corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.09.21
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
John 20

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 20

John 20:11. τῷ μνημείῳ, instead of the Recepta τὸ μνημεῖον, is decisively attested.

ἔξω] stands in B. O. X. δ. א.** 1, 33, Verss. Fathers before κλαίουσα, but is wanting in A. א.* Verss. Lachm. It is to be placed before κλαίουσα; so also Tisch. Being unnecessary in itself, it came to be readily passed over, considering the like final vowel of τῷ μνημείῳ ἔξω, and partially again restored in the wrong place.

John 20:14. ταῦτα] Elz.: καὶ ταῦτα, against decisive witnesses (of which L. has ταῦτα δέ).

John 20:16. ἑβραϊστί] wanting in Elz., and is bracketed by Lachm., but so strongly attested, that it was far more probably passed over as superfluous and self-intelligible, than added to the text.

John 20:17. μου] after the first πατέρα is wanting in B. D. א. Codd. It. Or. (twice as against thrice) Chrys. Epiph. Deleted by Tisch., bracketed by Lachm. Was more readily added from the surrounding context than omitted, hence the omitting witnesses are strong enough for its deletion.

John 20:18. ἀπαγγέλλουσα] Lachm. and Tisch.: ἀγγέλλουσα, according to A. B. J. X. א. Codd. It. Since other important witnesses have ἀναγγέλλ., and copyists were not conversant with the simple form (it is not elsewhere found in the N. T.), ἀγγέλλ. is to be preferred.

John 20:19. συνηγμένοι] after μαθ. is by Lachm. and Tisch. deleted, on decisive testimonies. A more exactly defining gloss.

John 20:21. ἰησοῦς] is omitted by Tisch., and, considering the frequency of the addition on sufficient testimonies, justly.

John 20:23. ἀφίενται] Lachm.: ἀφέωνται. The weight of testimony is very much divided; ἀφέωνται, however, was the more readily introduced for the sake of uniformity with κεκράτ., the more familiar it was to copyists from the Synoptics.

John 20:25. Instead of the second τύπον, Lachm. and Tisch. have τόπον. So A. J. Curss. Vulg. Codd. It. Syr. Pers. Or. Hil. Ambr. Aug. Correctly; τύπον came to be mechanically repeated, whilst the design of the different words was left unnoticed.

John 20:28-29. Before ἀπεκρ., Elz. has καί, before θωμᾶς: , and before πεπἱστ.: θωμᾶ. Merely additions contrary to decisive witnesses, as also αὐτοῦ also after μαθητ., John 20:30, is, on important testimonies, to be, with Lachm. and Tisch., deleted.


Verse 1-2

John 20:1-2. On the designation of the first day of the week by μία τῶν σαββ., as well as on the irreconcilable deviation of John,(259) who (“for brevity’s sake!” Hengstenberg, indeed, thinks) makes only Mary Magdalene go to the grave, from the Synoptics, see on Matthew 28:1. Of a hastening beforehand on the part of Mary, in advance of the remaining women (Luthardt, Lange, Ewald), there is no trace in the text. But when Luthardt even is of opinion that John, from the point of view of placing over against the consummation of Jesus Himself the perfecting of the disciples’ faith, could not well have mentioned the other women (why not?), this would be a very doubtful consideration in reference to the historical truth of the apostle; just as doubtful, if he left other women without mention only for the reason that he heard the first intelligence from the mouth of the Magdalene (Tholuck). The reason, borrowed from οἴδαμεν, for the supposed plurality of the women is abundantly outweighed by οἶδα, John 20:13.

σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης] Consequently not first after sunrise, Mark 16:2. See in loc. “Ostenditur mulieris sedulitas,” Grotius.

εἰς τ. μνημ.] to the grave; comp. John 11:31; John 11:38.

ἐκ τοῦ μνημ.] The stone had filled the opening of the grave outwards.

καὶ πρὸς, κ. τ. λ.] From the repetition of πρός, Bengel infers: “non una fuisse utrumque discipulum.” But comp. John 20:3, and see, generally, Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 293 f. [E. T. p. 3.40 ff.]; comp. also Kuhner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 52, i. 3. 3.

ὃν ἐφίλει] Comp. John 11:3, of Lazarus. Elsewhere of John: ὃν ἠγάπα, John 19:26, John 21:7; John 21:20. With ἐφίλει the recollection speaks with more feeling.

οἴδα΄εν] The plur. does not presuppose that Mary had gone not alone to the grave, which is opposed to the account of John, but in her excitement she includes also the disciples, with whom she was speaking, and generally those also who stood nearer to the Crucified One, along with herself, although they as yet knew nothing of the removal itself. She speaks with a certain self-forgetfulness, from the consciousness of fellowship, in opposition to the parties to whom she attributes the ᾖραν. Note, further, how the possibility of having arisen remains as yet entirely remote from her mind. Not a word of any angelic communication (Matthew 28:2; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4 ff., Luke 24:23), etc., which some, of course, seek prudently to cover by an intention on John’s part to be concise (see especially Hengstenberg).

The harmonists, who make Mary to have only hastened on before the rest of the women, must lead them to Peter and John by another way than that which she followed. But surely it would have been most natural for her, in the first instance, to run to meet her companions who were following her, with the marvellous news, which, however, with Ewald, who makes the plur. οἴδαμεν indicate this, could only be read between the lines.


Verse 3-4

John 20:3-4. Note the change of the aorists and pictorial imperfects; comp. John 4:30.

