Bonnie’s Notes on Dave’s Comments — John 20
The first day of the week is Sunday. This is the morning that the ladies came to the tomb. It was still dark. The resurrection was already done. Mary Magdalene got the wrong idea and ran to the men to tell them the authorities had taken the body away. She thought the body may have been moved or the grave desecrated. Peter and John ran to see. John got there first, saw the clothes, and knew it was not a grave robbery.
When they looked into the tomb, they saw the grave clothes. The body had been wrapped and then a separate “napkin” to cover the head and face. They saw the wrappings collapsed, but just as they had been on the body, and the head cloth neatly folded and set aside. The Lord was always concerned with neatness and orderliness. If the tomb had been ransacked, everything would have been thrown around and in a mess. There were armed guards outside as well. The body had simply passed through the wrappings just as the Lord later went through doors (John 20:19,26). When John saw the empty tomb, he believed, meaning he then understood that no other explanation but resurrection would suffice.
Morris says, “If Jesus had only swooned, or if the Romans or Jews had taken the body, it would soon have become known, and the spread of Christianity halted immediately. But the body was gone, and would soon ascend to heaven, to remain forever inaccessible to Jesus’ enemies, who would have liked to prove that Jesus was dead.”
The disciples began to remember some of the things the Lord had said to them. In Mark 8:31, He had told them that He would rise again. Now they were truly convinced of the miracle and the fact of the resurrection.
v. 10 — One looks at this reaction and shakes the head. Why did they make the mistake of leaving so soon and going home? Perhaps John wanted to tell Mary, Jesus’ mother, that He was alive again. They ignore Mary Magdalene and don’t share their knowledge with her. She gets to see the resurrected Christ. If this story had been written by ordinary men and not the Holy Spirit, the first witness would most certainly have been a man. How appropriate that a woman out of whom Jesus cast 7 devils (Mk. 16:9) gets to see Him first.
v. 12 — Look at Mary’s focus. She’s not impressed with the two angels, but is only thinking of her Lord. What a privilege she has to be the first to see Him again!
v. 14 — Her eyes are most likely filled with tears or the tomb is dark and she does not recognize Jesus.
v. 15 — “Why weepest thou?” He says. As usual, He’s always concerned with others. Mary is thinking of taking the situation in hand for herself. She couldn’t possibly handle a body by herself. In grief our thinking is often fuzzy.
v. 16 — He says her name in the same way He had said it many times before. Now, she recognizes the sound of his voice! The voices of our loved ones are very important. Even new born babies know their mother by the sound of her voice before their vision improves. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Jn. 10:27
Rabboni is Aramaic for Rabbi or Master. She grabs Him, probably at the knees or ankles. He must give her instructions not to cling to Him (He has a task and cannot be hindered) and then tells her He has a task for her to do. We are all one in the family now as taught in John 17.
Morris says here that the Lord needed to take the Old Testament saints from Abraham’s bosom to heaven. He had gone in the Spirit to proclaim his victory to the wicked spirits in prison (1 Pet. 3:18-20). Already many resurrected saints had appeared in Jerusalem (Ma. 27:52-53), but now He must take these with Him to the Father in heaven (Eph. 4:8-10).
This ascension (Eph 4:8-10) is not His real ascension which will come later (Acts 1:9-11) and then He will stay in heaven. Some things that we see on earth are pictures of the reality that is in heaven. Jesus’ blood is in heaven. The picture we had on the earth is described in Heb. 9:19-26 where Moses sprinkled the tabernacle and all vessels for ministry with blood. But now the “real” sacrifice has been made “once and for all.” Chapters 10 and 11 in Hebrews show us that pictures of the sacrifice aren’t sufficient. We don’t know exactly, but He must have taken His blood to heaven to the mercy seat. The mercy seat built for the tabernacle was only a copy of the real one in heaven.
v. 18 — How we would have liked to have seen this encounter!
v. 19 — Jesus came to them in this room in Jerusalem where they were hiding. Look at Matt. 28:7. They were supposed to have gone to Galilee where He would meet with them. In the days just following the resurrection, Jesus was seen by over 500 witnesses (1 Cor. 15:4. . .). Paul writes as if it is common knowledge that these people are available to testify to what they have seen. This fact is one of many infallible proofs of the truth of the Bible. Many of these people were still living when Paul wrote his letters and could have refuted the story. People who actually witnessed an event are first person witnesses. They are of the greatest importance in the eyes of historians who write about these occurrences. Their words are considered the most accurate because they experienced the event.
