John 20:19-23

8/31/11 Jesus left Mary and went to heaven to confirm the acceptance of His sacrifice for mankind. We don’t know what it looked like in heaven but it must have been quite the reunion. I imagine a celebration and even a literal ceremony. Whatever it was it was over and Jesus was back to earth by evening.

The disciples were locked indoors because they were afraid that the Jews might come after them now that they had taken Jesus. John, by his own statement, believed that Jesus was alive. Peter must have felt sick, but Mary had said that Jesus specifically mentioned him. He must have had a lot of hope if not outright belief that Jesus was alive. We’re not told about the other disciples specifically, except for Thomas who did not believe.

There, locked in the room, probably talking about where Jesus must be and if He really could be alive, suddenly Jesus appeared right there in the middle of them. His first words were, “Peace to you,” (v. 19). Before saying anything else to them or them speaking to Him Jesus showed them the evidence of His crucifixion in His hands and side. Other gospels mention that He ate something in front of them since this somehow proved to them that He was no apparition. And the disciples then rejoiced, (v. 20).

Then Jesus repeated, “Peace to you.” He obviously wanted them to catch that. Then He commissioned them to go to the world as He had come to the world, (v. 21). This was a critical part of the plan of salvation, that those He had trained should go and make more disciples. Then He breathed on them and gave to them the Holy Spirit as a comfort during Jesus’ absence as well as the driving force behind the work He had given them. Just as He breathed into man the breath of life at creation, once again He did so giving them a new kind of life spiritually speaking, (v. 22).

Jesus’ next words have created a lot of misunderstanding in Christianity about forgiveness of sins. It sounds as though Jesus was giving the disciples the power to forgive or to withhold forgiveness. More consistent with scripture would be to understand that the disciples would have discernment concerning those who had been forgiven by God and those who had not (v. 23).

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John 20:11-18

8/28/11 Considering the things that John does not include in his gospel he dedicates a lot of space to Mary Magdalene’s story. And for good reason. Mary typifies the love and devotion that we all should have for Jesus.

After she had told John and Peter Mary also returned to the tomb where she stood outside weeping. All the things that had happened and now the disappearance of Jesus’ body was beyond what simple Mary could understand.

While she wept she stooped down to look through the low door to the tomb, (v. 11). There she saw two angels, one at the head and one at the feet of where Jesus had lain, (v. 12). It’s interesting that they didn’t come seeking her as she stood outside, but waited for her to look inside.

When she saw them they asked her why she was crying. She told them (v. 13) and then sensed someone was near to her. Turning she saw Jesus but didn’t recognize Him, (v. 14). Through her tears and in His glorified state she figured He must be the gardner. And even though He knew He asked Mary whom she was seeking, (v. 15).

She didn’t repeat what she said to the angels, she begged Him to tell her if he had moved Jesus, and if so she would take Him somewhere else, (v. 15). Mary’s devotion to Jesus didn’t waver even after death. The things that were wrecking many people’s devotion to Jesus was not touching Mary’s. She loved Him no matter what or who He was in life or in death.

Jesus recognized the depth of her devotion and honored it. She was the first one to see Him alive. She was the one privileged to bear the glad news to the disciples. In our estimation Jesus could have chosen any number of dramatic ways to reveal Himself but He chose Mary.

Jesus must have really enjoyed what He was about to do for Mary. He was about to transform her grief into joy with a single word, her name. “Mary,” He said. And she recognized Jesus instantly when He said her name. Really looking at Him for the first time she shrieked (I imagine), “Teacher!” (v. 16) Then she flew at Him to embrace and worship Him, but tenderly He let her know that He had some business of utmost importance to attend to in heaven. He had postponed that business of the final acceptance of His sacrifice and the salvation of the entire human race in order to see and comfort Mary, but now He really had to go.

First, though, He gave her a mission. She would have needed one right then. She needed an outlet for her joy. So He sent her to the disciples to tell them that He had gone to the Father, (v. 17).

So Mary skipped and ran all the way back to town to announce to the disciples that she had see Jesus and she relayed the message to them, (v. 18). John doesn’t tell us their reaction but Ellen White does in Desire of Ages. They couldn’t accept her message. They couldn’t comprehend resurrection. The Saducees beliefs had them confused. So while heaven rejoiced the disciple mourned the death of Jesus. She goes on to say that Jesus appeared to several more women after His return but still not the disciples. He was giving them the chance to believe without seeing.

 

John 20:1-10

8/27/11 So early Sunday morning that it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. Mary was obviously hit the hardest by the events of the weekend. She could do nothing by being at the tomb at such an hour. The guards wouldn’t let her close even. And yet she had to go. When she arrived, though, to her astonishment, the stone was rolled away, (v. 1).

It doesn’t say whether she went into the tomb, but somehow she knew He wasn’t there, so she may have. She ran back to John and Peter with the report, (v. 2). They both left immediately running, and John points out that he outran Peter, (v. 4). He stopped at the entrance and looked in and saw that it was empty, (v. 5). When Peter arrived he went straight in. What they noticed right away was that the face cloth was not lying with the rest of the grave clothes but was separate and folded or rolled up, (v. 7). Obviously this indicated something profound. Someone removing the body would have not done this. John instantly noted this and believed that Jesus was alive, (v. 8).