Luke 24:12 mentions only Peter; but comp. also Luke 24:23. See in loc. The more rapid running of John, and then, again, the greater boldness of Peter, John 20:5-6, are individual traits so characteristically original, that here (comp. on John 18:15) it is highly inappropriate to charge the writer with an intention to place John before Peter (Strauss), or with the endeavour not to allow John, as opposed to Peter, to stand at least in the background (Baur).(260)

τάχιον τοῦ π.] Love impelled both, and gave wings to their steps; but the youthful John ran more quickly forwards ( προέδρ., comp. Xen. Anab. iv. 7. 10) than Peter, whose consciousness of guilt (Lampe, Luthardt), especially after his bitter repentance, hardly restrained his running, as little as it withheld him, John 20:6, from stepping before John. Euth. Zigabenus is simply correct: ὡς ἀκμαιότερος τὸν πόνον τοῦ σώματος.


Verses 5-8

John 20:5-8. John is withheld by natural terror (not dread of pollution, as Wetstein, Ammon, and several others think) from going in at once; the bolder and older Peter, however, goes in, and then, encouraged by his example and presence, John also enters.

Note how earnestly the fourth Gospel also states the fact of the empty grave, which is by no means veiled in the darkness of an experience made in twilight, and of the reports of the women (Weizsäcker).

βλέπει, he sees; on the other hand, John 20:6, θεωρεῖ, he contemplates. See Tittmann, Synon. p. 111 f., 120 f.

τὰ ὀθόνια] The handkerchief (John 20:7) must consequently have so lain, that it did not meet the eye of John, when he, standing before the grave, bent down ( παρακύψας), i.e. bowed his head forwards through the low entrance in order to see within (Luke 24:12; Sirach 21:23; Sirach 14:23; Lucian, Paras. 42, et al., Aristoph., Theocr., Plutarch, etc.). Observe, further, that τὰ ὀθόν. here in John 20:6 is placed first (otherwise in John 20:5) in opposition to τὸ σουδάριον.

τὸ σουδάρ.] John 11:44; Luke 19:20.

χερίς] used adverbially (separatim) only here in the N. T., very frequently in the Greek writers.

εἰς ἕνα τόπον] belongs to ἐντετυλιγμ.: wrapped up (Aristoph. Plut. 692; Nub. 983) in one place apart, so that it was not, therefore, lying along with the bandages, but apart in a particular place, and was not spread out, but folded together. In so orderly a manner, not in precipitate confusion, did that take place which had been here done. In ἕνα is implied that the ὀθόνια and the handkerchief occupied two places. How thoroughly does this whole pictorial representation, comp. with Luke 24:12, reveal the eyewitness!

εἶδε] Namely, the state of matters in the grave just related.

ἐπίστευσεν] that Jesus was risen. Comp. John 20:25. This, the grand object of the history, taken as a matter of course, and, from these unmistakeable indicia, now bringing conviction to the disciples, and see John 20:9. Hence neither generally: he believed on Jesus as the Christ, as in John 19:35 (Hengstenberg, Godet), nor merely: he believed that which Mary, John 20:2, had said (Erasmus, Luther, Aretius, Jansen, Clarius, Grotius, Bengel, Ebrard, Baeumlein, and several others, following Augustine and Theophylact). The articles left behind in the grave and laid aside, as related, in so orderly a manner, testified, in truth, precisely against a removal of the corpse. See already Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Nonnus. The singular only satisfies the never-to-be-forgotten personal experience of that moment, but does not exclude the contemporaneous faith of Peter also (in answer to Hilgenfeld and others), as is, moreover, unmistakeable from the following plur. ᾔδεισαν, although even Hengstenberg makes Peter, in conformity with Luke 24:12, remain standing only in amazement (in which Godet also substantially follows him), but of which John says never a word.


Verse 9-10

John 20:9-10. γάρ] Had they already possessed this understanding of Scripture at that time, the inspection made in the empty grave would not have been first needed, that there might be faith in the accomplishment of the resurrection.

ὅτι] εἰς ἐκεῖνο, ὅτι. See on John 2:18, John 9:17, John 11:51, John 16:9.

δεῖ] Divine necessity. Comp. Luke 24:26; Luke 24:44; Luke 9:22. This knowledge of Scripture (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:4) first arose in their minds by means of the Risen One Himself (Luke 24:27; Luke 24:46 ff.; Acts 1:3), and subsequently in completeness through the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:24 ff.). Moreover, the personal previous declarations of Christ concerning His resurrection first became clear to them ex eventu (John 2:21-22), hence they are not indeed to be called in question, but they (comp. John 10:17-18) cannot have been so definite in their purport as in the Synoptics (see on Matthew 16:21).

οὖν] Since they had now convinced themselves of the fact of the resurrection, they must now await further events.

πρὸς ἑαυτούς] home, πρὸς τὴν ἑαυτῶν καταγωγήν, Euth. Zigabenus. Comp. Luke 24:12 and Kypke thereon, also Wetstein on the present passage.


Verses 11-13

John 20:11-13. Mary has followed to the grave the two disciples who ran before, but does not again meet them (they must have gone back another way), and now stands weeping at the grave, and that ἔξω, for further she dares not go. Yet she bends down in the midst of her weeping, involuntarily impelled by her grief, forward into the grave (see on John 20:5), and beholds two angels, etc. On the question of these: τί κλαίεις, Ammonius correctly observes: ἐρωτῶσι δὲ, οὐχ ἵνα μάθωσι, ἀλλʼ ἵνα πάυσηται.

