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��JOHN 20

JOHN 20

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4 NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Resurrection of Jesus The Empty Tomb The Resurrection The Empty Tomb The empty Tomb
20:1-10 20:1-10 20:1-10 20:1-10 20:1-2
        20:3-10
The Appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord   Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene The Appearance to Mary Magdalene
20:11-18 20:11-18 20:11-18 20:11-13a 20:11-18
      20:13b  
      20:14-15a  
      20:15b  
      20:16a  
      20:16b  
      20:17  
      20:18  
The Appearance of Jesus to the Disciples The Apostles Commissioned   Jesus Appears to His Disciples Appearances to the Disciples
20:19-23 20:19-23 20:19-23 20:19-23 20:19-23
Jesus and Thomas Seeing and Believing   Jesus and Thomas  
20:24-29 20:24-29 20:24-29 20:24-25a 20:24-29
      20:25b  
      20:26-27  
      20:28  
      20:29  
The Purpose of the Book That You May Believe   The Purpose of the Book First Conclusion
20:30-31 20:30-31 20:30-31 20:30-31 20:30-31

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Third paragraph, etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS TO VERSES 1-29

A. Every promise that Jesus made to the Apostles in John 14-17 was fulfilled on the evening of the first resurrection Sunday. See note at John 16:20.

 

B. The Gospel accounts differ in the details surrounding the resurrection because

1. they are eyewitness accounts

2. years had passed

3. each wrote to a select target group and emphasized different things (cf. Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24)

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

�JOHN 20:1-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: JOHN 20:1-10
 1Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2So 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." 3So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6So Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

20:1 "on the first day of the week" This was Sunday, the first work day following the high Sabbath of Passover week, when the first fruits were offered in the Temple. Jesus was the first fruits of the dead (cf. 1 Cor.15:23). Jesus' appearances on three successive Sunday nights set the stage for believers worshiping on Sundays (cf. John 20:19, 26; Luke 24:36ff; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

Special Topic: Sabbath

▣ "Mary of Magdalene" This was one of several women who accompanied Jesus and the Apostles. In Galilee Jesus had delivered her from several demons (cf. Mark 16:9 and Luke 8:2). She was present at the crucifixion. See notes at John 19:25.

Although John's Gospel does not state the purpose of Mary's visit, Mark 16:1 and Luke 23:56 mention that several women (cf. John 20:2) came early to anoint Jesus' body with spices. Apparently they did not know of Joseph and Nicodemus' anointing or thought it needed to be supplemented.

Special Topic: The Women Who Followed Jesus

▣ "while it was still dark" Apparently she and the others had left home while it was still dark, but by the time they arrived it was dawn (cf. Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2).

▣ "the stone already taken away from the tomb" Literally this is "taken out" (PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE) from its groove (cf. Matt. 28:2). Remember the stone was removed to let the eyewitnesses into the tomb, not to let Jesus out. His new resurrection body did not have the physical limits of His earthly body (i.e., John 20:19,26).

20:2 "So she ran" Apparently she left the empty tomb early to tell the disciples about Jesus not being there (cf. Matt. 28:5).

▣ "the other disciple whom Jesus loved" This Greek word for love is phileō which has the connotation of "brotherly love." However in the Koine Greek (300 B.C. ‒ A.D. 300) it was being used synonymously with agapaō. The disciple mentioned seems to be John, the author of the Gospel (cf. John 20:4-8 and 13:23). Here he is linked with Peter.

▣ "They have taken away the Lord" This is an AORIST ACTIVE INDICATIVEaorist active indicative (i.e., completed action). Jesus was gone. In Mary's mind, "they" refers to the Jewish leaders. Apparently, the Apostles and the disciples present in the upper room were surprised by the resurrection!

▣ "we" This includes Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, Salome, Joanna and the other women (cf. Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10).

20:4 "the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first" John was probably the youngest of the Apostles (i.e., tradition).

20:5 "stooping" The tombs of this period had a low entrance about 3 to 4 feet high. One would have to bend down (cf. John 20:11) to enter the cave/dugout.

▣ "looking in" This is literally "to squint so as to see." This was because of the contrast between the morning light and the darkened tomb.

▣ "the linen wrappings lying there" Where and how the bandages were lying is not specified in the Greek text. If the body was stolen, the bandages would have been taken also because the spices acted like a glue!

