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John 20:1--21:25

Context
The Resurrection

20:1 Now very early on the first day of the week, 1  while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene 2  came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance. 3  20:2 So she went running 4  to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 20:3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out to go to the tomb. 5  20:4 The two were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter 6  and reached the tomb first. 7  20:5 He bent down 8  and saw the strips of linen cloth lying there, 9  but he did not go in. 20:6 Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived and went right into the tomb. He saw 10  the strips of linen cloth lying there, 20:7 and the face cloth, 11  which had been around Jesus’ head, not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself. 12  20:8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, came in, and he saw and believed. 13  20:9 (For they did not yet understand 14  the scripture that Jesus 15  must rise from the dead.) 16 

Jesus’ Appearance to Mary Magdalene

20:10 So the disciples went back to their homes. 20:11 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she bent down and looked into the tomb. 20:12 And she saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet. 20:13 They said 17  to her, “Woman, 18  why are you weeping?” Mary replied, 19  “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” 20:14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, 20  but she did not know that it was Jesus.

20:15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Because she 21  thought he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him.” 20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She 22  turned and said to him in Aramaic, 23 Rabboni 24  (which means Teacher). 25  20:17 Jesus replied, 26  “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and informed the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them 27  what 28  Jesus 29  had said to her. 30 

Jesus’ Appearance to the Disciples

20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together 31  and locked the doors 32  of the place 33  because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. 34  Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20:20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 35  20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 20:22 And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, 36  “Receive the Holy Spirit. 37  20:23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; 38  if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.” 39 

The Response of Thomas

20:24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), 40  one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 20:25 The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, 41  “Unless I see the wounds 42  from the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe it!” 43 

20:26 Eight days later the disciples were again together in the house, 44  and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, 45  Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put 46  your finger here, and examine 47  my hands. Extend 48  your hand and put it 49  into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe.” 50  20:28 Thomas replied to him, 51  “My Lord and my God!” 52  20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people 53  who have not seen and yet have believed.” 54 

20:30 Now Jesus performed 55  many other miraculous signs in the presence of the 56  disciples, which are not recorded 57  in this book. 58  20:31 But these 59  are recorded 60  so that you may believe 61  that Jesus is the Christ, 62  the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. 63 

Jesus’ Appearance to the Disciples in Galilee

21:1 After this 64  Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. 65  Now this is how he did so. 66  21:2 Simon Peter, Thomas 67  (called Didymus), 68  Nathanael 69  (who was from Cana 70  in Galilee), the sons 71  of Zebedee, 72  and two other disciples 73  of his were together. 21:3 Simon Peter told them, “I am going fishing.” “We will go with you,” they replied. 74  They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

21:4 When it was already very early morning, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 21:5 So Jesus said to them, “Children, you don’t have any fish, 75  do you?” 76  They replied, 77  “No.” 21:6 He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” 78  So they threw the net, 79  and were not able to pull it in because of the large number of fish.

21:7 Then the disciple whom 80  Jesus loved 81  said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” So Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, tucked in his outer garment (for he had nothing on underneath it), 82  and plunged 83  into the sea. 21:8 Meanwhile the other disciples came with the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from land, only about a hundred yards. 84 

21:9 When they got out on the beach, 85  they saw a charcoal fire ready 86  with a fish placed on it, and bread. 21:10 Jesus said, 87  “Bring some of the fish you have just now caught.” 21:11 So Simon Peter went aboard and pulled the net to shore. It was 88  full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three, 89  but although there were so many, the net was not torn. 21:12 “Come, have breakfast,” Jesus said. 90  But none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 21:13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 21:14 This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Peter’s Restoration

21:15 Then when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, 91  do you love me more than these do?” 92  He replied, 93  “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” 94  Jesus 95  told him, “Feed my lambs.” 21:16 Jesus 96  said 97  a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He replied, 98  “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus 99  told him, “Shepherd my sheep.” 21:17 Jesus 100  said 101  a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed 102  that Jesus 103  asked 104  him a third time, “Do you love me?” and said, 105  “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus 106  replied, 107  “Feed my sheep. 21:18 I tell you the solemn truth, 108  when you were young, you tied your clothes around you 109  and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up 110  and bring you where you do not want to go.” 21:19 (Now Jesus 111  said this to indicate clearly by what kind of death Peter 112  was going to glorify God.) 113  After he said this, Jesus told Peter, 114  “Follow me.”

Peter and the Disciple Jesus Loved

21:20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. 115  (This was the disciple 116  who had leaned back against Jesus’ 117  chest at the meal and asked, 118  “Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?”) 119  21:21 So when Peter saw him, 120  he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 21:22 Jesus replied, 121  “If I want him to live 122  until I come back, 123  what concern is that of yours? You follow me!” 21:23 So the saying circulated 124  among the brothers and sisters 125  that this disciple was not going to die. But Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but rather, “If I want him to live 126  until I come back, 127  what concern is that of yours?”

