Resurrection Sunday – Don’t Say Easter!

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Mark 16:1-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Resurrection

1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they *came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 Looking up, they *saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he *said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” 8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The MacArthur Study Bible and The Reformation Study Bible provide excellent notes on the Bible, as shown below. Along with the Ryrie Study Bible, Scofield Study Bible, Jeremiah Study Bible, Holman Christian Study Bible and The Complete Jewish Bible, any serious student of God’s Holy Word is provided with a credible library of God’s Holy Word. Consider using the following translations: NASB, ESV, NIV, HCSB, NKJV for critical study of scripture.

MacArthur Study Bible Notes:

16:1 Sabbath was past. The Sabbath officially ended at sundown on Saturday, after which the women were able to purchase spices. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. See note on Matt. 27:56. Luke mentions that Joanna and other women were also there (Luke 24:10; cf.15:41). spices. The women bought more spices in addition to those prepared earlier (cf. Luke 23:56; John 19:39, 40). anoint.Unlike the Egyptians, the Jewish people did not embalm their dead. Anointing was an act of love, to offset the stench of a decaying body. That the women came to anoint Jesus’ body on the third day after His burial showed that they, like the disciples, were not expecting Him to rise from the dead (cf. 8:31; 9:31;10:34).
16:2 when the sun had risen. John 20:1 says that Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb while it was still dark. She may have gone on ahead of the other women, or the whole party may have set out together while it was still dark and arrived at the tomb after sunrise.
16:3 Who will roll away the stone. Only Mark records this discussion on the way to the tomb. The women realized they had no men with them to move the heavy stone (v. 4) away from the entrance to the tomb. Since they had last visited the tomb on Friday evening, they did not know it had been sealed and a guard posted, which took place on Saturday (Matt. 27:62–66).
16:4 the stone had been rolled away. This was not to let Jesus out, but to let the witnesses in. The earthquake when the angel rolled away the stone (Matt. 28:2) may have affected only the area around the tomb, since the women apparently did not feel it.
16:5 entering the tomb. The outer chamber, separated from the burial chamber by a small doorway. young man clothed in a long white robe. The angel, having rolled away the stone (Matt. 28:2), had then entered the burial chamber. Luke records that there were two angels in the tomb; Matthew and Mark focus on the one who spoke.
16:6 Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. Better, “the Nazarene” (see note on Matt. 2:23). The inspired account leaves no doubt about who had been in the tomb. The idea of some unbelievers that the women went to the wrong tomb is ludicrous.He is risen! Christ’s resurrection is one of the central truths of the Christian faith (1 Cor. 15:4) and the only plausible explanation for the empty tomb. Even the Jewish leaders did not deny the reality of the empty tomb, but concocted the story that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body (Matt. 28:11–15). The idea that the fearful (John 20:19), doubting (vv. 11, 13; Luke 24:10,11) disciples somehow overpowered the Roman guard detachment and stole Jesus’ body is absurd. That they did it while the guards were asleep is even more preposterous. Surely, in moving the heavy stone from the mouth of the tomb, the disciples would have awakened at least one of the soldiers. And in any case, how could the guards have known what happened while they were asleep? Many other theories have been sinfully invented over the centuries to explain away the empty tomb, all of them equally futile.
16:7 and Peter. Peter was not singled out as the leader of the disciples, but to be reassured that, despite his denials of Christ, he was still one of them. He is going before you into Galilee…as He said. See note on 14:28. The disciples’ lack of faith made them slow to act on these words; they did not leave for Galilee (Matt. 28:7, 16) until after Jesus repeatedly appeared to them in Jerusalem (cf. Luke 24:13–32; John 20:19–31).
16:8 afraid. They were overwhelmed by the frightening appearance of the angel and the awesome mystery of the Resurrection.

Reformation Study Bible Notes:

16:1 Sabbath was past. At sunset (6:00 p.m.) on Saturday evening, a time appropriate for buying spices but not for visiting tombs.
anoint. Anointing was a way of showing affection (14:8 note), as in the West today one sends flowers.
16:3 Who will roll away the stone. They had seen the “very large” (v. 4) stone put in its place.
16:5 entering the tomb. They entered the vestibule of the burial chamber, at the far end of which was the individual niche (a bench or shelf) where Jesus’ body had been laid. young man. Matt. 28:2 says the women met an angel at the tomb.
16:6 He has risen. If the Gospel of Mark reaches its climax in the confession that Jesus is the Son of God (15:39 note), a second climax is reached with the declaration of His resurrection, which attests that His preaching concerning the coming of the kingdom in power is true. See notes 1:15 and 9:1; “The Resurrection of Jesus” at Luke 24:2.
16:7 and Peter. These two words make all the difference in the enormous role that Peter would play in the subsequent history of redemption. By them Mark indicates, as he brings his Gospel to an end (16:9–20 note), that Jesus’ work of preparation of the Twelve will not be lost.