20:6 "Simon Peter" Simon (Cephas) was his Hebrew (Aramaic) name, while Peter (Petros) was his Greek name given to him by Jesus. In Greek it meant "a detached stone or boulder" (cf. Matt. 16:18). In Aramaic there is no distinction between Petros and Petra.

Special Topic: Peter

20:7 "face-cloth" The face was wrapped with a separate cloth (cf. John 11:44). It is possible that this handkerchief was used to

  1. lay over the face
  2. wrap the face (cf. NJB)
  3. tie the jaw lightly in place (cf. TEV)

▣ "but rolled up in a place by itself" This is another PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE which implies that special care was taken by someone to fold it. This is apparently what caught John's attention and elicited belief (John 20:8).

20:8 "he saw and believed" John saw the physical evidence and believed Jesus was alive! Belief in the resurrection becomes a crucial theological issue.

  1. Romans 10:9-13
  2. 1 Corinthians 15

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 is a good summary of the consequences if Jesus has not been raised! The resurrection became a central truth of the early apostolic sermons in Acts called the kerygma.

Special Topic: The Kerygma of the Early Church

20:9 "they did not understand the Scripture" This is another editorial comment by the author. It may refer to Ps. 16:10, which Peter quotes on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:27. However, it could refer to Isa. 53:10-12 or Hos. 6:2. The Sanhedrin understood Jesus' prediction about His resurrection (cf. Matt. 27:62-66), while the disciples did not. What irony!

This verse may have functioned theologically to reinforce the truth that the Spirit had not yet come in fullness on the disciples. The Spirit, once given, would help believers understand Jesus' words and actions (cf. John 2:22; 14:26).

20:10 This may mean

  1. they went back to Galilee (cf. Matt. 26:32; 28:7,10,16; John 21 finds them fishing in the Sea of Galilee)
  2. they went to their quarters in Jerusalem

Because the post-resurrection experiences were in the upper room, #2 is more probable.

�JOHN 20:11-18

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: JOHN 20:11-18
   11But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13And they 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." 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus 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." 16Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" 18Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her.

20:11 "weeping" This is literally "wailing" (cf. John 11:31). It is IMPERFECT TENSE which speaks of continuous action in past time. Eastern funeral practices are characteristically very emotional.

20:12 "two angels" John and Luke (24:23) agree that there were two angels. Matthew, who usually has two of everything (cf. John 8:28; 9:27; 20:30), has only one angel! This is one example of the unexplainable differences between the Gospels.

The Gospels are eyewitness accounts that select, adapt, and combine the words and works of Jesus for their own (inspired) theological purposes and target group. Modern readers often ask questions such as (1) which one of the Gospels is historically accurate or (2) seek more historical details about an event or teaching than is recorded by an individual inspired Gospel writer. Interpreters must first seek the intent of the original author as expressed in an individual Gospel. We do not need more historical detail to understand the Gospel.

▣ "in white" The spiritual realm or spiritual beings are described as wearing white.

  1. Jesus' garments at the transfiguration ‒ Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29
  2. angels at the tomb ‒ Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; John 20:12
  3. angels at the ascension ‒ Acts 1:10
  4. saints with the glorified Christ ‒ Rev. 3:4-5,18
  5. the elders (angels) around the throne of God ‒ Rev. 4:4
  6. the martyrs under the throne of God ‒ Rev. 6:11
  7. all of the redeemed ‒ Rev. 7:9,13-14 (cf. Dan. 12:10)
  8. the armies (of angels) in heaven ‒ Rev. 19:14
  9. OT imagery for forgiveness ‒ Ps. 51:7; Isa. 1:18 (symbolizing God's purity, cf. Dan. 7:9)

20:14 "did not know that it was Jesus" Mary Magdala did not recognize Jesus. The possible reasons for this are:

  1. there were tears in her eyes
  2. she was looking from the darkness to light
  3. Jesus' appearance was somewhat different (cf. Matt. 28:17 and Luke 24:16,37)

20:15 "Sir" This is the Greek word kurios. It is used here in its non-theological sense (cf. John 12:21). It can mean "sir," "mister," "master," "owner," "husband," or "Lord." Mary thought she was talking to (1) a gardener or (2) the owner of the garden.

But note its theological usage in John 20:28!

Special Topic: Lord (kurios)

Special Topic: Christ Jesus As Lord

▣ "if" This is a FIRST CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE which is assumed to be true from the speaker's perspective. She believed someone had stolen the body.