A Final Note

21:24 This is the disciple who testifies about these things and has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. 21:25 There are many other things that Jesus did. If every one of them were written down, 128  I suppose the whole world 129  would not have room for the books that would be written. 130 

1 sn The first day of the week would be early Sunday morning. The Sabbath (and in this year the Passover) would have lasted from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Saturday. Sunday would thus mark the first day of the following week.

2 sn John does not mention that Mary Magdalene was accompanied by any of the other women who had been among Jesus’ followers. The synoptic accounts all mention other women who accompanied her (although Mary Magdalene is always mentioned first). Why John does not mention the other women is not clear, but Mary probably becomes the focus of the author’s attention because it was she who came and found Peter and the beloved disciple and informed them of the empty tomb (20:2). Mary’s use of the plural in v. 2 indicates there were others present, in indirect agreement with the synoptic accounts.

3 tn Grk “from the tomb.”

4 tn Grk “So she ran and came.”

5 tn Grk “went out and were coming to the tomb.”

6 sn The other disciple (the ‘beloved disciple’) ran on ahead more quickly than Peter, so he arrived at the tomb first. This verse has been a chief factor in depictions of John as a young man (especially combined with traditions that he wrote last of all the gospel authors and lived into the reign of Domitian). But the verse does not actually say anything about John’s age, nor is age always directly correlated with running speed.

7 tn Grk “and came first to the tomb.”

8 sn In most instances the entrance to such tombs was less than 3 ft (1 m) high, so that an adult would have to bend down and practically crawl inside.

9 sn Presumably by the time the beloved disciple reached the tomb there was enough light to penetrate the low opening and illuminate the interior of the tomb sufficiently for him to see the strips of linen cloth lying there. The author does not state exactly where the linen wrappings were lying. Sometimes the phrase has been translated “lying on the ground,” but the implication is that the wrappings were lying where the body had been. The most probable configuration for a tomb of this sort would be to have a niche carved in the wall where the body would be laid lengthwise, or a low shelf like a bench running along one side of the tomb, across the back or around all three sides in a U-shape facing the entrance. Thus the graveclothes would have been lying on this shelf or in the niche where the body had been.

10 tn Grk “And he saw.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences.

11 sn The word translated face cloth is a Latin loanword (sudarium). It was a small towel used to wipe off perspiration (the way a handkerchief would be used today). This particular item was not mentioned in connection with Jesus’ burial in John 19:40, probably because this was only a brief summary account. A face cloth was mentioned in connection with Lazarus’ burial (John 11:44) and was probably customary. R. E. Brown speculates that it was wrapped under the chin and tied on top of the head to prevent the mouth of the corpse from falling open (John [AB], 2:986), but this is not certain.

12 sn Much dispute and difficulty surrounds the translation of the words not lying with the strips of linen cloth but rolled up in a place by itself. Basically the issue concerns the positioning of the graveclothes as seen by Peter and the other disciple when they entered the tomb. Some have sought to prove that when the disciples saw the graveclothes they were arranged just as they were when around the body, so that when the resurrection took place the resurrected body of Jesus passed through them without rearranging or disturbing them. In this case the reference to the face cloth being rolled up does not refer to its being folded, but collapsed in the shape it had when wrapped around the head. Sometimes in defense of this view the Greek preposition μετά (meta, which normally means “with”) is said to mean “like” so that the comparison with the other graveclothes does not involve the location of the face cloth but rather its condition (rolled up rather than flattened). In spite of the intriguing nature of such speculations, it seems more probable that the phrase describing the face cloth should be understood to mean it was separated from the other graveclothes in a different place inside the tomb. This seems consistent with the different conclusions reached by Peter and the beloved disciple (vv. 8-10). All that the condition of the graveclothes indicated was that the body of Jesus had not been stolen by thieves. Anyone who had come to remove the body (whether the authorities or anyone else) would not have bothered to unwrap it before carrying it off. And even if one could imagine that they had (perhaps in search of valuables such as rings or jewelry still worn by the corpse) they would certainly not have bothered to take time to roll up the face cloth and leave the other wrappings in an orderly fashion.

13 sn What was it that the beloved disciple believed (since v. 7 describes what he saw)? Sometimes it is suggested that what he believed was Mary Magdalene’s report that the body had been stolen. But this could hardly be the case; the way the entire scene is narrated such a trivial conclusion would amount to an anticlimax. It is true that the use of the plural “they” in the following verse applied to both Peter and the beloved disciple, and this appears to be a difficulty if one understands that the beloved disciple believed at this point in Jesus’ resurrection. But it is not an insuperable difficulty, since all it affirms is that at this time neither Peter nor the beloved disciple had understood the scripture concerning the resurrection. Thus it appears the author intends his reader to understand that when the beloved disciple entered the tomb after Peter and saw the state of the graveclothes, he believed in the resurrection, i.e., that Jesus had risen from the dead.

