The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet 1520
John chapter 20

It is commonly taught that Jesus rose at "sunrise" on Easter Sunday morning, but then what else is new? It is also commonly taught that He was crucified on what the churches call "Good Friday". Both traditional teachings are Biblically incorrect, but then again, what else is new?

The crucifixion has taken place, the price has been paid, and Death, i.e. Satan, has been defeated.

Hebrews 2:14
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
We pick up the action three days later...
John 20:1
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.
It is commonly taught that Jesus rose at "sunrise" on Easter Sunday morning, but then what else is new? It is also commonly taught that He was crucified on what the churches call "Good Friday".  Both traditional teachings are Biblically incorrect, but then again, what else is new?

Jesus was crucified and became the Passover Lamb on a Wednesday and was placed in the tomb just before sunset, which would have begun the new day, Thursday, which was a High Sabbath, the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Nisan. He [His body] was in the grave three days and three nights as it is written.

1st Day & Night = Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunset.
2nd Day & Night = Thursday sunset to Friday sunset.
3rd Day & Night = Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
Notice in verse one that when Mary arrived at the sepulcher that it was STILL DARK and the stone was already rolled away and He was gone! Of course we know that only His flesh died, not He Himself, for He was life. So where do you suppose He had been? The answer is given to us in 1 Pet. 3:18-20.
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Only the flesh was put to death.
[19] By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Remember that Jesus had to pay the price in order for sins to be forgiven, making redemption and salvation possible. All those who had passed through this flesh age and died, the whole way back to Noah's time, were only now able to "wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb".
[20] Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Let's return to John 20:1 and read it again.
John 20:1
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.
Just as it was not necessary for the linen to be removed in order for Christ to walk out of the tomb, it was also not necessary for the "stone" to be removed. It was the kenites of the chief priests and Pharisees that had the "stone" placed there. This stone is symbolic of their "rock", the king of Tyrus of Ezek. 28 (Tyrus means rock), i.e. Satan, and the Song of Moses in Deut. 32, which the overcomers in Rev. 15 will be singing, declares that their rock is not our Rock. Deut. 32:31 "For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges." Here's Matthew's account of who had the stone placed at the tomb:
Matthew 27:62
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
[63] Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
[64] Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
This ultimately worked against them.
[65] Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

[66] So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

They could not contain Him with their puny "rock".

So Mary came to the tomb while it was still dark and when she saw that the stone was rolled away, she ran to Peter and John and told them that Jesus is gone. The care and reverence of her remarks suggests she thought Joseph and Nicodemus had moved His body to another location.

John 20:2
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.

[3] Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

"Hurry up, John, let's go see!", said Peter as he took off running toward the sepulchre. (I only speculate here.)

However, the reason one might attribute motive for the next verse is that Peter, Mr. Impulsive, having taken an unfair head start might have also said to John something like, "Last one there is a rotten egg"! And so John recorded (and the Father has permitted) for all eternity that he flew by the big old fisherman and beat him handily to the sepulchre. (Hey, it's only speculation. Lighten up! The crucifixion is over with and the price has been paid. We have the victory!)

[4] So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
But even though the hare beat the tortoise to the tomb, he was not the first to cross the line.
[5] And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
Finally Peter showed up, huffing and puffing, and went right into the sepulchre without hestitation. (Just don't let anyone tell you that fishing keeps you in shape!)
John 20:6
Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
[7] And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
This verse is somewhat misleading in the English. What is being described here is that the cloth that had been folded and wrapped around His head was in EXACTLY that same position, only Jesus was not in it! "The Lord had passed out of them, not needing, as Lazarus (11:44), to be loosed. It was this sight that convinced John (vs. 8)." E.W. Bullinger
[8]Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
John just can't let this "which came first to the sepulchre" thing go, can he? Nevertheless, it must have been quite a sight to see the empty burial wrappings still in tact, still in the shape of the body that was once inside them. It made a believer out of John!

Note: Speaking of speculation, the Shroud of Turin is said to be this "napkin" that was about His face and head. Others say that it was a medieval hoax, but then the technology for color image processing was not available in those days.