20:16 "Mary. . .Rabboni" Mary is literally Miriam. Both of these terms are Aramaic ("Hebrew" means Aramaic, cf. John 5:2; 19:13,17,20). Apparently Jesus said her name in a characteristic manner. He must have done the same type of thing when He prayed with two on the road to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24:30-31). The "I" on the end of "Rabboni" may reflect "my Rabbi," "my Master" or "my teacher."

Special Topic: Jesus' Post-Resurrection Appearances

20:17
NASB   "stop clinging to Me"
NKJV, NJB, REB   "Do not cling to Me"
NRSV, NJB   "Do not hold on to Me"
Peshitta   "Do not come near Me"

The KJV has "touch me not." This is a PRESENT MIDDLE IMPERATIVE with the NEGATIVE PARTICLE which usually means to stop an act which is already in process. Mary had grabbed Him and was holding on! This has no theological implications about touching Jesus' body before the ascension. In John 20:27 Jesus allows Thomas to touch Him and in Matt. 28:9 He allows the women to hold His feet.

▣ "I have not yet ascended" This is PERFECT ACTIVE INDICATIVE. Jesus will not ascend into heaven until 40 days after His resurrection (cf. Acts 1:9).

▣ "go to My brethren" The resurrected, glorified Lord calls these cowards "brothers" (cf. Matt. 12:50).

▣ "I am going up" This is PRESENT TENSE. This did not actually happen until forty days later while He was in their presence (cf. Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:2-3). John consistently uses the vertical dualism of "above" and "below." Jesus is from the Father (pre-existence) and He returns to the Father (glorification).

▣ "to My Father and your Father" What a marvelous statement! However, it must also be stated that this does not imply that believers' sonship is equal to Jesus' sonship. He is the unique Son of the Father (John 3:16), fully God and fully man. Believers become family members only through Him. He is both Lord, Savior, and brother!

Special Topic: Fatherhood of God

20:18 Mary is also a witness!

�JOHN 20:19-23

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: JOHN 20:19-23
   19So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23"If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."

20:19 "when it was evening on that day" Jewish time begins and ends at twilight (cf. Gen. 1:5), which here is about 6:00 P.M., on Sunday.

▣ "the first day of the week" Sunday was the first work day, like our Monday. This became the meeting day of the Church to commemorate Jesus' resurrection. He Himself set the pattern by appearing in the Upper Room three Sunday nights in a row (cf. John 20:19,26; Luke 24:36ff; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

The first-generation believers continued to meet on the Sabbath at the local synagogues and at the temple on set feast days. However, the rabbis instituted a "curse oath" that required synagogue members to reject Jesus as the Messiah (after A.D. 70). At this point they dropped the Sabbath services, but continued to meet with other believers on Sunday, the resurrection day, to commemorate Jesus' resurrection.

Special Topic: Sabbath

▣ "doors were shut" This is a PERFECT PASSIVE PARTICIPLE. The plural implies that both the downstairs and upstairs doors were locked. This was mentioned to (1) accentuate Jesus' appearance or (2) to show their fear of arrest.

▣ "the disciples" Thomas was not present. Other disciples besides the eleven Apostles were present (cf Luke 24:33).

▣ "Peace be with you" This shows their surprise, and possibly fear. Jesus had promised them peace (cf. John 14:27; 16:33). This probably reflects the Hebrew greeting shalom. Jesus repeats it three times (John 20:19,21,26).

Special Topic: Peace (NT)

20:20 "showed them both His hands and His side" John apparently focuses on the piercing of Jesus' side more than the other Gospels (cf. John 19:37; 20:25). His feet are not mentioned except in Luke 24:39 and Ps. 22:16. Jesus' glorified body retains the marks of His crucifixion (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23; Gal. 3:1).

▣ "Lord" This title is used here in its full theological sense which relates to YHWH of the OT (cf. Exod. 3:14). Applying an OT title for God the Father to Jesus was one way NT authors affirmed Jesus' full Deity.

Special Topic: Lord (kurios)

Special Topic: Christ Jesus As Lord

20:21 "as the Father has sent Me" This is a PERFECT ACTIVE INDICATIVE (cf. John 17:18). The Church has a divine mandate (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). Believers have also been sent on a sacrificial mission (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-15; 1 John 3:16).

Jesus uses two different terms for "send." In John these are synonymous. This is clearly seen in John 8, where pempō is used of Jesus' being sent by the Father (cf. John 8:16,18,26,29), yet apostellō is used in John 8:42. This same thing is true of John 5,6.