14 tn Or “yet know.”

15 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

16 sn Verse 9 is a parenthetical note by the author. The author does not explicitly mention what OT scripture is involved (neither does Paul in 1 Cor 15:4, for that matter). The resurrection of the Messiah in general terms may have been seen in Isa 53:10-12 and Ps 16:10. Specific references may have been understood in Jonah 1:17 and Hos 6:2 because of the mention of “the third day.” Beyond this it is not possible to be more specific.

17 tn The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here.

18 sn Woman was a polite form of address (see BDAG 208-9 s.v. γυνή 1), similar to “Madam” or “Ma’am” used in English in different regions. This occurs again in v. 15.

19 tn Grk “She said to them.”

20 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

21 tn Grk “that one” (referring to Mary Magdalene).

22 tn Grk “That one.”

23 tn Grk “in Hebrew.”

24 sn The Aramaic Rabboni means “my teacher” (a title of respect).

25 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

26 tn Grk “Jesus said to her.”

27 tn The words “she told them” are repeated from the first part of the same verse to improve clarity.

28 tn Grk “the things.”

29 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) is specified in the translation for clarity.

30 tn The first part of Mary’s statement, introduced by ὅτι (Joti), is direct discourse (ἑώρακα τὸν κύριον, Jewraka ton kurion), while the second clause switches to indirect discourse (καὶ ταῦτα εἶπεν αὐτῇ, kai tauta eipen auth). This has the effect of heightening the emphasis on the first part of the statement.

31 tn Although the words “had gathered together” are omitted in some of the earliest and best mss, they are nevertheless implied, and have thus been included in the translation.

32 tn Grk “the doors were shut”; “locked” conveys a more appropriate idea for the modern English reader.

sn The fact that the disciples locked the doors is a perfectly understandable reaction to the events of the past few days. But what is the significance of the inclusion of this statement by the author? It is often taken to mean that Jesus, when he entered the room, passed through the closed doors. This may well be the case, but it may be assuming too much about our knowledge of the mode in which the resurrected body of Jesus exists. The text does not explicitly state how Jesus got through the closed doors. It is possible to assume that the doors opened of their own accord before him, or that he simply appeared in the middle of the room without passing through the doors at all. The point the author makes here is simply that the closed doors were no obstacle at all to the resurrected Jesus.

33 tn Grk “where they were.”

34 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” In NT usage the term ᾿Ιουδαῖοι (Ioudaioi) may refer to the entire Jewish people, the residents of Jerusalem and surrounding territory, the authorities in Jerusalem, or merely those who were hostile to Jesus. (For further information see R. G. Bratcher, “‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John,” BT 26 [1975]: 401-9.) Here the phrase refers to the Jewish leaders.

35 sn When the disciples recognized Jesus (now referred to as the Lord, cf. Mary’s words in v. 18) they were suddenly overcome with joy. This was a fulfillment of Jesus’ words to the disciples in the Farewell Discourse (16:20-22) that they would have sorrow while the world rejoiced, but that their sorrow would be turned to lasting joy when they saw him again.

36 tn Grk “said to them.”

37 sn He breathed on them and said,Receive the Holy Spirit.” The use of the Greek verb breathed on (ἐμφυσάω, emfusaw) to describe the action of Jesus here recalls Gen 2:7 in the LXX, where “the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” This time, however, it is Jesus who is breathing the breath-Spirit of eternal life, life from above, into his disciples (cf. 3:3-10). Furthermore there is the imagery of Ezek 37:1-14, the prophecy concerning the resurrection of the dry bones: In 37:9 the Son of Man is told to prophesy to the “wind-breath-Spirit” to come and breathe on the corpses, so that they will live again. In 37:14 the Lord promised, “I will put my Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you in your own land.” In terms of ultimate fulfillment the passage in Ezek 37 looks at the regeneration of Israel immediately prior to the establishment of the messianic kingdom. The author saw in what Jesus did for the disciples at this point a partial and symbolic fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy, much as Peter made use of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32 in his sermon on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:17-21. What then did Jesus do for the disciples in John 20:22? It appears that in light of the symbolism of the new creation present here, as well as the regeneration symbolism from the Ezek 37 passage, that Jesus at this point breathed into the disciples the breath of eternal life. This was in the form of the Holy Spirit, who was to indwell them. It is instructive to look again at 7:38-39, which states, “Just as the scripture says, ‘Out from within him will flow rivers of living water.’ (Now he said this about the Spirit whom those who believed in him were going to receive; for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”) But now in 20:22 Jesus was glorified, so the Spirit could be given. Had the disciples not believed in Jesus before? It seems clear that they had, since their belief is repeatedly affirmed, beginning with 2:11. But it also seems clear that even on the eve of the crucifixion, they did not understand the necessity of the cross (16:31-33). And even after the crucifixion, the disciples had not realized that there was going to be a resurrection (20:9). Ultimate recognition of who Jesus was appears to have come to them only after the postresurrection appearances (note the response of Thomas, who was not present at this incident, in v. 28). Finally, what is the relation of this incident in 20:22 to the account of the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2? It appears best to view these as two separate events which have two somewhat different purposes. This was the giving of life itself, which flowed out from within (cf. 7:38-39). The giving of power would occur later, on the day of Pentecost – power to witness and carry out the mission the disciples had been given. (It is important to remember that in the historical unfolding of God’s program for the church, these events occurred in a chronological sequence which, after the church has been established, is not repeatable today.)

