20 Now on the 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. 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.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then 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’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 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.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 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.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 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.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
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.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Jesus and Thomas
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So 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.”
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.” 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.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The Purpose of This Book
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.
John 20 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The miracle of the empty tomb, the resurrection of Jesus brought shock and skepticism. John records that miraculous morning for he and Peter, Mary and also tells of another meeting where Jesus appeared behind closed/locked doors. But it’s one statement John records in Jesus’ revelation to Mary that certainly stands out.
“…she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.”John 20:14
So caught up in grief, the circumstances of the previous day overwhelming as they played over and over in her mind I surmise, her focus was on the event that shattered her personal world. She was blind to the things or the One who stood beside her. She also didn’t see Him because she didn’t expect to.
There’s much to be said about this. Sometimes the curve balls that come our way, the sheer devastation to what we had hoped to happen or indeed have taken place, draw our focus to grief and hardship. We become consumed in thought and emotion. It’s all we think about, all we breathe. Yet the reminder I grasped this morning, the aspect of this story that spoke to me is Jesus was there beside Mary and is right beside me, right beside you.
Over a period of 18 months, I experienced overwhelming grief. It came most unexpected at each turn. It shattered everything of my being. It brought an acute awareness of loss. It leveled many questions. Weeping became the norm. If I was honest, I spent many a day more in my bed than out of it where that place of rest became a womb of sorts. A place where I was able to cry out and feel warmth that had escaped. The future or going forward seemed so uncertain as I wrestled with what would be. I muddled through at times with no focus, no purpose, no hope. Even to this day, there is an ache that overwhelms where each of these aspects overcome at any instance.
Grief tends to drive us down to the foundation of many things. For as things of great importance to us are ripped from our hands and life, we come face to face with the things that matter. In reflection of these personal moments, a beautiful thing was found. The very presence of Jesus. Grief had sidelined my focus but He was there. He never left. His gentle words, His beautiful coaxing would help me rise from my own grave of sorrow.
I think about life. There are so many times when things unexpectedly happen. Usually, our focus hits the problem or situation. We become driven in isolation and our feelings press in on us as hopelessness takes over our thoughts. The reminder for us all in this is the reality Jesus is right alongside of us. Jesus called Mary’s name in the story and He does the same with us. Mary had to turn around, turn aside to see Him. So must we. Oh, so must we.
Stop just a moment. Listen. He’s calling your name. He’s standing beside you in the wreckage. Turn around and see Him. He holds the future and calls you boldly into it even though it seems that the shadows are greater than the dawn that will come.
John 20 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The empty tomb (Matt 28; Mark 16; Luke 24) is the most contested event by skeptics of Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is because if a skeptic concedes that the tomb was indeed empty, it becomes very problematic to try and prove anything different than a resurrection.
The swoon theory (that Jesus faked His death) doesn’t hold any credibility when you consider how many people wanted Jesus dead. The Romans and especially the religious leaders would never have allowed Him off the cross alive. On top of this, multiple Jewish sources outside the Bible confirm His death.
The stolen body theory is taken right from Scripture as this is what the religious leaders were so worried about themselves. The question is, who would benefit from stealing His body? Again, the Romans and religious leaders passionately wanted Christianity to die with Jesus. His followers were mourning His death. Even if they wanted to plan such an elaborate scheme, the Roman guard and the stone sealing the tomb would have been extremely difficult to overcome. More than that, it’s highly unlikely they would steal a body and then be willing to be tortured and/or killed for it.
Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.John 20:4-7 ESV
The text says that Peter looked in and saw the linen cloths. It is the Greek word ‘theoreo’ which means “to contemplate or “to scrutinize.” He takes a careful look. Why? Because the linens laid there undisturbed which was incredibly perplexing. In fact, with all of the spices mixed under the clothes, it would be impossible to unwrap a corpse without damaging the wrappings. The linen cloths could only remain undisturbed if Jesus passed through them.
And if Jesus could pass through clothes, He certainly didn’t need to roll the stone away. Why did God choose to roll that stone away? It was so His followers, (and eventually you and I through the Scriptures) could walk in and observe for ourselves the factual reality that the tomb could not hold Jesus Christ!
You can go to Israel and visit a lot of tombs of ancient days. You can go and view the tombs on the Mount of Olives. You can visit the multitude of graves just outside the Temple Mount. You can even go and visit the tomb of King David, however, you will never find the tomb of Jesus Christ because He’s not there!