Special Topic Send (Apostellō)

20:22 "He breathed on them" This is a word play on the term "breathed." The Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma can mean "breathe," "wind," or "spirit." This same VERB in the Septuagint was used in the OT of God's creative activity in Gen. 2:7 and the revitalization of Israel in Ezek. 37:5,9. The PRONOUN "them" refers to a wider group than just the Apostles (cf. Luke 24:33).

Special Topic: Breath, Wind, Spirit

▣ "Receive the Holy Spirit" This is an AORIST ACTIVE IMPERATIVE. How this relates to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is uncertain. Jesus fulfilled everything that He promised the disciples at this first appearance. It is related to Jesus' equipping them for their new ministry assignment as the Spirit equipped Him at His baptism.

This verse was used in the early church's fight over the question of the Spirit proceeding from the Father or from the Father and the Son. In reality all three persons of the Trinity are involved in all the acts of redemption.

In A Theology of the New Testament, George Ladd summarizes the possible interpretations of this passage:

"This passage raises difficulties in the light of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, which may be solved in one of three ways. Either John did not know about Pentecost and substitutes this story so that it becomes in effect the Johannine Pentecost; or there were actually two gifts of the Spirit; or Jesus' breathing on the disciples was an acted parable promissory and anticipatory to the actual coming of the Spirit at Pentecost" (p. 289).

The footnote #24 (p. 1965) in the NET Bible asserts that this recalls Gen. 2:7 (LXX). As physical life was given in Genesis, eternal life is given in the NT. This emphasis on "the breath of God" is paralleled with Ezekiel 37, where YHWH brings new life to His people by the breath of the Spirit.

Special Topic: Spirit in the NT

20:23 "If you forgive the sins of any" These are two THIRD CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCES with an which is usually used with SECOND CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCES, not ean. This mixed condition heightens the contingency which relates both to those who share the Gospel and to those who respond by faith. Someone with the gospel knowledge chooses to share it and someone hears it and chooses to receive it. Both aspects are required. This verse does not give arbitrary authority to clergy, but wonderful life-giving power to believing witnesses! This authority was evidenced in the mission trip of the seventy during Jesus' life.

▣ "their sins have been forgiven them" This grammatical construction is a PERFECT PASSIVE INDICATIVE. The PASSIVE VOICE implies God's forgiveness, available completely through gospel proclamation. Believers have the keys of the kingdom (cf. Matt. 16:19) if they will only use them. This promise is to the Church, not individuals. This is theologically similar to "the bound and unbound" of Matt. 18:18.

�JOHN 20:24-25

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: JOHN 20:24-25
   24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

20:24 "But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus was not with them when Jesus came" Didymus in Greek means "twin" (cf. John 11:16). Often people have used this passage to call Thomas a doubter, but remember 11:16. Thomas appears more often in John's Gospel than any other Gospel (cf. John 11:16; 14:5; 20:24,26,27,28,29; 21:2).

20:25 "Unless. . .I will not believe" "Unless" is a THIRD CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCE with a strong DOUBLE NEGATIVE, "I will never, no never, believe it" without sight and touch. Jesus honored this request. Jesus worked with the faith of the disciples through (1) His miracles and (2) His predictions. Jesus' message was so radically new, He allowed them time to understand and assimilate the gospel assertions and implications.

▣ "imprint" See Special Topic: Form (tupos)

�JOHN 20:26-29

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: JOHN 20:26-29
   26After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." 27Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."

20:26 "after eight days" This is a Hebrew idiom for a week. This was another Sunday evening. Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room (possibly John Mark's house) three Sunday nights in a row and thereby set a precedent for Christian worship. See note at John 20:19.

20:27 "and do not be unbelieving, but believing" This is a PRESENT MIDDLE (deponent) IMPERATIVE with NEGATIVE PARTICLE which usually means to stop an act in process. All believers are a strange mixture of doubt and faith!

Special Topic: Faith, Believe, or Trust

20:28 Thomas' confession may be theologically related to John 20:17. Thomas' confession may have had an OT precedence in that whenever the titles YHWH Elohim (i.e., Gen. 2:4) occurred together, the name is translated "Lord God." Jesus fully accepts this shocking affirmation of His Deity. From John 1:1, John's Gospel asserts the Deity of Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus claimed deity several times in John (cf. John 8:58; 10:30; 14:9; 20:28) and the author asserts His deity in John 1:1,14-18; 5:18. Other biblical authors also clearly assert that Jesus is divine (cf. Acts 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6-7; Col. 1:15-17; 2 Thess. 1:12; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8; 2 Pet. 1:1,11; 1 John 5:20).