38 tn Grk “they are forgiven to them.” The words “to them” are unnecessary in English and somewhat redundant.

39 sn The statement by Jesus about forgive or retaining anyone’s sins finds its closest parallel in Matt 16:19 and 18:18. This is probably not referring to apostolic power to forgive or retain the sins of individuals (as it is sometimes understood), but to the “power” of proclaiming this forgiveness which was entrusted to the disciples. This is consistent with the idea that the disciples are to carry on the ministry of Jesus after he has departed from the world and returned to the Father, a theme which occurred in the Farewell Discourse (cf. 15:27, 16:1-4, and 17:18).

40 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author; Didymus means “the twin” in Greek.

41 tn Grk “but he said to them.”

42 tn Or “marks.”

43 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context. The use of “it” here as direct object of the verb πιστεύσω (pisteusw) specifies exactly what Thomas was refusing to believe: that Jesus had risen from the dead, as reported by his fellow disciples. Otherwise the English reader may be left with the impression Thomas was refusing to “believe in” Jesus, or “believe Jesus to be the Christ.” The dramatic tension in this narrative is heightened when Thomas, on seeing for himself the risen Christ, believes more than just the resurrection (see John 20:28).

44 tn Grk “were inside”; the word “together” is implied.

45 tn Grk “the doors were shut”; “locked” conveys a more appropriate idea for the modern English reader.

sn See the note on the phrase locked the doors in 20:19.

46 tn Or “Extend” or “Reach out.” The translation “put” or “reach out” for φέρω (ferw) here is given in BDAG 1052 s.v. 4.

47 tn Grk “see.” The Greek verb ἴδε (ide) is often used like its cognate ἰδού (idou) in Hellenistic Greek (which is “used to emphasize the …importance of someth.” [BDAG 468 s.v. ἰδού 1.b.ε]).

48 tn Or “reach out” or “put.”

49 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

50 tn Grk “and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

51 tn Grk “answered and said to him.”

52 sn Should Thomas’ exclamation be understood as two subjects with the rest of the sentence omitted (“My Lord and my God has truly risen from the dead”), as predicate nominatives (“You are my Lord and my God”), or as vocatives (“My Lord and my God!”)? Probably the most likely is something between the second and third alternatives. It seems that the second is slightly more likely here, because the context appears confessional. Thomas’ statement, while it may have been an exclamation, does in fact confess the faith which he had previously lacked, and Jesus responds to Thomas’ statement in the following verse as if it were a confession. With the proclamation by Thomas here, it is difficult to see how any more profound analysis of Jesus’ person could be given. It echoes 1:1 and 1:14 together: The Word was God, and the Word became flesh (Jesus of Nazareth). The Fourth Gospel opened with many other titles for Jesus: the Lamb of God (1:29, 36); the Son of God (1:34, 49); Rabbi (1:38); Messiah (1:41); the King of Israel (1:49); the Son of Man (1:51). Now the climax is reached with the proclamation by Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” and the reader has come full circle from 1:1, where the author had introduced him to who Jesus was, to 20:28, where the last of the disciples has come to the full realization of who Jesus was. What Jesus had predicted in John 8:28 had come to pass: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he” (Grk “I am”). By being lifted up in crucifixion (which led in turn to his death, resurrection, and exaltation with the Father) Jesus has revealed his true identity as both Lord (κύριος [kurios], used by the LXX to translate Yahweh) and God (θεός [qeos], used by the LXX to translate Elohim).

53 tn Grk “are those.”

54 tn Some translations treat πιστεύσαντες (pisteusante") as a gnomic aorist (timeless statement) and thus equivalent to an English present tense: “and yet believe” (RSV). This may create an effective application of the passage to the modern reader, but the author is probably thinking of those people who had already believed without the benefit of seeing the risen Jesus, on the basis of reports by others or because of circumstantial evidence (see John 20:8).

55 tn Or “did.”

