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On The Book of John
The Gospel of John Chapter 20
I will do the Gospel of John
Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that
I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what
it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment,
it is NOT Scripture.
Gospel of John
John Chapter 20
This is the chapter that John records the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of Christ Jesus is the very heart of the Christian faith. A saying to be considered: "We cannot make too much of the death of Christ, but far too many make too little of the resurrection of Christ." That is the sad thing that is happening all over the world today. Theology books, hymns and sermons devote some portions to the death of Christ. This is all well and good. But, so very often the resurrection of Christ Jesus is observed only on Easter. Personally, I think that time of the year should be called “Resurrection Day.” All the sermons in the New Testament, beginning with the Day of Pentecost, have the resurrection of Christ Jesus as their topic. See our article on “Easter.” http://www.hisservants.org/easter_h_s.htm
There is much controversy on what day Jesus was crucified. See our article on this subject: “3 Days and 3 Nights” . . . http://www.hisservants.org/3_days,_3_nights_h_s.htm
The following is what I think is a schedule of Jesus’ last days on Earth as Man:
- Nisan 10, Sunday (Palm Sunday) . . . Christ offers Himself as God’s Perfect Passover Lamb. (Luke 19:30-38).
- Nisan 14, Thursday . . . the day the Passover lambs were slain. This is the day when “Christ our Passover” was nailed to the cross (1 Cor. 5:7).
- Nisan 17, Sunday . . . Resurrection Sunday! Jesus rose from the dead!
The Resurrection Of Jesus (John 20:1-10)
John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. (KJV)
The first day of the week . . . the first day of the week is Sunday.
Cometh Mary Magdalene . . . on what we call Sunday morning, the morning after the Jewish Sabbath. Since Christ had been buried in such a hurry, these women had bought spices (Mk.16:1; Lk.24:1), to anoint Him in a more complete manner than had been done by Joseph and Nicodemus. John mentions only Mary Magdalene, possibly because he wants to give a more in depth history of her conduct than the others; but the other writers speak of three persons who went together to the tomb, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome (Mat.28:1; Mk.16:1; Lk.23:55-56; 24:1,10), not alone, but other women with her, who had attended Christ at the cross, saw where He was buried, and had prepared spices to anoint Him. All these women came for a purpose; not just to see the sepulcher and weep at His grave, they came to perform a part of the funeral service out of love to Him.
Early, when it was yet dark . . . I will go back to what John says about Mary Magdalene. It was still dark when she set out, the sun had just began rise by that time she got to the sepulcher.
Unto the sepulchre . . . this was where she saw the body of Jesus laid by Joseph, in a tomb belonging to him, in his garden. It is possible she (and her companions) were admitted by the guards, because the Jews insisted that Pilate set up a guard at the tomb of Jesus, because they were afraid of Jesus’ Words: “After three days I will rise again.” Luke 18:33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. (KJV) . . . (Mat.20:19; Mk.8:31; 9:31-32; Lk.9:22). The Jews were afraid that Jesus’ followers would steal His Body (Mat.27:64). I know this to be true because a Jewish man we knew told us “You stole Him” when we spoke of Jesus to him.
And seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher . . .Joseph had rolled a huge stone to cover the entrance of the tomb. It was there that the Pharisees sealed and set a watch over it. This was removed by an angel. My dear friend, Christ Jesus Himself could very easily have done this! He did NOT need any help whatsoever! BUT . . . it was done by an angel form Heaven to show it was done by a divine order from the Father. Mary's coming so early to the grave, shows her great love and affection to Christ, her zeal, courage and diligence in showing her respect for Him. This often happens when one of the worst of sinners is converted, they are so exceedingly thankful, that their faith, grace, humility and love seems to explode within them, making them most diligent in serving their Master and Lord. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14441-tombs
John 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. (KJV)
Then she runneth and cometh to Simon Peter . . . this was after the women had seen the angels, who said He was risen from the dead (Lk.24:4). After Mary had not only seen that the stone was rolled away, but had looked into the sepulcher, and saw that the Body of Christ was gone, she ran as fast as she could to Peter. She must have known where he was.
And to the other disciple whom Jesus loved . . . She told, not only Peter and John, but the other apostles too (Mat.28:8). Only Peter and John went to the tomb to see if what she had said was true. Mary mentions nothing of what the angels had said, and in her hurry and confusion; she probably spoke things in bits and pieces.
John 20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. (KJV)
Peter therefore went forth . . . out of the house where he was, to the gave.
