Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 20:1

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Burial;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Love;   Mary;   Women;   Thompson Chain Reference - Dead, the;   Distinctions of Women;   Fidelity;   Mortality-Immortality;   Resurrection;   Women;   The Topic Concordance - Resurrection;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Mary;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lord's day;   Mary;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Burial;   Grave;   Lord's Day, the;   Woman;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Mary;   Peter;   Resurrection of Christ;   Sabbath;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Day;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Confessions and Credos;   Footwashing;   Hour;   John, the Gospel of;   Mary;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of;   Mary;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Burial;   Calendar, the Christian;   Cave ;   Darkness (2);   Day;   Lord's Day;   Mary;   Morning;   Peter (2);   Sisters;   Womanliness;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Grave;   Mary Magdalene ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Sabbath;   Smith Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of;   Tomb;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Day;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - First;   Lord's Day;   Peter, Simon;   Woman;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 20;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The first day of the week - On what we call Sunday morning, the morning after the Jewish Sabbath. As Christ had been buried in haste, these holy women had bought aromatics, Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1, to embalm him afresh, and in a more complete manner than it could have been done by Joseph and Nicodemus. John only mentions Mary of Magdala, because he appears to wish to give a more detailed history of her conduct than of any of the rest; but the other evangelists speak of three persons who went together to the tomb, viz. Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome: Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 20:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-20.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Here John outlined the evidence upon which he himself accepted the resurrection of Christ as a historical fact.

For the greater part of a century, the church had been in possession of oral traditions and the synoptic Gospels, the earliest going back as far as 44 A.D.; and, added to all this, were the remarkable writings of the apostle Paul and others. But John did not begin his witness of the resurrection with any of the documentary proof which was abundantly available, but he went back to the very moment when he himself first believed, and recounted in the most amazing detail exactly the evidences he had seen and which first overwhelmed his soul with the certainty that Jesus was risen from the dead. That dawn of belief in his heart is recorded in John 20:1-10.

He next appealed to the testimony of Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), out of whom Jesus had cast seven devils; and the allegation that any falsarius would ever have ascribed such a choice of witness to him whom the Lord made the guardian of his mother transgresses the bounds of credibility.

Other testimonies offered in this chapter are the appearance to the eleven, Thomas absent (John 20:19-25), and the appearance to the eleven, Thomas present (John 20:26-29). The last two verses give the statement of John's purpose in writing the Gospel, and the added comment that the things recorded are but a fragment of the massive mountain of evidence that might have been presented but was omitted.

If this Gospel had ended with John 19, there would have been no gospel. Christ in the grave was not good news; and had he remained in the grave, there could have been no Christianity. As Paul declared, absolutely everything depended upon the physical resurrection of Christ. IF the resurrection did not occur:

The preaching of the apostles is vain; The faith of all Christians is vain; The apostles are false witnesses; All men are still in their sins; The dead in Christ have perished.

- 1 Corinthians 15:12-19SIZE>

Regarding the somber impact of the dead Saviour, Morgan wrote:

He was dead. His enemies thought they had done him in, and they were glad. His friends thought he was done for, and they were sad. But heaven watching was preparing the music that should ring around the world declaring the defeat of evil, the mastery of sin, and the ransom of the race.[1]

There is a repeated threefold motif in this chapter: (1) John's faith was inspired by three things: the stone's removal, the empty tomb, and the undisturbed grave clothes (John 20:1-10). (2) The testimony of three individuals is given: that of John, of Mary Magdalene, and of Thomas. (3) Three appearances of Christ are noted: his appearances to Mary Magdalene, to the eleven (Thomas absent), and to the eleven (Thomas present).

ENDNOTE:

[1] G. Campbell Morgan, The Gospel according to John (Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company), p. 306.

Now on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb. (John 20:1)

On the first day of the week ... Sunday here comes into the prominence it was to have through the ages, being mentioned here and in John 20:19 and John 20:26. The custom of Christian assemblies on Sunday received initiation and continuity from the events of this chapter.

Mary Magdalene ... This was the woman out of whom Jesus had cast seven demons and should not be confused with the woman who anointed Jesus' feet with her tears in the house of Simon the Pharisee.

While it was yet dark ... The Christian student should not be confused or unsettled by the allegations of critical enemies who are ever seeking (in vain) to find some "contradiction" in the sacred Gospels. Mark's mention of the coming of several women, including Mary Magdalene, to the tomb, "after the sun was risen" refers to another visit to the tomb, Mary Magdalene having made at least two trips to the sepulchre, and probably three, as follows: (1) the first trip, as recorded here, while it was still dark, (2) the second when she followed Peter and John (whom she quickly notified) and who ran on ahead of her to the tomb, and (3) when she came with the other women bringing the spices after the sun was risen. John specifically stressed that the tomb was "nigh" to the cross (John 19:42); and the sudden onset of the high sabbath at sunset prevented any of the witnesses from traveling after the burial. In all probability, none of those mentioned were any further away from the tomb than a few hundred yards. Mary Magdalene's repeated visits would make that deduction a certainty.

It is likely that hundreds, or even thousands, visited the empty tomb that day, as soon as it was discovered. Would not the hierarchy have investigated, especially after the report of the guard whom they bribed to lie about what happened? Did not Pilate investigate the breaking of his official seal on the grave? Was there any follower of the Lord who did not react to the electrifying message delivered, perhaps several times, by one angel, again by two angels, to the throng of persons viewing the empty grave? saying, "He is not here; he is risen!" The brief, dramatic accounts of the Gospels cover far too little of all that happened that day to permit arrogant and unbelieving presumption to deny any of it on the basis of this or that evangelist's not having mentioned it, or one evangelist's mentioning one of Mary Magdalene's visits and another's mention of a different one.

These reflections bring us to consider the fact that our Lord's resurrection is the central, pivotal fact of our holy religion. It occurred as the historical Gospels affirm, or it did not; and, if it did not occur, there is no Christianity. So-called Christian scholars who deny the resurrection are infidels and are not Christian in any sense of the word. So-called Modernism is Christianity denied; and concerning this, Gaebelein said:

Modernists, like other infidels, charge the sacred records with being contradictory. While there are difficulties, they are not contradictions, such as the Modernists claim them to be. The different accounts can be harmonized; and, instead of being marks of error, or deception, these different accounts bear witness to their genuineness and trustworthiness.[2]

As soon as Mary Magdalene saw that the stone was removed, she correctly concluded that the body was not there, although her supposition that men had removed it was incorrect. She went at once and notified Peter and John. All this happened while it was still dark.