John 20:9
For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
It's not that they didn't know the scriptures, for they certainly did. They just didn't know the details of how they would come to pass. We too wonder how future prophecies will manifest themselves.
[10] Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
Typical men. "Well, there's nothing more we can do here! Let's go."

But not faithful Mary. She stayed at the sepulchre. Of course she kept crying. Typical w.... no, I better not!

[11] But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
And what a surprise she saw when she looked in!
[12] 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.
This reminds us of the two angels who sit on both ends of the mercy seat, doesn't it? Exodus 25:19 "And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof." Though it is not recorded who these angels were, some believe them to be Michael and Gabriel, for these two archangels, meaning chief or high ranking angels, were present at His conception (Gabriel) and birth (Michael), and both stand in the presence of God.
John 20:13
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.
Jesus will ask Mary the very same question, "Woman, why weepest thou?" She told Peter and John she didn't know where the Lord was, and now she tells the two angels she doesn't know where Jesus is! She's definitely looking for a dead person, isn't she?
[14] And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
We don't know how much time has elapsed or how much daylight there might be, if any. However, there would still be ample moonlight for the full moon was only three days ago.  Nevertheless Mary was unable to identify the person standing there in the shadow and she thinks he's the gardener.
John 20:15
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?
The question is "Whom are you seeking?", a dead Christ or a risen Christ?
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.
Her answer having been given, Jesus now reveals Himself to her.
[16] Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
What an honor for Mary to be the very first person to see the risen Redeemer. And so it is that following His resurrection Jesus first revealed Himself to a woman, and take notice that it was not His Mother!
[17] 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.
This verse has caused much wonderment as to why Jesus would say "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father". "Touch me not" in Greek is an expression that means "Don't hold me up", i.e. "Don't detain me." Instead, Mary, "go to my brethren and tell them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God." Because God is the God and Father of our Lord, He is our God and Father too.
Ephes. 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

So Jesus is about to ascend to God the Father. Why?
"On this day, the morrow after the Sabbath, the high priest would be waving the sheaf of the firstfruits before the Lord (Lev. 23:10,11); while He, the firstfruits from the dead(1 Cor. 15:23), would be fulfilling the type by presenting Himself before the Father." (Companion Bible, pg. 1571).

In verse 19 we will get a glimpse of some of the characteristics of the risen spiritual body, for Jesus will simply "appear" to His disciples in the middle of the room while the doors are shut tight.

Mary Magdalene, the first person to see the resurrected Christ, has just been instructed by Him to go and tell His brethren that He is ascending to the Father, and she does exactly as the Word of God tells her to do.  

John 20:18
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

This should have been a wake up call to the disciples [that's easy for us to say], for back in chapter 14 He told them that He was going away, and would go unto the Father, and would come again. Jesus doesn't tell people He's going to do something and then not do it EXACTLY as He says. Here are His very words:

John 14:28 
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 

Well, they already know He has died, i.e. is gone away, and now Mary comes and tells them that she saw Him and He "specifically" sent her to tell them that He is ascending, i.e. going to the Father. What's left but to come again unto them, which He is about to do. So they should be rejoicing.

However, there were two other things Jesus said unto them in the prior verse, just before He gave those three prophetic statements to them. And that is that He is leaving them with PEACE, HIS PEACE, for He is the Prince of Peace, and to NOT BE AFRAID. Once again, here are His words to them: 

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Here is the reason Jesus told the disciples this ahead of time, before it happened, because WHEN it is come to pass, not IF it comes to pass, "Ye might BELIEVE!"  

John 14:29
And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 

Now, keep in mind all the preparation and instructions Jesus has given to the disciples, because here is the scene: The 10 disciples (Thomas is not with them at this gathering, as per vs. 24.) are "hiding out" with the doors shut FOR THE FEAR of the Jews. You certainly can't have Peace of mind when you are filled with fear, can you? Again, they know Jesus has gone away and Mary has now told them He has ascended to the Father.

This next verse just has to increase your faith in the Word of God. 

John 20:19 
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. 

