is, it has the power to declare the conditions on which forgiveness is granted and the fact that it has or has not been granted.

It should be noted [3] that the expression throughout is plural on both sides. As it is the community rather than individuals that is invested with the power, so it is classes of men rather than individuals on whom it is exercised. God deals with mankind not in the mass but with personal love and knowledge soul by soul. His Church in fulfilling its mission from Him, while keeping this ideal in view, is compelled for the most part to minister to men in groups and classes. The plural here seems to indicate not what must always be or ought to be the case, but what generally is.

ἀφέωνταικεκράτηνται. The force of the perfect is—‘are ipso facto remitted’—‘are ipso facto retained.’ But ἀφέωνται is not a secure reading: ἀφίενται is strongly supported; and there are other variations. When the community under the guidance of the Spirit has spoken, the result is complete. The meaning of κρατῆτε is ‘hold fast,’ so that they do not depart from the sinner. The word occurs here only in this Gospel. In Revelation it is used of ‘holding fast doctrine,’ &c. (John 2:14-15; John 2:25, John 3:11; comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Verse 24

24. Θωμᾶςοὐκ ἦν μετ' αὐτῶν. His melancholy temperament (see on John 11:16) might dispose him to solitude and to put no trust in the rumours of Christ’s Resurrection if they reached him on Easter Day. And afterwards his despondency is too great to be removed by the repeated (ἔλεγον) testimony even of eyewitnesses. He has but one reply (εἶπεν); and the test which he selects has various points of contact with the surroundings. The wounds had been the cause of his despair; it is they that must reassure him. The print of them would prove beyond all doubt that it was indeed his Lord that had returned to him. Moreover, the Ten had no doubt told him of their own terror and hesitation, and how Jesus had invited them to ‘handle Him and see’ in order to convince themselves. This would suggest a similar mode of proof to S. Thomas.

Verses 24-29


Peculiar to S. John

Verse 25

25. βάλωβάλω. In both places, put: see on John 5:7. The negation is in the strongest form, οὐ μὴ πιστ., I will in no wise believe; and the condition is stated without hope: not, ‘If I see, I will believe,’ but, ‘Except I see, I will not.’ This obstinacy appears also in the repetitions in the asseveration. Τόπον for the second τύπον is an early corruption. It is asked, as in John 20:8, ‘Believe what?’ The answer is the same with even more certainty; that Jesus was risen.

Verse 26

26. ἡμ. ὀκτώ. Including both extremes, according to the Jewish method. This is therefore the Sunday following Easter Day. We are not to understand that the disciples had not met together during the interval, but that there is no appearance of Jesus to record. They are left to ponder over what they have seen. The first step is here taken towards establishing ‘the Lord’s Day’ as the Christian weekly festival. The Passover is over, so that the meeting of the disciples has nothing to do with that. It is not clear why they had not already started for Galilee as commanded (Mark 16:7; Matthew 28:7). Perhaps the obstinacy of S. Thomas had detained them. Πάλιν and ἔσω shew that the place is the same: the time of day is not given.

Verse 27

27. Jesus at once shews S. Thomas that He knows the test which he had demanded. The reproduction of his very words helps to bring home the grossness of the demand. Note γίνου: become. He is at the point where faith and unbelief part company: his suspense of judgment has been neither the one nor the other. It is not worth while to strain after a literal reproduction in English of the verbal contradiction between ἄπιστος and πιστός, as ‘unbelieving’ and ‘believing’ or ‘faithless’ and ‘faithful.’

Verse 28

28. Not merely the sight of Jesus but the conviction of His omniscience overwhelms S. Thomas, as it did Nathanael (John 1:50), and the Samaritan woman (John 4:29). His faith rises with a bound to its full height in the cry of adoration, with which the Gospel closes.

ὁ κύριός μ. κ. ὁ θεός μ. For the nominatives comp. John 19:3; Matthew 11:26; Luke 8:54; Luke 12:32. Most unnatural is the Unitarian view, that these words are an expression of astonishment addressed to God. Against this are [1] the plain and conclusive εἶπεν αὐτῷ; [2] ὁ κύριός μου, which is manifestly addressed to Christ (comp. John 20:13); [3] the fact that this confession of faith forms a climax and conclusion to the whole Gospel. The words are rightly considered as an impassioned declaration on the part of a devoted but (in the better sense of the term) sceptical Apostle of his conviction, not merely that his Risen Lord stood before him, but that this Lord was also his God. And it must be noted that Christ does not correct His Apostle for this avowal, any more than He corrected the Jews for supposing that He claimed to be ἴσον τῷ θεῷ (John 5:18); rather He accepts and approves this confession of belief in His Divinity.