Appearances of angels, whom Schleiermacher indeed was here able to regard as persons commissioned by Joseph of Arimathaea (L. J. p. 471), are certainly, according to Scripture, not to be relegated into the mere subjective sphere; but they communicate with and render themselves visible and audible simply and solely to him for whom they are real, whilst they are not perceptible by others (comp. John 12:29); wherefore we are not even to ask where the angels may have been in the grave during the presence of Peter and John (Griesbach thought: in the side passages of the grave).

ἐν λευκοῖς] Neut.: in white. That ἱμάτια are meant is a matter of course. See Winer, p. 550 [E. T. p. 739]. Wetstein in loc. Clothed in white, the pure heavenly appearances, in keeping with their nature of light, represent themselves to mortal gaze. Comp. Ewald, ad Apoc. p. 126 f.

ὅτι ᾖραν] Because they, etc. As yet the deep feeling of grief allows no place for any other thought. Of a message from angels, already received before this, there is no trace in John. The refrain of her deeply sorrowful feeling: they have taken away my Lord, etc., as in John 20:2, was still unaltered and the same.

On the number and position of these angels the text offers no indications, which, accordingly, only run out into arbitrary invention and poetry, as e.g. in Luthardt: there were two in antithesis to the two joint-crucified ones; they had seated themselves because they had no occasion to contend; seated themselves at the head and at the feet, because the body from head to feet was under the protection of the Father and His servants.


Verse 14-15

John 20:14-15. Her conversation with the angels is interrupted, as she turns round and—sees Jesus standing by, but unrecognised by her.

ἐστράφη εἰς τ. ὀπίσω] Whether accidentally only, or as seeking after her Lord, or because she heard the rustle of some one present, is not clear. Unauthorized, however, is the view of the scene adopted by Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Euth. Zigabenus, that the angels, on the sudden appearance of Jesus, had expressed their astonishment by their mien and gestures, by which Mary’s attention had been aroused.

καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει, κ. τ. λ.] The unfamiliar clothing, her own troubled and weeping glance, and, along with this, the entire remoteness from her mind of the thought of the accomplished resurrection—all this may have contributed to the non-recognition. The essential cause, however, is to be found in the mysterious alteration of the corporeity and of the appearance of Jesus, which manifests itself from His resurrection onwards, so that He comes and disappears in a marvellous way, the identity of His person is doubted and again recognised, etc. See on Matthew 28:17. That John imagined a withholding of her vision, as in Luke 24:16 (Calvin, Grotius, comp. already Ammonius), is in nowise indicated. Again, the ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῄ, Mark 16:12, does not apply here.

κηπουρός] Naturally, since this unknown individual was in the garden, and already so early. Quite unnecessary, however, is the trivial assumption that He had on the clothing of the gardener (Kuinoel, Paulus, Olshausen, and several others), or: He was clothed with the loin-cloth, a piece of raiment used for field and garden labour, in which He had been crucified (altogether without evidence, comp. on John 21:18) (Hug’s invention in the Freib. Zeitschr. VII. p. 162 ff., followed by Tholuck).

κύριε] Address arising from her deeply prostrate, helpless grief.

σύ] With emphasis, in retrospect of John 20:13.

αὐτόν] She presumes that the supposed gardener has heard her words just spoken to the angels.

κἀγὼ αὐτ. ἀρῶ] in order to inter Him elsewhere. Her overflowing love, in the midst of her grief, does not weigh her strength. “She forgets everything, her feminine habits and person,” etc., Luther.


Verse 16

John 20:16. Jesus now calls her by name. Nothing more. By the voice, and by this voice, which utters aloud her name, she was to recognise Him.

στραφεῖσα] She had therefore, after John 20:14, again turned towards the grave.

ῥαββουνί] See on Mark 10:51.

The ʼεβραϊστί is, indeed, matter of course, and in itself is superfluous; but in this circumstantiality there lies a certain solemnity in the delineation of the impressive moment. Note how, on the mention of her name, there follows nothing further on her side also, except that she utters the expressive Rabboni! More she cannot in all the throng of joyful surprise. Thus took place the ἐφάνη πρῶτον ΄αρίᾳ τῇ ΄αγδ., Mark 16:9.