The Word of God is so perfect. He told them before He would leave them with Peace. You see, He IS Peace and knowing and believing Him, the Prince of Peace, takes away all fear. But you must have faith and believe in Him.

[20] 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. 

"Glad" is an understatement and just doesn't "cut it" here. The Greek word is #5463, chairo, a primary word meaning "cheer"ful, and is often translated "Rejoice", just as it is in John 14:28 that we quoted earlier. Boy were they excited!

[21] Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Once again Jesus says, "Peace be unto you", and then He commissions them as "Apostles".

So this is the verse where the title of these men changes from "disciples", ones who are disciplined, i.e. students, to "apostles", meaning ones "sent forth". They had been with Christ for three years and have been "trained" in the Word to go into the world and carry forth the Good News. He doesn't send the untrained.

John 20:22 
And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 

The Holy Spirit was right there, present with them. And just as He breathed into Adam's nostrils and Adam became a living soul, He now breaths on the newly appointed apostles and gives them Divine authority to ensure their "Peace" and carry forth His Truth with POWER from on High!

And God help those who come against His apostles who are filled with the Holy Spirit, for the Father, their "Avenger", will let their consequences be up to each apostle. 

[23] Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 

"Remit" means to forgive. 

[24] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 

Thomas the Twin (Didymus means twin) must have had a prior commitment or something else to do, so it seems!

John 20:25 
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord.

OK, the question is, "How many disciples have to tell you they have seen the Lord before you'll believe it?" 2, 5, 7 or more than 9? 

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.

And so he has worn the title of "Doubting Thomas" for almost two millennia. It is obvious though that Thomas somehow knew about the piercing of both Jesus' side and His hands. Anyway, he knew the disciples were not a bunch of liars and I'm sure for the next eight days as they discussed this, that he thought about it a great deal, for when they came together again he was found among them.

[26] 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. 

Eight in Biblical numerics means "resurrection" or "new beginning" (See appendix 10 in the Companion Bible). Notice this time the doors are again shut, but fear is not mentioned. Then out of nowhere... no.... out of the spiritual "dimension", Jesus appeared and stood in the midst of them. Pretty cool, huh? (It reminds me of the transporter on Star Trek.)

Note: Did you know that if the nucleus of an atom were the size of a dime that the closest electron would be 10 miles away? If you took all of the "space" out of all the atoms the earth would be about the size of a basketball. 

Of course Jesus knew all about Thomas' doubts, and when He appeared He told him to go ahead and do what he said it would take for him to believe and not be faithless. 

John 20:27 
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. 

[28] And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.

Thomas must have been overpowered and aghast at his own disbelief, not just by the "seeing" of Christ's appearance, but also by "hearing" Jesus quote the very words he uttered 8 days ago to the other disciples about thrusting his hand into His side! Jesus knew his mind!

This is also the first record of the risen Christ being called God, which has been the theme of John's Gospel throughout, i.e. to show that Jesus Christ was and is indeed God.

[29] Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 

In this final generation there will be miracles and wonders performed in the sight of men by one who only claims to be Jesus. He will be the "instead-of-Jesus", the Antichrist, Satan himself posing as the Messiah, sitting in the temple and showing himself to be God.

2 Thes. 2:4
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 

"Those who crave for miracles and signs today will have them, but they will be Satan's miracles." (Companion Bible, pg. 1572) 

John 20:30 
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

They are written in the other three Gospels. 

[31] 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.  

Do you remember we discussed this reason why John wrote his gospel in our very first study when we quoted this 31st verse?

"Knowing then that the presentation of "Jesus as God" and "Behold your God" is the overall theme of his Gospel, John himself gives us the reason why the events contained in this incredible Gospel were written."

"So John writes to give us documentation that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Divine God. And he tells us again in the third chapter that if you believe in Him, then you shall have eternal life.

There is ONLY one way a person can inherit eternal life, and that is through Jesus Christ. There is NO other name, whereby we can be saved.

Acts 4:12
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

In our next study Jesus will reveal Himself to the disciples for the third time. Will they be fulfilling the commission Jesus just gave them, i.e. their apostleship, and be out fishing for the souls of men? We'll find out.

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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