Verse 29

29. ἑώρακας. see on John 1:18. This seems to shew that sight without touch sufficed. Πεπίστευκας (John 11:27) is half question, half exclamation: comp. John 1:51, John 16:31. The change from perfects to aorists should be noted: Blessed are they who saw not and (yet) believed. There were already disciples who believed without having seen the Risen Lord; and from a point of view in the future Jesus sees many more such.

This last great declaration of blessedness is a Beatitude which is the special property of the countless number of believers who have never seen Christ in the flesh. Just as it is possible for every Christian to become equal in blessedness to Christ’s Mother and brethren by obedience (Matthew 12:49-50), so it is possible for them to transcend the blessedness of Apostles by faith. All the Apostles, like S. Thomas, had seen before they believed: even S. John’s faith did not shew itself until he had had evidence (John 20:8). S. Thomas had the opportunity of believing without seeing, but rejected it. The same opportunity is granted to all believers now.

Thus this wonderful Gospel begins and ends with the same article of faith. ‘The Word was God,’—‘the Word became flesh,’ is the Evangelist’s solemn confession of a belief which had been proved and deepened by the experience of more than half a century. From this he starts, and patiently traces out for us the main points in the evidence out of which that belief had grown. This done, he shews us the power of the evidence first over himself (John 20:8), and then over one who was needlessly wary of being influenced by insufficient testimony. The result in the one case is silent conviction, in the other the instantaneous confession, at once the result of questioning and the victory over it, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Thomas has ‘died with Him’ and risen again.

Verse 30-31


πολλὰ μ. οὖν κ. ἄλλα σ. Many and other signs, therefore (as might be expected from those which have been recorded in this book). The context shews that σημεῖα must not be limited to proofs of the Resurrection. S. John is glancing back over his whole work, τὸ βιβλίον τοῦτον, and the σημεῖα are miracles generally: comp. John 12:37. Πολλὰ κ. ἄλλα points the same way; the signs of the Resurrection were few and similar. ΄ὲν anticipates δέ in John 20:31, and οὖν marks the transition: comp. Mark 16:19-20; Philippians 2:23-24. Winer, p. 556. With ἐνώπιον τ. μαθητῶν comp. John 16:26, Acts 1:21-22.

Verse 31

31. ταῦτα δέ. But these (signs). On the one hand there were many unrecorded; but on the other hand some have been recorded. And these are all signs: every act has been significant. It was not S. John’s purpose to write a complete ‘Life of Christ;’ it was not his purpose to write a ‘Life’ at all. Rather he would narrate just those facts respecting Jesus which would produce a saving faith in Him as the Messiah and the Son of God. S. John’s work is ‘a Gospel and not a biography’: most imperfect as a biography, it is ‘complete as a Gospel.’

ἴνα πιστεύητε. That those who read this record may be convinced of two things,—identical in the Divine counsels, identical in fact, but separate in the thoughts of men,—[1] that Jesus, the well-known Teacher and true man, is the Christ, the long looked for Messiah and Deliverer of Israel, the fulfiller of type and prophecy; [2] that He is also the Son of God, the Divine Word and true God. Were He not the latter He could not be the former, although men have failed to see this. Some had been looking for a mere Prophet and Wonder-worker,—a second Moses or a second Elijah; others had been looking for an earthly King and Conqueror,—a second David or a second Solomon. These views were all far short of the truth, and too often obscured and hindered the truth. Jesus, the Lord’s Anointed, must be and is—not only very man but very God: 1 John 4:14-15. This truth is worth having for its own sake; but, as S. John’s experience had taught him, to possess it is to possess eternal life: 1 John 5:13, a passage which seems to shew that the object of the Epistle is similar to that of the Gospel as here set forth. see on John 3:36. For ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ see on John 1:12. The conclusion of the Gospel is an echo of the beginning (John 1:4; John 1:12); and it once more gives a flat contradiction to Gnostic teaching. [1] Jesus is no mere man to whom a divine being was for a time united, but the Messiah and very God. [2] Eternal life is to be obtained, not by intellectual enlightenment, but by faith in the name of Jesus. Comp. Acts 4:10; 1 Corinthians 6:11.

It is quite manifest that this was in the first instance intended as the end of the Gospel. The conflict between belief and unbelief recorded in it reaches a climax in the confession of S. Thomas and the Beatitude which follows: the work appears to be complete; and the Evangelist abruptly but deliberately brings it to a close. What follows is an afterthought, added by S. John’s own hand, as the style and language sufficiently indicate, but not part of the original plan. There is nothing to shew how long an interval elapsed before the addition was made, nor whether the Gospel was ever published without it. The absence of evidence as to this latter point favours the view that the Gospel was not given to the world until after the appendix was written.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on John 20:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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