John 20#Joh 20:1| CXXXIV. ANGELS ANNOUNCE THE RESURRECTION TO CERTAIN WOMEN. PETER AND JOHN ENTER THE EMPTY TOMB. (Joseph's Garden. Sunday, very early.) #Mt 28:1-8 Mr 16:1-8 Lu 24:1-8,12 Joh 20:1-10| Cometh Mary Magdalene early . . . and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb. 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. (TFG 740) #Joh 20:2| The other disciple whom Jesus loved. John. She runneth therefore. Though Mary came with the other women, she departed at once, while the others tarried, as the sequel shows. The narrative proceeds to tell what happened to the other women after Mary had departed. (TFG 740) #Joh 20:3| Peter therefore went forth. See TFG "#Lu 24:12|". And the other disciple. John himself. #Joh 20:4| And they ran both together: and the other disciple outran Peter, and came first to the tomb. It is generally accepted that John was younger, and hence more active than Peter. (TFG 741) #Joh 20:6,7| Simon Peter therefore also cometh, following him, and entered into the tomb; and he beholdeth the linen cloths lying. The impulsive, thoroughgoing nature of Peter was not content with a mere look; he entered the tomb, neither reverence nor awe keeping him out. The sight which he saw puzzled him. Why should those who removed the body pause to unswathe it? why should they unswathe it at all? why should they fold the napkin and place it aside so carefully? But Peter left the tomb with these questions unsolved. (TFG 741-742) #Joh 20:8| Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, who came first to the tomb, and he saw, and believed. Assured that the grave was now empty, and emboldened by the example of Peter, John now entered it, and as he looked upon its evidences of quietude and order, the truth flashed upon his mind that Jesus himself had removed the bandages, and had himself departed from the tomb, as the firstborn from the dead. Here, then, was the first belief and the first believer in the resurrection. (TFG 742) #Joh 20:9| For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. And tt is important to note that the Scripture did not suggest the fact, but the fact illumined the Scripture. #Ps 16:10| and #Isa 53:10|, and many other passages set forth the resurrection of our Lord; his own words, too, had plainly foretold it, yet among the disciples it was so much beyond all expectation that the prophecies had no meaning until made clear by the event itself. Yet these are the men whom the Jews accused of inventing the story of a resurrection! (TFG 742) #Joh 20:11| CXXXV. FIRST AND SECOND APPEARANCES OF THE RISEN CHRIST. THE RESURRECTION REPORTED TO THE APOSTLES. (Jerusalem. Sunday morning.) #Mt 28:9,10 Mr 16:9-11 Lu 24:9-11 Joh 20:11-18| But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping: so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb. This picture is intensely natural. The Lord's death had been sorrow enough, but to be deprived of the poor privilege of embalming the body seemed a veritable sorrow's crown of sorrow; and so Mary wept. But it suddenly occurs to her that in her haste she had not yet looked into the tomb at all, having jumped to the conclusion that it was empty because she saw it open; she therefore looks in. (TFG 743) #Joh 20:12| And she beholdeth two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Her grief at the loss of the Lord is so great that she forgets to be frightened at the angels; just as a mother in her anxiety for the sick child forgets to fear its fever, no matter how virulent. The angels were placed like cherubim upon the ark (#Ex 25:19,20|), as though the grave of Christ was a new mercy seat, which indeed it was. (TFG 743) #Joh 20:14| She turned herself back, and beholdeth Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Before the angels can speak the glad news to Mary, Jesus himself becomes his own messenger. That Mary did not recognize him may be due to her grief, for tears blind our eyes to many of the tender providences of God; but to reason by analogy it seems more likely that her eyes "were holden" (#Lu 24:16|), lest the shock of his sudden appearance might be too much for her, as it was for even his male disciples (#Lu 24:37|). Conversation with him assured her that he was not a disembodied spirit. (TFG 743-744) #Joh 20:15| Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Christ's first question expressed kindly sympathy; the second suggested that he knew the cause of her grief, and might be able to help her find what she sought. Thus encouraged, Mary at once assumes that the gardener himself had removed the body, probably under instructions