20:1 Early on the first day of the week [day after Sabbath; Sunday], while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene [devoted follower of Jesus] went to the tomb and saw that the stone [heavy/circular; placed over mouth of tomb; sealed as per Matt. 27:66] had been removed [Gr. airo: pick up and carry away] from the entrance [Matt. 28:2].
Note: Someone noted that the stone was not removed to let Jesus out but to let the world in. Note the words that describe the position of the stone.
• Matt. 27:60 — kulio: “to roll”
• Mark 16:3,4 — anakulio: “to roll up / upward”
• Luke 24:2 — apokulio: “separation in sense of distance, thus rolled away”
20:2 So she [Mary] came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple [staying in the vicinity of Jerusalem], the one Jesus loved [see John 21:20-24], and said, “They [perhaps reference to Jesus’ enemies] have taken the Lord out of the tomb [women suspected grave robbery], and we do not know where they have put Him.”
20:3 So Peter and the other disciple started [indication they had no knowledge of the whereabouts of Jesus’ body] for the tomb.
20:4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
20:5 He bent over and looked [Greek blepo: “to glance at something”] in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
20:6 The Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw [Greek theoreo: “to take careful notice; to contemplate”] the strips of linen lying there [like an empty cocoon retaining the shape or contour of Jesus’ body],
20:7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded [rolled up; implies the cloth had been wound around the head into the shape of a sphere and not folded flat like a table napkin; again arguing against grave robbery] up by itself, separate from the linen [also retaining the contour Jesus’ head had given it].
20:8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He [John] saw [Greek oida — “to get a mental picture, to realize what has taken place”; John understood the meaning of what he saw (that Jesus was alive)] and believed [the first to believe that Jesus was risen even before he saw him; perhaps recalling Jesus’ previous words — John 2:22; 11:25; 16:22].
20:9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead [see John 2:21-22].)
20:10 Then the disciples went back to their homes [in the vicinity of Jerusalem; perhaps the upper room],
20:11 but Mary [returned and] stood outside the tomb crying [mourning the loss of Jesus; loud and uncontrollable wailing as in John 11:31,33 and Luke 8:52]. As she wept, she bent over to look [Greek theoreo — “to take careful notice”] into the tomb
20:12 and saw two angels in white [she likely did not recognize them as angels; perhaps she saw (through her tear-filled eyes) two forms that she mistook for men], seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
20:13 They [two angels] asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put Him.”
20:14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize [perhaps because tears clouded her eyes or because of hazy early morning light or because of her preoccupation with the loss of Jesus’ body] that it was Jesus.
20:15 “Woman [same word Jesus used at the cross for his mother],” He said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she [assumed the gardener would know the location of the body] said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
20:16 Jesus said to her, “Mary [see John 10:3,14].” She [recognized his voice] turned [whirled about] toward him [Mary was first to see the risen Lord] and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni! [my dear Lord]” (which means Teacher).
20:17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me [perhaps clinging to His feet as the other women did as per Matt. 28:9], for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers [i.e., apostles/disciples more than earthly family] and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
20:18 Mary Magdalene [the first to carry the good news about resurrection] went to the disciples [see also Mark 16:9-11] with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that He had said these things to her.
20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week [Sunday evening of the resurrection], when the disciples [with exception of Thomas] were together, with the doors locked [securely] for fear of the Jews, Jesus came [not impeded by locked doors; glorified body; cf. Phil. 3:20-21] and stood among them [cf. Luke 24:37 — “thinking they saw a ghost”] and said [broke the silence], “Peace be with you!”
20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side [to reassure them that he was no ghost]. The disciples were overjoyed [to see Jesus again and because his claims were now validated] when they saw the Lord.
20:21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you [the first of four commissions; the only commission recorded in John; see also Matt. 28:19-20; Luke 24:44-51; Acts 1:8].”
Note: In addition to reaching out to the Jews, Jesus reached out to…
• Samaritans John 4:1-42
• Greeks (who populated the region of the Gerasenes) Mark 5:1-20
• Romans Luke 7:1-10
20:22 And with that he breathed [cf. Gen. 2:7] on them and said, “Receive [begin to receive; the Spirit would come in fullness at Pentecost] the Holy Spirit [enabled the disciples to fulfill the commission of Jn. 20:21].
20:23 [a commission to proclaim the forgiveness of sins on the basis of the message of the Gospel] If you forgive [to release] anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not [to hold, to retain] forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
20:24 Now Thomas [two other references to Thomas (Jn. 11:16 and 14:5; had earlier displayed commitment in the face of danger (Jn. 11:16)] (called Didymus [Greek term meaning “twin”]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
20:25 So the other disciples told [repeatedly; they kept saying] him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail [this reference indicates Jesus was nailed, and not bound with cords, to the cross] marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
20:26 A week later [literally, “after eight days;” after Thomas had declared his skepticism (Jn. 20:24-25)] his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
20:27 Then he said [indicates Jesus supernaturally knew what Thomas had said to the others when they told him of Jesus’ first appearance] to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side [Christian truth is not afraid to submit itself to examination. (Hobbs)]. Stop doubting [cf. Matt. 28:17 re: the doubts of others] and believe.”
20:28 Thomas said [no indication that Thomas actually touched Jesus or His wounds] to him, “My Lord and my God!” [a clear affirmation of Jesus’ deity; John’s Gospel continually affirms Jesus’ deity (see 1:1,18; 8:58; 10:30); Thomas would now be able to confidently proclaim Jesus as the risen Christ and say, “I know from personal experience.”; Thomas is the only person in the Gospels who called Jesus “God!” (Hobbs)]
20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
20:30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs [an act or miracle with a meaning designed to lead to belief in Jesus as the Messiah; cf. Jn. 4:54; 6:14; 12:18] in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
20:31 But these are written that [strategy and purpose of John’s writing] you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.