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Bible Commentaries
John 20

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-29

The Seventh Miracle (Glorificatin): The Witness of the Old Testament Scriptures - The seventh miracle is the miracle of the Resurrection, found in John 11:55 to John 20:29, which offers God’s children the resurrection and future glorification. This passage of Scripture serves as the strongest testimony of the deity of Jesus Christ. Embedded within this seventh miracle narrative are seven events of Christ’s Passion that were predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures. Each of these events is supported by Old Testament quotations declaring their fulfillment.

John 11:55 to John 20:29 offers nine references as a testimony that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament Scriptures (John 12:13; John 12:15; John 12:38; John 12:40; John 13:18, John 15:25, John 19:24; John 19:36-37). These nine references are structured with two pairs, so that there are seven distinct Old Testament Scripture witnesses to the Passion of Jesus Christ. Although the first eleven chapters of John also make two references to Old Testament fulfillment (John 1:23, John 2:17), these two statements do not serve the same structural role as the seven testimonies given in the last section of miracles. Therefore, this passage places much emphasis on the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy as a testimony to the deity of Jesus. After the first Old Testament prophecy, the author of John explains the importance of recording these testimonies from the Old Testament to testify that His Passion was a fulfillment of Scripture (John 12:16).

John 12:16, “These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him , and that they had done these things unto him.”

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Prologue to the Last Passover Feast John 11:55-57

2. His Anointing at Bethany John 12:1-11

3. His Triumphant Entry & Last Public Appearance John 12:12-50

4. The Last Supper John 13:1 to John 17:26

5. Jesus’ Betrayal and Arrest John 18:1-11

6. Jesus’ Trials John 18:12 to John 19:16 a

7. Jesus’ Crucifixion & Burial John 19:16-42

8. Jesus’ Resurrection (The Seventh Miracle) John 20:1-29

Verses 1-31

The Testimony of Jesus’ Miracles - The third and largest section of John’s Gospel is given to the testimony of the works, or miracles, of Jesus (John 2:1 to John 11:54). In this section we find six miracles, or works, of Jesus that the author uses to reveal several important aspects about the deity of Jesus, with the seventh miracle being that of Christ’s resurrection (John 11:55 to John 20:29). (The section containing the seventh miracle will also contain the seven testimonies of Old Testament Scripture.) It appears that John the apostle selected seven particular miracles which occasioned Jesus that best testified of His deity. [119] Within each of the seven subsections of miracles, several common elements are found. Each will contain a miracle, followed by Jesus’ testimony of His deity occasioned by the miracle, the response of the people’s faith, and often His rejection by the Jews. The seven particular miracles recorded in John’s Gospel clearly tell the story of how Jesus revealed Himself to mankind as the Son of God. Thus, these seven particular miracles “manifest” His glory, or deity. We find in John 2:1-11 the record of the first of seven miracles in John’s Gospel. This passage closes with the comment from the author that the purpose of recording these particular miracles was to “manifested forth his glory” (John 2:11), which is the underlying theme of the Gospel of John, to reveal the glory that Jesus Christ has with God the Father as the Son of God. These seven miracles serve as testimonies that reveal His glory as the Son of God, with each miracle revealing a difference aspect of Jesus’ glory with the Father as well as His divine nature. Note how John 2:11, which verse closes the first miracle, declares this section of John’s Gospel as the beginning of His miracles.

[119] The proposition that the Gospel of John contains seven distinct miracles, or testimonies, that witness to the deity of Jesus Christ is not new. Those scholars who do propose seven miracles offer a variety of combinations as to which passages qualify as a distinct miracle or testimony. For example, G. Campbell Morgan names seven miracles that are popularly used as: (1) the water to wine [2:1-12], (2) restoration at Cana [4:43-54], (3) the man at the pool [5:1-9], (4) feeding the multitudes [6:1-15], (5) stilling the storm [6:16-21], (6) the blind man [9:1-7], and (7) Lazarus [11:1-44]. See G. Campbell Morgan, The Analyzed Bible: The Gospel According to John (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1909), insert page. I believe that John the apostle uses seven miracles to shape the literary structure of the Gospel of John in 2:1 to 20:29, with 20:30-31 serving as a summary of these miracles. Thus, I proposed that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the seventh miracle, while suggesting that the miracle of Jesus walking on the water does not fit within this literary structure of the Gospel of John.