They still hadn’t figured out the fact that Jesus was supposed to rise again, (v. 9). Finally, they headed back to their own homes again, surely with minds reeling over this new turn of events. Their hearts must have been nearly bursting with new hope.

John 19:38-42

8/26/11 Joseph of Arimathea, who had decided that Jesus was who He claimed to be, had not, until now, make public his belief. Now, though, he did. He no longer would fear the Jews and what might happen to him if he publicly declared his belief in Jesus. It’s very interesting that in the very circumstances that were causing the 11 disciples to question whether Jesus could have been who He claimed had convinced Joseph.

So he went to Pilate, which he was apparently influential enough to do, and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate granted the request, (v. 38).

Nicodemus came to the same conclusions as Joseph. I wonder if they were surprised to find out about each other. Nicodemus brought burial spices in an amount only someone of his wealth could afford, I would guess, (v. 39).

They took Jesus’ body and wrapped it according to their custom, (v. 40). John doesn’t specify that the garden tomb belonged to Joseph. He only mentions that there was a garden and a tomb which had never been used, (v. 41). They didn’t want to encroach on the Sabbath hours so since this tomb was convenient and close they laid Jesus there, (v. 42).

John 19:31-37

8/25/11 They had just murdered the Son of God, but they wanted to be sure not to desecrate His Sabbath by leaving His body hanging on the cross. Terribly ironic. So they asked Pilate to break their legs so they would die faster, (v. 31). Without being able to push up with their legs they would suffocate by their own weight.

Pilate gave permission and the soldiers broke the legs of the thieves crucified with Him, (v. 32).

But when they came to Jesus they found He was already dead and didn’t break His legs, (v. 33). John mentions this specifically as evidence that Jesus was who He claimed to be because this fulfilled the prophecy that said none of His bone would be broken, (v. 35, 36).

John also mentions that the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side for the same reason, because it fulfilled the prophecy that they would one day see this same Jesus that they pierced, (v. 37).

Both during His life and in things that Jesus could do to fulfill prophecy and after His death and in things that He could not do Himself to fulfill prophecy, over and over again the prophecies were fulfilled concerning Jesus.

When we look at the sheer evidence that came true in the prophecies about the Messiah just that proof is overwhelming that Jesus was the Son of God, which makes everything else He said true and all that we believe about Him and the scriptures and other spiritual things all true. There is plenty of cause for confidence when we put together all the evidence.

John 19:25-30

8/24/11 Three Marys were at the cross, (v. 25). Jesus looked down and saw them standing there, and John as well, and gives John custody of His mother who was now widowed, (v. 26). Mary had other sons who might have cared for her, but Jesus wished it this way for some reason, and maybe the the other sons wouldn’t or couldn’t for some reason. It’s not that they weren’t good men, at least some of them, for they became believers at some point.

Jesus knew now that everything prophesied in the scriptures concerning His life and His death had now been accomplished. That must have been some comfort even on the cross that He had done His part. Although He couldn’t see through the grave at this point, He had the knowledge that He had faithfully completed His part. So He prepared to die. He asked for a drink, (v. 28).

The fact that there was sour wine in a jar there indicates that it must have been drinkable, else they would have thrown it out. According to the Talmud the condemned was always given a cup of wine mixed with a little frankincense in order to benumb the senses and lessing the suffering. According to Matthew 27 Jesus refused this when offered at first. Ellen White points out that He refused because He didn’t want to risk any mistakes in this most important task by having a clouded mind. Once all had been accomplished, however, Jesus accepted the fermented drink, (v. 30).

Then He said with triumph in His voice, “It is finished.” According to the other gospels He said more, but John gives only these words. Then Jesus bowed His head and gave up His Spirit.

John 19:17-24

8/23/11 Pilate gave Jesus over to the Jews. They had permission to execute Him for their religious reasons. Roman soldiers did the actual execution, but it belonged to the Jews.

John spares us the details of the crucifixion mentioning only Jesus carried His own cross, (v. 17). He simply says they crucified Him in between two criminals.

What inspired Pilate to write King of the Jews I’m not sure. The fact that he wrote it in three languages perhaps he was trying to make this look like some sort of rebellion. It bothered the Jews, though, because they understood this from a religious perspective. They wanted it to point out at least to Jews that Jesus claimed to be God, so that his death was for blaspheme.

Pilate, as so often happens when someone bends to pressure and resents it, chose this small, insignificant item to stand firm on. Perhaps it made him feel stronger again.

Their job done the Roman guards divided up the valuables, which I suppose was the traditional reward for doing an execution. In this case the valuables were just some clothes, which they split four ways. The tunic, which goes against the skin, they cast lots for, unknowingly fulfilling prophecy once again proving that Jesus was in fact who He claimed to be.