ENDNOTE:

[2] Arno C. Gaebelein, The Gospel of John (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1965), p. 379.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The first day of the week,.... On the sixth day of the week, towards the close of it, Christ was interred; he lay in the grave all the seventh day, and on the first day of the week rose from the dead: so the women, after they had observed where the body was laid, went home and prepared spices and ointments, to anoint it; but the sabbath coming on, they were prevented; on which they rested, according to the Jewish law: but as soon as it was over,

cometh Mary Magdalene; not alone, but other women with her; who had attended Christ at the cross, observed where he was buried, and had prepared spices to anoint him, and now came for that purpose; for not merely to see the sepulchre, and weep at the grave, did she with the rest come, but to perform this piece of funeral service:

early, when it was yet dark; as it was when she set out, the day just began to dawn; though by that time she got to the sepulchre, the sun was rising:

unto the sepulchre; where she saw the body of Jesus laid by Joseph, in a tomb of his, and in his garden; by whose leave, it is probable, being asked over night, she with her companions were admitted:

and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre: which Joseph rolled there, and the Pharisees sealed and set a watch to observe it. This was removed by an angel; for though Christ himself could easily have done it, it was proper it should be done by a messenger from heaven, by the order of divine justice, who had laid him as a prisoner there. Mary's coming so early to the grave, shows her great love and affection to Christ, her zeal, courage, and diligence, in manifesting her respect unto him: and oftentimes so it is, that the greatest sinners, when converted, are most eminent for grace, particularly faith, love, and humility; and are most diligent in the discharge of duty.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 20:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-20.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

The 1 first [day] of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

(1) Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John, are the first witnesses of the resurrection, and these cannot justly be suspected, for they themselves could hardly be persuaded of it; therefore, they would obviously not invent such a story on purpose.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 20:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-20.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Now on the first day of the week (τηι δε μιαι των σαββατωνtēi de miāi tōn sabbatōn). Locative case of time when. Both Mark (Mark 16:2) and Luke (Luke 24:1) have this very idiom of the cardinal τηι μιαιtēi miāi instead of the usual ordinal τηι πρωτηιtēi prōtēi (first), an idiom common in the papyri and in the modern Greek (Robertson, Grammar, p. 671). In all three instances also we have the genitive plural των σαββατωνtōn sabbatōn for “the week” as in Acts 20:7. The singular σαββατονsabbaton also occurs for “the week” as in Luke 18:12; Mark 16:9.

Cometh Mary Magdalene (Μαρια η Μαγδαληνη ερχεταιMaria hē Magdalēnē erchetai). Vivid historical present. Mary Magdalene is not to be confounded with Mary of Bethany.

While it was yet dark
(σκοτιας ετι ουσηςskotias eti ousēs). Genitive absolute. For σκοτιαskotia see John 6:17; Matthew 10:27. Mark (Mark 16:2) says the sun was risen on their actual arrival. She started from the house while still dark.

Taken away
(ηρμενονērmenon). Perfect passive participle of αιρωairō predicate accusative in apposition with τον λιτονton lithon f0).

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-20.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

First day of the week ( τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάατον )

The Hebrew idiom, day one of the week. See on Luke 4:31; see on Acts 20:7.

Dark

Matthew says, as it began to dawn; Mark, when the sun was risen; Luke, very early in the morning, or at deep dawn; see on Luke 24:1.

Taken away ( ἠρμένον ἐκ )

Lifted out of. All the Synoptists have rolled.

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The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-20.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Matthew 28:1 ; Mark 16:1 ; Luke 24:1 .
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 20:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-20.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Now on the first [day] of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early1, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb.
    ANGELS ANNOUNCE THE RESURRECTION TO CERTAIN WOMEN. PETER AND JOHN ENTER THE EMPTY TOMB. (Joseph's Garden. Sunday, very early.) Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8,12; John 20:1-10

  1. Cometh Mary Magdalene early. John mentions Mary Magdalene alone, though she came with the rest of the women. As she was the one who reported to John and Peter, he describes her actions, and makes no mention of the others.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 20:1". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-20.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Cometh Mary Magdalene. It would seem that she came before the party mentioned in Luke 24:1-10; or else, if she came with them, that she left them, and went back to call Peter and John, before the events took place which Luke records.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-20.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

В первый же день недели. Поскольку воскресение Христово есть главный артикул веры, и без него надежда на вечную жизнь рушится, Евангелисты тратят много времени на его доказательства. Так и наш благовестник приводит множество свидетельств, которые уверяют нас: Христос действительно воскрес из мертвых. Но может показаться абсурдным, что он не подыскал более весомых свидетелей. Ибо он начинает с женщины, и так исполнилось сказанное: Бог избрал немощное, юродивое и презренное в мире, чтобы посрамить мудрость, силу и славу плоти (1Кор.1:27). Действительно, в учениках было не больше земного величия, чем в последовавших за Христом женщинах. Но поскольку Христос благоволил сделать их главными свидетелями Своего воскресения, одно это придает им безусловный и ничем не оспоримый авторитет. Священникам и книжникам, всему народу, и даже Пилату, ничего не мешало узнать о воскресении, кроме собственной добровольной слепоты. Итак, все они были достойны того, чтобы, видя, не видеть. Между тем Христос открыл Себя малому стаду.

Прежде чем идти дальше, полезно показать, как именно согласовываются рассказы Евангелистов, в словах которых на первый взгляд имеются некие противоречия. Иоанн называет только Магдалину, Матфей – двух женщин, Марк – трех, Лука же не говорит о точном числе, но лишь упоминает, что пришли женщины, следовавшие за Христом из Галилеи. Однако этот вопрос решается просто. Матфей упоминает два имени, наиболее известных для прочих учеников, а Иоанн довольствуется одной Магдалиной, но между тем не исключает и остальных. Более того, из контекста слов можно вывести, что Магдалина была не одна. Ведь немного спустя она говорит во множественном числе: Мы не знаем, где Его положили. Итак, хотя Иоанн умалчивает о ее спутницах, он говорит то же самое, что и остальные, упомянувшие о многих женщинах. Так же нетрудно разрешить проблему разногласия во времени. Иоанн говорит, что уже рассвело. Это нужно понимать так: когда еще царили сумерки, женщины отправились в путь. Но прежде чем они пришли к могиле, настал рассвет. Благовония же они приготовили вечером, после захода солнца, по завершении субботы. Так же следует истолковать и рассказ остальных.

