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  Discovery Box

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 involve