BIBLE: John Chapter 20

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

The Empty Tomb

John 20:1 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
John 20:2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
John 20:3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb.
John 20:4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.
John 20:5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.
John 20:6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,
John 20:7 and the handkerchief (face cloth) that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.
John 20:8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.
John 20:9 For as yet they did not know (understand) the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

Is God Dead?

On the cover of Time magazine, April 8, 1966, the headline read “Is God Dead?” meaning, if no one believes in God anymore, then does He even exist? Hence, God died when people stopped believing in Him.

The truth is: God did die. Jesus, who is the second member of the Godhead died on the Roman cross as a sinless substitute for man’s sins.

God died in ~31 AD, but He did not decay. His body saw no corruption because He was raised from the dead.

God was dead, but He lives today and He gives Life to everyone who comes to Him.

John 20:10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord

John 20:11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.
John 20:12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
  • The Ark of the Covenant:

What Mary witnesses is the Ark of the Covenant of the Old Testament framed by the tomb.

Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 39), wood engraving, published 1886 The Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 39). Wood engraving, published in 1886. ark of the covenant stock illustrations

The lid of the Ark is called The Mercy Seat. It is where the blood of the sacrificial “Lamb of God” is put.

The top of the bed where they laid the body of Jesus was covered the blood of the sacrificial “Lamb of God”.

There was one angel at the head and one angel at the feet of Jesus’ death bed.

The meaning of the word “Ark” is coffin. Inside the Ark is the law. When Jesus died His blood covered the Law.

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. Romans 7:4

What does this mean, and how does this reconcile with Matthew:

Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19

What is the reason for the law?

Concerning the Sabbath, Jesus said, man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath was made for man.

This means that the Sabbath was created in order to help men. The Maker of the Human Body knows that men need the Sabbath in order to reboot.

The word “Holy” means “to be separate”. The Holy Sabbath is to separate one day out of seven for resting.

There are many kinds of laws. Some laws point to the coming of Jesus, some were needed for the health of society, some were for educating men between right and wrong, and some were given for the purpose of proving to men that they cannot meet God’s demand of perfection and that they are in need of a savior.

The goal is to become Christ-like: To become without spot or blemish in righteousness, to seek out and obey God in servitude, and to live in trusting God that He has our best interests at heart (this is called “Faith”.)

Jesus fulfilled the law with His death. His blood covered the law, but there is a greater calling for believers than the law, and that is to die to one’s self in order to be a servant to God.

Romans 6:1-2 [Dead to Sin, Alive to God] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it.

Romans 7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

The Spirit is like a “trump” card. It does not negate the law, but it does better than the law.

  1. The color “White” is symbolic of purity. The angels were clothed in white garments.
  2. The Tomb: Sarah’s womb was a tomb (she was barren) and the Messiah came out of it.
John 20:13 Then they (the angels) said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
John 20:14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
John 20:15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
John 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher in Hebrew).
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren (the disciples) and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

Jesus had not yet ascended to His Father; therefore, the captives of Paradise, whom He will take to heaven with Him are waiting for Him. He has not yet received His “glorified” bodies. However; it appears He went to the Father with the captives and returned by the time he appeared in the upper room and told Thomas to thrust his hand into His side.

Psalm 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had spoken these things to her.

The Apostles Commissioned

John 20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week (Sunday), when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
John 20:20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
John 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
John 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Seeing and Believing

John 20:24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.

Thomas was called Didymus (twin).

John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
John 20:26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”
John 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

► Jesus did not shame Thomas for not believing, but what would have happened if Thomas looked at His hands and ignored the scars, or thrust his hand into Jesus’ side and denied the reality of the wound.

►I remember an instant that left me awestruck. My husband, Lee and I were enjoying lunch at a restaurant at the beach. As we waited for our food, one of my earrings fell out of me ear. I felt it fall and immediately reprieved it assuming the back of the earring had come off. As I laid it on the table, there was something beyond unusual. The large, round back that typically held the earring in the ear, was still on the post.

I stared at it and then my heart soared. I had seen other miracles before but only when no one else was around to witness it and share it with me. This time, however; my husband was there and saw it with his own eyes.