Matthew 28:1-15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Jesus Is Risen!

1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus *said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
11 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” 15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

MacArthur Study Bible Notes:

28:1 as the first day of the week began to dawn. Sabbath officially ended with sundown on Saturday. At that time the women could purchase and prepare spices (Luke 24:1). The event described here occurred the next morning, at dawn on Sunday, the first day of the week. other Mary. The mother of James the Less.
28:2 a great earthquake. The second earthquake associated with Christ’s death (27:51). This one may have been confined to the immediate area around the grave, when “an angel” supernaturally “rolled back the stone from the door”—not to let Jesus out, for if He could rise from the dead, He would need no help escaping an earthly tomb, but to let the women and the apostles in (v. 6).
28:4 became like dead men. This suggests that they were not merely paralyzed with fear, but completely unconscious, totally traumatized by what they had seen. The word translated “shook” has the same root as the word for “earthquake” in v. 2. The sudden appearance of this angel, at the same time the women arrived, was their first clue that anything extraordinary was happening.
28:6 Come, see the place where the Lord lay. See note on Luke 24:4 for the order of these events as gleaned from all 4 gospels.
28:7 there you will see Him. See vv. 10, 16; 26:32; John 21:1–14. This does not mean they would not see Him until then. He was seen by the apostles several times before they saw Him in Galilee (Luke 24:15, 34, 36; John 20:19, 26). But His supreme post-resurrection appearance was in Galilee, where “He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once” (1 Cor. 15:6).
28:9 Jesus met them. For a summary of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances, see note on Luke 24:34.
28:10 My brethren. I.e., the disciples.
28:11 reported to the chief priests. The Jewish leaders’ determination to cover up what had occurred reveals the obstinacy of unbelief in the face of evidence (Luke 16:31).
28:12 a large sum of money. Lit. “silver” (cf. 26:15). The bribery was necessary because the soldiers’ story, if true, could cost them their lives—since they were charged with guard duty under Pilate’s personal orders (27:65). The Jewish leaders also promised to cover for the soldiers if the false story they spread leaked back to Pilate (v. 14).
28:13 while we slept. The story was obviously bogus, and not a very good cover-up. They could not possibly know what had happened while they were asleep.

Reformation Study Bible Note:

28:11–15 This incident shows that clear evidence may have no effect on those who are committed to unbelief. That the story of the disciples stealing Jesus’ body was still circulated in the days of Justin Martyr (c. 160) indicates something of the desperation felt by Jewish leaders in explaining the empty tomb.

Luke 24:1-49 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Resurrection

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” 8 And they remembered His words, 9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 11 But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

The Road to Emmaus

13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. 17 And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” 19 And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. 22 But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” 25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
28 And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. 29 But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.

