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Bible Commentaries

William Barclay's Daily Study Bible
John 20

 

 

Verses 1-31

Chapter 20

BEWILDERED LOVE (John 20:1-10)

20:1-10 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Mary from Magdala came to the tomb; and she saw the stone taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them: "They have taken the Lord away from the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they set out for the tomb. The two were running together. The other disciple ran on ahead faster than Peter, and he was the first to come to the tomb. He stooped down and he saw the linen clothes lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and he went into the tomb. He saw the linen clothes lying there and he saw the napkin, which had been upon Jesus' head, not lying with the rest of the linen clothes, but lying apart from them, still in its folds, by itself. So then, the other disciple, who had arrived first at the tomb, went in too, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they did not realize the meaning of scripture, that Jesus should rise from the dead. So the disciples went back to their lodgings.

No one ever loved Jesus so much as Mary Magdalene. He had done something for her that no one else could ever do, and she could never forget. Tradition has always had it that Mary was a scarlet sinner, whom Jesus reclaimed and forgave and purified. Henry Kingsley has a lovely poem about her.

"Magdalen at Michael's gate

Tirled at the pin;

On Joseph's thorn sang the blackbird,

'Let her in! Let her in!'

'Hast thou seen the wounds?' said Michael,

'Knowest thou thy sin?'

'It is evening, evening,' sang the blackbird,

'Let her in! Let her in!'

'Yes, I have seen the wounds,

And I know my sin.'

'She knows it well, well, well,' sang the blackbird.

'Let her in! Let her in!'

'Thou bringest no offerings,' said Michael,

'Nought save sin.'

And the blackbird sang, 'She is sorry, sorry, sorry.'

'Let her in! Let her in!'

When he had sung himself to sleep,

And night did begin,

One came and opened Michael's gate,

And Magdalen went in."

Mary had sinned much and she loved much; and love was all she had to bring.

It was the custom in Palestine to visit the tomb of a loved one for three days after the body had been laid to rest. It was believed that for three days the spirit of the dead person hovered round the tomb; but then it departed because the body had become unrecognizable through decay. Jesus' friends could not come to the tomb on the Sabbath, because to make the journey then would have been to break the law. Sabbath is, of course, our Saturday, so it was on Sunday morning that Mary came to the tomb. She came very early. The word used for early is proi (Greek #4404) which was the technical word for the last of the four watches into which the night was divided, that which ran from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. It was still grey dark when Mary came, because she could no longer stay away.

When she arrived at the tomb she was amazed and shocked. Tombs in ancient times were not commonly closed by doors. In front of the opening was a groove in the ground; and in the groove ran a stone, circular like a cartwheel; and the stone was wheeled into position to close the opening. Further Matthew tells us that the authorities had actually sealed the stone to make sure that no one would move it (Matthew 27:66). Mary was astonished to find it removed. Two things may have entered her mind. She may have thought that the Jews had taken away Jesus' body; that, not satisfied with killing him on a cross, they were inflicting further indignities on him. But there were ghoulish creatures who made it their business to rob tombs; and Mary may have thought that this had happened here.

It was a situation Mary felt that she could not face herself; so she returned to the city to seek out Peter and John. Mary is the supreme instance of one who went on loving and believing even when she could not understand; and that is the love and the belief which in the end finds glory.

THE GREAT DISCOVERY (John 20:1-10 continued)

One of the illuminating things in this story is that Peter was still the acknowledged leader of the apostolic band. It was to him that Mary went. In spite of his denial of Jesus--and a story like that would not be long in being broadcast--Peter was still the leader. We often talk of Peter's weakness and instability, but there must have been something outstanding about a man who could face his fellow-men after that disastrous crash into cowardice; there must have been something about a man whom others were prepared to accept as leader even after that. His moment's weakness must never blind us to the moral strength and stature of Peter, and to the fact that he was a born leader.

So, then, it was to Peter and John that Mary went; and they immediately set out for the tomb. They went at a run; and John, who must have been a younger man than Peter since he lived on until the end of the century, outstripped Peter in this breathless race. When they came to the tomb, John looked in but went no farther. Peter with typical impulsiveness not only looked in, but went in. For the moment Peter was only amazed at the empty tomb; but things began to happen in John's mind. If someone had removed Jesus' body, if tomb-robbers had been at work, why should they leave the grave-clothes?

