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The Gospel of John: Revealing the Invisible God 

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

Chapter 20


 

 

The resurrection and appearance to Mary Magdalene

The appearance of Jesus to the disciples

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 20

 

 

This book is a verse-by-verse commentary.  To go to the commentary for any particular verse in Chapter 20, please click on a number below.

 

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2

3

4

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6

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10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The resurrection and appearance to Mary Magdalene

 

20:1     But on the first [day] of the week Mary the Magdalene comes early, it being still dark, to the tomb, and sees the stone taken away from the tomb.

 

The three synoptic gospel writers gave much greater details about these events then did John. Since this study is concerned mostly with John's version of Jesus' ministry, the other gospel writers will not be quoted to any great extent.

 

Mary, the Magdalene, was anxious to go to the tomb. Thus, immediately after the Sabbath, when it was legal to travel, Mary went to the tomb while it was still dark. No one else was reported to be at the tomb so early in the morning. As she looked at the tomb, she saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Why would the stone which sealed the tomb be taken away? This must have been a harrowing experience for Mary, and her reaction was predictable.

 

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20:2     Therefore, she runs and comes to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and says to them, They took away the lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they laid him.

 

She ran to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved. The other disciple, as stated earlier in this study, was John, the writer of this gospel. However, what she told them was in error, although it would have been a natural conclusion hastily drawn. She told them, "They took away the lord out of the tomb."  They would be the Roman soldiers who were set to guard the tomb. Then, she added, "and we know not where they laid him."  She assumed that the body of Jesus was stolen in order to hide the new burial place from his followers.

 

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20:3     Therefore, Peter and the other disciple, went forth and came to the tomb.

 

The news which Mary brought to Peter and John was enough to spur them into action. Went forth comes from ekeelthen, written in the aorist, which means to go out. This would indicate that Mary did not meet them outdoors. She must have gone to their lodging place to find them.

 

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20:4     And the two ran together, and the other disciple ran forward faster than Peter, and came first to the tomb.

 

Peter and John were spurred on by such news. They were excited by what Mary had told them, and they "ran together."  John, however, ran faster than Peter, and came first to the tomb.

 

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20:5     And stooping down, he sees linen cloths; however, he entered not.

 

When John arrived at the tomb, he did not enter. Instead, he stooped down, and looked into the tomb. He saw the "linen cloths," like the ones used to wrap a corpse.

 

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20:6     Then comes Simon Peter following him, and entered into the tomb, and sees the linen cloths lying.

 

Brash, impetuous Simon Peter! He might have gotten there later than John, but he went barging "into the tomb."  Peter did not stand outside and look in.

 

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20:7     And the handkerchief which was upon his head, lying not with the linen cloths, but in a place folded up by itself.

 

The handkerchief

"was probably a large cloth used to wipe off perspiration, or a small towel" (Rienecker, p. 260).

 

It was not placed with the linen cloths which had been used to wrap the body and keep the myrrh and aloes next to the body.

 

Why was the handkerchief "folded up by itself?"  Perhaps it had no special meaning. A possible speculation would be that Jesus may have done this to signal his revival to those who could understand.

 

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20:8     Therefore, then entered also the other disciple who came first to the tomb, and saw and believed.

 

After Simon Peter entered the tomb, John decided to also enter.

"He saw and believed."  Seeing and believing are often yoked in the scriptures. Seeing is often the cause of what someone believes. It is often associated with faith.

 

What did John believe? We were told what he saw: the linen cloths and the neatly folded handkerchief lying on the stone slab inside the tomb. But, did this mean that he believed what Mary, the Magdalene, believed? Did he also believe that Jesus' body had been taken elsewhere?

 

Or, as often preached, did John believe that Jesus had been resurrected? Since there had never been any record of someone being resurrected, it would have been quite a stretch for John to believe that Jesus had arisen from the dead. The following scriptures support this position.

 

Mark 9:31-32.

