The Resurrection of Jesus Christ:
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 and should not be confused with (Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus) who anointed Jesus feet with her tears at the home of Simon the Leper.
The first day of the week would begin on what we would call Saturday night which would mean the Sabbath had ended before Mary visited the tomb. The disk shaped stones used to seal the tomb were so heavy it would take several men to move one.
(The stone was not rolled away in order for Jesus to get out. He could have left without moving the stone, it was removed so others could see that Jesus was not there).
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."
The other disciple was John, the writer of this Gospel. Here we see that the disciples had rejoined after being scattered, and were in fact only a short distance from Jesus grave.
"we do not know where they have laid him:" The use of we clearly tells us that someone went with Mary Magdalene, she was not alone. Matthew 28:1 states that the other woman was yet another Mary, but Scripture does not tell us exactly who this other Mary was.
The name "Mary" was popular in that day, and several of Jesus followers were named "Mary" Some scholars think the other Mary with Mary Magdalene could have been the wife of Clopas as mentioned in (John 19:25) or the mother of James and John in (Matt. 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."
Although John outran Peter and reached the scene first, Peter was the one who first entered the grave.
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."
Many scholars believe the reason John did not enter the tomb although he was the first there could have been because he was stunned at the scene before him.
The linen clothes His body was wrapped in remained undisturbed as if He were still in them, as if He had simply risen through them, just as He had risen through the tomb. (The grave clothes appeared as if He were still in them).
Verse 8-10: "Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 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, says that "he saw and believed." Until that moment the disciples had not comprehended the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to mean that he would actually come out of the grave.
Although John had not understood the Scripture concerning the resurrection, what he saw convinced him that Jesus had supernaturally risen from the dead and was gone.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
Verse 11: "But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb."
Jewish people took the first seven days of mourning so seriously that mourners could not wash, work or even study the law. To them the missing body would have been intolerably tragic.
Mary was grief stricken and had come to visit the Saviour's grave. She did not leave the tomb with the others, but had stooped in order to see inside the tomb as she wept:
Verse 12: "And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet."
White linen garments were worn by Jewish priests, by some other ancient priests and by angels in Jewish tradition.
There she see's two angels.
Verse 13: "They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." 14Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus."
Here we see that Peter and John were shocked to find that Jesus was not in the tomb, and Mary thought that someone had stolen the body.
This shows how preposterous the lie told by the Jewish leaders was in saying the disciples had stolen his body and were pretending that a resurrection had occurred.
Neither Mary or the disciples, understood the resurrection until being faced with the absolute and overwhelming proof 'after He had risen.'
The angels ask why she was weeping. Mary did not yet know that the victory had been won, Satan crushed, death vanquished and salvation made possible. She was so caught up in her grief that she apparently took no note of the angels, only answered their question, and then turn away from them.
"Then she turned and saw Jesus," but didn't recognize Him, and verse 15 says:
Verse 15: "Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
Mary was so sorrowful that even the angels could not divert her grief, she even failed to recognized Jesus, and thought Him to be the gardener.
Verse 16: "Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher)." (ra BOH nigh)
Jesus' personal greeting opened Mary's eyes and filled her heart with recognition, and she exclaimed Rabboni!
(Rabboni is more personal and less formal than Rabbi).
Then Mary began attempting to either embrace Him or to fall down clasping His feet.
And in verse 17:
Verse 17: "Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"—and that he had said these things to her."
Mary did not yet understand the resurrection, and not wanting to lose Jesus again was clinging to Him. But Jesus said, "Do not cling to me."
Jesus did not refuse to be touched after the resurrection, and had even invited His disciples to see and touch the scars in His hands and side; but here He had not yet returned to the Father and would not be detained.
Can we not sense the urgency as He told Mary to: "Go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
"Brothers!" In using this terminology Jesus was saying, "Tell my disciples, It is done!"
The resurrection of Jesus Christ was now accomplished, making it possible for all who believe to become brothers/sisters and joint heirs with Christ. The miracle He had promised Nicodemus, (as we studied in John 3:3), was now in effect! Eternal life was now possible for all who would believe.
So Mary told the disciples what He had said.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
Verse 19: "On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
The "Feast of Unleavened Bread" was still going on, and none of the disciples would have left Jerusalem until it was over.
Jesus' first meeting with His disciples after the crucifixion, as recorded in the Gospel of John, was under supernatural conditions, in that even though they were behind locked doors, Jesus suddenly stood among them.
The first words He spoke were "Peace be with you." These were also the last words Jesus had spoken, possibly in the same room just before He went out to face the false courts and later crucifixion.