Then something else struck him--the grave-clothes were not dishevelled and disarranged. They were lying there still in their folds--that is what the Greek means--the clothes for the body where the body had been; the napkin where the head had lain. The whole point of the description is that the grave-clothes did not look as if they had been put off or taken off; they were lying there in their regular folds as if the body of Jesus had simply evaporated out of them. The sight suddenly penetrated to John's mind; he realized what had happened--and he believed. It was not what he had read in scripture which convinced him that Jesus had risen; it was what he saw with his own eyes.

The part that love plays in this story is extraordinary. It was Mary, who loved Jesus so much, who was first at the tomb. It was John, the disciple whom Jesus loved and who loved Jesus, who was first to believe in the Resurrection. That must always be John's great glory. He was the first man to understand and to believe. Love gave him eyes to read the signs and a mind to understand.

Here we have the great law of life. In any kind of work it is true that we cannot really interpret the thought of another person, unless between us and him there is a bond of sympathy. It is at once clear, for instance, when the conductor of an orchestra is in sympathy with the music of the composer whose work he is conducting. Love is the great interpreter. Love can grasp the truth when intellect is left groping and uncertain. Love can realize the meaning of a thing when research is blind. Once a young artist brought a picture of Jesus to Dore for his verdict. Dore was slow to give it; but at last he did so in one sentence. "You don't love him, or you would paint him better." We can neither understand Jesus nor help others to understand him, unless we take our hearts to him as well as our minds.

THE GREAT RECOGNITION (John 20:11-18)

20:11-18 But Mary stood weeping outside at the tomb. As she wept she stooped down, and looked into the tomb, and she saw two angels sitting there in white robes, one at the head, and the other at the feet of the place where Jesus' body had been lying. They said to her: "Woman, why are you crying?" She said to them: "Because they have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have laid him." When she had said this, she turned round, and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her: "Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?" She, thinking that he was the gardener, said to him: "Sir, if you are the man who has removed him, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her: "Mary!" She turned, and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" which means, "Master!" Jesus said to her: "Do not touch me! For I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them that I am going to ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Mary of Magdala came to the disciples, telling them: "I have seen the Lord," and telling them what he had said to her.

Someone has called this story the greatest recognition scene in all literature. To Mary belongs the glory of being the first person to see the Risen Christ. The whole story is scattered with indications of her love. She had come back to the tomb; she had taken her message to Peter and John, and then must have been left behind in their race to the tomb so that by the time she got there, they were gone. So she stood there weeping. There is no need to seek for elaborate reasons why Mary did not know Jesus. The simple and the poignant fact is that she could not see him through her tears.

Her whole conversation with the person she thought to be the gardener shows her love. "If you are the man who has removed him, tell me where you have laid him." She never mentioned the name of Jesus; she thought everyone must know of whom she was thinking; her mind was so full of him that there was not anyone else for her in all the world. "I will take him away." How was her woman's strength to do that? Where was she going to take him? She had not even thought of these problems. Her one desire was to weep her love over Jesus' dead body. As soon as she had answered the person she took to be the gardener, she must have turned again to the tomb and so turned her back on Jesus. Then came his single word, "Mary!" and her single answer, "Master!" (Rabbouni (Greek #4462) is simply an Aramaic form of Rabbi (Greek #4461); there is no difference between the words).

So we see there were two very simple and yet very profound reasons why Mary did not recognize Jesus.

(i) She could not recognize him because of her tears. They blinded her eyes so that she could not see. When we lose a dear one, there is always sorrow in our hearts and tears shed or unshed in our eyes. But one thing we must always remember--at such a time our sorrow is in essence selfish. It is of our loneliness, our loss, our desolation, that we are thinking. We cannot be weeping for one who has gone to be the guest of God; it is for ourselves we weep. That is natural and inevitable. At the same time, we must never allow our tears to blind us to the glory of heaven. Tears there must be, but through the tears we should glimpse the glory.