And that other disciple . . . John, the Apostle. It seems that the rest of the disciples stayed, waiting to hear what news these two would bring. This to me seems strange.
Aand came to the sepulcher . . . to see with their own eyes what was done, and whether things were as Mary had stated, and to find out more if they could.
John 20:4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. (KJV)
So they ran both together . . . these two, not content to walk, ran eagerly wanting to know the truth of what happened.
And that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher . . . John was younger than Peter, and faster, and got to the sepulcher before Peter. And possibly Peter might have, wondering if he should see Him, how would he be able to look Him in the Face, Whom he had so shamefully denied.
John 20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. (KJV)
And he stooping down and looking in . . . when John came to the sepulcher, he stooped down to look into it. (Mk.16:5; Lk.24:3).
Saw the linen clothes lying . . . in which the Body of Jesus had been wrapped, but Jesus’ Body was gone!
Yet went he not in . . . John did not go into the sepulcher, but waited until Peter came. Maybe John was afraid of going into such a place alone. One version reads: "he dared not go in."
John 20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, (KJV)
Then cometh Simon Peter following him . . . Peter arrives a short time later.
And went into the sepulcher . . . but not without stooping down to look first, as John had done (Lk.24:12).
And seeth the linen clothes lie . . . Peter also sees the linen clothes that had wrapped Jesus’ Body as John did. And as by the mouth of two or three witnesses everything is confirmed, so was this; both John and Peter saw the linen in which the Body was wrapped, but that was gone. This was proof that the body was NOT stolen, otherwise the linen would not have been left. It would have taken great time and trouble, to have unwrapped the Body, when considering how many wraps the Jews used to wind up their corpse in. At the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses: (Deut.17:6; 19:15; Mat.18:16).
John 20:7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. (KJV)
And the napkin that was about his head . . . the providence of God ordered these very tiny details, so that they would be proof against the lie of the chief priests, that the body had been stolen by the apostles. IF the Body had been stolen, those who took it would not have stopped to strip the clothes from it, then wrap them up in a neat pile, and lay them in separate places. The "napkin" means a handkerchief, with which the sweat is wiped off the face (Acts 19:123), also that which the head and face of the dead person was bound (Jn.11:44). When Peter went into the sepulcher, and looking around, checking things more fully, saw that which neither he nor John had seen at a quick glance, by stooping and looking in.
Not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself . . . the napkin was clearly the effect of thought and composure and clearly showed, that the body was NOT taken away in a hurry, or by thieves, since everything lay in such order and decency; and which was done, either by our Lord Himself, or by the angels.
John 20:8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. (KJV)
Then went in also the other disciple . . . John, being energized by the example of Peter, went down into the sepulcher also.
Which came first to the sepulcher . . . John was the first to reach the tomb, but he was the last one to go inside the tomb. So it was, that the first was last, and the last first (Mat.19:30; 20:16; Mk.9:35; 10:31).
And he saw . . . the linen clothes lie in one place, and the napkin folded up in order, lying by itself in another.
And believed . . . that it had been taken away, as Mary had said. But he did not yet believe that He was risen from the dead.
John 20:9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. (KJV)
For as yet they knew not the Scripture . . . meaning the writings of the Old Testament in general, and the different places in it which spoke of the resurrection of Christ, either in a way of type, or prophecy (Jonah 2:1-7; Ps.16:10; Hos.6:2; Isa.26:19). Such as yet was the dullness of the disciples, or such their prejudices in favor of the Messiah being to continue, and set up a temporal kingdom, that even John, who leaned on his breast, and Peter, who was so inquisitive and desirous of knowing our Lord's meaning in everything, did not understand the sense of His words, nor of those places of Scripture He had referred to.
That he must rise again from the dead . . . this was so determined, and it was predicted, and the justification and salvation of God's elect required it; but as yet they did not know about the necessity and importance of it.
John 20:10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. (KJV)
Then the disciples went away again unto their own home . . . Peter and John, after they had seen and examined things, and satisfied themselves as much as they could, they went to the place from where they came, where the rest of the apostles were gathered together, to pray, discuss, and consult together, what they should do.
Appearance To Mary (John 20:11-17)
It seems that Mary is the first one to whom the Lord Jesus appeared. There are thirteen appearances of Christ, before His ascension and after His ascension. I think we can conclude that there are others which were not listed. WHY, did Jesus first appear to Mary? My only suggestion: Pro. 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. (KJV) . . . Mary did seek Him, very early, while it was still dark.
Appearances Of Christ After His Resurrection.
