Bible Commentaries
John 20

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Verse 1


Early on Sunday morning. See notes on Matthew 28:1-8. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, and Salome start off toward the tomb, and Mary Magdalene evidently goes on ahead to the tomb, arriving there first. She sees the stone taken away, and runs back to the city a different way, to tell the apostles. The other women arrive at the tomb, see the angels, etc., and go back to the city. Peter and John, followed by Mary Magdalene, run to the tomb, and then return to the city. Mary Magdalene stays, and sees the angels and Jesus. A few minutes later, Jesus appears to the other women before they reach the homes of the apostles.

Verse 6


He saw the linen cloths lying there. This argues against anyone having stolen the body. It would take time to carefully fold the linen cloths and the cloth that had been around Jesus! head.

Verses 11-18


Mary stood crying. She thought the body had been stolen. And saw two angels there.’ Angels point to something supernormal. Saw Jesus standing there. The first human to see the; risen Lord was a woman. Do not hold on to me. The other women did hold on to him (Matthew 28:9). The meaning must be: “I haven’t gone back yet! Don’t hold on to me, but go tell my disciples about this!”

Verse 19


It was late that Sunday evening. [Whether John used Jewish time or Roman time would identify the exact hour of the day. If Jewish time it is before six o’clock, and just getting dusk.] This is the third or fourth time Jesus has been seen on this most unusual day. This is the first time to the group of apostles, and by comparing Mark 16:14-16 and Luke 24:33-36, we learn they were talking about the Resurrection. McGarvey says the fact that they thought Jesus was a ghost (Luke 24:37) shows how little they believed Jesus had raised from death.

Verse 20


He showed them his hands and his side. To convince them he was in his body [resurrection body] and not a ghost. A week later he showed these wounds to Thomas. His resurrection body showed these proofs of his death and his love! Some sixty years later at Patmos, John saw “The Lamb” which appeared to have been killed. It may be that Jesus in Eternity continues in this BODY which shows the evidence of the Cross. If so, the Redeemed will be eternally reminded of God’s act in Christ which set them free!!!

Verse 21


As the Father sent me, so I send you. This is the Great Commission, which he speaks more fully in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20), and finally completed on the Mount of Olives, just before he was taken up to heaven (Acts 1:8). He had carefully trained these men for just this work.

Verse 23


If you forgive men’s sins. From Matthew 16:19, we see that the “keys” were given to all the apostles. How they used these “keys” is seen from Acts 3:26. Jesus placed an obligation upon them [and the messianic community] to announce God’s terms of salvation. “You are to open their eyes and turn them from the darkness to the light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that through their faith in me they will have their sins forgiven and receive their place among God’s chosen people” (Acts 26:18).

Verse 24


Thomas (called the Twin). He had not seen Jesus up to this point, and was hesitant to believe the Resurrection. He demanded concrete evidence!

Verse 26


And Thomas was with them. This was the second Lord’s day! [Christians quickly began calling Sunday the Lord’s day, because he rose from death on that day of the week.]

Verse 27


Put your finger here. Jesus had just “passed through” locked doors, which would imply to them he was a ghost. Now he tells Thomas to “put him to the test” to see and feel the REALNESS of his Resurrection.

Verse 29


How happy are those who believe without seeing me! [Happy: see note on Matthew 5:3] Thomas believed by “seeing. “ Jesus blesses those who will believe without seeing him in person [on the evidence given by the eyewitnesses]. “For our life is a matter of faith, not of sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

Verse 30


Jesus did many other mighty works. Compare John 21:25.

Verse 31


These have been written. This is the goal of the Gospels and the entire New Testament! Christ is REVEALED to all, to produce faith. [It is correct to say that the Holy Spirit produces (gives) faith through the witness of the Word (Bible). See John 16:8-11 and notes] Faith is not “something we believe, even though we know it isn’t so.” Faith is believing and responding to the Holy Spirit’s testimony about God’s act in Jesus Christ to set men free. Compare Romans 10:17. Those who choose [follow] this faith of their own free will “have life in his name.”

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 20". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.