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John - Chapter 20

Bible Study Notes

John 20:1-10 According to John’s gospel, when Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty the next morning, she ran to tell Peter and John that someone had taken the body and put it somewhere else. Peter and John had a foot race to the tomb, but John getting their first, peeked inside at the linen cloths lying there, but did not go in. Peter arrived but entered inside the tomb. He noticed that the face cloth was lying in a different place, even folded up. John entered and then immediately believed what Jesus said, that He would rise from the dead.

Notes: Perhaps the reason why Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene was to demonstrate grace by his personal, loving faithfulness to someone who formerly had a sordid past; but clearly also because she loved him so dearly and deeply, that she appeared before anyone else at the tomb. Her purpose in coming was to finish the preparation of Jesus’ body for burial by bringing more spices to anoint the corpse.

John 20:11-16 Mary Magdalene followed Peter and John back to the tomb, but stayed outside weeping. After Peter and John left, she too entered the tomb, but she saw two angels who asked why she wept. Mary repeated what she told Peter and John thinking that Jesus simply was lain somewhere else, but when she turned around Jesus was standing right there, but she didn’t recognize Him. Jesus asked Mary the question the angels asked. Mary replied, thinking that Jesus was the one who took the body (the gardener), asked where he took Him. When Jesus said Mary’s name, she immediately recognized the voice of her Savior.

John 20:17-18 Mary was expressing a desire to hold on to his physical presence for fear that she would once again lose him. Jesus’ reference to his ascension signifies that he would only be temporarily with them and though she desperately wanted him to stay, he could not. Jesus was with them only for 40 more days and then he ascended.

John 20:19-21 Later that evening, Jesus appeared to the disciples who were hiding out behind locked doors in some room in some house. Jesus told them to have peace and showed them his hands and feet that still showed the nail marks, and they were glad too that Jesus was alive. Jesus said that it was now time for Him to send the disciples out into the world to spread the good news.

John 20:22-23 When Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” it is best understood as a foretaste of what would happen when the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld: Since God can only forgive sins, a possible explanation is as the church proclaims the gospel message of forgiveness of sins in the power of the Holy Spirit, it proclaims that those who believe in Jesus have their sins forgiven, and that those who do not believe in him do not have their sins forgiven—which simply reflects what God in heaven has already done. In other words, Jesus was saying that the believer can boldly declare the certainty of a sinner’s forgiveness by the Father because of the work of his Son if that sinner has repented and believed the gospel. The believer with certainty can also tell those who do not respond to the message of God’s forgiveness through faith in Christ that their sins, as a result, are not forgiven.

John 20:24-25 Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared to the other disciples, but when the disciples told Thomas that they saw Jesus, he said He wouldn’t believe unless he saw Jesus and examined His death wounds.

John 20:28-29 Eight days later, Jesus appeared again, but this time Thomas was with them. Jesus conversed immediately with Thomas and told him to go ahead and examine his death wounds and said to believe. Without any more doubt, Thomas believed fully that Jesus was Lord and God. Jesus said, yes, you believe now because you see me, but what of the millions in the next 2000+ years who will never see me? Blessed are those that will believe based on hearing the good news only.

John 20:30-31 John testifies that Jesus did and said a ton more stuff than what he recorded in his gospel account, but what he did write should be enough for us to believe, like Thomas, that Jesus is Lord and God, so that by believing we will have Eternal Life.

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