- To Mary Magdalene (Mk 16:9)
- To The Other Women (Mt 28:9)
- To Two Disciples (Lu 24:15)
- To The Eleven Disciples (Lu 24:36)
- To Peter (1Co 15:5)
- To The Ten, Thomas Absent (Jn 20:19)
- To The Eleven Disciples (Jn 20:26)
- At The Sea Of Galilee (Jn 21:1)
- To Five Hundred Brethren (1Co 15:6)
- To Eleven Disciples In Galilee (Mt 28:17)
- To James (1Co 15:7)
- At The Time Of His Ascension (Lu 24:50)
- To Paul At His Conversion (Ac 9:5 1Co 15:8)
John 20:11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, (KJV)
But Mary stood without at the sepulcher . . . she came back from the city to the sepulcher, following Peter and John. She stayed there when Peter and John left. She stood outside the sepulcher, in the court, where the bearers set down the corpse, in order to carry it into the cave, or vault
Weeping . . . because the Body of her dear Lord was taken away, and she could not show her respect to it she had planned, and too, weeping because she did not know in whose hands it was, but fearing it would be insulted and abused again by wicked men. It seems that her heart was ready to break with sorrow.
And as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the sepulcher . . . that the Mary here mentioned was Mary Magdalene appears to be so from (Mk.16:9), which says that he appeared first to Mary Magdalene..
John 20:12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (KJV)
And seeth two angels in white . . . Matthew and Mark speak but of one (Mat.28:3-5; Mk.16:5-6), but Luke of two (Lk.24:3-7), as John does here. He calls them men, because they appeared in human form, and in shining garments, or white apparel; and which appearance is entirely agreeable to the received notion of the Jews, that as evil angels or devils are clothed in black, so good angels, or ministering spirits, "are clothed in white", expressive of their spotless purity and innocence.
Sitting the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain . . . in what position the body of Christ was laid, whether from west to east, as some say, or from north to south, as others say. It is not certain, since the Jews had no rule in this matter.
John 20:13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. (KJV)
And they say unto her, woman, why weepest thou? . . . they, meaning the angels, meaning that she had no reason to cry, but rather to rejoice and be glad. Although the Body of her Lord was not there, He was no longer dead! He was risen from the dead, and was alive! Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him . . . this was Mary’s answer for why she was weeping.
John 20:14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. (KJV)
And when she had thus said . . . as soon as the words were spoken, before she could have an answer from the angels . . .
She turned herself back . . . she turned around, either because of the looks of the angels, or by hearing a noise, that somebody was behind her.
And saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus . . . she saw a person, but did not know who He was. Why didn’t she know Him? I think that Mary was so immersed in grief that she paid little attention to the Person behind her, therefore she did not at first recognize Him, nor could she imagine such an appearance possible, for she had no idea of His resurrection from the dead. She was totally unprepared to recognize the Person as our Lord.
John omits what the angels said to the women, about Christ's being risen; possibly because it was so clearly told by the other Gospel writers (Mat.28:5-7; Mk.16:6-7; Lk.24:5-7).
John 20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. (KJV)
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? . . . the same question Jesus asks her, was the same one asked by the angels, but Jesus adds . . .
Whom seekest thou? . . . for she was not only weeping for the loss of Him, but wanted to know what happened to Him. She wanted to know who carried Him off.
She supposing him to be the gardener . . . the man that took care of the garden, where the sepulcher was. It was too early for the owner, Joseph to be there.
Saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away . . . even though she thinks He is the gardener, she addresses Him, in a very civil and courteous manner, especially since she had a favor to ask of him. And I will take him away . . . there is an old proverb, Love feels no load! Jesus was in the prime of life when He was crucified, and had possibly a hundred pounds of spices added to His Body, yet Mary thinks of nothing less than carrying Him away with her, if she can but find out where He is laid!
John 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. (KJV)
Jesus saith unto her, Mary . . .He might speak to her as He used to do, calling her by her name in His usual manner . . . for since Christ has personal knowledge of all His people, and can call them by name; He knows them, and makes Himself known to them, before they can know Him.
She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master . . . she now knows He is not the gardener. She calls Him “Master” which He is! What joy must have filled this woman's heart and soul! Mary Magdalene sought Jesus more fervently, and continued more affectionately attached to Him than any of the rest. It seems that this poor woman was in a terrible way before the Lord Jesus healed her. Luke 8:2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, (KJV) . . . What wickedness had these “devils” convinced this woman to do? After Mary Magdalene was healed by Jesus, she became a TRUE believer and followed Him to the end. Her love for Him and her gratitude to Him was deeply rooted. After Mary's calling Him “Rabboni,” she ran to embrace Him, or cling to Him. That is when these words of the Lord come, along with the reason for them.