56 tc ‡ Although most mss, including several important ones (Ì66 א C D L W Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï lat), read αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) after τῶν μαθητῶν (twn maqhtwn, “the disciples”), the pronoun is lacking in A B K Δ 0250 al. The weight of the witnesses for the inclusion is somewhat stronger than that for the exclusion. However, the addition of “his” to “disciples” is a frequent scribal emendation and as such is a predictable variant. It is thus most likely that the shorter reading is authentic. NA27 puts the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.

57 tn Grk “are not written.”

58 sn The author mentions many other miraculous signs performed by Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in the Gospel. What are these signs the author of the Gospel has in mind? One can only speculate. The author says they were performed in the presence of the disciples, which emphasizes again their role as witnesses (cf. 15:27). The point here is that the author has been selective in his use of material. He has chosen to record those incidents from the life and ministry of Jesus which supported his purpose in writing the Gospel. Much which might be of tremendous interest, but does not directly contribute to that purpose in writing, he has omitted. The author explains his purpose in writing in the following verse.

59 tn Grk “these things.”

60 tn Grk “are written.”

61 tc ‡ A difficult textual variant is present at this point in the Greek text. Some mss (Ì66vid א* B Θ 0250 pc) read the present subjunctive πιστεύητε (pisteuhte) after ἵνα (Jina; thus NEB text, “that you may hold the faith”) while others (א2 A C D L W Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï) read the aorist subjunctive πιστεύσητε (pisteushte) after ἵνα (cf. NEB margin, “that you may come to believe”). As reflected by the renderings of the NEB text and margin, it is often assumed that the present tense would suggest ongoing belief (i.e., the Fourth Gospel primarily addressed those who already believed, and was intended to strengthen their faith), while the aorist tense would speak of coming to faith (i.e., John’s Gospel was primarily evangelistic in nature). Both textual variants enjoy significant ms support, although the present subjunctive has somewhat superior witnesses on its behalf. On internal grounds it is hard to decide which is more likely the original. Many resolve this issue on the basis of a reconstruction of the overall purpose of the Gospel, viz., whether it is addressed to unbelievers or believers. However, since elsewhere in the Gospel of John (1) the present tense can refer to both initial faith and continuation in the faith and (2) the aorist tense simply refrains from commenting on the issue, it is highly unlikely that the distinction here would be determinative for the purpose of the Fourth Gospel. The question of purpose cannot be resolved by choosing one textual variant over the other in 20:31, but must be decided on other factors. Nevertheless, if a choice has to be made, the present subjunctive is the preferred reading. NA27 puts the aorist’s sigma in brackets, thus representing both readings virtually equally (so TCGNT 220).

62 tn Or “Jesus is the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).

sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.

63 sn John 20:31. A major question concerning this verse, the purpose statement of the Gospel of John, is whether the author is writing primarily for an audience of unbelievers, with purely evangelistic emphasis, or whether he envisions an audience of believers, whom he wants to strengthen in their faith. Several points are important in this discussion: (1) in the immediate context (20:30), the other signs spoken of by the author were performed in the presence of disciples; (2) in the case of the first of the signs, at Cana, the author makes a point of the effect the miracle had on the disciples (2:11); (3) if the primary thrust of the Gospel is toward unbelievers, it is difficult to see why so much material in chaps. 13-17 (the last meal and Farewell Discourse, concluding with Jesus’ prayer for the disciples), which deals almost exclusively with the disciples, is included; (4) the disciples themselves were repeatedly said to have believed in Jesus throughout the Gospel, beginning with 2:11, yet they still needed to believe after the resurrection (if Thomas’ experience in 20:27-28 is any indication); and (5) the Gospel appears to be written with the assumption that the readers are familiar with the basic story (or perhaps with one or more of the synoptic gospel accounts, although this is less clear). Thus no account of the birth of Jesus is given at all, and although he is identified as being from Nazareth, the words of the Pharisees and chief priests to Nicodemus (7:52) are almost certainly to be taken as ironic, assuming the reader knows where Jesus was really from. Likewise, when Mary is identified in 11:2 as the one who anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, it is apparently assumed that the readers are familiar with the story, since the incident involved is not mentioned in the Fourth Gospel until 12:3. These observations must be set over against the clear statement of purpose in the present verse, 20:31, which seems to have significant evangelistic emphasis. In addition to this there is the repeated emphasis on witness throughout the Fourth Gospel (cf. the witness of John the Baptist in 1:7, 8, 15, 32, and 34, along with 5:33; the Samaritan woman in 4:39; Jesus’ own witness, along with that of the Father who sent him, in 8:14, 18, and 18:37; the disciples themselves in 15:27; and finally the testimony of the author himself in 19:35 and 21:24). In light of all this evidence it seems best to say that the author wrote with a dual purpose: (1) to witness to unbelievers concerning Jesus, in order that they come to believe in him and have eternal life; and (2) to strengthen the faith of believers, by deepening and expanding their understanding of who Jesus is.