v. 20 — The disciples were still in shock after the death of Jesus and not fully understanding.
v. 21 — Angels and the Lord often say, “Fear not,” or “Peace,” when they appear. In effect they are saying, “Calm down,” “Get yourselves together,” “Everything is okay.” The word “as” here indicates the Great Commission and obedience is in doing ministry as He did. It’s much easier to minister in some places than in others.
v. 22 — Some, like Rice, believe that’s when the Holy Spirit came. Joe Murray doesn’t agree, but thinks it has happened all along. The majority opinion is that the full indwelling would be at Pentecost. Some think the Lord was acting symbolically here or the Holy Spirit could have come on the disciples for specific ministries, but Christ had promised that the Holy Spirit would soon indwell them permanently.
v. 23 — Here is a controversial comment! Much debate has ensued over these words. In Matt. 16:15 . . . (the keys) He is talking to the whole group. In 1 Pet. 2:5, He is talking to Jewish Christians (in Ephesians, He uses the term house of stones). In verse 9, the Great Commission appears, speaking to the people of God including the Gentiles. In Rev. 1:6, the Bible says all believers are priests (also Rev. 5:9-10).
“Remit” has the sense of ‘release,’ ‘leave,’ ‘forgive.’ The meaning is revealed by the entire record of the book of Acts. It could be re-phrased this way: “If there are sins of any ye may forgive, they are forgiven.” The key is for all to repent and believe. See also Acts 2:37-38 and Acts 8:20-22. Peter isn’t the way to God as the Roman Catholics like to claim! In Acts 10:43 we see the same phrase “remission of sins” and it comes from belief in Christ. So, preaching the Gospel is what is meant in John 20:23. The book of Acts repeatedly presents the pattern of preaching the Gospel that Jesus commands here.
The Lord knew the Scriptures would be warped. He gives people rope to hang themselves if they wish. He won’t force people, but He gives the truth. Taking verses out of context leads to a great deal of misconception. Verses on baptism are a good example. Taken alone, you could build a case that baptism washes away sin, but if you look at all of the verses on the subject, you know that it is a public testimony and a symbol that you have been redeemed by repentance and faith in Christ.
In Scripture we know that men cannot forgive sins. Look at Mark 2. The paralytic was forgiven of his sins by Jesus. The Jews say and know that only God can forgive sin and Jesus does not correct them. In 1 John 1:9-10, God forgives sin through Jesus Christ and it is conditional. By the way, this is a good evangelism passage, too.
Christ directed the apostles to declare the only method that can forgive sin. This was not a power to give judgment, but only a power to declare the character of those whom God would accept or reject in the day of judgment. They have laid down the marks whereby a child of God can be distinguished from a false professor, and according to what they have declared shall every case be decided in the day of judgment. — Matthew Henry.
v. 24 — Thomas missed “church” — meeting with the other disciples.
v. 26 — Where are they now? We don’t know. Here are some physics for you to think about — Jesus “pops” in while the doors are shut. “Peace” is a good thing to say when you just pop in out of nowhere! The Lord knew what Thomas had said.
Jesus is scarred forever and will remain in His glorified body. He doesn’t refuse worship because He is deserving of it, but Peter refuses worship from Cornelius. Peter is certainly horrified by the teachings and actions of the Roman Catholic Church done in his name!
v. 29 — A rebuke is given to Thomas for needing proof. Truth can be defined as information provided by God that is read, seen, or heard. The words are very important. Thomas had good reason to believe because the other disciples had given him good reasons. He had also heard the Lord predict this. Some people can have all the evidence in the world and exert their will not to believe. The Lord expects us to believe truth when we hear it. God’s truth is designed to be recognizable! He helps us by illumination of the Holy Spirit and the Word.
The Lord was gracious to relieve Thomas’s doubts. Thomas was ashamed of his unbelief, and cried out, “My Lord and my God!” — an address to recognize his Lord and Saviour.
v. 30 — Many of these signs were probably appearances of the Lord after the resurrection while He was still on earth. John and the other writers give plenty of evidence for an individual to believe.
v. 31 — There is only one way to God. Modernists despise John’s writings above any others, particularly the book of Revelation which pronounces judgment on unbelief.
The resurrection is the key to Christianity which sets it apart from other religions. It proves that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God. It gives hope to every believer that he will live with Christ after his body dies. Who else ever conquered death but the Lord Jesus Christ?!