John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (KJV)
Jesus saith unto her, touch me not . . . this does not mean that He was a Spirit which could not be touched . . . the ban itself shows the opposite, and besides, Christ's Body was afterwards presented to Thomas, to be touched by him, and to be handled by all the apostles, and His feet were held by the women (Mat.28:9), which is what Mary would have now done, had she not been forbidden to do so.
For I am not yet ascended to my Father . . . this is the reason why He did not want Mary to detain Him. He permitted women to touch Him but not detain Him.
But go to my brethren . . . this he says, to show that their forsaking Him, being denied by one of them, and the glory He was raised unto . . . all this made no change in their relationship to Him, and neither was His affection to them. Mary was the right person to be sent unto them, since she had just been with them, and knew where they all were. Christ made it clear who His brethren were . . . they were His apostles, His disciples, not His fleshly brothers (Mat.12:49; 28:10; Lk.8:19-21; Heb.2:11).
And say unto them . . . tell them this . . .
I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God . . . these words are very specific! Please notice He was detailed in calling God "my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." Jesus’ relationship to the Father is NOT the same as our relationship to Him. We become the sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8), while Christ is a member of the Trinity, He is the eternal Son of God. He makes this distinction here. God was Jesus’ Father, NOT by creation, as He is to angels, and the souls of men. Jesus has always been the Son of God (Jn.1:1-2).
Appearance To The Disciples (John 20:18-23)
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. (KJV)
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord . . . immediately, being ready and willing to obey the commands of her Lord. She was with glad to go on such an errand, and carry such news to His apostles, not only that He was risen from the dead, and she had been told so by the angels, but she had seen Him herself, and was an eyewitness of His resurrection, and which she firmly believed.
And that he had spoken these things unto her . . . she also told them that He called them brethren, and bid her go unto them, and let them hnow that as He was risen, and that soon He would ascend to His Father and theirs, to His God and theirs. She was a good witness as she faithfully related to them all she had seen and heard.
John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (KJV)
Then the same day at evening,being the first day of the week . . . the evening of the same day that Christ rose from the dead, Sunday, and appeared to Mary; after He had been with the two disciples to Emmaus, about eight miles from Jerusalem (Lk.24:13), and they had returned again to the rest; and after there had been such a commotion all day in Jerusalem, about the Body of Jesus; the soldiers that watched the sepulcher, giving out, by the direction of the elders, that the disciples of Christ had stolen away the body, while they slept (Mat.28:13).
When the doors were shut . . . this means that the doors were closed. Jesus had been taken from them, and it was natural that they should think that the Jews would try to inflict their vengeance on His followers. They met in the evening, and with closed doors, just in case the Jews might bring against them the same charge of sedition that they had brought against the Lord Jesus. It is not certain what the purpose of their assembling, but it is likely that it was to talk over the events which had just occurred, to deliberate about their condition, and to worship. Their minds had to be troubled. They had seen their Master taken away and put to death . . . and now some of them also had affirmed that they had seen Him alive. In times of persecution they were forbidden to assemble during the day, and hence they were compelled to meet in the night.
Where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews . . . after their scattering abroad upon the taking of Christ, and after His crucifixion was over; and especially after the report of His Body being gone, they gathered together, and closed the doors, lest the Jews would come in upon them, and surprise them.
Came Jesus and stood in the midst of them . . . all at once! There He was!
He saith unto them, peace be unto you . . . "peace be unto you" is a usual form of salutation among the Jews (Gen.43:23; Jud.6:23; 19:20; 1 Sam.25:6; 1 Chron.12:18), and expresses all prosperity of body and soul, inward and outward, spiritual and temporal. Also here, may have a special regard to that peace He said He gave to them (Jn.14:27; 16:33), and left with them. This peace which He had obtained by the Blood of His cross, and now preached unto them.
Came Jesus, in a miraculous manner. Doors were shut . . . proving that resurrected bodies do NOT need doors to get into houses. They are called "spiritual" bodies in 1 Cor.15:42-44. These clearly are like spirit beings that can appear and disappear or be visible and invisible at will.
John 20:20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. (KJV)
And when he had so said . . . His salutation, in the most kind, tender and affectionate manner was to put them out of their pain, and that they might know surely who He was, and that He was alive.