64 tn The time reference indicated by μετὰ ταῦτα (meta tauta) is indefinite, in comparison with the specific “after eight days” (μεθ᾿ ἡμέρας ὀκτώ, meqJhmera" oktw) between the two postresurrection appearances of Jesus in 20:26.

65 sn The Sea of Tiberias is another name for the Sea of Galilee (see 6:1).

66 tn Grk “how he revealed himself.”

67 tn Grk “and Thomas.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements of a series.

68 sn Didymus means “the twin” in Greek.

69 tn Grk “and Nathanael.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements of a series.

70 map For location see Map1 C3; Map2 D2; Map3 C5.

71 tn Grk “and the sons.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements of a series.

72 sn The sons of Zebedee were James and John.

73 sn The two other disciples who are not named may have been Andrew and Philip, who are mentioned together in John 6:7-8 and 12:22.

74 tn Grk “they said to him.”

75 tn The word προσφάγιον (prosfagion) is unusual. According to BDAG 886 s.v. in Hellenistic Greek it described a side dish to be eaten with bread, and in some contexts was the equivalent of ὄψον (oyon), “fish.” Used in addressing a group of returning fishermen, however, it is quite clear that the speaker had fish in mind.

76 tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end in English (here the tag is “do you?”).

77 tn Grk “They answered him.”

78 tn The word “some” is not in the Greek text but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

79 tn The words “the net” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

80 tn Grk “the disciple, that one whom.”

81 sn On the disciple whom Jesus loved see 13:23-26.

82 tn Grk “for he was naked.” Peter’s behavior here has been puzzling to many interpreters. It is usually understood that the Greek word γυμνός (gumnos, usually translated “naked”) does not refer to complete nudity (as it could), since this would have been offensive to Jewish sensibilities in this historical context. It is thus commonly understood to mean “stripped for work” here (cf. NASB, NLT), that is, with one’s outer clothing removed, and Peter was wearing either a loincloth or a loose-fitting tunic (a long shirt-like garment worn under a cloak, cf. NAB, “for he was lightly clad”). Believing himself inadequately dressed to greet the Lord, Peter threw his outer garment around himself and dived into the sea. C. K. Barrett (St. John, 580-81) offered the explanation that a greeting was a religious act and thus could not be performed unless one was clothed. This still leaves the improbable picture of a person with much experience around the water putting on his outer garment before diving in. R. E. Brown’s suggestion (John [AB], 2:1072) seems much more probable here: The Greek verb used (διαζώννυμι, diazwnnumi) does not necessarily mean putting clothing on, but rather tying the clothing around oneself (the same verb is used in 13:4-5 of Jesus tying the towel around himself). The statement that Peter was “naked” could just as well mean that he was naked underneath the outer garment, and thus could not take it off before jumping into the water. But he did pause to tuck it up and tie it with the girdle before jumping in, to allow himself more freedom of movement. Thus the clause that states Peter was naked is explanatory (note the use of for), explaining why Peter girded up his outer garment rather than taking it off – he had nothing on underneath it and so could not remove it.

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

83 tn Grk “threw himself.”

84 tn Or “about a hundred meters”; Grk “about two hundred cubits.” According to BDAG 812 s.v., a πῆχυς (phcu") was about 18 inches or .462 meters, so two hundred πηχῶν (phcwn) would be about 100 yards (92.4 meters).

85 tn The words “on the beach” are not in the Greek text but are implied.

86 tn Grk “placed,” “laid.”

87 tn Grk “said to them.”

88 tn The words “It was” are not in the Greek text. Here a new sentence was begun in the translation in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences. For this reason the words “It was” had to be supplied.

89 sn Here the author makes two further points about the catch of fish: (1) there were one hundred fifty-three large fish in the net, and (2) even with so many, the net was not torn. Many symbolic interpretations have been proposed for both points (unity, especially, in the case of the second), but the reader is given no explicit clarification in the text itself. It seems better not to speculate here, but to see these details as indicative of an eyewitness account. Both are the sort of thing that would remain in the mind of a person who had witnessed them firsthand. For a summary of the symbolic interpretations proposed for the number of fish in the net, see R. E. Brown (John [AB], 2:1074-75), where a number are discussed at length. Perhaps the reader is simply to understand this as the abundance which results from obedience to Jesus, much as with the amount of wine generated in the water jars in Cana at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry (2:6).

90 tn Grk “said to them.” The words “to them” are omitted because it is clear in context to whom Jesus was speaking, and the words are slightly redundant in English.

91 tc The majority of mss (A C2 Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï sy) read “Simon, the son of Jonah” here and in vv. 16 and 17, but these are perhaps assimilations to Matt 16:17. The reading “Simon, son of John” is better attested, being found in א1 (א* only has “Simon” without mention of his father) B C* D L W lat co.