"And [Jesus] said to them, the son of man is delivered into [the] hands of men, and they will kill him; and having been killed, on the third day he will arise. But, they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him."

 

Luke 9:43b-45.

"Jesus said to his disciples, Lay ye by into your ears these words: For the son of man is about to be delivered up into [the] hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was veiled from them that they should not perceive it."

 

Luke 18:31-34.

"And having taken to him [the] twelve, he said to them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which have been written by the prophets about the son of the man; for he will be delivered up to the Gentiles, and will be scourged. They will kill him; and the third day he will rise again. And they understood nothing of these things, and this saying was hid from them."

 

In the light of these scriptures, plus the comments on John 8:28 and John 12:16-17, it would seem very unlikely that John would have believed that the absence of Jesus indicated his resurrection.

 

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20:9     For not yet knew they the scripture, that it behooves him from among [the] dead to rise.

 

"For not yet knew they the scripture."  This statement did not mean they were ignorant of this scripture, but they knew not, the absolute not. They had no inkling of what this scripture meant, "that it behooves him from among the dead to rise."  The scripture which they did not understand was Psalms 16:10:

"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

 

Among comes from ek, meaning out from among the dead. Jesus will rise from among all the previous people who have died. He is a kind of first-fruits unto The God (I Corinthians 15:20, 23). This scripture enhances the statement made above, that when John believed, it was not in the resurrection of his lord, and master, Jesus, the Christ.

 

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20:10     Therefore, the disciples went away again to their [home].

 

Therefore refers back to the previous verse. If they had no conception about the resurrection of Jesus, why would they stand around an empty tomb? Since the tomb was empty, someone must have removed the body of Jesus to some unknown place, so there was no more reason to stay at the tomb. They did what most people would have done under the circumstances: they went home.

 

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20:11     But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. Therefore, as she wept, she stooped down into the tomb.

 

Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. She was not as ready as the others to abandon the body of Jesus to whoever it was that had taken it. In her grief, Mary must have decided to have a look inside the tomb for herself. She was not yet ready to go home as were the two disciples. Where was the body of Jesus?

 

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20:12     She beholds two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus was laid.

 

It is well noted in the scriptures that Peter and John were two of the disciples whom Jesus seemed to favor most. They are mentioned in the scriptures more often than the others. Given that, why did the angels choose Mary as the one to whom they would reveal themselves, rahter than to Peter and John? If the angels were present when Peter and John entered the tomb, they chose not to show themselves. They chose Mary, the one who stayed and wept.

 

The angels were seated in such a manner that they could be described as guarding the body of Jesus, if it had been present. "One at the head, and one at the feet, of where the body of Jesus was laid."  This arrangement would seem to signify that these two angels were, in fact, sent by The God to guard the body of Jesus.

 

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20:13     And they say to her. Woman why weepest thou? She says to them Because they took away my lord, and I know not where they laid him.

 

Notice that Mary was addressed as "Woman," which means out of man. This is the same word Jesus used in addressing his mother when he was on the cross. This was clearly a reference to the ordinary humanity of both Mary, the Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Neither were promoted above any other woman, and they were addressed in such a manner to assure that this was known. The angels saw Mary, the Magdalene, as an ordinary human.

 

Mary said she was weeping "because they took away my lord, and I know not where they have laid him."  Mary, similar in faith to the disciples who had been at the tomb, had no inkling of the resurrection of her lord, Jesus, the Christ. She still believed that someone had taken his body, and hidden it somewhere.

 

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20:14     And having said these things, she turned backward, and beholds Jesus standing, and knew not that it is Jesus.

 

Not only did the two angels choose Mary, the Magdalene, to reveal themselves to rather than the two disciples, but Jesus also chose her to be the first to whom he revealed himself after his resurrection.

 

The scripture tells us that "he who is forgiven much, loves much" (Luke 7:47). Mary was forgiven much, and she revealed her love and appreciation for what Jesus had done for her by anointing his feet with expensive ointment prior to his death. Her love for Jesus was an abiding one, as she stayed weeping at his tomb when all the others had gone.