He showed them his hands and his side . . . His Hands had been pierced with the nails, the marks clearly to be seen. He also showed them His side, which was pierced with a spear, and which left a wide open wound, and which John, who was among them, was an eyewitness of. These He showed to them, partly to convince them that He was not a spirit, which at first they took Him to be, from His sudden appearance among them, the doors possibly being locked and barred; and partly to assure them of the truth of His resurrection, and He, in the same Body.
Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord . . . for by these marks in His Hands, Feet and Side, they were fully convinced, and entirely satisfied that it was certainly Jesus, their Lord. He was risen from the dead. He was alive!
John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (KJV)
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you . . . the words He said before, He repeats it to remove their fear, and to increase their attention to what He was about to say. He also wanted to soothe their consciences, distressed with their conduct towards Him.
As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you . . . Jesus told them that He had now fulfilled His ministry, and He was now going to His Father who had sent Him. And now by the same authority that He was sent, He would send them . . . they would now gather, instruct and govern His church. He would send them, and clothe them with the same authority with which He was clothed. They would be sent into the same place that Jesus was sent, the world; and in much the same condition: hated, despicable, evil and persecuted, and for the same reason, to preach the Gospel, and to work miracles . . . but NOT to obtain redemption . . . for that being a work done ONLY by Christ . . . and in which He has NO partner, and to Whom the glory must be ascribed to Him alone! So send I you: (Mat.28:19; Mk.16:15-16; Lk.24:47-48).
John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: (KJV)
And when he had said this . . . declaring that He was sending them in like manner as His Father had sent Him.
He breathed on them . . . in reference to God's breathing the breath of life into man, at His Creation (Gen.2:7), or this could refer to the Spirit Himself, Who is the Breath of God that gives life (Jn.3:3-5; 1 Cor.6:11; Tit.3:5-7). He proceeds from Christ Jesus and from the Father (Jn.14:16,26), and He breathes both upon persons in regeneration, and in qualifying for ministerial service.
And saith unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost . . . does not mean the grace of the Holy Ghost in regeneration, which they had received already, but the gifts of the Spirit, to qualify them for the work He now sent them to do. This breathing on them, and the words attending it, were a symbol, promise and proof, of what they would receive on the day of Pentecost. It is the Spirit of God, Who by His gifts and grace, makes and qualifies people to be ministers of the Gospel. Catholics show their disrespect and wickedness, in imitating Christ by their insufflations (blowing) or breathing on men; pretending by this to convey the Holy Spirit to them.
John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (KJV)
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them . . . Only God can forgive sins, and since Christ IS God, He has a power to forgive sins . . . but He never communicated this power to His apostles; nor did they ever assume they had this power. It is the mark of antichrist to attempt anything of this kind. It is not only blasphemous, but vilely absurd, to say that ANY human could remit the guilt of a transgression which had been committed against the Creator. NO man can forgive the sins of a person who sins against Almighty God (Ps.51:4). The apostles received from the Lord the doctrine of reconciliation and the doctrine of condemnation (Jn.3:18). Jesus bestows the same power on ALL the apostles. He does NOT give to any one of them any special authority. If Peter, as the Catholic church declares, had been appointed to any unique authority, our precious Saviour would certainly have said something. He did NOT even give any possible hint at any such pre-eminence. This Passage conclusively proves that the apostles were invested with equal power in organizing and governing the church. The authority which He had given Peter to preach the Gospel first to the Jews and the Gentiles, does not go against this. They who believed on the Son of God, as a result of the apostles’ preaching, had their sins remitted (by God); and they who would not believe were declared to be under condemnation (by God). He that believeth not: (Jn.3:18; Mk.16:16; Heb.2:3; 12:25; 1 Jn.5:10). On the other hand He signifies, that . . .
Whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained . . . this is just another form of expressing power to bind and to loose and to do the works of Christ (Mat.16:19; 18:18). Whatsoever sins they declare are not forgiven, they are not forgiven, which is the end of all unbelievers and impenitent sinners. All those who die without repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel, shall be damned (condemned) . . . because God stands by and confirms the Gospel of His Son, faithfully preached by His servants. The meaning of the Passage is NOT that man can forgive sins, because forgiveness belongs ONLY to Almighty God (Isa.43:11,25). I think this means that they would be inspired, in founding the church, and in declaring the will of God. They did NOT have authority to forgive individuals, but to establish in all the churches the terms and conditions on which men might be pardoned, with a promise that God would confirm all that they taught. Christ Jesus does NOT convey to the apostles what is something belonging to Him alone. Only God can forgive sins. He only instructs them in His Name to proclaim the forgiveness of sins. Nowhere in the Book of Acts or in the Epistles do we find ANY instance of any apostle remitting the sins of anyone. They DO proclaim the forgiveness of sins. A question: What is it that forgives sins? Even God cannot just randomly forgive sins. Forgiveness of sins comes only ONE way . . . and THAT is through the precious Blood of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, the forgiveness of sins was based on the fact that Christ would come and die for us. The people who believed God and looked forward to Christ in the Old Testament, God saved. Christ came, and He paid our penalty, so today God forgives our sins when we believe that Christ died for us.
