Larry Hunt's Bible Commentary

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John 20

Notes on John

Chapter Twenty:

v. 8: It says in this verse that John believed.  But what did he believe?  There are two possibilities:  He believed that Jesus had risen from the dead, or he believed (accepted) Mary’s story that the body had been stolen.  I think he believed the latter for the following reasons:

1)  The very next verse says, “As yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.”

2)  When they leave the tomb, they leave Mary still upset and weeping.  It seems like John would have comforted her if he believed that Jesus had been resurrected.

3)  When Jesus appears to the disciples in v. 19, they are all hiding in a locked house “for fear of the Jews.”  If John really believed that Jesus had been resurrected, it seems like he, at least, would have been behaving differently.

v. 12: The fact that Mary and the other women[1] see the angels inside the tomb, and that neither John nor Peter did, makes me think that the women’s faith was greater.

I do not believe that Mary Magdalene or the other women recognized these two as angels at first.  Mary Magdalene does not react to them with the awe one would expect from somebody who thinks she is speaking with angels.  I think that she and the others initially mistook them for garden attendants, as Mary Magdalene does Jesus in v. 15.


[1] See Harmony of the Resurrection in notes on Matthew 28.

 

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