Verse 20: "When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord."
Wounds were sometimes shown as evidence in court; here it was used to identify that the person before them was the same Jesus who had died.
This appearance before twelve was convincing, and constituted the very foundation of Christian evidence. The ones who saw it never wavered or doubted afterward.
The certainty the disciples had concerning who Jesus was and what He did, enabled them to stand before a hostile world, and in face of death deliver the message of Jesus on the Cross.
Verse 21: "Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
Prophets often appointed successors to carry on their work, as Jesus is doing here. The sender would authorize agents with his authority enabling them to accurately represent him.
Many scholars see a similarity of Jesus breathing on them and of Genesis 2:7 when God breathed into Adam the breath of life.
Although there is no Scriptural confirmation (that I am aware of), some see this as a special filling of the Holy Spirit for the disciples (as a type of foretaste,) and upon salvation, something all believers would receive from the time of Pentecost.
the view that I personally hold, Based upon the Scripture in verse 22, is that Christ did indeed send them the Holy Spirit, or salvation, at this time, then later, on the day of Pentecost, filled them with the power of the Holy Spirit to go into all the world to preach the Gospel.
This is at the heart of the deeper things of God. I encourage everyone to read "Acts 2" again and again until satisfied with the meaning of this Scripture.
Now, aren't these deep Scriptures? And what about the next?
Verse 23: "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld."
In this Scripture Jesus was giving the Apostles their missions. He was sending them as His agents with full authority to pronounce the Divine prerogative as Jesus would do Himself. (Disciples today have this same commission and authority).
They were to tell others that no longer were they required to offer the blood of bulls and goats, that now their sins could be forgiven through faith in Christ the Son of God who had delivered the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life, spilling His blood for the forgiveness of all sin.
Sins are paid for and forgiven only through the blood of Jesus, only God has that power and authority.
Some doctrines teach that man, in the form of a priest or preacher, can forgive sins." My problem with this is that I cannot find enough substantial Scripture to indicate that was God's intention.
We can only trust answers that are found in God's written word. His word say's, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1st Tim 2:5).
If man could forgive sins he would become still another a mediator between God and the person for whom the sin was forgiven, but, as we have just read, there is only one mediator and that is Jesus Christ.
The Scriptural Christian teaching concerning receiving forgiveness is that since Christ has come, and we have been born again, we can go directly to the Father ourselves, we do not need a preacher, priest, nor anyone else. With Jesus our mediator, who is continually seated at the Father's right hand, we can personally ask for and receive forgiveness.
Jesus and Thomas
Verses 24-25: "Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."
Thomas doubted because he was not present at the time the Lord presented Himself to the rest of the disciples. He did not doubt that the other disciples saw something; but he could not grasp the nature of their experience.
Verse 26: "Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
The conditions were same as with the first appearance. The disciples there, and with the doors closed and locked, he entered and said, "Peace be unto you." (But this time Thomas was there).
Thomas, like the others, had once vowed that he would die with the Lord, but like the others, had failed. But after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, he came back, and there was Jesus to meet him.
There is little doubt that the second appearance was for the benefit of Thomas. His response this time was to give a confession of Jesus deity.
Verse 27: "Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe."
Was this not a dramatic event? "Put your finger here! and see my hands, place your hand in my side!" Christ has nothing to hide, nothing to cover up, no issues to evade, nothing to avoid. His invitation to all doubters is the same as to Thomas, investigate for yourself! Test the evidence, and like Thomas, be not faithless but believing.
Verse 28-29: "Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Thomas confession is said to rank among the greatest ever made, being one of only ten New Testament passages to declare that Jesus is God.
Jesus was no doubt thinking of all His followers who would later base their faith upon the very word of His disciples, and in verse 29 offers a blessing to all who will believe in Him.
The Purpose of This Book
Verse 30-31: "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name"
Only a fraction of Jesus' signs (miracles) were reported in John's Gospel as are reported in the synoptic's, but his Gospel provides material found nowhere else in scripture.
John was an eye witness to the events, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His purpose was to present proof that Jesus as God had come in human form.
Thank you for joining us. This concludes the Easter Study.
(I pray you were blessed and would love to have your comments. Please use the form below, and please do identify it as the "Easter Study. Thank you and may God richly bless your every effort. Samuel Mills)
To Continue with the Study of the Entire Gospel of John:
We have one more chapter left in our study of the Gospel of John, that is Chapter 21 and it begins with:
"Jesus appearing to the disciples while fishing."
Thank you for your explanation of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was easy to follow and understand.
Barbara: United States