 

"She beholds Jesus standing, and knew not that it is Jesus." Although Mary saw Jesus, she assumed he was someone else, and she did not recognize him.

 

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20:15     Jesus says to her, Woman why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, thinking that it is the gardener, says to him, Sir, if thou didst carry him off, tell me where thou didst lay him, and I will take him away.

 

Notice again that Jesus addressed Mary, the Magdalene, exactly as he had Mary, his mother, by using the word "Woman."  He made no distinction between the two in addressing his remarks to them. He had two questions for Mary: "Why weepest thou," and "Whom seekest thou?"

 

Mary answered both questions. First, she did not know where his body was. That was why she was weeping. Second, she said was seeking the body of Jesus, to see that he had a proper burial. She did not want his body to be cast in the city dump, to be burned with all the refuse.

 

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20:16     Jesus says to her, Mary. Turning around, she says to him, Rabboni, that is to say, teacher.

 

At this point, Jesus decided to make himself known to Mary. She had not recognized him before, but when he spoke her name, she did recognize him. When she called him teacher, it spoke volumes about what the relationship had been for her. She looked upon Jesus as her teacher, her guide in spiritual matters.

 

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20:17     Jesus says to her, Touch me not, for not yet have I ascended to my father; but go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend to my father and your father, and my god and your god.

 

John reported a conversation that none of the other gospel writers talked about. In truth, their versions of this occasion seemed to include a sequence of events which took place at a later time.

 

Mary's first reaction must have been to reach out to touch Jesus in some manner. But he said, "Touch me not."  Touch comes from aptou, which means to grasp or cling. His reason for this comment was that he had "not yet ascended to my father."  Jesus was not to be defiled by human touch before he had accomplished his ascension to the Father.

 

If the sacrifice of Jesus was accepted by his heavenly father, then he would receive again the administration of the holy spirit. As he told his disciples in John 16:7,

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."

 

This was one of the reasons for his ascension to be with the Father.

 

Another reason for his ascension is found in Hebrews 9:22-24.

"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; [the blood of bulls and goats], but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of The God for us."

 

Hebrews 9:12 says,

"Neither by the blood of calves and goats, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."

 

Thus, Jesus became our high priest, who by his own blood purified the heavenly tabernacle. Why? Because since the sin of Adam, all the sins of mankind had accumulated before The God, and were there constantly accusing mankind of all their sins. That ended when Jesus caused them all to be forgiven, or as stated another place in the scriptures, he

"cast satan out of heaven and down to earth" (Revelation 12:9).

 

Jesus also gave Mary a task to do. He told her, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my father, and your father; and to my god and your god."  Note that Jesus referred to his disciples as brethren, not as servants. True discipleship causes us to no longer be a servant, but a brother of Jesus, the Christ.

 

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20:18     Mary, the Magdalene, comes, bringing word to the disciples she has seen the lord, and these things he said to her.

 

Jesus knew that Mary, the Magdalene, was dependable, and would do as he requested. Perhaps this was one of the reasons he decided to appear first to her. And, she did go to the disciples. In his normal terse manner, John did not provide any information about the content of her message or the reaction of the disciples.

 

 

The appearance of Jesus to the disciples

 

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20:19     Therefore, it being evening on that day, the first [day] of the week, and the doors having been shut where the disciples were assembled, through fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and says to them, Peace to you.

 

"Being evening on that day" indicates that this was also the first day of his resurrection.  "The first day of the week" would be the first day after the Jewish Sabbath, or what the English refer to as Sunday. Earlier that day, Mary, the Magdalene, had spoken to Jesus in the garden containing the tomb where he had been laid.

 

The remainder of this verse notes five things worthy of mention. First, "the doors were shut."  There is never any mention of anyone opening the door to allow Jesus to enter.