from Joseph, and hope lightens her heart. In her effort to remove the body, she doubtless counts upon the help of her fellow-disciples. (TFG 744) #Joh 20:16| Jesus saith unto her, Mary. Her eyes and ears were no longer held; she knew him. It was the same way he used to speak, the same name by which he used to call her. The grave had glorified and exalted him, but had not changed his love. She . . . saith unto him in Hebrew, Rabboni. Seasons of greatest joy are marked by little speech. Jesus and Mary each expressed themselves in a single word. (TFG 744) #Joh 20:17| Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. This passage is one of well-known difficulty, and Meyer or Ryle may be consulted by those wishing to see how various commentators have interpreted it. We would explain it by the following paraphrase: "Do not lay hold on me and detain yourself and me; I have not yet ascended; this is no brief, passing vision; I am yet in the world, and will be for some time, and there will be other opportunities to see me; the duty of the moment is to go and tell my sorrowing disciples that I have risen, and shall ascend to my Father." See TFG "#Mt 28:9|" for comparison. Jesus does not say "our Father." Our relation to God is not the same as his. While, however, our Lord's language recognizes the difference between his divine and our human relationship to the Father, his words are intended to show us our exaltation. We have reason to believe that next to our Lord's title as Son our title as sons of God by adoption is as high in honor as any in the universe. (TFG 744-745) #Joh 20:19| CXXXVIII. FIFTH APPEARANCE OF JESUS. (Jerusalem. Sunday evening.) #Mr 16:14 Lu 24:36-43 Joh 20:19-25| #Joh 20:20| He showed unto them his hands and his side. See TFG "#Lu 24:40|". #Joh 20:21| Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you. Now that the apostles knew their Master, he repeats his blessing (#Joh 20:19|). (TFG 753) #Joh 20:22| And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit. And as the New Testament is now sealed in his blood according to the commission under which he came, he, in turn, commissions the twelve to go forth and proclaim its provisions. Symbolic of the baptism which they were to receive at Pentecost, he breathes upon them. (TFG 753) #Joh 20:23| Whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. And, having thus symbolically qualified them, he commissions them to forgive or retain sin, for this was the subject-matter of the New Testament. (TFG 753) #Joh 20:24| Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus. See TFG "#Mr 3:18|". #Joh 20:25| Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. The apostles had undoubtedly seen and talked with someone, but the question was, Who? They said that it was Jesus, and Thomas, holding this to be impossible, thought that it must have been someone else whom they mistook for Jesus. But he would not be deceived; he would thoroughly examine the wounds, for these would identify Jesus beyond all doubt--if it were Jesus. (TFG 753) #Joh 20:26| CXXXIX. SIXTH APPEARANCE OF JESUS. (Sunday, one week after the resurrection.) #Joh 20:26-31 1Co 15:5| Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. He came in the same manner and with the same salutation as formerly (see #Joh 20:19|), giving Thomas a like opportunity for believing. (TFG 753) #Joh 20:27| Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side. Thomas had proposed an infallible test, and Jesus now cheerfully submits to it. (TFG 754) #Joh 20:28| My Lord and my God. We have here the first confession of Christ as God. It should be said in Thomas' favor that if his doubts were heaviest, his confession of faith was fullest. He had more doubts as to the resurrection because it meant more to him; it meant that Jesus was none other than God himself. (TFG 754) #Joh 20:29| Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Thus, while rejoicing in the belief of Thomas, Jesus pronounces a beatitude upon the countless numbers of believers in his resurrection, who are not witnesses of it. (TFG 754) #Joh 20:30,31| Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. This sounds like an ending to the Gospel, but it is like some of Paul's apparent but not real endings. Starting it with the proposition that Jesus, as the Word, was God, he comes here to the climax of Thomas' confession that Jesus is God, and the beatitude of Jesus upon those of a like faith. He then declares that he has written his book that men might have this faith, and the eternal life to which it leads. (TFG 754)
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