John 20
People's New Testament
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.
20:1-18 The Resurrection


The Women at the Sepulcher. Peter and John See the Empty Tomb. Mary Magdalene Seeth Jesus. The Lord Appeareth to the Disciples. After Eight Days Appeareth to the Eleven. The Confession of Thomas. Why These Things Were Written.

For notes on the Resurrection, see Mt 28:1-8. Compare Mr 16:1-8 Lu 24:1-11.

Cometh Mary Magdalene. She was not alone. Mary, the mother of James and Salome were with her. Their object was to place spices about the body of Jesus.

Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
20:2 She runneth. To Peter and John to tell that the tomb is empty.
Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
20:6 Simon Peter... went into the sepulchre. John looked in, but Peter went in. The grave clothes were carefully folded and laid aside.
And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
20:11 Mary stood without... as she wept. She still supposed that the body was stolen, until the angels were seen.
And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
20:14 Saw Jesus standing. The first sight of the risen Lord. The first to see him was the loving Mary.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
20:17 Touch me not. She was probably about to clasp his feet. She is told to discharge a higher duty: to go to the brethren with the glad story.
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week. John particularly marks the time of this important event. It is the third or fourth appearance of the Savior upon this memorable day, and the first one to the apostolic body. By a comparison with Mr 16:14-16 Lu 24:36, we learn that at the moment of his appearance they were discussing the story of the resurrection of which many refused to be convinced, so incredulous were they.
And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
20:20 He shewed unto them his hands and his side. The Lord showed his wounds to convince them beyond a doubt that it was not a fantasy or an apparition. A week later he shows his wounds to Thomas. The resurrected body still bore these proofs of his suffering and love. Sixty years later, when John, at Patmos, saw the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, he beheld a Lamb as it had been slain (Re 5:6). Perhaps our Lord in glory continues to bear the marks of the cross. Perhaps these will forever, as we gaze in glory, remind us of the story of our redemption.
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
20:21 Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. This is the Great Commission, more fully developed in Galilee a little later (Mt 28:16-20), and finally completed on Mt. Olivet (Ac 1:4-9), just before the Lord ascended. The Lord had trained the apostles for three years in order to fit them for this important work.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, etc. It will be seen at once, by a comparison with Mt 16:19, that the keys they promised to Peter are now given to all the apostles, and all have similar power to open and shut, to remit sin, and to bind. The meaning is plain when we consider, first, the charge that the Savior was making, and, secondly, look forward and see how that charge was carried out; or, in other words, observe the apostles remitting sins and retaining them. It is the Great Commission to preach the gospel that the Savior gives for the first time in Joh 20:21. It is with reference to carrying out that Commission that he speaks in Joh 20:23. It was in order that they might present the terms of that Commission infallibly to the world that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was imparted, of which there is a foreshadowing in Joh 20:22. The great end of that Commission was to declare to men repentance and remission of sins (Lu 24:47) in the name of Christ. The following facts are manifest: (1) The Savior gave to his apostles his Commission that they might make known his will. (2) He bade them preach remission of sins (Lu 24:47). (3) He gave them a measure of the Holy Spirit, and bade them wait until endued with power from on high (Lu 24:49). (4) When the Holy Spirit fell, they spoke as it gave them utterance (Ac 2:4). (5) They then declared, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the terms on which sins could be remitted. To anxious sinners they answer, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, 'for the remission of sins' (Ac 2:38). Here, then, they, directed by the Holy Spirit, remit and retain sins by declaring the terms on which Christ will pardon. Thus, also, they do in their preaching recorded through the Acts of the Apostles the very thing that the Savior gave them power to do. This power was not imparted to a hierarchy, nor to any ecclesiastical body, but to the apostles, and was fulfilled by them in declaring to the world the conditions of pardon and condemnation under the Commission of our Lord.
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
20:24 But Thomas,... called Didymus. Didymus, which means the Twin, is the Greek for the Hebrew name, Thomas. He was one of the twelve.
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
20:25 He said unto them... I will not believe. At some time during the week they meet him and tell their joyful story, but he meets it with skepticism.
And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
20:26 After eight days again his disciples were within, etc. It was on the second Sunday after the resurrection; the second Lord's day in the history of the world.
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
20:27 Reach hither thy finger. Turning to the skeptical Thomas, he asks him to apply the tests that he had declared would be necessary before he could believe. His compassion for the unbelief of Thomas shows the patient tenderness of the Savior with the difficulties of an honest seeker.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
20:29 Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Thomas saw (he did not need to handle) and believed. We have not seen, but nevertheless believe upon the same Lord. Upon us he pronounces a special blessedness, because we walk by faith instead of sight.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
20:30 Many other signs truly did Jesus. Not near all that occurred, either before or after the resurrection, is recorded. Each of the evangelists records some features that the others omit, and they each reveal the fact that they only outline the wonderful story.
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, etc. This is the object of all the gospel histories. They aim to so reveal Christ as to produce faith in him. He is the one object of belief. He is the Christian's creed. Faith in him, a faith that takes him as the Christ, saves the soul. All who have such faith wrought by the word of God will have life through his name.
The People's New Testament by B.W. Johnson [1891]

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