Другое противоречие видится в том, что, по словам Иоанна, Мария разговаривала только с ним и с Петром. Лука же говорит, что она пришла к одиннадцати апостолам, и они сочли ее слова за сумасшествие. Но проблема легко решается, поскольку Иоанн сознательно умалчивает о других учениках. Ведь только он и Петр отправились к могиле. То же, что Лука упоминает об одном Петре, объясняется так же, как рассказ о Марии Магдалине и других женщинах. Вероятно другие девять учеников были удержаны страхом. Они боялись быть замеченными, если выйдут всей толпою. И не мешает то, что, по словам Луки, они презрели свидетельство Магдалины. Ведь сразу же после он добавляет: Петр все-таки побежал к гробу. Он хочет сказать, что вначале они были поражены услышанным, но потом, собравшись с мыслями, Петр последовал за Марией, чтобы самому увидеть все. Рассказ же Луки о том, как Христос явился Марии, прежде чем она возвестила ученикам о пустой могиле, представляет собой инверсию повествования. Это вполне очевидно из контекста. Ибо он говорит о том, что Иоанн называет произошедшим прежде ее встречи с Иисусом. И здесь нет никакого абсурда. Ведь евреи часто вначале рассказывают о том, что на самом деле произошло после.

Первый день недели. Евангелисты не говорят, когда именно и как воскрес Христос, ведь им достаточно было сказать, когда и кому Он явился уже воскресшим. Итак, Иоанн говорит, что Мария пришла в первый день недели. К слову, буквально говорится не о первом, а об одном дне. Но у евреев имеется привычка вместо первого говорить об одном, поскольку начала всех чисел в единице. Поскольку же каждый седьмой день был посвящен покою, всю неделю они также называли субботою. Так они воздавали честь святости этого дня, называя все остальные его именем. Итак, женщины пришли к могиле на другой день недели. И в этот же день, но до захода солнца, они купили благовония. Затем, прождав ночь в безопасном месте, как обычно делают, когда боятся, они вышли из города. Первый же день недели назывался так в отношении ближайшей субботы, ибо был началом седмицы, которую завершала суббота.

 

 

 

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-20.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Mary

For order of events on the resurection day, (See Scofield "Matthew 28:1").

Copyright Statement
These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
Bibliographical Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on John 20:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/john-20.html. 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE VISIT OF MARY MAGDALENE

‘The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre.’

John 20:1

Dark without as yet, and dark within. She is in no mood of exalted expectancy, but in the deepest grief. She is pondering a new trouble that has come into her mind since she left the house. ‘Who shall roll us away the stone?’ She has come to embalm, but she cannot enter the tomb. As she passes from beneath the trees she sees with wondering relief that the stone is rolled away. But the difficulty is removed only to reveal to her that which casts her into the lowest depths of despair and disappointment. The body is not there. ‘But sudden the worst turns to the best.’ She hears a voice; she is conscious of a Presence. She has gone out to find Death; she finds instead Life.

I. What is the meaning of the revelation?—I pass over the more personal joys which must have come to those who had been in immediate and human contact with Christ. These we can only indirectly share. But beneath and beyond these there lay the great treasury of spiritual truth which is shared by them, by us, and all the world. ‘Whatever may have happened at the grave and in the matter of appearances, one thing is certain: from this grave has sprung the indestructible faith in the overthrow of death, and in an eternal life’ (Harnack). Easter brings us the assurance that that life, and all other lives lived in God, are not so crushed; that He Who was dead is alive, and alive for evermore, and holds the keys of death and sin and sorrow.

II. Again, we find that this life of ours is crowned with an infinite dignity.—It is no longer the uncertain existence of a moment, it is the real life springing up into eternity. It is no longer the flickering existence of a perishable body, it is the eternal growth of an immortal soul. To fight with beasts at Ephesus on behalf of that soul’s life is no mere chivalrous folly. To ‘eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,’ is a morality that stands doubly condemned. There is but one conclusion, and that of invincible courage, to be drawn from the Easter story. ‘Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as your labour is not in vain in the Lord.’

III. The great Companion is not dead.—‘I am with you through all the days.’ In that fellowship, the fellowship of Christ’s continual Presence, those first disciples went forth conquerors and to conquer the world without and within. Not suddenly transformed into the Divine Image, but loyally yielding their will to the Spirit within, they knew themselves growing from grace to grace.

Rev. F. Ealand.

Illustration

‘We can hardly visit a cemetery without being filled with solemn and impressive thoughts. As you stand there with multitudes at your feet, all wrapped in slumber, your thoughts carry you back to the past, and on to the future. You look at the cold marble or the green grass which waves over that precious dust, but there is no one able to bid the slumberers arise. There are many such spots where different groups of mourners meet, but there is one tomb above all the rest in which every Christian heart has a common interest, around which all may meet. It contains more sorrows and more hopes than all the graves on earth. It contains no ashes, for it is empty. It is the place where the risen Redeemer once lay. We are met at a strange place, it is true—the one place on earth where we know quite well that Jesus is not. Why, then, you ask, should we spend our time around a spot so cheerless and so Christless? Simply because He once was there, and every spot that Christ has touched is sacred and instructive.’

(SECOND OUTLINE)

THE EMPTY TOMB

Mary to her surprise found the stone rolled away and the keepers fled. Fast and far the news travelled. The glorious fact of a conqueror more mighty than death was that morning proclaimed to the world, and no sophistry has as yet been able to explain it away. It was the greatest transaction in history; it was accomplished in silence. It was the mightiest conquest the world had ever known; it was achieved in the dead of night, while the world slept. The Redeemer overcame the world’s most dreaded foe, and broke the bonds of death. He came forth from the tomb a living man. Yes, it is a fact. The grave of Jesus Christ is empty; I suppose it is the only empty tomb on earth; and history records no mightier fact for the instruction and comfort of mankind. What is the significance of this great fact?