(ii) She could not recognize Jesus because she insisted on facing in the wrong direction. She could not take her eyes off the tomb and so had her back to him. Again it is often so with us. At such a time our eyes are upon the cold earth of the grave; but we must wrench our eyes away from that. That is not where our loved ones are; their worn-out bodies may be there; but the real person is in the heavenly places in the fellowship of Jesus face to face, and in the glory of God.

When sorrow comes, we must never let tears blind our eyes to glory; and we must never fasten our eyes upon the grave and forget the heavens. Alan Walker in Everybody's Calvary tells of officiating at a funeral for people to whom the service "Was only a form, and who had neither Christian faith nor Christian connection. "When the service was over a young woman looked into the grave, and said brokenly: 'Goodbye, father.' It is the end for those who have no Christian hope." But for us at such a time, it is literally "Adieu!" "To God!" and it is literally "Until we meet again."

SHARING THE GOOD NEWS (John 20:11-18 continued)

There is one very real difficulty in this passage. When the recognition scene is complete, at first sight, at all events, Jesus said to Mary: "Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to the Father." Just a few verses later we find him inviting Thomas to touch him (John 20:27). In Luke we read of him inviting the terrified disciples: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see that I have" (Luke 24:39). In Matthew's story we read that "they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him" (Matthew 28:9). Even the form of John's statement is difficult. He makes Jesus say: "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father," as if to say that he could be touched after he had ascended. No explanation of this is fully satisfying.

(i) The whole matter has been given a spiritual significance. It has been argued that the only real contact with Jesus does in fact come after his Ascension; that it is not the physical touch of hand to hand that is important, but the contact which comes through faith with the Risen and Ever-living Lord. That is certainly true and precious but it does not seem to be the meaning of the passage here.

(ii) It is suggested that the Greek is really a mistranslation of an Aramaic original. Jesus of course would speak in Aramaic, and not in Greek; and what John gives us is a translation into Greek of what Jesus said. It is suggested that what Jesus really said was: "Hold me not; but before I ascend to my Father go to my brethren and say to them..." It would be as if Jesus said: "Do not spend so long in worshipping me in the joy of your new discovery. Go and tell the good news to the rest of the disciples." It may well be that here we have the explanation. The Greek imperative is a present imperative, and strictly speaking ought to mean: "Stop touching me." It may be that Jesus was saying to Mary: "don't go on clutching me selfishly to yourself. In a short time I am going back to my Father. I want to meet my disciples as often as possible before then. Go and tell them the good news that none of the time that we and they should have together may be wasted." That would make excellent sense, and that in fact is what Mary did.

(iii) There is one further possibility. In the other three gospels, the fear of those who suddenly recognized Jesus is always stressed. In Matthew 28:10 Jesus' words are: "Do not be afraid." In Mark 16:8 the story finishes: "For they were afraid." In Luke 24:5 it is said that they were "frightened." In John's story as it stands there is no mention of this awe-stricken fear. Now, sometimes the eyes of the scribes who copied the manuscripts made mistakes, for the manuscripts were not easy to read. Some scholars think that what John originally wrote was not ME (Greek #3361) HAPTOU (Greek #680), Do not touch me, but, ME (Greek #3361) PTOOU (Greek #4422), Do not be afraid. (The verb PTOEIN (Greek #4422) means to flutter with fear.) In that case Jesus was saying to Mary: "Don't be afraid; I haven't gone to my Father yet; I am still here with you."

No explanation of this saying of Jesus is altogether satisfying, but perhaps the second is the best of the three which we have considered.

Whatever happened, Jesus sent Mary back to the disciples with the message that what he had so often told them was now about to happen--he was on his way to his father; and Mary came with the news, "I have seen the Lord."

In that message of Mary there is the very essence of Christianity, for a Christian is essentially one who can say: "I have seen the Lord." Christianity does not mean knowing about Jesus; it means knowing him. It does not mean arguing about him; it means meeting him. It means the certainty of experience that Jesus is alive.