Verse 17-18

John 20:17-18. Mary sees: it is the Lord. But affected and transported in the highest degree by His miraculous appearance, she knows not: is it He bodily, actually come forth out of the grave,—again become corporeally alive and risen? Or is it, on the other hand, His glorified spirit, which has been already raised up to God, and which again has descended to appear to her, so that He has only the bodily form, not the corporeal substance? Therefore, to have the certainty which her love-filled heart needed in this moment of sudden, profoundest emotion, she would take hold of, handle Him, in order by feeling to obtain the conviction which the eye alone, in presence of this marvellous happiness, could not give her. This, however, Jesus prevents: touch me not! and gazing into her soul, gives her, by His own assurance, the certainty which she seeks, adding, as a reason for that repulse: for I am not yet ascended to the Father, therefore, as yet, no glorified spirit who has again come down from heaven whither he had ascended.(261) She would touch the Lord, as Thomas did subsequently, not, however, from unbelief, but because her faith strives after a definiteness with which her love cannot dispense. Only this interpretation, which is followed also by Baeumlein, strictly corresponds to the words generally, especially also to the γάρ, which assigns a reason, and imports no scenic accompaniments into the incident which are not in the passage; for ἅπτου leaves the reader to suppose nothing else that Mary desired to do, save simply the mere ἅπτεσθαι, therefore no embracing and the like. But scenic accompaniments are imported, and go far beyond the simple ἅπτου, if it is assumed that Mary clasped the knees of Jesus (comp. the frequent ἅπτεσθαι γούνων in Homer, Od. α. 512, ο. 76, φ. 65, ω. 357, et al.), and desired, as supplex, to manifest her προσκύνησις to Him, as to a Being already glorified and returned from God (my first edition), or as venerabunda (so Lücke, Maier, Lange, Hilgenfeld, comp. Ewald). This could not be expected to be gathered by the reader from the mere noli me tangere; John must, in that case, have said, μὴ ἅπτου μου γονάτων, or ΄ὴ γονυπετεῖ ΄ε,, or ΄ὴ προσκύνησόν ΄οι, or the like, or have previously related what Mary desired,(262) to which it may be added, that Jesus elsewhere does not refuse the προσκύνησις; comp. especially Matthew 28:9. He does not, indeed, according to Luke 24:39, repel even the handling, but invites thereto; but in that instance, irrespective of the doubtfulness of the account, in a historical point of view, it should be noted (1) that Jesus, in Luke, loc. cit. (comp. John 20:24 ff.), has to do with the direct doubt of His disciples in the reality of His bodily appearance, which doubt he must expressly censure; (2) that in the present passage, a woman, and one belonging to the narrower circle of His loving fellowship, is alone with Him, to whom He might be disposed, from considerations of sacred decorum, not to permit the ἅπτεσθαι desired in the midst of overflowing excitement. How entirely different was the situation with the sinning woman, Luke 7:37 (in answer to Brückner’s objection)! Along with the correct interpretation of ἅπτεσθαι, in itself, others have missed the further determination of the sense of the expression, either in this way: Jesus forbade the handling, because His wounds still pained Him (Paulus)! or: because His new, even corporeally glorified life was still so delicate, that He was bound to keep at a distance from anything that would disturb it (so Olshausen, following Schleiermacher, Festpred. V. p. 303); or: because He was still bodiless, and first after His return to the Father was again to obtain a body (Weisse). There is thus imported what is certainly not contained in the words (Paulus), what is a thoroughly arbitrary presupposition (Paulus, Olshausen), and what is in complete contradiction to the N. T. idea of the risen Christ (Weisse). Others take the saying as an urging to hasten on with that which is immediately necessary;(263) she is not to detain herself with the ἅπτεσθαι, since she can see and touch Him still at a later period (so, with a different explanation in other respects of ἅπτεσθαι itself, Beza, Vatablus, Calovius, Cornelius a Lapide, Bengel, and several others); by which, however, an arbitrarily adopted sense, and one not in keeping with the subsequent ἀναβαίνω, κ. τ. λ., would be introduced into the confirmatory clause, nay, the prospect opened up, in reference to the future tangere, would be inappropriate. Others, that Jesus demands a greater proffer of honour; for as His body has already become divine, the ordinary touching of feet and mode of intercourse is no longer applicable (Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Jansen, and several others). How inept in itself, and illogical in reference to the following οὔπω γὰρ, κ. τ. λ.! Others: it was a refusal of the enjoyment now sought in His appearance, which as yet is untimely, and is to take place not “terrestri contactu,” but spirituali (Melanchthon, Calvin, Aretius, Grotius, and several others; substantially also, but under various modifications, Neander, De Wette, Tholuck, Luthardt, Lange, Baumgarten, Hengstenberg, Godet),(264) by which, however, the proper contents, constituting the essence of the supposed sense, is arbitrarily read between the lines. Others still differently, as e.g. Ammon: Jesus desired to spare Mary the touch of one levitically unclean! and Hilgenfeld, Evang. p. 318: the refusal of the reverential touch was made by Jesus, for the reason that He was not yet the man again united with the Logos, but at present only the Man raised again from His grave.(265) Both interpretations are entirely foreign to the meaning. Scholten’s view (p. 172) is also an impossibility, as if Jesus had said οὔπω μὲν γὰρ, κ. τ. λ., as one already glorified. Conjectures even have been attempted; Vogel: μὴ σὺ πτόου, Gersdorf and Schulthess: ΄ου ἅπτου, or σύ ΄ου ἅπτυ.

πρὸς τοὺς ἀδελφ. ΄ου] This designation of the disciples as His beloved associates in the filial relation to God, through His now fulfilled earthly work (comp. πρὸς τ. πατέρα, κ. τ. λ.), is not at all intended to serve the purpose of tranquillizing them on account of their flight (Bengel, Luthardt, comp. Luther). Of this the text contains no indication, all the less that the expression is found only in the address to Mary, but not as to be communicated to the disciples. Rather has the designation its reference to Mary herself, who is to gather from it, that the loving fellowship of the Lord with His own, far removed from being dissolved by the new conditions of this miraculous manifestation, rather continues, indeed, now first (comp. John 15:15) has its completion. Note the like expression in Matthew 28:10, where, however (see in loc.), the pointing to Galilce is an essential variation in the tradition; against which Luthardt, without reason, objects that Matthew 28:10 refers to the promise, Matthew 26:32. Certainly; but this promise already has, as its historical presupposition, the appearance of the Lord before the disciples, which was to be expected in Galilee, as the same also, Matthew 28:16 ff., is actually set forth as the first and only one in Matthew.