Look! I showed him. There is no slit in my ear! But the back is still on the post and there is no way it could have slipped through the hole. It was just impossible!

Lee ignored the miracle and it broke my heart. Years later, I asked him why he adamantly dismissed this miracle.

He said he thought that the back of the earring probably bounced off the table and jumped on the post again.

I was dumbfounded. That would have been even a greater miracle!

An interesting follow-up: That same event occurred two more times three years apart! (Each time with different earrings, each time impossible to explain; these were no small earrings, one was 2” inches long and 1” inch wide.)

Why couldn’t Lee believe what he saw? Because he didn’t believe God did miracles today, therefore; he couldn’t believe what his own eyes were showing him.

When I tell people about these incidents, they ask what I thought this “sign” meant.

This verse explains it:

Exodus 21: 2, 5-6 If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing.

5 But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ 6 then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

Prior to the first incident I had thrown myself on our sofa bathed in tears, unable to bear the pain of life. Then I got on the floor on one knee as a soldier gives himself to a king, and gave myself totally and unconditionally to Jesus. I had been a believer since I was 14 yrs old but I had always been afraid of what might be asked of me, like having cancer so I could witness to cancer patients. But this time I had no reservations. I had lived my life my way and it hadn’t worked. From then on out, it was going to be God’s way no matter what.

Today, Lee now believes in miracles. There has been abundance for anyone who chooses to believe. It’s a step into another world and it’s a choice.

There is a disclaimer. This doesn’t mean to accept anything that comes along or to believe anything you are told. You have to use your mind, but you don’t have to throw away something that screams at you to change your definition of reality.

There are examples of accepting distorted realities:

An elephant doesn’t try to escape because it was chained long enough to believe it can’t escape.

A pane of glass was put in the middle of an aquarium separating fish. They learned they could not reach out and join the fish on the other side. When the pane of glass was removed, they continued to swim separately on their own side and refused to join the fish on the other side because they didn’t believe it was possible.

There is one other example taught in businesses. A deck of cards is flipped slowly in front of an audience. The audience is asked to find what is wrong with this deck of cards. The cards are flipped and flipped again and no one can find the anomaly. Finally the anomaly is revealed. The diamonds and hearts are black and the spades and clubs are red, but no one was able to identify this error. Why? Because imbedded in their reality was the belief that diamonds and hearts are always red and clubs and spades are always blacks, even when the evidence of something different was screaming to be seen.

It is proof that false beliefs can blind us to evidence that demands a verdict.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

►Note: Jesus did not rebuke Thomas for calling Him “God”, because Jesus is the third part of the Godhead. See John 1:1, Gen 1:1 to see how Jesus can be “with God” and “God” at the same time.

►Verses identifying Jesus as God:

  • Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

(Note: The Child, who is a Son, is called both Mighty God AND Everlasting Father.)

  • John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said to Him (Jesus), “My Lord and my God!”
  • Matthew 2:2 (The Magi) saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
  • Matthew 8:2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
  • Matthew 9:18 A Girl Restored to Life and a Woman Healed – While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.”
  • Matthew 14:33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
  • Matthew 15:25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
  • Matthew 28:9 The Women Worship the Risen Lord – And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.
  • Matthew 4:9-10 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”(Satan should be worshiping Jesus!)
  • John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
  • Mark 2:7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
  • Luke 5:21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
  • John 1:1, 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
  • John 18:6 Now when He said to them, “I AM,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

(“I AM that I AM” is the name God gave Himself when speaking to Moses. He always was, eternally is, and forever will be. He is…the great “I AM”)

  • Revelation 1:8 “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord (Jesus), “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
  • Acts 10:36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—
  • Romans 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6 Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
  • Ephesians 3:9 And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;
  • Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
  • Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
  • John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Note: Jesus was speaking of the temple as his body. He rose himself from the dead!

  • Gen 1:1 In the beginning God (Plural Hebrew: Elohim) created (Singular verb with plural noun: bara’) the heavens and the earth. (Note: the plural Godhead as One, singularly created the heavens and the earth.)
  • John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

That You May Believe

John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Believe so that you can “see”.

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