 

Second, this was "where the disciples were assembled."  It is clear that after Mary, the Magdalene, brought the word which Jesus sent by her to the disciples, that they met, or assembled themselves.

 

Third, they were in this locked room "through fear of the Jews."  Having seen what the Jews did through their hatred of Jesus, they were concerned about what they might do to them, since they were his friends and followers.

 

Fourth, "Jesus came and stood in the midst."  Jesus, having a body fitted for the spirit, or a glorified body, did not need a door to enter the room. He could appear, or disappear, at will. Walls were no deterrent to his glorified body.

 

Fifth, Jesus said "peace to you."  Peace. We cannot imagine the awe that his appearance must have caused. But, the awe, or fear, that must have resulted among the disciples was allayed when he said "Peace to you." Peace, not only with The God and his son, but the peace that replaces fear.

 

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20:20     And having said this, he showed to them, the hands and the side of himself. Therefore, the disciples rejoiced having seen the lord."

 

The disciples were apparently so awe-struck that they did not know what to believe. Was this really Jesus? But when they saw his punctured hands and side, they needed no further confirmation of his identity.

 

Therefore, or because of this, the disciples rejoiced, having seen the lord. Let the rejoicing begin! Not only should the disciples have rejoiced, but also all of humanity should rejoice whenever they hear the good news of the resurrection. As Paul said,

"If Jesus was not resurrected, then we are dead in our sins, and are of all men most miserable" (I Corinthians 15:15, 19).

 

John's somewhat terse narrative of this event begs for just a bit of digression to the much fuller description found in Luke 24:33-43.

"And rising up the same hour, they returned to Jerusalem, and they found gathered together the eleven and those with them, saying, The lord is risen indeed, and appeared to Simon. And they related the things in the way, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. And as they were telling these things, Jesus stood in their midst, and says to them, Peace to you. But being terrified and full of fear, they thought they beheld a spirit. And he said to them, Why are ye troubled? and wherefore do reasonings come up in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that I am he. Handle me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones as ye see me having. And having said this, he shewed to them [his] hands and feet. But yet while they were disbelieving for joy and were wondering, he said to them, Have ye anything eatable here? And they gave to him part of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb. And having taken it, he ate before them."

 

Luke's narrative was included for the purpose of showing that Jesus was not a spirit, but a glorified man with a body of flesh and bone, one which could take sustenance. Please note carefully, however, that he did not say flesh and bone and blood. Jesus now has a body fitted for the spirit, and it has no need of blood, as the soul is in the blood.

 

This also shows that Jesus did not return as The God, as some claim, but a glorified man who would act as our high priest and intercede between mankind and The God. When Jesus became a man, it was for all eternities of eternities, not just for some 33 years.

 

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20:21     Therefore, again Jesus said to them, Peace be to you. As the father has sent me, I also send you.

 

Therefore, refers back to the previous verse about the disciples rejoicing. Because of their recognition of him, and the rejoicing that followed, "Jesus said again to them, Peace to you."  The second time he said this must have been followed with more peace than had the first statement.

 

After all the excitement had died down, Jesus gave the disciples their marching orders. "As the father has sent me, I also send you."  As comes from the dual preposition kathos. The first part, kata, means according to, and the second part, os, means exactly the same. In other words, kathos means according to the same way my father sent me, I also send you.

 

Jesus was sent by the Father to reveal his presence, his characteristics, and also to glorify him by his life. And that is exactly what he intended that his disciples should do as he sent them. He wanted them to spread the good news of the coming of messiah, and to tell people that the way is now open into fellowship with the heavenly father who loves his creation.

 

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20:22     And having said this, he breathed into [them], and says to them, Receive [the] holy spirit.

 

Spirit is often symbolized in the scriptures as wind, or breath. This breathing into them was symbolic of his giving to them holy spirit. The definite article does not appear with holy spirit. No one has "the holy spirit," but only holy spirit, or some of the holy spirit. Characteristics and qualities of the holy spirit, Yes! But the whole of holy spirit, No!