John 2:11, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory ; and his disciples believed on him.”

John 2:11 also says that these miracles serve to reveal His glory, with each miracle revealing a difference aspect of Jesus’ glory with the Father as well as His divine nature and redemptive role for mankind. Thus, the miracles and declarations of Jesus found in this section all point to His coming Passion: death, burial and resurrection. It is important to understand that the revelations of Jesus’ glory reveal progressively more and more of His divinity. Each revelation could only be understood by those believers who had embraced the previous revelation of His glory. [120] Thus, many turned back from following Him during the course of His public ministry, so that it was only to His dedicated disciples that He revealed His crucifixion and coming resurrection.

[120] The progressive revelation of the deity of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John is noted by scholars. For example, Alexander MacLaren says, “…the story of the gradual illumination of his spirit until it came to the full light of the perception of Christ as the Son of God, was far more to the Evangelist, and ought to be far more to us than giving the outward eye power to discern the outward light.” See Alexander MacLaren, The Gospel According to St. John chapters IX to XIV, in Expositions of Holy Scripture (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1908), 11-12.

Structural Markers of John 2:1 to John 20:31 John 2:1 to John 20:31 can be divided according to seven Jewish feasts. Within each of these seven feast sections is found a single miracle, a miracle that testifies of a particular aspect of Jesus’ deity. We find six of these miracles ending with a statement that many believed in Him because of these miracles (John 2:11; John 4:53; John 5:15; John 6:14; John 9:38; John 11:45). The seventh miracle of the Resurrection also ends with a similar statement of people believing in Him (John 20:29). In addition, the first six sections have distinct transitional statements regarding Jesus journeying to a Jewish feast and retreating after manifesting Himself as the Son of God (John 2:2; John 2:12; John 5:1; John 6:1; John 7:1-10; John 10:23). The seventh miracle of the Resurrection also begins and ends with a similar statement of Jesus arriving at the feast (John 11:55 to John 12:1). These sections begin with an introduction to a Jewish feast, and within these sections can be found subsections that can be divided by recurring narrative phrases such as “after these things.” The word “miracles” ( σημειον ) (G4592) will occur fourteen (14) times within this section of John 2:1 to John 11:54 out of the seventeen (17) times it is found within the entire Gospel, since the miracles of Jesus Christ are emphasized in this section. Each occurrence of the word “miracle” in this section is accompanied with a statement about the people believing in Jesus, particularly the Gentiles, or about the Jewish leaders rejecting Him because of such miracles. Thus, the purpose of each of these miracles was to show forth the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ so that the people would believe in Him, while contrasting those who rejected His testimony. The seventh and final miracle will be found during the seventh and final Passover feast in which Jesus Christ is resurrected from the dead by the power of the Father. The seventh miracle of the resurrection is the focus of the next section (John 11:55 to John 20:31), which also gives us seven testimonies of Jesus’ deity from the Old Testament Scripture.