20:29 This opening phrase can be a statement or a question expecting a "yes" answer. The grammatical structure is ambiguous. This is similar to the blessing in John 17:20 (cf. 1 Pet. 1:8).

�JOHN 20:30-31

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: JOHN 20:30-31
   30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

20:30 John 20:30-31 is obviously the theme and purpose of the Gospel. It is an evangelistic tract! The Gospel writers, under inspiration, had the right and God-given ability to select, arrange, and adapt and summarize Jesus' acts and words to clearly communicate to selected audiences, Jews, Romans, and Gentiles, the great truths about Jesus. The NT is not a Christian Talmud.

Carl F. H. Henry, in the opening article entitled "The Authority and Inspiration of the Bible" in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 1 says:

"The Bible does not aim to present a complete chronology of events, whether it deals with creation narrative or with salvation history, including incarnation history. But the stated purpose of the biblical writings is to give man all that is necessary and sufficient for his redemptive rescue and obedient service of his Maker. Though the biblical writers sometimes view the one saving work of God from various angles and for differing purposes, what they tell us is reliable and adequate. Matthew subordinates much of the chronology of the ministry of Jesus to a topical arrangement serviceable for instruction. Luke omits much of the material contained in Mark in what is still an orderly account that bulwarks catechetical indoctrination (cf. John 1:4). John openly comments on the radical selectivity that underlies the fourth Gospel (20:30,31)" (pp. 27-28).

▣ "many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples" These "signs" can be understood in several ways.

  1. the signs that He was truly alive
    1. their touching his wounds
    2. His eating with them (cf. Luke 24:43)
  2. special unrecorded signs done in the upper room in their presence
  3. a reference to His life's work (focusing on the past) preparing them to record the Gospels (cf. Luke 24:46-48)
20:31
NASB, NKJV, TEV, NJB, Peshitta   "that you may believe"
NRSV   "that you may come to believe"

Some early Greek manuscripts, P66, א*, B2, and the Greek text used by Origen, have a PRESENT SUBJUNCTIVE, which would imply that John was written to encourage believers to continue in the faith.

Other Greek uncial manuscripts (i.e., אi2, A, C, D, L, N, W) have an AORIST SUBJUNCTIVE, which would imply that John was writing to unbelievers. UBS4 puts the AORIST in the text but gives it a "C" rating (difficulty in deciding). This verse is the stated purpose of the Gospel. John is, like the other Gospels, an evangelistic tract.

Special Topic: Faith, Believe, or Trust

▣ "the Christ" This is the Greek translation of the Hebrew term "Messiah" which is literally "an anointed One." It was the OT descendant of David who was prophesied to bring in the new age of righteousness. Jesus of Nazareth (cf. John 1:45) is the Jewish Messiah (cf. John 11:27).

This designation for Jesus is found early in the Gospel (cf. John 1:41). However, the title "Lord," not "Messiah," was the normal title used for Jesus in Gentile contexts (cf. Rom. 10:9-13; Phil. 2:9-11).

The concept of "Messiah" had eschatological implications

  1. to the Pharisees it had political, national expectations
  2. in Apocalyptic Jewish literature it had cosmic, universal expectations

Special Topic: Messiah

Special Topic: Christ Jesus As Lord

▣ "the Son of God" This title is used sparingly in the Synoptics (perhaps because of possible misunderstanding by Gentiles), but used early in John (cf. John 1:14,34,49). It was John's way of asserting the unique relationship between Jesus and the Father (use of huios). John uses this familial metaphor in several ways.

  1. a title
  2. in connection with "the only begotten" (monogenēs, cf. John 1:18; 3:16; 1 John 4:9)
  3. in combination with the use of the title "Father" (cf. John 20:17)

Special Topic: The Son of God

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Who came to the tomb? When? Why?

2. Why had the disciples not expected the resurrection? Did anyone expect it?

3. Why did Mary not recognize Jesus?

4. Why did Jesus tell Mary not to cling to Him?

5. Explain John 20:22-23 in your own words.

6. Is it fair to call Thomas a doubter?

7. Define the word "believe" as it was understood in Jesus' day, not ours.

 

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