ἀναβαίνω, κ. τ. λ.] The near and certain future. To announce this consequence of His resurrection to the disciples, must be all the more on His heart, since He so frequently designates His death as His departure to the Father, and had associated with it the personal hope of the disciples. That should not be different through His resurrection; it was only the passage from death to the heavenly glory. As to the mode and way of the ascension ἀναβ. contains nothing. The added κ. πατέρα ὑμῶν and κ. θεὸν ὑ΄ῶν was, however, intended to confirm the hope of the disciples in respect of their own συνδοξασῆναι, since in truth, in virtue of their fellowship with Christ, the Father of Christ was also become their Father, the God of Christ (to whom Christ solely belongs and serves, comp. Matthew 27:47, and see, in detail, on Ephesians 1:17) also their God (comp. on Romans 1:8); that is now, after the execution of the redemptive work, entirely accomplished, and will one day have also the fellowship in δόξα as its final result, comp. Romans 8:17; Romans 8:29. Note in πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, κ. τ. λ., that the article does not recur, but embraces all in the unity of the Person. To understand the pres. ἀναβ., however, of that which ensues forthwith and immediately, and in the following way (Baur, p. 222 ff., and Neutest. Theol. p. 381, Hilgenfeld, and others), that already the appearance that follows is to be placed after the ascension (comp. Ewald, who understands the pres. of the ascension as already impending), is decisively opposed by the fact of the later appearance, John 20:26-27, if this is not given up as actual history, or if the extravagant notion of many ascensions is not, with Kinkel, laid hold of.


Verse 19-20

John 20:19-20. Comp. Luke 24:36 ff., where, however, the handling and the eating is already added from tradition. The account in Mark 16:14 is different. Schweizer’s reasons against the Johannean origin of John 20:19-29 amount to this, that, according to John, the resurrection of Jesus was no external one on this side of the grave, and that consequently the appearances could only be visionary. Against this John 2:21-22, John 10:17-18 are already decisive, as well as the faith and the testimony of the entire apostolic Church.

τ. θυρῶν κεκλεισμ.] can all the less be without essential significance, since it is repeated in John 20:26 also, and that without διὰ τὸν φόβον τ. ἰουδ. It points to a miraculous appearance, which did not require open doors, and which took place while they were closed. The how does not and cannot appear; in any case, however, the ἄφαντος ἐγένετο, Luke 24:31, is the correlate of this immediate appearance in the closed place; and the constitution of His body, changed, brought nearer to the glorified state, although not immaterial, is the condition for such a liberation of the Risen One from the limitations of space that apply to ordinary corporeity. Euth. Zigabenus: ὡς λεπτοῦ ἤδη καὶ κούφου καὶ ἀκηράτου γενομένου τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ. More minute information concerning this change withdraws itself from more definite judgment; hence, also, the passage can offer no proof of the Lutheran doctrine of ubiquity, especially as the body of Jesus is not yet that which is glorified in δόξα. According to B. Crusius, and already Beza and several others (comp. also Thenius, Evangel. der Evangelien, p. 45), the doors must have suddenly opened of themselves. But in this way precisely the essential point would be passed over in silence. According to Baeumlein, nothing further is expressed than that the disciples were assembled in a closed room.(266) But how easily would John have known how actually to express this! As he has expressed himself, τ. θυρῶν κεκλεισμ. is the definite relation, under which the ἦλθεν, κ. τ. λ. took place, although it is not said that He passed διὰ τ. θυρ. κεκλ., as many Fathers, Calovius and others, represent the matter.

εἰς τὸ ΄έσον] into the midst, after ἔστη, as in Herod. iii. 130, and frequently. Comp. on John 20:7; John 21:3.

εἰρήνη ὑ΄ῖν] The usual greeting on entrance: Peace to you! This first greeting of the risen Lord in the circle of disciples still resounded deeply and vividly enough in the heart of the aged John to lead him to relate it (in answer to Tholuck); there is therefore no reason for importing the wish for the peace of reconciliation (comp. εἰρήνη ἐμή, John 14:27).

ἔδειξεν αὐτοῖς, κ. τ. λ.] In proof of the corporeal identity of His Person; for on the hands and on the side they must see the wounds. This was sufficient; it was not also required to exhibit the feet. Variation from Luke 24:40, when the feet are shown instead of the side, the piercing of which is not related by the Synoptics. All the more groundlessly is the present passage employed against the nailing of the feet (see generally on Matthew 27:35); the more groundless also is the opinion that the σάρξ of Christ was only the already laid-aside earthly envelope of the Logos (Baur). Comp. on John 1:14.

οὖν] In consequence of this evidence of identity. Terror and doubt, certainly the first impression of miraculous appearance, now gave way to joy. And from out their joyful thoughts comes the utterance of John: ἰδόντες τὸν κύριον.


Verse 21-22

John 20:21-22. οὖν] For now, after the joyful recognition, He could carry out that which He had in view in this His appearance. Hence He began once again, repeated His greeting, and then pursued His further address. The repetition of εἰρήνη ὑμῖν is not a taking leave, as Kuinoel, Lücke, B. Crusius, and several others, without any indication in the text, still think, which brings out a strange and sudden change from greeting to departure, but emphatic and elevated repetition of the greeting, after the preliminary act of self-demonstration, John 20:20, had intervened. Hengstenberg makes an arbitrary separation: the first εἰρ. ὑμῖν refers to the disciples, the second to the apostles as such.