The Thematic Scheme of John 2:1 to John 20:31 John 2:1 to John 20:31 records seven miracles which Jesus worked on seven festival occasions that provided an opportunity to declare Himself as the Son of God, with the seventh miracle of the resurrection taking place on the seventh feast of the Passover. It is interesting to note that each of these miracles will be performed at festive occasions, telling us that Jesus’ work of redemption for mankind is a cause for rejoicing and celebrating. This section of John’s Gospel follows a thematic scheme revealing Jesus’ role in man’s redemption, which are predestination, divine calling, justification, indoctrination, divine service and perseverance, and glorification. Predestination (John 2:1-11 ) - At the wedding feast Jesus declares that His time had not yet come, a reference to the fact that He has been predestined to shed His own blood on Calvary at God the Father’s preordained time, revealing God’s predestined plan of redemption for mankind as well. It is through Christ we have been predestined for redemption and salvation. Divine Calling (John 2:12 to John 4:54 ) - At the first Jewish Passover Jesus performs miracles and tells Nicodemus that He has been sent from Heaven, only to be rejected by the Jews and accepted by the Gentiles, revealing Jesus’ divine calling to come to earth for mankind to believe in Him. It is through Christ being sent from Heaven that we have been called to believe in Him. Justification (John 5:1-47 ) - At the third feast of the Jews Jesus calls for men to believe in Him as the Son of God through the four-fold testimony of the Father, of John the Baptist, of the Old Testament Scriptures, and of His miracles. These four testimonies justify Jesus Christ as the Son of God and reveal man’s need for justification through faith in Him. It is through Christ we have been given the testimonies by which man must believe unto salvation. Indoctrination (John 6:1-71 ) - At the time of the second Jewish Passover Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand, which provided Him the opportunity to declare Himself as the “Bread of Life,” which testimony reveals man’s need to partake of His redemptive work of indoctrination. Divine Service (John 7:1 to John 10:21 ) - At the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus reveals Himself as “the Light of the world” (John 8:12), the “Door of the sheepfold” (John 10:1), and the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:14), revealing man’s redemptive need to follow Jesus in divine. It is through Christ we walk in the light of God’s plan for our lives through His divine protection and provision so that we can persevere unto the end. Perseverance (John 10:22 to John 11:57 ) - At the Feast of Dedication Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead and declares Himself as the “Resurrection and the Life” for all mankind, revealing man’s eternal hope of glorification. It is through Christ we, too, will partake of our resurrection and eternal glorification. Glorification (John 11:55 to John 20:29 ) - The final Passover in John 11:55 to John 20:29 provides the seventh miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which reflects the theme of man’s glorification. In addition, in this section John the apostle proves Jesus’ testimonies through the fulfillment of seven events surrounding the Passion predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures.

The Miracles Testify to Similar Aspects of the Divinity of Jesus Christ Each miracle that Jesus performed served as a type and figure of a similar aspect of Jesus’ divinity. For example, Jesus turned the water to wine when testifying of the new covenant He was predestined to institute through His blood (John 2:1-11). The healing of the nobleman’s sons testified of Jesus’ calling as the Saviour of the world (John 2:12 to John 4:54). Jesus healed the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda and testified that eternal life is in Him (John 5:1-47). During the Passover festival recorded in John 6:1-71, Jesus miraculously fed the five thousand and then told the people that He was the Bread of Life. At the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus Christ healed the blind man and then declared that He is the Light of the World (John 7:1 to John 10:21). During the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22 to John 11:57), Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead as a way to declare that He was the Resurrection and the Life.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. 1 st Miracle & Testimony at the Wedding Feast John 2:1-11

2. 2 nd Miracle & Testimonies at the First Passover John 2:12 to John 4:54

3. 3 rd Miracle & Testimonies at the Feast of the Jews John 5:1-47

4. 4 th Miracle & Testimonies at the Second Passover John 6:1-71

5. 5 th Miracle & Testimonies at the Feast of Tabernacles John 7:1 to John 10:21

6. 6 th Miracle & Testimonies at the Feast of Dedication John 10:22 to John 11:54

7. 7 th Miracle & The Testimony of Scriptures John 11:55 to John 20:29

8. Summary: The Author Testifies of All of His Miracles John 20:30-31

Verses 30-31

Summary: The Author Testifies of All of His Miracles In John 20:30-31 the author gives us an epilogue to the section which comprises seven feasts and seven miracles. He concludes by telling us that Jesus Christ did many other miracles during His earthly ministry. However, he picked these seven in order that we might believe that Jesus Christ is truly the Christ, the Son of God. Thus, the purpose of these miracles is to serve as infallible proof that Jesus is the Son of God, which reflects the third theme of the Gospel of John. In fact, all four Gospels serve as a testimony to the deity of Jesus Christ.