92 tn To whom (or what) does “these” (τούτων, toutwn) refer? Three possibilities are suggested: (1) τούτων should be understood as neuter, “these things,” referring to the boats, nets, and fishing gear nearby. In light of Peter’s statement in 21:3, “I am going fishing,” some have understood Peter to have renounced his commission in light of his denials of Jesus. Jesus, as he restores Peter and forgives him for his denials, is asking Peter if he really loves his previous vocation more than he loves Jesus. Three things may be said in evaluation of this view: (a) it is not at all necessary to understand Peter’s statement in 21:3 as a renouncement of his discipleship, as this view of the meaning of τούτων would imply; (b) it would probably be more likely that the verb would be repeated in such a construction (see 7:31 for an example where the verb is repeated); and (c) as R. E. Brown has observed (John [AB], 2:1103) by Johannine standards the choice being offered to Peter between material things and the risen Jesus would seem rather ridiculous, especially after the disciples had realized whom it was they were dealing with (the Lord, see v. 12). (2) τούτων refers to the other disciples, meaning “Do you love me more than you love these other disciples?” The same objection mentioned as (c) under (1) would apply here: Could the author, in light of the realization of who Jesus is which has come to the disciples after the resurrection, and which he has just mentioned in 21:12, seriously present Peter as being offered a choice between the other disciples and the risen Jesus? This leaves option (3), that τούτων refers to the other disciples, meaning “Do you love me more than these other disciples do?” It seems likely that there is some irony here: Peter had boasted in 13:37, “I will lay down my life for you,” and the synoptics present Peter as boasting even more explicitly of his loyalty to Jesus (“Even if they all fall away, I will not,” Matt 26:33; Mark 14:29). Thus the semantic force of what Jesus asks Peter here amounts to something like “Now, after you have denied me three times, as I told you you would, can you still affirm that you love me more than these other disciples do?” The addition of the auxiliary verb “do” in the translation is used to suggest to the English reader the third interpretation, which is the preferred one.

93 tn Grk “He said to him.”

94 tn Is there a significant difference in meaning between the two words for love used in the passage, ἀγαπάω and φιλέω (agapaw and filew)? Aside from Origen, who saw a distinction in the meaning of the two words, most of the Greek Fathers like Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria, saw no real difference of meaning. Neither did Augustine nor the translators of the Itala (Old Latin). This was also the view of the Reformation Greek scholars Erasmus and Grotius. The suggestion that a distinction in meaning should be seen comes primarily from a number of British scholars of the 19th century, especially Trench, Westcott, and Plummer. It has been picked up by others such as Spicq, Lenski, and Hendriksen. But most modern scholars decline to see a real difference in the meaning of the two words in this context, among them Bernard, Moffatt, Bonsirven, Bultmann, Barrett, Brown, Morris, Haenchen, and Beasley-Murray. There are three significant reasons for seeing no real difference in the meaning of ἀγαπάω and φιλέω in these verses: (1) the author has a habit of introducing slight stylistic variations in repeated material without any significant difference in meaning (compare, for example, 3:3 with 3:5, and 7:34 with 13:33). An examination of the uses of ἀγαπάω and φιλέω in the Fourth Gospel seems to indicate a general interchangeability between the two. Both terms are used of God’s love for man (3:16, 16:27); of the Father’s love for the Son (3:35, 5:20); of Jesus’ love for men (11:5, 11:3); of the love of men for men (13:34, 15:19); and of the love of men for Jesus (8:42, 16:27). (2) If (as seems probable) the original conversation took place in Aramaic (or possibly Hebrew), there would not have been any difference expressed because both Aramaic and Hebrew have only one basic word for love. In the LXX both ἀγαπάω and φιλέω are used to translate the same Hebrew word for love, although ἀγαπάω is more frequent. It is significant that in the Syriac version of the NT only one verb is used to translate vv. 15-17 (Syriac is very similar linguistically to Palestinian Aramaic). (3) Peter’s answers to the questions asked with ἀγαπάω are ‘yes’ even though he answers using the verb φιλέω. If he is being asked to love Jesus on a higher or more spiritual level his answers give no indication of this, and one would be forced to say (in order to maintain a consistent distinction between the two verbs) that Jesus finally concedes defeat and accepts only the lower form of love which is all that Peter is capable of offering. Thus it seems best to regard the interchange between ἀγαπάω and φιλέω in these verses as a minor stylistic variation of the author, consistent with his use of minor variations in repeated material elsewhere, and not indicative of any real difference in meaning. Thus no attempt has been made to distinguish between the two Greek words in the translation.

95 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

96 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

97 tn Grk “said again.” The word “again” (when used in connection with the phrase “a second time”) is redundant and has not been translated.

98 tn Grk “He said to him.”

99 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

100 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

101 tn Grk “said to him.” The words “to him” are clear from the context and slightly redundant in English.

102 tn Or “was sad.”