 

This giving of holy spirit to the disciples was a precursor to the day of Pentecost, when some of the holy spirit would be poured out upon all flesh. Since Jesus would return to the Father, he gave his apostles an interim presence of holy spirit in order that they could carry out his command to them.

 

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20:23     Of whomsoever ye may remit the sins, they are remitted to them; of whomsoever ye may retain, they have been retained.

 

Ye may remit is written in the Greek plural. Therefore, this means that they all may remit whomsoever's sins. Whomsoever encompasses all who may come to them for the forgiveness of sins.

 

This was a new concept to these former Jew who had believed in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament for the forgiveness of sins. Now, as a group, or perhaps as individuals, they have the authority to forgive or not forgive sins. They also have holy spirit to help discern which sins are to be remitted, and those which are to be retained, or not forgiven.

 

Jesus had the authority to forgive sins while he was here on earth. He delegated that authority to his disciples as an interim measure to cover his absence until Pentecost. Between the time of his ascension and Pentecost, he would cleanse the heavenly holy of holies. Until he did, however, there was no one on earth to deal with the people, to forgive their sins as he did. This authority to forgive sins was not to be continued after the day of Pentecost. In fact, the scriptures do not even indicate any instance where the disciples exercised this authority.

 

There are some today who teach that they have the authority to forgive the sins of people who confess their sins. However, this is simply another method for keeping people in bondage through fear. Unfortunately, people are not taught that since Pentecost they are a priest unto themselves, that they can go directly to the Father for any needed forgiveness. Forgiveness does not require the intervention of any other person, priest or otherwise.

 

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20:24     But Thomas, one to the twelve called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

 

This is the Thomas often referred to, perhaps unjustly, as "doubting Thomas."  He was not present with the others when Jesus came. Hence, he was unable to accept their word about seeing the resurrected Jesus. How many of us in his situation would have reacted any differently?

 

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20:25     Therefore, the other disciples said to him, We have seen the lord. But he said to them, Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not at all believe.

 

Thomas was not about to be taken in by some excited tale about Jesus being resurrected. He stipulated three conditions which must be met before he would "at all believe."  First, he wanted to "see the mark of the nails."  Second, he wanted to "put my finger into the mark of the nails." Third, he wanted to "put his hand into his side."  He wanted to be very certain.

 

We should not judge Thomas too much. Under the same circumstances, never having heard of anyone being resurrected, how would we have reacted?

 

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20:26     And after eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus comes, the doors having been shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace to you.

20:27     Then he said to Thomas, Bring thy finger here, and see my hands; and bring thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.

 

Eight was considered the number of a new beginning. Here was an opportunity for Thomas to have a new beginning of believing. He must have wondered how Jesus knew about his remarks made to the disciples when Jesus was not present. Jesus repeated his very words to him, and invited him to do the very things he had said he would need to do prior to believing.

 

Note again that the doors were shut, and Jesus just suddenly appeared and "stood in the midst" of them. His message to his disciples was the same as before: "Peace to you."  John did not comment on any reaction from the disciples to his sudden appearance. They now knew that he was not a spirit, but a glorified man, and they were not as frightened as they were at his first appearance.

 

Jesus told Thomas to "be not unbelieving, but believing."  A careful study on believing will reveal that people do not have the power within themselves to will their belief. They can only will not to believe. Why? Because every person has been given a portion of faith which enables him or her to believe spiritual matters even though the flesh may rebel. Thus, faith is of The God. It is a portion of the salvation which was given to all mankind by grace, and can not be conjured up by any fleshly means.

 

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20:28     And Thomas answered and said to him, The lord of me, and The God of me.

 

There are those who argue that this statement by Thomas constitutes an absolute proof that Jesus is The God. Yes, this is what Thomas said, but it does not mean what many people claim it means.