καθὼς ἀπέσταλκε, κ. τ. λ.] Comp. John 17:18. Now, however, and in fact designated a second time, according to its connection with the proper divine delegation, the mission of the disciples is formally and solemnly ratified, and how significantly at the very first meeting after the resurrection, to be witnesses of which was the fundamental task of the apostles! (Acts 1:22; Acts 2:32; Acts 4:2, et al.) ἐνεφύσησε] To interpret it merely as a symbol of the impartation of the Holy Spirit, according to the relationship of breath and spirit (comp. Ezekiel 37:5 ff.; Genesis 2:7) (Augustine, De trin. iv. 29, and many others: “demonstratio per congruam significationem”), neither satisfies the preceding πέμπω ὑμᾶς, nor the following λάβετε, κ. τ. λ.; for, in connection with both, the breathing on the disciples could only be taken as medians of the impartation of the Spirit, i.e. as vehicle for the reception, which was to take place by means of the breathing, especially as λάβετε (let the imperat. and the aor. be noted) cannot at all promise the reception which is first in the future (Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Grotius, Kuinoel, Neander, Baeumlein, and several others), but expresses the present actual reception. So substantially Origen, Cyril, Melanchthon, Calvin, Calovius, and several others, including Tholuck, Lange, Brückner (in answer to De Wette’s symbolical interpretation), Hengstenberg, Godet, Ewald, and several others; whilst Baur considers the whole occurrence as being already the fulfilment of the promise of the Paraclete,(267) which is an anticipation, and inapplicable to the idea of the mission of the Paraclete. The later and full outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, by which Christ returned in the Paraclete, remains untouched thereby; moreover, we are not to understand merely the in-breathing of a χάρις δεκτική for the later reception of the Spirit (Euth. Zigabenus). An actual ἀπαρχή of the Holy Spirit is imparted to the disciples on account of a special aim belonging to their mission. Bengel well says: “arrha pentecostes.” It belongs to the peculiarities of the miraculous intermediate condition, in which Jesus at that time was, that He, the Bearer of the Spirit (John 3:34), could already impart such a special ἀπαρχή, whilst the full and proper outpouring, the fulfilment of the Messianic baptism of the Spirit, remained attached to His exaltation, John 7:39, John 16:7. The article needed as little to stand with πνεῦμα ἅγ. as in John 1:33, John 7:39; Acts 1:2; Acts 1:5, and many other passages. This in answer to Luthardt, who lays the emphasis on ἅγιον; it was a holy spirit which the disciples received, something, that is, different from the Spirit of God, which dwells in man by nature; the breath of Jesus’ mouth was now holy spirit (comp. also Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 522 f.; Gess, Pers. Chr. p. 251; Weiss, Lchrbegr. p. 289), but this is not yet the spirit of the world-mighty Jesus; it is not as yet τὸ πνεῦμα ἅγιον, but nevertheless already the basis of it, and stands intermediately between the word of Jesus on earth and the Spirit of Pentecost. Such a sacred intermediate thing, which is holy spirit and yet not the Holy Spirit, the new living breath of the Lord, but yet only of like kind to the Spirit of God (Hofmann), cannot be established from the N. T., in which rather πνεῦμα ἅγιον with and without the article is ever the Holy Spirit in the ordinary Biblical dogmatic sense. Comp. on Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:16. The conceivableness of the above intermediate Spirit may therefore remain undetermined; it lies outside of Scripture.

αὐτοῖς] belongs to ἐνηφύσησε. Comp. Job 4:21.


Verse 23

John 20:23. The peculiar authority of the apostolical office, for the exercise of which they were fitted and empowered by this impartation of the Spirit. It was therefore an individual and specific charismatic endowment, the bestowal of which the Lord knew must be still connected with His personal presence, and was not to be deferred until after His ascension,(268) namely, that of the valid remission of sins, and of the opposite, that of the moral disciplinary authority, consisting not merely in the authorization to receive into the Church and to expel therefrom,(269) but also in the authorization of pardoning or of inflicting penal discipline on their fellow-members. The apostles exercised both authorizations, and it is without reason to understand only the former, since both essentially belonged to the mission ( πέμπω, John 20:21) of the apostles. The promise, Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18, is similar, but not equivalent. The apostolic power of the keys in the sense of the Church is contained directly in the present passage, in Matt. only indirectly. It had its regulator in the Holy Spirit, who separated its exercise from all human arbitrariness, so that the apostles were therein organs of the Spirit. That was the divine guarantee, as the consecration of moral certainty through the illumination and sanctification of the judgment in the performance of its acts.

On ἄν. instead of ἐάν, see Hermann, ad Viger. pp. 812, 822; frequently also in the Greek prose writers.

ἀφίενται] They are remitted, that is, by God.

κρατῆτε] He abides by the figure; opposite of loosing: hold fast (Polyb. viii. 20. 8; Acts 2:24).

κεκράτ] They are held fast, by God. Here the perf.; for the κρατεῖν is on the part of God no commencing act (such is the ἀφιέναι).

That to Thomas, who was at that time absent (John 20:24), the same full authority under the impartation of the Spirit was further particularly and supplementarily (after John 20:29) bestowed, is, indeed, not related, but must be assumed, in accordance with the relation of the necessity contained in the equality of his position.

The objections of Luthardt against our interpretation of this verse are unimportant, since in reality the eleven are thought of as assembled together (John 20:19; John 20:24); and since the assertion, that all charismatic endowments first date from Pentecost onwards, is devoid of proof, and is overthrown precisely by the present passage; comp. also already Luke 9:55. Calovius well says: “ut antea jam acceperant Spiritum ratione sanctificationis, ita nunc accipiunt ratione ministerii evangelici.” The full outpouring with its miraculous gifts, but on behalf of the collective church, then follows Pentecost.