I. The Atonement completed.—It means that the Atonement is complete; it means that God the Father has accepted Christ’s work as a satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. It means that the problem of a future life has been solved, and a veritable hereafter revealed. Ours is not the Gospel of a dead Saviour, but of a living, reigning, life-giving one Who lives for evermore. Though a grave, it is the place of life. Since Jesus rose the power of the grave has been broken. It is no longer a dark prison-house, but the gate of life. Now we die to live again. But there is not only life for the body beyond the grave; there is spiritual life in the risen Saviour. As the Lord Jesus lay dead, not in appearance only, but in reality, so do all men by nature lie spiritually dead. Are there not men and women known to you in this world who are dead to every noble aim in life, buried in the world’s follies and sins? So they will remain until they permit the risen and life-giving One to roll all their burden of sin back into the empty grave.

II. A place of comfort.—It is a place of comfort. We do not usually associate the grave with ideas of a comforting nature. We think of it rather as a place of parting and bitter grief. But the first note in the Gospel of the Resurrection was a note of comfort. ‘Fear not ye,’ said the angel to the weeping women. ‘Fear not,’ said the angels to the lowly shepherds when the Christ was born. The Gospel of Christ throughout is a Gospel of comfort. What but it has power to cheer the shrinking soul standing on the brink of the grave? ‘Fear not.’ The past need not trouble you, for Christ has made atonement for sin. The present you need not dread, for you are supported by the everlasting arms. The future is all safe in the power and love of Jesus Christ.

III. A place of hope.—The empty grave is a place of hope. How often our hopes are blighted here, our expectations dashed down! The resurrection of Jesus Christ proclaims the reviving of lost hopes. The brightest hopes were blighted when Jesus died, but when He rose they all revived. How many hopes have been buried in graves! But graves are not dug in the ground alone, or hewn from rocks. Human hearts are sepulchres, and how many hopes are buried there! I do not suppose there is a single heart beating in this church to-day in which there does not lie some unrealised hope, some unfulfilled expectation; but if your hearts are true to Christ, then be sure there is a resurrection day coming. The hope you thought you lost has only gone on before. It awaits you in the glorious hereafter. With Him it rose, with Him it ascended, and with Him it is kept as a sacred trust till you go home to claim it. There is nothing you really value that Christ will not give you back again. There is not a joy, not a hope, that has gone down here in the night of disappointment but will rise in a fairer world where the sun will never set. Every lost affection will return to every loving heart, every hope to the despairing soul, and joy unspeakable to every mourner. All that on earth you have loved and lost will be given back to you in heaven.

—Rev. J. H. Coward.

Illustration

‘Of all our Lord’s followers on earth, none seem to have loved Him so much as Mary Magdalene. None felt that they owed so much to Christ. None felt so strongly that there was nothing too great to do for Christ. Hence, as Bishop Andrews beautifully puts it,—“She was last at His Cross, and first at His grave. She staid longest there, and was soonest here. She could not rest till she was up to seek Him. She sought Him while it was yet dark, even before she had light to seek Him by.” In a word, having received much, she loved much; and loving much, she did much, in order to prove the reality of her love.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on John 20:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/john-20.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

Ver. 1. The first day of the week] Now the Christian sabbath, in honour of Christ’s resurrection, and therefore called "the Lord’s day," Revelation 1:10; as the holy supper is called "the Lord’s supper," 1 Corinthians 11:20; as the saints are called κυριακη, kirk, church. The title of the 24th Psalm is, "A Psalm of David." To this the Greek addeth, "Of the first day of the week," meaning that this psalm was wont to be sung in the temple every first day of the week, which now is the Christian’s sabbath; and of Christ, his Church and kingdom, and the entertaining of his gospel, doth this psalm intreat. Let every one of us keep sabbath, saith Ignatius, in a spiritual manner, rejoicing in the meditation of the law, not in the rest of the body. εκαστος ημων σαββατιζετω πνευματικως. (Ignat. ep. iii. ad Magnes.) And in those primitive times when the question was asked, Servasti Dominicum? Hast thou kept the Lord’s day? the answer was returned, Christianus sum, intermittere non possum: I am a Christian, and may not do otherwise. The Jews gave that honour to their sabbath, that they named from it all the other days of the week, as the first, second, third day, &c., of the sabbath, which we from the heathens (a worse pattern) name Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, &c. Ex iustituto Mercurii Trismegisti.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 20:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-20.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

In this verse is recorded how Mary Magdalene came early to the sepulchre, on the first day of the week, to anoint the dead body of our Lord Jesus.

Where note, that though her heart did burn with an ardent zeal and affection to her crucified Lord, yet the commanded duties of the sabbath were not omitted by her; she kept close, and silently spent that holy day in a mixture of grief and hope. Her example is a good pattern of sabbath sanctification, and worthy of our Christian imitation.

Note, 2. What magnanimity and courage is found in this weak woman; she followed Christ courageously, when his disciples left him cowardly; she accompanied him to his cross, she followed his hearse to the grave, when his disciples durst not appear; and now very early in the morning she goes to visit his sepulchre, fearing neither the darkness of the night, nor the presence of the watchmen.

Learn hence, that courage is the special gift of God, and if he gives it to the feebler sex, even to timorous and fearful women, it is not in the power of man to make them afraid.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 20:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-20.html. 1700-1703.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

The Lord appeareth to Mary Magdalene. Afterwards to his Disciples. Thomas doubteth the Resurrection of Jesus, is convinced of the Truth of it, and expresseth his Joy.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/john-20.html. 1828.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 20:1. εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον) unto the sepulchre.— τὸν λίθον, the stone) which had been rolled to the mouth of it, according to custom: ch. John 11:38 [Lazarus’ tomb, which was “a cave”].

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 20:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-20.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

JOHN CHAPTER 20

John 20:1-10 Mary Magdalene, seeing the stone taken away from the

sepulchre, runneth to tell Peter and John, who go

thither, and find not the body.

John 20:11-18 Mary seeth two angels sitting in the sepulchre;

Jesus himself appeareth to her.

John 20:19-23 He appeareth to his disciples.

John 20:24,25 The incredulity of Thomas.

John 20:26-29 Jesus appeareth again to the disciples, and

satisfieth the doubts of Thomas; who confesseth him.