THE COMMISSION OF CHRIST (John 20:19-23)

20:19-23 Late on that day, the first day of the week, when for fear of the Jews the doors had been locked in the place where the disciples were, Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said: "Peace be to you." And when he had said this he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced because they had seen the Lord. Jesus again said to them: "Peace to you. Even as the Father sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you remit the sins of any, they are remitted; if you retain them they are retained."

It is most likely that the disciples continued to meet in the upper room where the Last Supper had been held. But they met in something very like terror. They knew the envenomed bitterness of the Jews who had compassed the death of Jesus, and they were afraid that their turn would come next. So they were meeting in terror, listening fearfully for every step on the stair and for every knock at the door, lest the emissaries of the Sanhedrin should come to arrest them too. As they sat there, Jesus was suddenly in their midst. He gave them the normal everyday eastern greeting: "Peace be to you." It means far more than: "May you be saved from trouble." It means: "May God give you every good thing." Then Jesus gave the disciples the commission which the Church must never forget.

(i) He said that as God had sent him forth, so he sent them forth. Here is what Westcott called "The Charter of the Church." It means three things.

(a) It means that Jesus Christ needs the Church which is exactly what Paul meant when he called the Church "the body of Christ" (Ephesians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 12:12). Jesus had come with a message for all men and now he was going back to his Father. His message could never be taken to all men, unless the Church took it. The Church was to be a mouth to speak for Jesus, feet to run upon his errands, hands to do his work. Therefore, the first thing this means is that Jesus is dependent on his Church.

(b) It means that the Church needs Jesus. A person who is to be sent out needs someone to send him; he needs a message to take; he needs a power and an authority to back his message; he needs someone to whom he may turn when he is in doubt and in difficulty. Without Jesus, the Church has no message; without him she has no power; without him she has no one to turn to when up against it; without him she has nothing to enlighten her mind, to strengthen her arm, and to encourage her heart. This means that the Church is dependent on Jesus.

(c) There remains still another thing. The sending out of the Church by Jesus is parallel to the sending out of Jesus by God. But no one can read the story of the Fourth Gospel without seeing that the relationship between Jesus and God was continually dependent on Jesus' perfect obedience and perfect love. Jesus could be God's messenger only because he rendered to God that perfect obedience and love. It follows that the Church is fit to be the messenger and the instrument of Christ only when she perfectly loves him and perfectly obeys him. The Church must never be out to propagate her message; she must be out to propagate the message of Christ. She must never be out to follow man-made policies; she must be out to follow the will of Christ. The Church fads whenever she tries to solve some problem in her own wisdom and strength, and leaves out of account the will and guidance of Jesus Christ.

(ii) Jesus breathed on his disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt that, when John spoke in this way, he was thinking back to the old story of the creation of man. There the writer says: "And the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). This was the same picture as Ezekiel saw in the valley of dead, dry bones, when he heard God say to the wind: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breath upon these slain that they may live" (Ezekiel 37:9). The coming of the Holy Spirit is like the wakening of life from the dead. When he comes upon the Church she is recreated for her task.

(iii) Jesus said to the disciples: "If you remit the sins of anyone, they are remitted; if you retain them, they are retained." This is a saying whose true meaning we must be careful to understand. One thing is certain--no man can forgive any other man's sins. But another thing is equally certain--it is the great privilege of the Church to convey the message of God's forgiveness to men. Suppose someone brings us a message from another, our assessment of the value of that message will depend on how well the bringer of the message knows the sender. If someone proposes to interpret another's thought to us, we know that the value of his interpretation depends on his closeness to the other.

The apostles had the best of all rights to bring Jesus' message to men, because they knew him best. If they knew that a person was really penitent, they could with absolute certainty proclaim to him the forgiveness of Christ. But equally, if they knew that there was no penitence in his heart or that he was trading on the love and the mercy of God, they could tell him that until his heart was altered there was no forgiveness for him. This sentence does not mean that the power to forgive sins was ever entrusted to any man or men; it means that the power to proclaim that forgiveness was so entrusted; along with the power to warn that forgiveness is not open to the impenitent. This sentence lays down the duty of the Church to convey forgiveness to the penitent in heart and to warn the impenitent that they are forfeiting the mercy of God.