Can you and I remit sins? YES! By telling people about Christ Jesus and His Gospel! This is the greater works which we shall do (Jn.14:12). When somebody turns to and believes on Jesus, that is wonderful. But my friend, you and I cannot save anyone nor can we forgive anyone. That belongs to God alone! We (God’s children) have a huge responsibility. If we do not preach the Gospel to the world, their sins will NOT be remitted. That Gospel is the only thing that will bring forgiveness to the world. Are you telling people about Jesus?
Appearance To Thomas (John 20:24-31)
John 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. (KJV)
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus . . . the person here spoken of, is described by his Hebrew name Thomas, and his Greek name Didymus. Both names mean a twin; and possibly he was one. It was common with the Jews to have two names, a Jewish and a Gentile one, the Jewish name when they went in the land of Israel, and the Greek name when they went out of the land. (Jn.11:16).
Was not with them when Jesus came . . . being absent from the apostles, Thomas lost the precious opportunity of seeing and hearing Christ; and of receiving (at that time) the immeasurable blessing of the Holy Ghost. Where had Thomas been? I do not know.
John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. (KJV)
The other disciples therefore said unto him . . . possibly some time in the same week, when they saw him.
We have seen the Lord . . . they not only had the testimony of the women and the declaration of the angels, but they saw Him with their own eyes, and saw even the very prints of the nails in His Hands and Feet, and where His Side had been pierced by the spear. But he said unto them, except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe . . . poor doubting Thomas. That nails were used in the crucifixion of Christ is certain from this Passage, although nowhere else mentioned, but it goes along with the prophecy of Him in Psalm 22:16, that was fulfilled. Nails were not always used in crucifixion, sometimes the bodies were fastened to the cross with cords or ropes, not nails. How many nails were used, whether three, as some say, or four as others say, or more, as were sometimes used is not certain, nor can we know, nor can we know the size, but considering the weight of a man, the nails were not small. Thomas knew that Christ was fastened to the cross with nails, and that His side was pierced with a spear, and although he was not present, he most likely had heard from John, who was an eyewitness. Thomas believed that, but would not believe Jesus was alive even though John was probably one of the ones telling him it was true. Although they had all seen Him alive . . . Thomas will not believe them. He was determined not to believe unless he put his finger into and saw, the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into Jesus’ side.
Thomas’ unbelief is:
#1. Completely unreasonable. Ten of his brethren had witnessed that they had seen Christ, but Thomas refused to accept their testimony.
#2. Stubborn and unyielding. He was bound and determined not to believe any evidence that they had. He would believe only if he saw for himself.
#3. Disrespectful and rude, characteristics opposing Christ’s nature, and which He will not accept in His people. Thomas will not believe Christ is risen and alive, unless he can put his finger into the holes made by the nails in his Lord's Hands, and put his hand into the wound made by the spear in Jesus’ side. There were others, besides Thomas that did not believe as well (Mat.28:17) . . . Would you have believed?
John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. (KJV)
And after eight days . . . on the return of the first day of the week (Sunday). From this it seems that the apostles had set apart this day, the day of His resurrection, for assembling together for worship. And as before (Jn.20:19), and Jesus blessed them by appearing in their midst. It was natural that the apostles would observe this day, but not probable that they would do it without the authorization of the Lord Jesus. His repeated Presence gave them that authorization. First day of the week: (Mat.28:1; Mk.16:2,9; Lk.24:1; Jn.20:1,19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor.16:2; Rev.1:10).
Again, his disciples were within . . . His apostles were inside, where is not known for certain, but probably in some private home, the same as before, in some part of Jerusalem. This shows their harmony and agreement in their faithfulness, frequency and willingness to meet together.
And Thomas with them . . . this time Thomas, in spite of his unbelief was there. They all looked upon him as a good man, and kept in their company, hoping by some means that he would be convinced. This also shows Thomas's affection and regard for them, by meeting with them, even though he did not have their same faith in the resurrection of Christ, yet!