John 20:30,31 The sufficiency of what is written for a ground of

salvation.

Chapter Introduction

The evangelist St. John giving a fuller account than the other evangelists of Christ’s resurrection, and his converse upon the earth forty days, until he ascended up into heaven, we have in our notes on the other evangelists been shorter, reserving ourselves for a fuller account of it till we should come to these two last chapters of this evangelist.

Matthew saith, In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week; he also mentions another Mary in company with Mary Magdalene. Mark tells us that other Mary was the mother of James and Salome. Luke saith, they came, referring to the women which came with him from Galilee, Luke 23:55. For the time, Luke saith it was upon the first day of the week; Mark saith it was when the sabbath was past; our evangelist saith it was when it was yet dark; so that Matthew’s oqe de sabbatwn, which we translate, in the end of the sabbath, must be interpreted by Mark, when the sabbath was past; and indeed Matthew plainly expounds himself, adding, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week; which must be seven or eight hours after the Jewish sabbath was ended, for that ended with the setting of the sun the night before. The other evangelists tell us, that the design of their coming was to show their last act of love, in anointing or embalming the body of Jesus; for which purpose they had bought materials the night wherein he was crucified, but rested on the sabbath day, which ending about sunset, probably they slept some hours, and early in the morning, in the twilight, they come with their spices. Hence appears, that there is no contradiction at all between the four evangelists about the time of these women’s coming to the sepulchre. Matthew saith it was about the dawning of the first day of the week; Mark saith it was when the sabbath was past; Luke saith it was upon the first day of the week; so saith John: which would make one admire that so many words should have been spent by divines in untying a knot here, where there is indeed none. Though John, in his history of our Saviour’s burial, saith nothing of any stone rolled to the mouth of the sepulchre; yet Matthew doth; and of the Jews’ sealing of it, and setting a watch, Matthew 27:64-66. Mark (Mark 16:3) tells us also, that these women were thoughtful as they came, who should roll the stone away; and Matthew also tells us how it came rolled away, viz. by an angel. John saith nothing but that the stone was rolled away. So then the history runs thus: Early on the first day of the week an angel, in a glorious appearance, (described by Mark), cometh down, rolleth away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre, and Christ ariseth: soon after, these women came with spices, and were thoughtful as they came who should roll away the stone; but when they came to the sepulchre they found that, as to that, their cares were needless, for the stone was rolled away to their hands.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 20:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-20.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

первыйдень недели Это – ссылка на воскресенье. С тех пор верующие использовали воскресенье для того, чтобы собираться и вспоминать чудесный день Воскресения Господа (см. Деян. 20:7; 1Кор. 16:2). Оно стало известно как «день Христов» (Отк. 1:10). См. пояснения к Лк. 24:4, 34.

Мария Магдалина приходит ко гробу рано, когда было еще темно. Возможно, Иисус сначала явился Марии Магдалине для того, чтобы проявить милосердие посредством Своей личной, любящей верности тому, кто имел низкое прошлое. Но также ясно, что она любила Его так нежно и глубоко, что пришла ко гробу раньше других. Она пришла с намерением завершить приготовление Тела Иисуса к погребению, принеся дополнительно ароматы, чтобы помазать его (Лк. 24:1).

(20:1-31) В этой главе описаны явления Иисуса Своим ученикам: 1) явление Марии Магдалине (ст. 1-18); 2) явление десяти апостолам (ст. 19-23) и 3) явление Фоме (ст. 24-29). Иисус не явился неверующим (см. 14:19; 16:16, 22), потому что факт Его Воскресения их не убедит, как не убедили чудеса (Лк. 16:31). Их ослепил бог этого мира и препятствует их вере (2Кор. 4:4), поэтому Иисус является только Своим, чтобы утвердить их веру в живого Христа. Эти явления были настолько убедительными, что они превратили учеников из прячущихся в страхе малодушных людей в храбрых свидетелей Иисуса (например, Петра: см. 18:27; ср. Деян. 2:14-39). И снова целью Иоанна в описании этих явлений Воскресения было показать, что физическое и телесное Воскресение Иисуса явилось завершающим доказательством того, что воистину Он – Мессия и Сын Божий, положивший Свою жизнь за Своих (10:17, 18; 15:13; ср. Рим. 1:4).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 20:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-20.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Mary Magdalene; Matthew 28:1. Believing woman, last at the cross and first at the tomb, has often manifested quenchless love for the Redeemer, and dauntless courage in his cause.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-20.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1.When it was yet dark—That is, at the earliest point of time mentioned; and it seems to imply that Mary Magdalene was at start decidedly in advance of the company of women. Throughout she manifests a high tone of character, and an earnest impetuosity, both of thought and manner, marks all her demeanour. As it was through her that John was connected with the entire transaction, it is to her he confines this part of the narrative; not as if ignorant of the other parts, but as if desirous to show his own immediate share.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-20.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene comes early, while it was yet dark, to the tomb and sees the stone taken away from the tomb.’

‘The first day of the week’ could be any time after sunset on Saturday evening, but here it is early Sunday morning just prior to sunrise. The use of the term ‘the first day of the week’, along with the mention that it was ‘yet dark’, may be intended to indicate the approach of a new beginning. Whilst it was still dark for the disciples and the women as they grieved for Jesus, shortly light would dawn, and then all would be revealed.

Mary has been sent ahead with ‘the other Mary’ (Matthew 28:1) by the women who were preparing spices and ointments for Jesus’ burial (Luke 23:55 to Luke 24:1). They would wish to check out the situation in the garden and their greatest concern would be as to how they could roll the stone from the entrance so as to minister to Jesus’ body (Mark 16:3). So the Marys came while it was still dark (Matthew 28:1). But to their amazement they found that the large stone had been moved. Not sure what this meant one Mary went back to report to the women while Mary Magdalene raced to let Peter and John know.

John mentions only Mary Magdalene because it was she who came to Peter and himself breathless with the news, and he was involved in the sequel. He is concentrating on Mary’s escapade. Thus his account is only about Mary.

‘The stone taken away.’ The stone had in fact been removed by an earthquake connected with an angelic visitation (Matthew 28:2). It was not necessary for the resurrection of Jesus that the stone should be taken away (see John 20:26), but it was necessary so that the emptiness of the tomb could be seen.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-20.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

"The first day of the week" was Sunday. It is interesting that all the Gospel writers referred to the day of Jesus" resurrection this way rather than as the third day after His death. The latter description would have connected the Resurrection with Jesus" predictions of it more directly. Perhaps they did this to associate Easter more clearly with a new beginning. [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., p635.] John may have mentioned the darkness of the night to associate darkness with Mary"s limited understanding then (cf. John 13:30). [Note: Ibid.] Alternatively this may simply have been a detail that adds credibility to the narrative.

The other evangelists noted that several women came to the tomb. [Note: See Zane C. Hodges, "The Women and the Empty Tomb," Bibliotheca Sacra123:492 (October-December1966):301-9.]

Women Who Visited the Tomb Easter Morning

Matthew 28:1

Mark 16:1

Luke 24:10

John 20:1

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene

The other Mary =

Mary the mother of James

Mary the mother of James

Salome

Joanna

others

Mary Magdalene evidently came first with the other women (cf. John 20:2). Another possibility is that she came first and the other women followed shortly, but this seems less likely in view of the other evangelists" descriptions. John wrote that she saw (Gr. blepei) the open tomb of Jesus. He implied that she did not enter it. Perhaps John mentioned Mary Magdalene and none of the other women because of the testimony that she gave after she had seen Jesus ( John 20:18).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-20.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 20:1. But on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth that the stone had been taken away from the sepulchre. Few parts of the Fourth Gospel illustrate better than these words the principle of selection upon which it is composed. They mention Mary Magdalene alone; and yet we learn from her own words in John 20:2, ‘we know,’ that she could not have been alone,—that she formed (as indeed we are expressly told by the other Evangelists) one of a group of women who came on the morning of the first day of the week to finish the embalming of the body of Jesus. Again, we here read of ‘the stone taken away from the sepulchre,’ though no mention had been made of this stone in the previous narrative. It is obvious that here, as elsewhere, we have to deal not so much with events of full historical detail as with events selected on account of their bearing upon the idea which the Evangelist wishes to illustrate. In the present instance that idea is not the mere fact of the Resurrection of Jesus, but the nature of His post-resurrection state. With this His appearance to Mary Magdalene is closely associated; and hence the Evangelist, omitting all mention of the other women, concerns himself with her alone.

Of Mary, then, we are told that she came to the sepulcher on the first day of the week ‘early,’ and ‘when it was yet dark.’ Similar expressions are found in the other Gospels: thus Luke speaks of ‘early’ (literally ‘deep’ ) ‘dawn,’ and Mark (Mark 16:2) records that the women came to the sepulchre ‘very early.’ The only difficulty that presents itself here is occasioned by words which follow in the same verse of Mark’s Gospel, which state that the sun had risen. The discussion of this difficulty does not belong to this place, and we must content ourselves with mentioning three solutions which have been proposed. (1) That the words of Mark 16:2 are intended only as a general indication of time, at or about sunrise, the rays of dawn being in the sky, but the measure of light still small. (2) That, though the sun had risen, yet haze or cloud obscured its light. (3) That John’s reference to the darkness strictly belongs to the time when Mary set forth, not to the time of her arrival, as indeed the words might be rendered ‘Mary is coming to the sepulchre:’ compare John 20:3, where we read that Peter and John ‘were coming to,’ i.e. they came towards the tomb. It is easy to understand that the writer of the last words in chap. John 13:30 would in thought naturally dwell upon the outward darkness as symbolical of the mental state of Mary and her fellow-disciples.

The stone which had been fitted into the door of the sepulchre had been taken away; and, with-cut observing the particulars which are recorded below (John 20:6-7), Mary hastens to tell what she has seen.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-20.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 20:1. : “And on the first day of the week”. Mk. (Mark 16:2) and Lk. (Luke 24:1) have the same expression. Mt. (Matthew 28:1) has , . [In the suspected ninth verse of Mark 16 appears instead of .]— , Mary of Magdala, now Mejdel, a fishing village north of Tiberias; she is further described in Mark 16:9 as (cf.Luke 8:2), which lends significance both to her being at the tomb and to her being the first to see the Lord. She alone of the three women present is here named, because she alone is required in John’s account. The time is more exactly described as , . Mk. (Mark 16:2) has , but adds , apparently having chiefly in view, not the first arrival of the women, but the appearance of Jesus to Mary. Luke’s agrees with John’s expression. Phrynichus defines as the time before the day began while a lamp was still needed. [Cf. Plato’s Crito at the beginning, and Roger’s note on Aristoph., Wasps, 215.] The darkness is noticed by John to account for her seeing nothing of what Peter and John afterwards saw. She could not, however, fail to see ; the slab closing the sepulchre had been removed. Seeing this she naturally concluded that the tomb had been violated, possibly that the authorities for purposes of their own had removed the body.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 20:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-20.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

our Saviour had been interred in great haste, the holy women who had before accompanied Jesus in all his journeys, brought perfumes to embalm his sacred body again, in a manner more proper, than Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea had been able to do before. St. John makes mention of Mary Magdalene only, because it was his intention to give a particular relation of all that she did: but we learn from the other evangelists, that there were three holy women at the sepulchre together, viz. Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome. (Calmet) --- This was on the first day of the week, the morrow of the sabbath. (Bible de Vence) --- Christ rose again, leaving the stone and seals still lying on the sepulchre. But as this was to be believed by others also, after the resurrection, the tomb was opened, and thus the belief of what had taken place, propagated. This it was that struck Magdalene; for as soon as she saw the stone rolled from the sepulchre, without entering, or even looking into it, she immediately ran, in the ardour fo her affection, to carry the news to the disciples. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiv. in Joan.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 20:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

The first day of the week = On the first (day) of the Sabbaths (plural) Greek. Te mia ton sabbaton. The word "day" is rightly supplied, as mia is feminine, and so must agree with a feminine noun understood, while sabbaton is neuter. Luke 24:1 has the same. Matthew reads, "towards dawn on the first (day) of the Sabbaths", and Mark (John 16:2), "very early on the first (day) of the Sabbaths". The expression is not a Hebraism, and "Sabbaths" should not be rendered "week", as in Authorized Version and Revised Version. A reference to Leviticus 28:15-17 shows that this "first day" is the first of the days for reckoning the seven Sabbaths to Pentecost. On this day, therefore, the Lord became the firstfruits (verses: John 20:10, John 20:11) of God"s resurrection harvest (1 Corinthians 15:23).

Mary. See App-100.

early: i.e. about the ninth or tenth hour (3 to 4am.) See App-165.

unto. Greek. eis. App-104.

sepulchre. See John 19:41.

taken away = having been taken away. Greek. airo. See John 19:15,

from. Greek. ek. App-104.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 20:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene (see the note at Luke 8:2) early, when it was yet dark (see the note at Matthew 28:1, and at Mark 16:2), unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre (see the notes at Mark 16:3-4).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-20.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

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.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 20:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-20.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) For the visit of the women to the sepulchre, and their announcement to the disciples (John 20:1-2), comp. generally Notes on Matthew 28:1-4; Matthew 28:8; Mark 16:1-4; Mark 16:8; Luke 24:1-3; Luke 24:9-11. Each of the three narratives separates the return from the visit by an account of the appearance of the angels at the sepulchre.

The first day of the week.—The same phrase occurs in Luke 24:1.

Cometh Mary Magdalene.—St. Matthew has, “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary;” St. Mark has, “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome;” St. Luke has, “The women which had come with Him from Galilee” (Luke 23:55), and enumerates them in Luke 24:10, as “Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and the others with them.” St. John speaks of only one of the group, who was specially prominent.

And seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.—This fact is made emphatic in all the accounts. See especially Luke 24:2.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
first
19,26; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10
cometh
Mary Magdalene, as well as Peter, was evidently at the sepulchre twice on that morning of the resurrection. The first time of her going was some short time before her companions, the other Mary and Salome (Mt 28:1); and observing that the stone had been removed, she returned to inform Peter and John. In the meantime, the other Mary and Salome came to the sepulchre, and saw the angel, as recorded by Matthew and Mark. While these women returned to the city, Peter and John went to the sepulchre, passing them at some distance, or going another way, followed by Mary Magdalene, who stayed after their return. This was her second journey; when she saw two angels, and then Jesus himself, as here related; and immediately after Jesus appeared to the other women, as they returned to the city. (Mt 28:9, 10.) In the meantime Joanna and her company arrived at the sepulchre, when two angels appeared to them, and addressed them as the one angel had done the other women, (Lu 24:1-10.) They immediately returned to the city, and by some means found the apostles before the others arrived, and informed them of what they had seen; upon which Peter went a second time to the sepulchre, but saw only the linen clothes lying. (Lu 24:12.)
Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1,2,9; Luke 24:1-10
the stone
Matthew 27:60,64-66; 28:2; Mark 15:46; 16:3,4
Reciprocal: Joshua 22:11 - heard;  Matthew 27:56 - Mary Magdalene;  Luke 2:15 - Let;  Luke 24:2 - GeneralLuke 24:22 - GeneralLuke 24:24 - went;  John 19:25 - and Mary;  Acts 1:3 - he showed;  Acts 10:41 - Not;  1 Corinthians 15:4 - he rose

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 20:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-20.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

In ch. John 20:1-18, John learns in the empty sepulchre to believe in the resurrection, and the risen Lord appears to Mary Magdalene.

Ver. 1. "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre."

The plural τὰ σάββατα, which often occurs in the Sept. and in Josephus as well as in the New Testament, was supposed to point to the high dignity of the day. It is the pluralis excellentiae, of such wide use in Hebrew. The Sabbath is termed in Isaiah 58:13 "the holy of the Lord." From a similar cause it sprang that all days of the week were distinguished by their relation to the Sabbath (the one day, or first day, μία, of the Sabbath, and so forth); and that the Sabbath, for instance in Luke 18:12, embodied in itself the whole week. It is incorrect to say that the Sabbath of itself signified the week. The first day of the week was peculiarly appropriate for the resurrection, inasmuch as on it the creation of the world had begun, and light had been brought into being. With the resurrection of Christ a new creation began, and a new light went forth into the darkness.

"Cometh Mary Magdalene:" Matthew 28:1 mentions Mary Magdalene and the other Mary; Mark, besides these, Salome, John 16:1. Luke is most copious; he mentions, Luke 24:10, with Mary Magdalene Joanna, now first appearing in his Gospel, and Mary mother of James, and "others with them:" comp. Luke 23:55, Luke 24:1, according to which those women went to the sepulchre who had remained together watching the interment (his predecessors had mentioned as such Mary Magdalene and the other Mary), and "certain others with them." The whole circle of Galilean women, as might have been expected, joined the pilgrimage. John, who everywhere, and especially in the narrative of the resurrection, is extremely sparing in the communication of what was already known through his predecessors, touching it only so far as was necessary for the introduction of his own peculiar contributions, goes no further than the mention of Mary Magdalene, who also with his predecessors is the central personage, and always is placed first. But we find in John a definite allusion to the fact that he passed over the others only for brevity. That lies in the οἴδαμεν, we know, in ver. 2, which cannot without the utmost violence be interpreted otherwise than "I and the women who went out with me." Ewald remarks, with strict propriety: "That Mary Magdalene went out alone to visit the sepulchre is in itself improbable, and at the same time opposed to the older narrative, besides being out of keeping with his own bent in ver. 2." The impossibility of sundering Mary Magdalene from the other women becomes very plain when we note Luke 24:10. There, in conjunction with the others, she brings the Apostles the report; just as, according to Matthew and Mark, she came together with them to the sepulchre.

The fact that John does not mention the intention with which Mary and her companions went to the sepulchre, is as good as an express allusion to his predecessors, according to whom the women went out to anoint the body of Jesus: Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1; Luke 23:55.

Mary came early, while it was yet dark at the sepulchre. This statement, and Luke's "very early in the morning, ὄρθρου βαθέως are supposed to contradict Mark's "at the rising of the sun." Certainly his ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου can be interpreted only as orto sole. But this does not imply that the sun had fully risen. Many passages in the New Testament, and the frequently occurring ἀνατολαί in classical writers, show that the rising of the sun was an act not limited to one moment. The sun is really risen, though the disc of the sun may not be visible in the heaven; for the dawn is created by it before it rises. Mark precedes his sunrise by the remark "very early," and shows that he meant only the first glimmering of dawn. His ch. John 1:35, καὶ πρωῒ ἔννυχα λίαν, furnishes a comment on this λίαν πρωῒ. Fritzsche: Mane, multa adhuc nocte = bene mane. In the ἔννυχον there, we have a parallel to the σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης. Mark speaks of the sunrise in the broader sense, as opposed to dark night; but John does not say "when it was yet night," but only that the light of day had not yet altogether dispelled the darkness. It was precisely the time which Homer describes by κροκόπεπλος ἠώς: comp. Eustatius ad Horn. xi. p. 181, "having something of the night's darkness remaining, although the sun's rays shed upon it a golden tinge." In the nature of the case we should expect neither perfect darkness nor perfect light. In the Old Testament, the dawn was consecrated as a symbol of transition from misery to happiness, from suffering to joy: Isaiah 58:8, comp. Isaiah 58:10, Isaiah 47:11, John 8:20; Hosea 6:3; Hosea 10:15; 2 Samuel 23:4, and specifically Psalms 22:1 : there the hind of the morning is the suffering righteous, to whom salvation is come. There seems to be a special reference to this psalm, the same which throughout the crucifixion both our Lord and His apostles had continually in view.—"Unto the sepulchre" must, from what follows, be to the sepulchre, not into it: comp. ch. John 18:28; Mark, ver. 2, ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον; Luke 24:1, ἐπὶ τὸ μνῆμα. Yet the preposition εἰς was designedly chosen. If Mary had not actually visited the sepulchre itself, the Evangelist would have used ἐπί instead: comp. εἰσελθοῦσαι, Luke 24:3; ἐξλθοῦσαι ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου, Matthew 28:8.

John had mentioned the stone in connection with the resurrection of Lazarus, John 11:38, but not in connection with our Lord's sepulchre: Anton: "An instance to show that John refers back to the other Evangelists. For he had said nothing before of any stone. He knew that it was a matter well known to believers through the earlier accounts."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 20:1". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-20.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.Now, on the first day of the week. As the resurrection of Christ is the most important article of our faith, and without it the hope of eternal life is extinguished, for this reason the Evangelists are the more careful to prove it, as John here collects many proofs, in order to assure us that Christ is risen from the dead. It may be thought strange, however, that he does not produce more competent witnesses; for he begins with a woman; but thus the saying is fulfilled, that

God chooseth what is weak, and foolish, and contemptible in the world, that he may bring to nought the wisdom, and excellence, and glory, of the flesh,
(
1 Corinthians 1:27.)

There certainly was nothing more of earthly grandeur in the disciples than in the women who followed Christ; but as Christ was pleased to reckon them the principal witnesses of his resurrection, on this single ground their testimony is entitled to the greatest deference, and is not liable to any objection. As to the priests, and scribes, and the whole people, and even Pilate, nothing but gross and wilful blindness prevented them from firmly believing that Christ was risen. All of them, therefore, deserved that seeing they should not see; yet Christ revealed himself to the little flock.

Before proceeding farther, however, it is necessary to show how the Evangelists agree with each other; for, at first sight, there appears to be some contradiction in their words. John mentions but one woman, Mary Magdalene; Matthew 28:1 mentions two, Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary; Mark 16:1 mentions three, Mary Magdalene, and Mary (the mother) of James, and Salome; Luke 24:10 does not fix the number, but only relates that women came, who had followed Christ from Galilee. But the difficulty is easily solved in this manner. As Matthew inserts the names of two women who were best known, and had the highest reputation among the disciples, so John satisfies himself with mentioning the name of Mary Magdalene alone, but yet does not exclude the others; and, indeed, it is evident, from viewing his words in their connection, that she was not alone, for, shortly afterwards, Mary Magdalene says, in the plural number, WE know not where they have laid him. Although, therefore, John says nothing about her companions, yet the other Evangelists, who relate that there were many along with her, say nothing that is contradicted by John’s narrative.

The discrepancy as to the time may be easily solved. When John says that they came before daybreak, we must understand, that they had set out on their journey during the darkness of the night; that, before they came to the sepulcher, the day had dawned; and that in the evening, after sunset, when the Sabbath was ended, they had bought the spices; and thus the narrative of the other Evangelists must be reconciled.

It may be thought that there is another appearance of contradiction in its being stated by John, that Mary spoke to none but himself and Peter, while Luke 24:10 relates, that she came to the eleven Apostles, and that her words appeared to them to be idle tales. But this is easily explained, for John intentionally passed by the rest of the Apostles, because it was only himself and Peter that came to the sepulcher. As to Luke mentioning Peter alone, it is for the same reason as we have just now assigned in reference to Mary Megdalene and the rest of the women. It is also probable, that the other nine disciples were restrained by fear, lest they should be too easily observed if they went in a body. Nor is this inconsistent with what Luke appears to suggest, that they despised Mary’s words; for immediately afterwards he adds, that Peter ran, (Luke 24:12.) He therefore means simply that, when they first heard it, they appeared to be astonished, but that at length Peter took courage, and followed her for the purpose of seeing.

When Luke relates that Christ appeared to Mary before that she had informed the disciples that the grave was empty, the order of the narrative is inverted. This is evident from the context, for he adds what, John tells us, happened before she saw Jesus; nor is there any thing strange in this, for the Hebrew writers frequently relate first what is later in the order of time.

On the first day of the week; or, literally, on the first day of the Sabbaths. The Evangelists do not relate when or how Christ rose; for it was enough for them to explain at what time, and to what persons, his resurrection was made known. John therefore says, that Mary came on the first day of the Sabbaths. Literally, the words may be rendered, on One ( μιᾷ)day of the Sabbaths; but it is customary with the Hebrews to use the word אהד (ehad)one, instead of first, because in reckoning we begin with one. Now as every seventh day was dedicated to rest, they called the whole week a Sabbath conferring this honor on the sacredness of the day, that the rest of the time was named from it. The women, therefore, came to the sepulcher on the day after the Sabbath, having on the same day (but after sunset) bought spices; and afterwards went out of the city secretly, and during the darkness of the night, as people are wont to do when they are afraid. Now, it was the first day of the Sabbaths, with respect to the following Sabbath, because it was the commencement of the week, of which the Sabbath was the close.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 20:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-20.html. 1840-57.