 

A further argument that the trinitarians make is that this scripture has the definite article preceding the word god. The definite article is grammatically required due to the manner in which Thomas spoke. He was saying, "my lord, and my god."  The Greek possessive requires that it be written as quoted above, "the lord of me, and the god of me."

 

Since the possessive requires a definite article, this verse cannot be used to argue that this is a reference to The God. Besides, there are a multitude of scriptures which deny such an assumption, and clearly define the difference between the person of Jesus and The God.

 

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20:29     Jesus says to him, Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed they who have not seen and have believed.

 

Thomas made a simple statement that he now believed Jesus to be the christ, or the messiah. This would require that Jesus also be a lord to him as well as a god to him. However, that did not mean that he believed Jesus to be the heavenly father, or The God. The disciples would have no understanding of this matter until the coming of holy spirit on the day of Pentecost. Then, holy spirit would bring to their minds all the truth that Jesus had taught them. It would be extremely premature to assess such a belief on the part of Thomas at this point.

 

Therefore, the answer which Jesus gave to the belated belief of Thomas could easily be construed as a rebuke. "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed; Blessed they who have not seen and have believed."  This statement implies that there were some present who had not seen but still had believed. Not all the disciples were noted as being at the open tomb, thus it was they who had not seen, but had believed, that Jesus was the christ.

 

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20:30     Therefore, many other signs did Jesus in presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

 

This was an open confession by John that Jesus did many other signs which he did not record in his abbreviated account. This brevity has been noted several times previously, and thus will not be discussed further.

 

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20:31     But these have been written that ye may believe that Jesus is the christ, the son of the god, and that believing ye may have life in his name.

 

This is a clear statement of why John wrote his gospel: "that ye may believe that Jesus is the christ," or messiah. Please note that John wrote nothing about accepting Jesus as "your personal savior."

 

John also said that Jesus was the christ in another manner when he added the words, "the son of the god."  These were the words often used in the scriptures to indicate that Jesus was the christ.

 

What, then, is the consequence of believing that Jesus is the christ, the son of The God? Believing this brings "life in his name."  Life, as used here, means spiritual life, and this life is had only in his name. "In his name" points to the absolute grace of The God.

 

It is only through Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension to The God, that we have spiritual life. All of his life has been summed up together, and put at our disposal. We have spiritual life through his name, or through all that Jesus accomplished in his life and death.

 

There is nothing else mentioned about what we are to do to bring about the quality of zoe, spiritual life, in our lives, except to believe. Believing does not cause this to happen, but it does unshackle holy spirit to work in our lives, enabling us to retain the fullness of the life already given to us totally by grace.

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 20

 

# Seeing and believing are often yoked in the scriptures. Seeing is often

     the cause of what someone believes. It is often associated with faith.

 

#  In the light of several scriptures, plus the comments on John 8:28 and

     John 12:16-17, it would seem very unlikely that John would have

     believed that the absence of Jesus indicated his resurrection.

 

#  If the angels were present when Peter and John entered the tomb, they

     chose not to show themselves. They chose Mary, the one who stayed

     and wept.

 

# Notice that Mary was addressed as "Woman," which means out of

     man. This is the same word Jesus used in addressing his mother when

     he was on the cross. This was clearly a reference to the ordinary

     humanity of both Mary, the Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of

     Jesus. Neither were promoted above any other woman, and they were

     addressed in such a manner to assure that this was known.

 

#  Jesus became our high priest, who by his own blood purified the

     heavenly tabernacle. Why?  Because since the sin of Adam, all the sins

     of mankind had accumulated before The God, and were there

     constantly accusing mankind of all their sins. That ended when Jesus

     caused them all to be forgiven, or as stated another place in the

     scriptures, he "cast satan out of heaven and down to earth" (Revelation

     12:9).

 

# Note that Jesus referred to his disciples as brethren, not as servants. True

     discipleship causes us to no longer be a servant, but a brother of Jesus,

     the Christ.