Then came Jesus . . . this makes good His Promise to meet with His people (Jn.16:16-22). A little while: (Jn.20:19-29; 21:1-23; Acts 1:3; 10:40-41; 1 Cor.15:5-9).
The doors being shut . . .as before (Jn.20:19), and for the same reason, for fear of the Jews, and for the privacy of their devotion and conversation.
And stood in the midst . . . coming in the same powerful manner as before; the door being locked, when all at once . . . there He was! He simply appeared in the midst of them all, not just to Thomas alone, but to all eleven of them. His apostles had bore a testimony to Christ's resurrection, and which He now meant to confirm . . . and to rebuke Thomas publicly, who had sinned before them all.
And said, Peace be unto you . . . this He had said the first time He had come into their midst, and now, saluting them again, and Thomas also, in like manner as He did the rest, in spite of his unbelief.
John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. (KJV)
Then saith he to Thomas . . . our Lord singled out Thomas from the rest, He called him by name in a very friendly manner, without accusing or rebuking him for not believing the testimony that had been given him by those who had seen Him.
Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands, and reach hither thine hand and thrust it into my side . . . this to me, is a warning . . . that we should be very careful what we speak wherever we are. Jesus knew the exact words of unbelief Thomas had uttered, and as a result relates Himself to him, in a wonderful sign of love to his weakness. Jesus tells Thomas to check Him out completely, see and feel His Hands and Feet and His Side. So loving and merciful is our Lord, and compassionate to the infirmities of His people. Jesus' resurrected Body was utterly unique. It was NOT the same kind of flesh and blood Lazarus had when he came back to life. Jesus' Body was no longer subject to the same laws of nature as before His death. He could appear from out of nowhere, in a locked room; but He was NOT a spirit or apparition because He could be touched and could eat (Lk.24:41-43). Jesus' resurrection was literal and physical. . . He was NOT a disembodied spirit.
And be not faithless, but believing . . . in these words Christ talks Thomas out of his unbelief, which is very evil in its own nature, and in its effects. Unbelief is the root of all evil; it makes a person unfit for duty, it renders the Word unprofitable, and it leads people away from Christ. Unbelief is a deadly sin! http://www.hisservants.org/worst_sin_h_s.htm
On the other hand, exercising the grace of faith is well pleasing to God, for it gives Him glory, and gives comfort to our soul. Jesus was not hard on Thomas for his doubts. In spite of his skepticism, Thomas was still loyal to the believers and to Jesus Himself. Some people need to doubt before they can believe. Doubt can lead to questions, and questions lead to answers, and if the answers are right and accepted, then doubt is good . . . BUT . . . when doubt becomes stubbornness and stubbornness becomes an arrogant and prideful lifestyle, that doubt harms, even kills faith. If and when you doubt, let your doubt deepen your faith as you continue to search for the answer, and make sure you are searching in the RIGHT place . . . the Holy Word of Almighty God! Do NOT fall for man’s false doctrines (Mat.15:9).
John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (KJV)
And Thomas answered and said unto him . . . did Thomas examine Jesus’ Hands and Feet and Side? John does not tell us, but I think I know the answer, and that would be NO! I think by now, Thomas was regrettably and utterly ashamed of his unbelief.
My Lord and my God . . . Thomas owns Him to be his Lord and his God. He was fully assured from Christ’s omniscience, which He had given full proof of, and from the power that went along with His Words to his heart, and a full confidence that Jesus now was resurrected from the dead. His acceptance of Jesus as his Lord and his God, means his subjection to Him, his affection for Him and his complete faith in Him. Where do you stand on this? Do you own Jesus as your Lord and your God?
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed . . . the word Thomas is omitted in many versions. Thomas had seen, and he then believed, and now was blessed and fully convinced of Jesus’ resurrection. This carries in it an implied and gentle reproof for Thomas’ unbelief, and suggests, that if Thomas had not seen, he would not have believed, but is not so harsh as if that had been expressed.
Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed . . . Blessed means happy, or worthy of the divine approval. The word here has the force of the comparative degree, suggesting that they would be in some respects, be more blessed than Thomas. They would demonstrate higher faith. That have not seen . . . those who have not literally seen Christ in person, as did the apostles, havestronger faith. All faith is of things NOT seen, and God blesses those most who completely rely on His Word. 1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (KJV) Our faith is a “hope” of things yet to come. Hope is confident assurance that those things we hope for shall come true. Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (KJV) . . . Our faith shall lead to eternal life in Heaven. (Jn14:2-3; 1 Pet.1:4-5). Please do NOT doubt! Christ died for YOU! Believe, and you shall be saved, and become as blessed and as happy as the apostles. All those that have true faith are happy in Christ, for they enjoy many blessings now, as a justifying righteousness, pardon of sin, adoption, freedom of access to God, and security from condemnation. They have spiritual peace, joy, and comfort in their souls, and shall be saved with an everlasting salvation.
