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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

John 20

Introduction

Jesus Is The Christ John Twenty

The resurrection of Jesus proves that He is the Son of God. Paul wrote, "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." ( Rom_1:4 ) John twenty provides us with a look at Jesus' resurrection and an account of a few of His post resurrection appearances. It is true that He conquered the last enemy, death. Early on a Sunday morning Mary Magdalene came to Jesus' tomb and discovered that it was empty. She ran and told Peter and John. They came quickly to the tomb and found it empty and the grave clothes still there. Mary looked into the tomb and saw two angels. Jesus then appeared to her; at first she did not recognize Him. She then became the first to announce Jesus' resurrection. "Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her." ( Joh_20:18 ) Jesus then appeared to His disciples but Thomas was not present. He showed them His hands and His side. A week later Jesus appeared again to the disciples and Thomas was present. When Thomas saw for himself he declared Jesus to be Lord and God. This chapter concludes by giving the purpose of this chapter and of all the writings of John. "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." ( Joh_20:30-31 )

Verses 1-10

The resurrection of Jesus and the empty tomb -- Joh_20:1-10 : Mark records, "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." ( Mar_16:9 ) We also learn that Mary was not alone on that Sunday morning. "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him." ( Mar_16:1 ) When they came to the tomb they found the stone rolled away, the tomb empty and they soon knew that Jesus was resurrected. After not finding the body of Jesus Mary ran and told Peter and John. Peter and John found the grave empty and the grave clothes still there. They now are beginning to believe. Before they had not yet understood when Jesus spoke of His resurrection and they still did not fully understand that truth.

Verses 11-18

Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene -- Joh_20:11-18 : Mary returned to Jesus’ tomb and this time she looked inside and saw two angels dressed in white. They asked her why she was weeping and then after their response she turned and saw Jesus. At first she did not recognize Him. Her eyes were blinded by the fact that she was certain that someone had taken His body away. When she recognized Jesus she called Him "Rabboni" which means Master or Teacher. Jesus told Mary that it was not necessary for her to cling to Him to see if He had a physical body. This was not talking about some casual touch because Thomas was allowed to touch Him. He wanted them to understand that He was not yet ascending to the Father but that He would ascend soon. Mary had the privilege of being the first to spread the good news about Jesus' resurrection. John wrote, "Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her." ( Joh_20:18 )

Verses 19-23

Jesus appeared to His disciples but Thomas is absent -- Joh_20:19-23 : The disciples gathered on the first day of the week. Fear of the Jewish leaders caused them to meet behind closed doors. Luke tells us they were discussing the resurrection of Jesus. ( Luk_24:33-35 ) During this meeting Jesus appeared to them with the words, “Peace be with you!” When Jesus first appeared the disciples were frightened because they thought He was a spirit. ( Luk_24:37 ) As Jesus showed the disciple His hands and side they became convinced that this was Jesus and that He had been resurrected. They were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Jesus promised the disciples "peace" and gave them a "commission." He said, "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." It is no surprise that Jesus can provide peace because he is the "Prince of Peace." Isaiah wrote, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." ( Isa_9:6 ) Jesus breathed on the apostle and said unto them, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." This was the same promise as found in Act_1:4-5 . "And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." The promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost of which we have the record in Act_2:1-47 . In order for the apostles to be correct in their remitting or retaining sins, it was necessary for them to be inspired of the Holy Spirit. This explains why they must wait in Jerusalem for that power.

Verses 24-31

Jesus appeared to His disciples and Thomas is present -- Joh_20:24-31 : The reason is unknown, but for whatever reason Thomas was not present the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection. As proof that He had actually been raised Jesus had shown the disciples His hands and his side. They told Thomas, “We have seen the Lord!” His response was, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." ( Joh_20:25 ) A week later his disciples were together again and Jesus appeared with the same greeting, “Peace be with you!” He told Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing." Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas saw the wounds and knew that it could only be Jesus. Thomas and the other disciples had the advantage of knowing Jesus had arisen by seeing His wounds. But, "blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John wrote the things that He did with the ultimate purpose in mind of giving the believers spiritual life and salvation through the name of Jesus.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on John 20". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/john-20.html. 2014.