THE DOUBTER CONVINCED (John 20:24-29)

20:24-29 But Thomas, who is called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him: "We have seen the Lord." He said to them: "Unless I see the print of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the print of the nails, and unless I put my hand into his side, I will not believe." Eight days later the disciples were again in the room, and Thomas was with them. When the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said: "Peace be to you." Then he said to Thomas: "Stretch out your finger here, and look at my hands; stretch out your hand and put it into my side; and show yourself not faithless but believing." Thomas answered: "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him: "You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and who have believed."

To Thomas the Cross was only what he had expected. When Jesus had proposed going to Bethany, after the news of Lazarus' illness had come, Thomas' reaction had been: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). Thomas never lacked courage, but he was the natural pessimist. There can never be any doubt that he loved Jesus. He loved him enough to be willing to go to Jerusalem and die with him when the other disciples were hesitant and afraid. What he had expected had happened, and when it came, for all that he had expected it, he was broken-hearted, so broken-hearted that he could not meet the eyes of men, but must be alone with his grief.

King George the Fifth used to say that one of his rules of life was: "If I have to suffer, let me be like a well-bred animal, and let me go and suffer alone." Thomas had to face his suffering and his sorrow alone. So it happened that, when Jesus came back again, Thomas was not there; and the news that he had come back seemed to him far too good to be true, and he refused to believe it. Belligerent in his pessimism, he said that he would never believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he had seen and handled the print of the nails in his hands and thrust his hand into the wound the spear had made in Jesus' side. (There is no mention of any wound-print in Jesus' feet because in crucifixion the feet were usually not nailed, but only loosely bound to the cross.)

Another week elapsed and Jesus came back again; and this time Thomas was there. And Jesus knew Thomas' heart. He repeated Thomas' own words, and invited him to make the test that he had demanded. And Thomas' heart ran out in love and devotion, and all he could say was: "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him: "Thomas, you needed the eyes of sight to make you believe; but the days will come when men will see with the eye of faith and believe."

The character of Thomas stands out clear before us.

(i) He made one mistake. He withdrew from the Christian fellowship. He sought loneliness rather than togetherness. And because he was not there with his fellow Christians he missed the first coming of Jesus. We miss a great deal when we separate ourselves from the Christian fellowship and try to be alone. Things can happen to us within the fellowship of Christ's Church which will not happen when we are alone. When sorrow comes and sadness envelops us, we often tend to shut ourselves up and refuse to meet people. That is the very time when, in spite of our sorrow, we should seek the fellowship of Christ's people, for it is there that we are likeliest of all to meet him face to face.

(ii) But Thomas had two great virtues. He absolutely refused to say that he understood what he did not understand, or that he believed what he did not believe. There is an uncompromising honesty about him. He would never still his doubts by pretending that they did not exist. He was not the kind of man who would rattle off a creed without understanding what it was all about. Thomas had to be sure--and he was quite right. Tennyson wrote:

"There lives more faith in honest doubt,

Believe me, than in half the creeds."

There is more ultimate faith in the man who insists on being sure than in the man who glibly repeats things which he has never thought out, and which he may not really believe. It is doubt like that which in the end arrives at certainty.

(ii) Thomas' other great virtue was that when he was sure, he went the whole way. "My Lord and my God!" said he. There was no halfway house about Thomas. He was not airing his doubts just for the sake of mental acrobatics; he doubted in order to become sure; and when he did, his surrender to certainty was complete. And when a man fights his way through his doubts to the conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord, he has attained to a certainty that the man who unthinkingly accepts things can never reach.

THOMAS IN THE AFTER DAYS (John 20:24-29 continued)

We do not know for sure what happened to Thomas in the after days; but there is an apocryphal book called The Acts of Thomas which purports to give his history. It is of course only legend, but there may well be some history beneath the legend; and certainly in it Thomas is true to character. Here is part of the story which it tells.