John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: (KJV)
And many other signs truly did Jesus . . . besides the wonderful appearances to His disciples once and again (Jn.20:19,26), when the doors were closed tight, and other miracles which our Lord did, and which are not related here, were necessary for the apostles only, so they are not revealed to us by John. There is nothing in the whole revelation of God except what is for some important purpose, and there is nothing left out that could have been of any real use to us.
In the presence of his disciples . . . for he appeared to, and spoke with no other but them after His resurrection:
Which are not written in this book . . . of John's Gospel, although they may be written elsewhere; such as His appearing to the two disciples going to Emmaus (Lk.24:13), the appearance to the eleven on the mountain (Mat.28:16-20), and to five hundred brethren at once (Mk.16:15-18), which other inspired writers speak of, and many there are which He did, which are not particularly written in this, nor in any other book; for He was seen of His disciples forty days (Acts 1:3), and showed himself alive, by many infallible proofs; all of which are not recorded.
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (KJV)
But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God . . . what John records is to give a full proof of the Divinity of Christ; that He is the promised Messiah; that He really suffered and rose again from the dead; and that through him every believer might have eternal life. John wrote this Gospel, this biography of our Lord Jesus Christ, to encourage and persuade his readers to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God; a thing which was of great concernment to them, that their eternal life depended upon it; for through His Hame alone eternal life is to be obtained (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12).
Some have said that this chapter is the end of the Gospel of John, and that chapter 21 was added by the Church of Ephesus. This supposition cannot be supported by anything to my knowledge.
And that believing ye might have life through his name . . . believers have their spiritual and eternal life through Christ; their life of grace, their justification by Him, their sanctification from Him, and their fellowship and unity with Him. The support and maintenance of their spiritual life, and all the comforts of it: and also their eternal life to come, they have only through or in Jesus’ Name. That is why John writes this Gospel.
The Blindness of Unbelief
John 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. (KJV)
Unbelief is one of the most underestimated weapons in the devil’s huge arsenal. The reason it is so dangerous is that it stems from the first sin . . . pride (Gen. 3:1-5; Isa. 14:13-14). Unbelief is related to pride because it is equal to setting aside judgment for ourselves. We decide for ourselves what is right or what is wrong. As an example, the Bible says God created the world . . . but there are some people who refuse to believe this, insisting that everything sprang from a prehistoric explosion. Instead of taking God’s Word for it, these people appoint themselves judge and jury. They weigh the evidence and decide that the Bible is misleading them.. It is an extremely dangerous thing to do, and it stems totally from human pride and arrogance.
Matthew 28:17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. (KJV)
One of the saddest phrases in the Bible is found in the last three words of this Passage . . . “but some doubted.” This happened just before the Lord went back to Heaven. Even after His followers had spent years listening to His words and witnessing His miracles, there were still some among them who had persistent doubts! It is not hard to imagine what the doubters may have been thinking. “Maybe His miracles were the result of magic or sleight of hand. . . . If He is really the Messiah, why are the Roman soldiers still grinding us under their boots? . . . Maybe the Pharisees were right when they said He was born out of wedlock. How can our royal Messiah, the rightful King of Israel, be the illegitimate son of a peasant girl?” The answer: Eph. 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (KJV)
Unbelief without a doubt leads to spiritual blindness. And when that happens, a person CANNOT see the Truth even if it is right in front of them. Just how overwhelming can unbelief be? In the days of the Exodus, it cost an entire generation of Israelites their lives (Num.32:13). Hundreds of thousands of people died because of their unbelief. They decided to trust the 10 doubting spies who said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we” (Num. 13:31), instead of trusting the two Godly men, Joshua and Caleb (Num.14:6-10). Rather than moving ahead and taking possession of what God had promised them, the Israelites turned away in fear at Kadesh Barnea (Deut. 9:23). That was their cross-roads . . . and they made the wrong decision. As a result, they wandered in a desolate, desert wilderness for 40 long years. The graves of that entire generation, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb (Num.26:65) were scattered all over the barren landscape during those forty years. The writer of Hebrews concludes: Heb. 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (KJV) . . . BEWARE!!! Unbelief is a terrible sin!
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