 

#  Jesus, having a body fitted for the spirit, or a glorified body, did not

     need a door to enter the room. He could appear, or disappear, at will.

     Walls were no deterrent to his glorified body.

 

# When Jesus said "Peace to you," this meant not only peace with The God

     and his son, but also the peace that replaces fear.

 

# Luke's narrative was included for the purpose of showing that Jesus was

     not a spirit, but a glorified man with a body of flesh and bone, one

     which could take sustenance. Please note carefully, however, that he

     did not say flesh and bone and blood. Jesus now has a body fitted for

     the spirit, and it has no need of blood, as the soul is in the blood.

 

# This also shows that Jesus did not return as The God, as some claim, but

     a glorified man who would act as our high priest and intercede

     between mankind and The God. When Jesus became a man, it was for

     all eternities of eternities, not just for some 33 years.

 

#  Jesus was sent by the Father to reveal his presence, his characteristics,

     and also to glorify him by his life. And that is exactly what he intended

     that his disciples should do as he sent them. He wanted them to spread

     the good news of the coming of messiah, and to tell people that the

     way is now open into fellowship with the heavenly father who loves his

     creation.

 

# No one has "the holy spirit," but only holy spirit, or some of the holy

     spirit. Characteristics and qualities of the holy spirit, Yes! But the whole

     of holy spirit, No!

 

# This giving of holy spirit to the disciples was a precursor to the day of

     Pentecost, when some of the holy spirit would be poured out upon all

     flesh. Since Jesus would return to the Father, he gave his apostles an

     interim presence of holy spirit in order that they could carry out his

     command to them.

 

#  Jesus had the authority to forgive sins while he was here on earth. He

     delegated that authority to his disciples as an interim measure to cover

     his absence until Pentecost. Between the time of his ascension and

     Pentecost, he would cleanse the heavenly holy of holies. Until he did,

     however, there was no one on earth to deal with the people, to forgive

     their sins as he did. This authority to forgive sins was not to be

     continued after the day of Pentecost. In fact, the scriptures do not even

     indicate any instance where the disciples exercised this authority.

 

# Unfortunately, people are not taught that since Pentecost they are a

     priest unto themselves, that they can go directly to the Father for any

     needed forgiveness. Forgiveness does not require the intervention of

     any other person, priest or otherwise.

 

# A careful study on believing will reveal that people do not have the

     power within themselves to will their belief. They can only will not to

     believe. Why? Because every person has been given a portion of faith

     which enables him or her to believe spiritual matters even though the

     flesh may rebel. Thus, faith is of The God. It is a portion of the salvation

     which was given to all mankind by grace, and can not be conjured up

     by any fleshly means.

 

# Since the possessive requires a definite article, this verse (20:28) cannot

     be used to argue that this is a reference to The God. Besides, there are a

     multitude of scriptures which deny such an assumption, and clearly

     define the difference between the person of Jesus and The God.

 

# This is a clear statement of why John wrote his gospel: "that ye may

     believe that Jesus is the christ," or messiah. Please note that John wrote

     nothing about accepting Jesus as "your personal savior."

 

#  John also said that Jesus was the christ in another manner when he

     added the words, "the son of the god."  These were the words often

     used in the scriptures to indicate that Jesus was the christ.

 

# What, then, is the consequence of believing that Jesus is the christ, the

     son of The God? Believing this brings "life in his name."  Life, as used

     here, means spiritual life, and this life is had only in his name. "In his

     name" points to the absolute grace of The God.

 

#  It is only through Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension to The

     God, that we have spiritual life. All of his life has been summed up

     together, and put at our disposal. We have spiritual life through his

     name, or through all that Jesus accomplished in his life and death.

 

# There is nothing else mentioned about what we are to do to bring about

     the quality of zoe, spiritual life, in our lives, except to believe.

     Believing does not cause this to happen, but it does unshackle holy

     spirit to work in our lives, enabling us to retain the fullness of the life

     already given to us totally by grace.

 

 

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October 2009