Verse 24-25

John 20:24-25. θωμᾶςδίδυμος] See on John 11:16.

οὐκ ἦν μετʼ αὐτῶν, εἰκὸς γὰρ, αὐτὸν μετὰ τὸ διασκορπισθῆναι τοὺς μαθητὰςμήπω συνελθεῖν αὐτοῖς, Euth. Zigabenus. There may also have been another reason, and conjectures (Luthardt: melancholy led him to be solitary, similarly Lange) are fruitless.

Thomas shows himself, John 20:25 (comp. on John 14:5), in a critical tendency of mind, in which he does not recognise the statement of eye-witnesses as a sufficient ground of faith. From this, however, we perceive how completely remote from his mind lay the expectation of the resurrection. In the fact that he wished to feel only the wounds of the hands and of the side, some have found a reason against the nailing of the feet to the cross (so still Lücke and De Wette). Erroneously; the above demand was sufficient for him; in feeling the wounds on the feet, he would have required something which would have been too much, and not consistent with decorum. Comp. on Matthew 27:35.

τύπον is then interchanged with τόπον (see critical notes), as correlative to seeing and feeling. Comp. Grotius: “ τύπος videtur, τόπος impletur”.

βάλω τὴν χεῖρά μου, κ. τ. λ.] is regarded as a proof of the peculiar greatness of the wounds. But he would lay his hand in truth not in the wounds, but in the side, in order, that is, there to touch with his fingers the wound on the mere skin, which, at the same time, must also have been in so far considerable enough.

Note, further, the circumstantiality in the words of Thomas, on which an almost defiant reliance in his unbelief, not melancholy dejection (Ebrard), is stamped.


Verse 26-27

John 20:26-27. “Interjectis ergo diebus nulla fuerat apparitio,” Bengel. This appearance is contained only in John.

πάλιν ἦσαν ἔσω] points back to the same locality as in John 20:19. Wetstein, Olshausen erroneously transfer the appearance to Galilee. They were again within, namely, in the house known from John 20:19 (comp. Kypke, I. p. 412), and again from a like self-intelligible reason as in John 20:19, with closed doors. But that they were gathered together for the celebration of the resurrection-day (Luthardt, Lange), and that Jesus desired by His appearance to sanction this solemnity (Hengstenberg), is without any indication.

The invitation, John 20:27, presupposes an immediate knowledge of what is related in John 20:25, which precisely in John least of all required an indication (in answer to Lücke, who, as also Schleiermacher, supposes a communication of the disciples to Jesus).

Bengel, moreover, well remarks: “Si Pharisaeus ita dixisset: nisi videro, etc., nil impetrasset; sed discipulo pridem probato nil non datur.”

φέρεκαὶ ἴδε] The wounds in the hands he is to feel and see; the wound in the side, under the garments, only to feel. Observe the similarity in circumstantiality and mode of expression of the words of Jesus with the expression of the disciple in John 20:25.

καὶ μὴ γίνου ἄπιστος, ἀλλὰ πιστ.] Not: be, but: become not unbelieving, etc. Through his doubt of the actual occurrence of the resurrection Thomas was in danger of becoming an unbeliever (in Jesus generally), and in contradistinction to this his vacillating faith he was, through having convinced himself of the resurrection, to become a believer.


Verse 28-29

John 20:28-29. The doubts of Thomas, whose faith did not now require actual contact (hence also merely ἑώρακας, John 20:29), are converted into a straightforward and devoted confession; comp. John 11:16.

κύριός μου κ. θεός μου] is taken by Theodore of Mopsuestia (“quasi pro miraculo facto Deum collaudat,” ed. Fritzsche, p. 41) as an exclamation of astonishment directed to God. So recently, in accordance with the Socinians (see against these Calovius), especially Paulus. Decisively opposed to this view is εἶπεν αὐτῷ, as well as the necessary reference of κύρ. μου to Christ. It is a confessionary invocation of Christ in the highest joyful surprise, in which Thomas gives the fullest expression of profound emotion to his faith, which had been mightily elevated by the conviction of the reality of the resurrection, in the divine nature of his Lord. The powerful emotion certainly appears in and of itself little fitted to qualify this exclamation, which Ewald even terms exaggerated for the dogmatic conception; but this is outweighed (1) by the account of John himself, who could find in this exclamation only an echo of his own θεὸς ἦν λόγος, and of the self-testimonies of Jesus concerning His divine nature; (2) and chiefly by the approval of the Lord which follows. Erasmus aptly says: “Agnovit Christus utique repulsurus, si falso dictus fuisset Deus.” Note further (1) the climax of the two expressions; (2) how the amazed disciple keeps them apart from one another with a solemn emphasis by repeating the article(270) and the μου. This μου, again, is the outflow “ex vivo et serio fidei sensu,” Calvin.