The Purpose of the Miracles - Rick Joyner tells us that Jesus did not work miracles so that men would believe in His power. He wrought signs and wonders so that men would believe in Him and in His Father's love. He did not want men to obey him because of their fear of His power, but rather, to obey Him as an act of love and devotion to the Father. Jesus could have spoken to mountains and they would have obeyed Him. He could have called fire down from heaven. But then, men would have served Him out of fear and not out of love. [297]

[297] Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1977), 142.

John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

John 20:30 Comments - John’s reference to many other signs and miracles of Jesus Christ that he did not record implies that the Gospel of John is a collection of signs testifying to the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. A careful study reveals these signs. The testimony of God the Father (John 1:1-18) serves as a sign. The testimonies of John the Baptist and his disciples (John 1:19-51) serve as signs. In the section of John’s testimony of the miracles that Jesus performed (John 2:1 to John 12:11), John chose seven key miracles that served as a testimony to His deity. These signs include the seven miracles are discussed in the introduction of this commentary. Others miracles are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.

In the passage of John (John 12:12 to John 20:31), seven events that Jesus fulfilled in Old Testament serve as signs in this Gospel. The final chapter records the miracle of the drought of fishes that serves as a final testimony (John 21:1-23).

These signs also include the seven “I Am’s” when Jesus declares His deity. His discourses that only John records are also “signs” that give proof or testimony of the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, Warren Wiersbe says that there are sixty-seven references in this Gospel to seeing and fifty-eight references to hearing. [298] Thus, John the apostle is giving us a record of Jesus’ works and His words prove that He is indeed the Son of God. Therefore, the Gospel of John has signs woven throughout the entire message of his writing.

[298] Warren Wiersbe, John, in With the Word (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), “Introduction.”

John 20:31 Comments - The purpose of the Gospel is stated in John 20:31:

1. That we might know that Jesus is Christ the Son of God.

2. That we might have life thru the name of Jesus.

John 20:31 tells us that the things that John writes in his Gospel have been written as a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Within this Gospel we have the testimony of God the Father (John 1:1-18, of John the Baptist (John 1:19-51), of Jesus’ miracles (chpts. 2-11) of the Scriptures (chpts. 12-20). The reason that he closes with this summary of witnesses and his purpose for writing is because chapter 20 is the ended of this four-fold witness. We will find that chapter 21 is the testimony of Jesus Christ Himself telling us to come and follow Him. These testimonies are to convince us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and this belief will result in our salvation. This is why the Gospel of John frequently makes comments that many people believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God as a result of the five-fold testimony found with this Gospel (John 2:11; John 2:22; John 4:21; John 4:39; John 4:41-42; John 4:50; John 4:53; John 6:69; John 7:31; John 8:30-31; John 9:38; John 10:42; John 11:27; John 11:45; John 12:11; John 12:42; John 20:8). We find a numerous amount of Scriptures in John’s Gospel where Jesus is exhorting the Jews to believe on Him, and many other Scriptures saying that others did not believe upon Him. Thus, John’s Gospel is filled with passages about mankind’s decision to believe that Jesus is the Son of God or not.

In addition, the Gospel of John reveals Jesus Christ as the Son of God by revealing His character through His divine names. The names of Jesus reveal Him as the Son of God.

1. The Word of God

2. The Only Begotten from the Father

3. The True Light or the Light of the World

4. The Lamb of God

5. The Bread of Life

6. The Living Water (the Holy Spirit)

7. The I Am

8. The Door

9. The Good Shepherd

10. The Son of God

11. Master and Lord

12. The Resurrection and the Life

13. The Way, the Truth and the Life

14. The Vine

15. The King of the Jews

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on John 20". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/john-20.html. 2013.
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