103 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

104 tn Grk “said to.”

105 tn Grk “and said to him.” The words “to him” are clear from the context and slightly redundant in English.

106 tc ‡ Most witnesses, especially later ones (A Θ Ψ Ë13 Ï), read ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς (Jo Ihsou", “Jesus”) here, while B C have ᾿Ιησοῦς without the article and א D W Ë1 33 565 al lat lack both. Because of the rapid verbal exchange in this pericope, “Jesus” is virtually required for clarity, providing a temptation to scribes to add the name. Further, the name normally occurs with the article. Although it is possible that B C accidentally omitted the article with the name, it is just as likely that they added the simple name to the text for clarity’s sake, while other witnesses added the article as well. The omission of ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς thus seems most likely to be authentic. NA27 includes the words in brackets, indicating some doubts as to their authenticity.

tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

107 tn Grk “Jesus said to him.”

108 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

109 tn Or “you girded yourself.”

110 tn Grk “others will gird you.”

111 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

112 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Peter) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

113 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. The phrase by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God almost certainly indicates martyrdom (cf. 1 Pet 4:16), and it may not predict anything more than that. But the parallelism of this phrase to similar phrases in John 12:33 and 18:32 which describe Jesus’ own death by crucifixion have led many to suggest that the picture Jesus is portraying for Peter looks not just at martyrdom but at death by crucifixion. This seems to be confirmed by the phrase you will stretch out your hands in the preceding verse. There is some evidence that the early church understood this and similar phrases (one of them in Isa 65:2) to refer to crucifixion (for a detailed discussion of the evidence see L. Morris, John [NICNT], 876, n. 52). Some have objected that if this phrase does indeed refer to crucifixion, the order within v. 18 is wrong, because the stretching out of the hands in crucifixion precedes the binding and leading where one does not wish to go. R. E. Brown (John [AB], 2:1108) sees this as a deliberate reversal of the normal order (hysteron proteron) intended to emphasize the stretching out of the hands. Another possible explanation for the unusual order is the Roman practice in crucifixions of tying the condemned prisoner’s arms to the crossbeam (patibulum) and forcing him to carry it to the place of execution (W. Bauer as cited by O. Cullmann in Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr [LHD], 88).

114 tn Grk “After he said this, he said to him”; the referents (first Jesus, second Peter) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

115 tn The word “them” is not in the Greek text but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

116 tn The words “This was the disciple” are not in the Greek text, but are supplied for clarity.

117 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

118 tn Grk “and said.”

119 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

120 tn Grk “saw this one.”

121 tn Grk “Jesus said to him.”

122 tn Grk “to stay” or “to remain”; but since longevity is the issue in the context, “to live” conveys the idea more clearly.

123 tn The word “back” is supplied to clarify the meaning.

124 tn Grk “went out.”

125 tn Grk “the brothers,” but here the term refers to more than just the immediate disciples of Jesus (as it does in 20:17). Here, as R. E. Brown notes (John [AB], 2:1110), it refers to Christians of the Johannine community (which would include both men and women).

126 tn Grk “to stay” or “to remain”; but since longevity is the issue in the context, “to live” conveys the idea more clearly.

127 tn The word “back” is supplied to clarify the meaning.

128 tn Grk “written”; the word “down” is supplied in keeping with contemporary English idiom.

129 tn Grk “the world itself.”

130 tc Although the majority of mss (C2 Θ Ψ Ë13 Ï lat) conclude this Gospel with ἀμήν (amhn, “amen”), such a conclusion is routinely added by scribes to NT books because a few of these books originally had such an ending (cf. Rom 16:27; Gal 6:18; Jude 25). A majority of Greek witnesses have the concluding ἀμήν in every NT book except Acts, James, and 3 John (and even in these books, ἀμήν is found in some witnesses). It is thus a predictable variant. Further, excellent and early witnesses, as well as a few others (א A B C*,3 D W 1 33 pc it), lack the particle, rendering no doubt as to how this Gospel originally ended.

sn The author concludes the Gospel with a note concerning his selectivity of material. He makes it plain that he has not attempted to write an exhaustive account of the words and works of Jesus, for if one attempted to do so, “the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” This is clearly hyperbole, and as such bears some similarity to the conclusion of the Book of Ecclesiastes (12:9-12). As it turns out, the statement seems more true of the Fourth Gospel itself, which is the subject of an ever-lengthening bibliography. The statement in v. 25 serves as a final reminder that knowledge of Jesus, no matter how well-attested it may be, is still partial. Everything that Jesus did during his three and one-half years of earthly ministry is not known. This supports the major theme of the Fourth Gospel: Jesus is repeatedly identified as God, and although he may be truly known on the basis of his self-disclosure, he can never be known exhaustively. There is far more to know about Jesus than could ever be written down, or even known. On this appropriate note the Gospel of John ends.



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