After the death of Jesus the disciples divided up the world among them, so that each might go to some country to preach the gospel. India fell by lot to Thomas. (The Thomist Church in South India does trace its origin to him.) At first he refused to go, saying that he was not strong enough for the long journey. He said: "I am an Hebrew man; how can I go amongst the Indians and preach the truth?" Jesus appeared to him by night and said: "Fear not, Thomas, go thou unto India and preach the word there, for my grace is with thee." But Thomas still stubbornly refused. "Whither thou wouldest send me, send me," he said, "but elsewhere, for unto the Indians I will not go."

It so happened that there had come a certain merchant from India to Jerusalem called Abbanes. He had been sent by King Gundaphorus to find a skilled carpenter and to bring him back to India, and Thomas was a carpenter. Jesus came up to Abbanes in the market-place and said to him: "Wouldest thou buy a carpenter?" Abbanes said: "Yes." Jesus said, "I have a slave that is a carpenter, and I desire to sell him," and he pointed at Thomas in the distance. So they agreed on a price and Thomas was sold, and the agreement ran: "I, Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter, acknowledge that I have sold my slave, Thomas by name, unto thee Abbanes, a merchant of Gundaphorus, king of the Indians." When the deed was drawn up Jesus found Thomas and took him to Abbanes. Abbanes said: "Is this your master?" Thomas said: "Indeed he is." Abbanes said: "I have bought thee from him." And Thomas said nothing. But in the morning he rose early and prayed, and after his prayer he said to Jesus: "I will go whither thou wilt, Lord Jesus, thy will be done." It is the same old Thomas, slow to be sure, slow to surrender; but once his surrender is made, it is complete.

The story goes on to tell how Gundaphorus commanded Thomas to build a palace, and Thomas said that he was well able to do so. The king gave him money in plenty to buy materials and to hire workmen, but Thomas gave it all away to the poor. Always he told the king that the palace was rising steadily. The king was suspicious. In the end he sent for Thomas: "Hast thou built me the palace?" he demanded. Thomas answered: "Yes." "When, then, shall we go and see it?" asked the king. Thomas answered: "Thou canst not see it now, but when thou departest this life, then thou shalt see it." At first the king was very angry and Thomas was in danger of his life; but in the end the king too was won for Christ, and so Thomas brought Christianity to India.

There is something very lovable and very admirable about Thomas. Faith was never an easy thing for him; obedience never came readily to him. He was the man who had to be sure; he was the man who had to count the cost. But once he was sure, and once he had counted the cost, he was the man who went to the ultimate limit of faith and obedience. A faith like Thomas' is better than any glib profession; and an obedience like his is better than an easy acquiescence which agrees to do a thing without counting the cost and then goes back upon its word.

THE AIM OF THE GOSPEL (John 20:30-31)

20:30-31 Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples which have not been written in this book. These have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

It is quite clear that as the gospel was originally planned, it comes to an end with this verse. John 21:1-25 is to be regarded as an appendix and an afterthought.

No passage in the gospels better sums up the aim of the writers than this.

(i) It is quite clear that the gospels never set out to give a full account of the life of Jesus. They do not follow him from day to day but are selective. They give us, not an exhaustive account of everything that Jesus said or did, but a selection which shows what he was like and the kind of things he was always doing.

(ii) It is also clear that the gospels were not meant to be biographies of Jesus, but appeals to take him as Saviour, Master and Lord. Their aim was, not to give information, but to give life. It was to paint such a picture of Jesus that the reader would be bound to see that the person who could speak and teach and act and heal like this could be none other than the Son of God; and that in that belief he might find the secret of real life.

When we approach the gospels as history and biography, we approach them in the wrong spirit. We must read them, not primarily as historians seeking information, but as men and women seeking God.

On any view John 21:1-25 is a strange chapter. The gospel comes to an end with John 20:1-31 ; and then seems to begin again in John 21:1-25 . Unless there had been certain very special things that he wanted to say, the man who put the gospel into its final form would never have added this chapter. We know that in John's gospel there are often two meanings, one which lies on the surface, and a deeper one which lies beneath. So, then, as we study this chapter, we will try to find out why it is so strangely added after the gospel seemed to have come to an end.

-Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT)

 


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Bibliography Information
Barclay, William. "Commentary on John 20:4". "William Barclay's Daily Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/john-20.html. 1956-1959.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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