"The Resurrection of Jesus Christ"
John 20:1-18 verse-by-Verse Bible Study
The Empty Tomb

Jesus' Tomb

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ:
John 20:1-18

Verse 1: "first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb."

This woman was Mary Magdalene, not to be confused with (Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus) who anointed Jesus feet with her tears at the home of Simon the Leper.

Being the first day of the week, would mean the Sabbath had ended before Mary visited the tomb.

The large disk shaped stones used to seal the tomb were so heavy it would have taken several men to move it away.

The stone was not rolled away so that Jesus could get out; He could have left without moving the stone. The Stone was removed so others could see that His body was not there, offering even more proof that Jesus was the Messiah rested upon His resurrection.  

For Jesus to rise from the dead would prove that He was the Messiah, and those who had crucified Him were murders.

The enemies had understood that His reference to the sign of Jonah meant that after three days He would rise from the dead.

Concentrating on proving that Jesus was the Messiah, the Gospel of John left out many details that are included in the synoptics. 

However, we have learned from the other Gospels that the enemies took extreme measures to assure that Jesus' body could not be removed from the tomb.

But now the tomb has been found empty, and with the enemy unable to reveal His presence, the only logical conclusion is that He has risen.

Mary Magdalene discovered the empty tomb on the first day of the week. Therefore, the first day of the week, "Sunday" is recognized by Christians as the "Lord's Day" the day of resurrection.

Verse 2: "So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."

Most believe that the "Other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved," was John, the writer of this Gospel. The disciples had rejoined after being scattered, and were not far from Jesus' grave.

"We do not know where they have laid him:" Mary clearly had not yet understood that Jesus would be resurrected, and assumes that His body has been stolen.

The use of we means that Mary Magdalene did not go alone. According to Matthew 28:1, the other woman, was still another Mary, but Scripture does not identify this other Mary.

The name "Mary" was popular in that day, and several of Jesus followers were named "Mary." Some scholars think the other Mary  could have been the wife of Clopas, as mentioned in John 19:25, or the mother of James and John in Matthew 27:56.

Verses 3-4: "So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first."

The disciples ran together as fast as they could to see for themselves that His body was indeed gone. Although John outran Peter and reached the scene first, Peter was the first to enter the grave. 

Many have speculated on why the Holy Spirit wanted to record that one outran the other, and that the other entered first (verse 6). Some humorously say that John merely wanted all of eternity to know that he could outrun Peter.

However, as mentioned an a previous study, John was very kind in his account of Peter's cowardly actions during Jesus trial before the Chief Priests, much more so than the other Gospels, and is now portraying the fearless, totally dedicated side to Peter that we knew prior to the trial.

Verse 5-6: "And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’s head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself."

Since Scripture does not provide guidance we can only speculate on the reason John did not enter the tomb. Some think, that although he was the first there, he may have been temporarily stunned at the scene before him.

The linen clothes, that had been used to wrap Jesus' body, remained undisturbed, and as though He had simply risen through them. The wrapping for His head was neatly folded, and  separate from the others.

The grave could not hold Him, He was alive and had no need of grave clothes; soon He would again be clothed with the glory of Heaven.

Verse 8-10: "Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;

Once again John declares that he is an eyewitness.

Although he did not understand the Scripture concerning the resurrection, the empty tomb convinced John that Jesus had supernaturally risen from the dead.

9for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples went back to their homes."

First Peter went in, then John, and John "saw and believed." Until that moment the disciples had not understood that Jesus would actually live again.

Jesus had told the disciples on numerous occasions that He would be crucified, and then rise again on the third day. Even so, Peter and John were shocked to find the empty tomb.

Now, perhaps with a mixture of hope and unbelief,  the disciples not knowing what else to do, returned home. 

The other woman who was with Mary (verse 2), is not mentioned again, and had apparently also left.  

As we will see, neither Mary or the disciples understood the resurrection until confronted  with overwhelming proof.

This concludes our study of the ressurection of Jesus Christ. 

Our next study is:

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

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Resurrection of Jesus Christ 

Samuel L. Mills

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