John 20:29. The κύριός μ. κ. θεός μου was the complete and highest confession of Messianic faith, by the rendering of which, therefore, the above μὴ γίνουπιστός was already fulfilled. But it was the consequence of the having seen the Risen One, which he should not have required to do, considering the sufficient ground of conviction which lay in the assurance of his fellow-disciples as eye-witnesses. Hence the loving reproof (not eulogy, which Paulus devises, but also not a confirmation of the contents of faith as conferred by Thomas, as Luthardt assumes, which is first implied in μακάριοι, κ. τ. λ.) for him who has attained in this sensuous way to decisive faith, and the ascription of blessedness to those who, without such a sensuous conviction, have become believers,—this is to be left as a general truth, and not to be referred to the other disciples, since it is expressed in a general way, and, in accordance with the supersensuous and ethical nature of faith, is universally valid. In detail, note further: (1) to read πεπίστευκας interrogatively (with Griesbach, Scholz, Lachmann, Ewald) makes the element of reproof in the words, indicated by the emphatic (comp. John 1:51) precedence of ὅτι ἑώρ. με, appear with more vivid prominence; (2) the perf. is: thou hast become believing and believest now; the aor. participles ἰδόντες and πιστεύσ. do not denote wont (Lücke), which usage is never found in the N. T., and would here yield no suitable meaning, but those who, regarded from the point of time of the μακαριότης predicated of them, have not seen, and yet have believed; they have become believers without having first seen. (3) The point of time of the μακαριότης is, in correspondence with the general proposition, the universal present, and the μακαριότης itself is the happiness which they enjoy through the already present, and one day the eternal, possession of the Messianic ζωή. (4) The μακαριότης is not denied to Thomas, but for his warning the rule is adduced, to which he also ought to have subjected himself, and the danger is pointed out to him in which one is placed if one demands sight as a way to faith, as he has done. (5) The antithesis to the present passage is, therefore, not that of faith on account of that which has externally taken place, and of faith certain in itself of its contents (Baur, comp. Scholten), but of faith (in a thing that has taken place) with and without a personal and peculiar perception of it by the senses. (6) How significant is the declaration μακάριοι, κ. τ. λ., standing at the close of the Johannean Gospel! The entire historical further development of the church rests in truth upon the faith which has not seen. Comp. 1 Peter 1:8.


Verse 30-31

John 20:30-31. Conclusion of the entire book (not merely of the main portion of it, as Hengstenberg maintains); for chap, 21 is a supplement.

πολλὰ μὲν οὖν] Multa quidem, igitur.(271) See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 663.

καὶ ἄλλα] On the well-known καί after πολλά (et quidem alia), see Baeumlein, Partik. p. 146. Comp. Acts 25:7.

σημεῖα] miraculous signs, by which He has proved Himself to be the Messiah, the Son of God (John 20:31). Comp. John 12:37. To this corresponds in general also the conclusion of the appendix, John 21:25. Correctly so, by way of proposition, Euth. Zigabenus, further Calvin, Jansen, Wolf, Bengel, Lampe, Tholuck, De Wette, Frommann, Maier, B. Crusius, Luthardt, Hilgenfeld, Hengstenberg, Godet, Baeumlein, Scholten, and several others. Justly might John, looking back upon his now finished βιβλίον, adduce as its contents from the beginning of his history down to this conclusion, a potiori, the σημεῖα which Christ had wrought, since these form the distinguishing characteristic in the working of Jesus (comp. John 10:41), and the historical basis, with which the rest of the contents (particularly the discourses) are connected. Others have taken ση΄εῖα in exclusive, or at least, like Schleiermacher, pre-eminent reference to the resurrection: documenta resurrectionis (comp. Acts 1:3). So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Ruperti, Luther, Beza, Calovius, Maldonatus, Semler, and several others, including Kuinoel, Lücke, Olshausen, Lange, Baur, Ewald, and several others. But to this corresponds neither the general and absolute σημεῖα in itself, nor the predicate πολλὰ κ. ἄλλα, since Christ, after His resurrection, both in accordance with the accounts in the Gospels, and also with that of 1 Corinthians 15, certainly appeared only a few times; nor, finally, ἐποίησεν and ἐν τῷ βιβλ. τούτῳ, which latter shows that John (for ἐνώπ. τ. ΄αθητ., moreover, does not point to another writer, against Weizsäcker) has in view the contents of his entire Gospel.

ἐνώπ. τ. μαθ.] So that accordingly still many more ση΄εῖα might have been related, as by an eye-witness, by John, who, in truth, belonged to the ΄αθήται; hence this addition is not to be employed as a ground for the interpretation by Chrysostom, etc., of ση΄εῖα, because, that is to say, Jesus performed the signs before His death in the sight of the people, etc. (comp. John 12:37).

ταῦτα δέ] sc. τὰ σημεῖα, namely, those recorded in this book, this selection which composes its contents.

ἵνα πιστεύσ.] refers to the readers, for whom the Gospel was designed. “Scopus evangelii,” Bengel. Comp. Introd. § 5. See also, as regards πιστεύσ., on John 19:35. Of the conversion of the Gentiles (Hilgenfeld) to the faith, there is no mention.

υἱὸς τ. θεοῦ] in the Johannean sense. Without being this, He would not be the promised Messiah.

πιστεύοντες] in your believing. Thus, then, the ζωὴν ἔχειν is conceived of as a possession already beginning with faith; faith, however, as a subjective principle of life, quite as with Paul, although the latter more sharply separates from one another, as conceptions, justification, and life.(272)

ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ. αὐτοῦ] belongs to ζωὴν ἔχ. In the name of Jesus, as the object of faith (John 1:12), the possession of life is causally founded.

Baur, in accordance with false presuppositions, holds John 20:30-31 to be spurious, because the previously-related appearances (which, according to Baur, took place from out of heaven) should in themselves so bring to a close the appearance of the Risen One, that we cannot think of further appearances of this kind ( πολλὰ κ. ἄλλα).

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 20:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-20.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology