John 20:11
But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) But Mary stood (better, was standing) without at the sepulchre weeping.—She had before gone back as soon as she saw that the stone was taken away (John 20:1-2), and had told the two disciples of what she found. She was left behind by them in their haste to reach the sepulchre, but has followed them, and now that they have returned with the joy of a new and fuller faith, she remains without the sepulchre, not venturing to enter, and giving vent in tears to the sorrow that weighs upon her heart.

She stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre.—Comp. Note on John 20:5.

20:11-18 We are likely to seek and find, when we seek with affection, and seek in tears. But many believers complain of the clouds and darkness they are under, which are methods of grace for humbling their souls, mortifying their sins, and endearing Christ to them. A sight of angels and their smiles, will not suffice, without a sight of Jesus, and God's smiles in him. None know, but those who have tasted it, the sorrows of a deserted soul, which has had comfortable evidences of the love of God in Christ, and hopes of heaven, but has now lost them, and walks in darkness; such a wounded spirit who can bear? Christ, in manifesting himself to those that seek him, often outdoes their expectations. See how Mary's heart was in earnest to find Jesus. Christ's way of making himself known to his people is by his word; his word applied to their souls, speaking to them in particular. It might be read, Is it my Master? See with what pleasure those who love Jesus speak of his authority over them. He forbids her to expect that his bodily presence look further, than the present state of things. Observe the relation to God, from union with Christ. We, partaking of a Divine nature, Christ's Father is our Father; and he, partaking of the human nature, our God is his God. Christ's ascension into heaven, there to plead for us, is likewise an unspeakable comfort. Let them not think this earth is to be their home and rest; their eye and aim, and earnest desires, must be upon another world, and this ever upon their hearts, I ascend, therefore I must seek the things which are above. And let those who know the word of Christ, endeavour that others should get good from their knowledge.The scripture - See Luke 24:26, Luke 24:46. The sense or meaning of the various predictions that foretold his death, as, for example, Psalm 2:7, compare Acts 13:33; Psalm 16:9-10, compare Acts 2:25-32; Psalm 110:1, compare Acts 2:34-35.

For an account of the resurrection of Christ, see the notes at Matthew 28.

11-15. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping, &c.—Brief was the stay of those two men. But Mary, arriving perhaps by another direction after they left, lingers at the spot, weeping for her missing Lord. As she gazes through her tears on the open tomb, she also ventures to stoop down and look into it, when lo! "two angels in white" (as from the world of light, and see on [1915]Mt 28:3) appear to her in a "sitting" posture, "as having finished some business, and awaiting some one to impart tidings to" [Bengel]. That the Mary here mentioned was Mary Magdalene appeareth from John 20:14, compared with Mark 16:9, which saith, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre,.... She returned from the city to the sepulchre again, following Peter and John thither, who continued here when they departed, being willing to get some tidings of her Lord, if possible. The word "without", is omitted by the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, but is in the Greek copies; and is properly put by the evangelist, when rightly understood; for the meaning is not, that she stood without the sepulchre, taken in its full extent; for she stood, "in the court", where the bearers set down the corpse, in order to carry it into the cave, or vault; she stood without the innermost part of the sepulchre, but not without side the sepulchre itself; as appears from her stooping and looking into it:

weeping; that the body of her dear Lord was taken away, and she was prevented of showing that respect unto it she designed; and not knowing in whose hands it was, but fearing it would be insulted and abused by wicked men, her heart was ready to break with sorrow:

and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre; to see if she could see him, if she and the disciples were not mistaken, being loath to go without finding him: so it is in a spiritual sense, the absence of Christ is cause of great distress and sorrow to gracious souls; because of the excellency of his person, the near and dear relations he stands in to them and on account of the nature of his presence and company, which is preferable to everything in this world; nor can such souls, when they have lost sight of Christ, sit down contented; but will seek after him in the Scriptures, under the ministry of the word, and at the ordinances of the Gospel, where a crucified, buried, risen Jesus is exhibited.

But Mary stood {a} without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

(a) That is, outside of the cave which the sepulchre was cut out of.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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.John 20:11-18.—Jesus reveals Himself to Mary.11–18. The Manifestation to Mary Magdalene

11. But Mary] She had returned to the sepulchre after the hurrying Apostles. Mark 16:9 states definitely, what we gather from this section, that the risen Lord’s first appearance was to Mary Magdalene: the details of the meeting are given by S. John alone.

stood] Or, continued standing, after the other two had gone.

stooped down, and looked] See on John 20:5.John 20:11. Εἱστήκει, had stood) with greater perseverance.—πρὸς τῷ) The Dative: John 20:12, “At the (πρὸς τῇ) head—at the (πρὸς τοῖς) feet”—ἔξω, without) This denotes her deep feeling of affectionate piety; for usually persons weeping avail themselves of solitude, when they can.Verses 11-18. -

(2) The revelation made to adoring love, answering to the first portion of the high-priestly prayer. Verses 11, 12. - But Mary, who had followed Peter and John to the grave, and witnessed their amazement, and the gleam of hope in the face of John, was standing at the sepulcher without - not within it - weeping. She had not overcome her fears. She had not grasped the idea of resurrection or life. One crushing overmastering grief was still weighing heavily upon her, obscuring her vision, and breaking her heart. While she was continuously weeping, she, as Peter and John had done before her, stooped down (see ver. 5, note) to look into the sepulcher, and beholdeth two angels in white (λευκοῖς) or glittering garments - the adjective so often used for the precious heavenly things, for the garments of the glorified (Revelation 3:4, 5, 18; Acts 1:10; Revelation 7:9, 13, etc.) - sitting, the one at the head, and the (other) one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Here rationalism has come with various explanations. Some have said two white-robed Essenes like those who are also supposed to have appeared to our Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration, his secret friends, who had really spirited the body of Jesus away, lingered yet in the tomb, and duped Mary by a lying story. Scorning this hypothesis, legendarists have said - Here we see the subjective creation of the terrified and weeping women, who took white clothes for men or angels, and whose fancies were readily believed; while mythical hypotheses have suggested that a glamour of love, many years after the event, created a pathetic and beautiful fiction of what may have happened on that memorable dawn. Every one of these interpretations vanishes before the authenticity of John's Gospel. The disciple whom Jesus loved, the author of the Apocalypse, was personally acquainted with Mary of Magdala, and had much communion with her, and could heartily believe her story. If there be no spiritual world, no kind nor modes of existence beyond what we call the seen and temporal, and no thought higher than man's thought; if every testimony to this spiritual world right through the ages is a delusion, and can be explained away; if it be an irrational or impossible supposition; - why, then this vision must pass away with the rest. But the entire teaching of the Bible from end to end reveals and bears witness to a world ordinarily unseen by human eyes, but none the less real. To some the door thus opened into heaven is closed and sealed by the seven seals of materialism, agnosticism, dogmatism, scientism, worldliness, indifference, and unspirituality. How much do men forget that all human life is but a very temporary, ever-vanishing robe around a permanent and abiding spirit! that it is entirely conceivable that even pure spirit can come for our advantage into still more evanescent forms than those we now possess, which yet make appeal to what we call our senses of sight and hearing! Objective as such manifestations are, they are no more visible to all eyes or ears than the mysteries of art are open to all human sensibility. The harmonies of heaven are not heard by those who are muffled up with vesture of decay, and there is nothing lying beyond or behind the veil of sense to the unspiritual. The whole critical school might have rambled about the garden, with hammer and spectacles, and would never have seen an angel or the risen Christ; but, thank God, all eyes were not so dim. Some were there who saw and believed; and they have revolutionized the world's thought. Their vision is the key of time; their voice, the word that wakes the dead. This manifestation of the unseen world does not contradict the statement of Matthew that an angel of the Lord had been seen sitting on the displaced stone, and terrified the Roman guard; nor Mark's assurance that the women had seen a young man clothed in a white robe, who gave the Divine assurance which perplexed the eleven; nor Luke's description of two men clothed in glittering apparel, who told them that the Lord was living. Surely it is impossible to represent Mary of Magdala's present vision as identical with that which had occurred at an earlier hour; but it is clear that, if she shared in the earlier vision at all, she had not been convinced by it, for still she wept in utter despair. The fact that these angelic appearances should take different forms to different witnesses belongs to their very nature. Such visions, translated into words, would naturally differ. If there had been rigid uniformity in the statements of the three evangelists, and of the fourth with them, grave suspicion would have been attached to the entire recital. The experiences of several different women would be repeated a thousand times. They would be questioned separately and together in every possible way; and it appears from all four narratives that three forms of the ultimate traditions alike declare that hope and fear arising from the empty grave were quickened and stimulated by angelic ambassadors, who variously prepared their mind to receive the grand objective fact. Stood

Imperfect, was standing, or continued standing, after the two apostles had gone away.

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