Other Appearances

36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them,“Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate it before them.
44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
MacArthur Study Bible Notes:
24:1 bringing the spices. See note on 23:55. The women were not expecting to find Jesus risen from the dead; their only plan was to finish anointing His body for burial. See note on Mark 16:1.
24:2 the stone rolled away. Matthew 28:2–4 records that an earthquake occurred and an angel rolled the stone away. The Roman guards fainted with fear. Mark, Luke, and John make no mention of the guards, so it appears they fled when they awoke to find the empty tomb. The women must have arrived shortly after.
24:4 two men. These were angels. Only Luke mentioned them both (see note on Mark 16:5). Mark was concerned only with the one who spoke for the duo. Such minor differences in the gospel accounts are all reconcilable. Here’s a summary of the events of the resurrection, assembled from all 4 evangelists’ accounts: Finding the stone rolled away, the women entered the tomb, but found it empty (v. 3). While they were still in the tomb, the angels suddenly appeared (v. 4; Mark 16:5). The angel who spoke reminded them of Jesus’ promises (vv. 6–8), then sent them to find Peter and the disciples to report that Jesus was risen (Matt. 28:7, 8; Mark 16:7, 8). The women did as they were told (vv. 9–11). The disciples were skeptical at first (v. 11), but ran to where the tomb was, John arriving first (John 20:4), but Peter actually entering the tomb first (John 20:6). They saw the linen wrappings intact but empty, proof that Jesus was risen (v. 12; John 20:6–8). They left immediately (v. 12; John 20:10). Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene returned to the tomb, and was standing outside weeping when Christ suddenly appeared to her (John 20:11–18). That was His first appearance (Mark 16:9). Sometime soon after that, He met the other women on the road and appeared to them as well (Matt. 28:9, 10). Later that day He appeared to two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus (vv. 13–32), and to Peter (v. 34). For a chronological listing of all His post-resurrection appearances, see note on v. 34.
24:9 all the rest. I.e., other disciples, mostly from Galilee, who were in Jerusalem for the Passover.
24:10 Mary Magdalene. See note on 8:2. She was the first to see Jesus alive (Mark 16:9; John 20:11–18). See note on v. 4.Joanna. Her husband was Herod’s steward. See note on 8:3.Mary the mother of James. See note on Matt. 27:56. the other women. They are never explicitly identified (cf. 23:49, 55).
24:13 two of them. These evidently were not any of the 11 disciples. According to v. 18, one was named Cleopas. Emmaus. Mentioned nowhere else in Scripture. Its exact location is not known, but tradition says it is a town known as Kubeibeh, 7 mi. NW of Jerusalem.
24:16 their eyes were restrained. I.e., they were kept by God from recognizing Him.
24:18 Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem. The crucifixion of Jesus was already such a well-known event around Jerusalem that they were shocked that He seemed not to know about it.
24:21 But we were hoping. They had been looking for an immediate earthly kingdom. With Jesus crucified, they were probably struggling with doubt about whether He was the Messiah who would reign. But they still regarded Him as a true prophet (v. 19). the third day. There may have been a glimmer of hope in these words. They had heard rumors of His resurrection already (vv. 22–24). Perhaps Cleopas recalled the Lord’s promises of 9:22; 18:33. More likely, however, it seems this was his way of expressing surprise that this Stranger did not yet know the news everyone else in Jerusalem had been discussing for the past 3 days.
24:24 certain of those who were with us. I.e., Peter and John (see note on v. 12). but Him they did not see. This was true. Evidently Cleopas and his companion had not heard about the appearance to Mary Magdalene (see note on v. 4).
24:26 Ought not. I.e., “Was it not necessary?” OT prophecies spoke often of a suffering servant of God (see note on v. 27).
24:27 Moses and all the Prophets. Verse 44 gives the 3-fold division; this expression is merely a shortened way to say the same thing. in all the Scriptures. In the inscrutable wisdom of divine providence, the substance of Christ’s exposition of the OT messianic prophecies was not recorded. But the gist of what He expounded would have undoubtedly included an explanation of the OT sacrificial system, which was full of types and symbols that spoke of His sufferings and death. He also would have pointed them to the major prophetic passages which spoke of the crucifixion, such as Ps. 16:9–11; 22; 69; Is. 52:14—53:12; Zech. 12:10; 13:7. And He would have pointed out the true meaning of passages like Gen. 3:15; Num. 21:6–9; Ps. 16:10; Jer. 23:5, 6;Dan. 9:26—and a host of other key messianic prophecies, particularly those that spoke of His death and resurrection.
24:30 took bread. A simple expression, meaning to share a meal (v. 35).
24:31 their eyes were opened. I.e., by God. They had been sovereignly kept from recognizing Him until this point (cf. v. 16). His resurrection body was glorified, and altered from its previous appearance (see John’s description in Rev. 1:13–16), and this surely explains why even Mary did not recognize Him at first (cf.John 20:14–16). But in this case, God actively intervened to keep them from recognizing Him until it was time for Him to depart. He vanished from their sight. His resurrection body, though real and tangible (John 20:27)—and even capable of ingesting earthly food (vv. 42, 43)—nonetheless possessed certain properties that indicate it was glorified, altered in a mysterious way (cf. 1 Cor. 15:35–54; Phil. 3:21). Christ could appear and disappear bodily, as seen in this text. His body could pass through solid objects—such as the grave clothes (see note on v. 12), or the walls and doors of a closed room (John 20:19, 26). He could apparently travel great distances in a moment, for by the time these disciples returned to Jerusalem, Christ had already appeared to Peter (v. 34). The fact that He ascended into heaven bodily demonstrated that His resurrection body was already fit for heaven. Yet it was His body, the same one that was missing from the tomb, even retaining identifying features such as the nail-wounds (John 20:25–27). He was no ghost or phantom.
24:34 appeared to Simon. Cf. 1 Cor. 15:5–8. Scripture describes at least 10 distinct appearances of Christ between the resurrection and ascension. He appeared to: 1) Mary Magdalene at the tomb (Mark 16:9; John 20:11–18); 2) to the women on the road (Matt. 28:9, 10); 3) to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (vv. 13–32); 4) to Peter (v. 34); 5) to 10 of the 11 disciples, Thomas being absent (vv. 36–43; Mark 16:14; John 20:19–25); 6) to the 11 disciples (with Thomas present) 8 days later (John 20:26–31); 7) to 7 disciples by the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1–25); 8) to more than 500 disciples, probably on a mountain in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6; see note on Matt. 28:16); 9) to James (1 Cor. 15:7); and 10) to the apostles when He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:3–11). After His ascension, He appeared to Paul (1 Cor. 15:8). The next time He appears it will be in glory (Matt. 24:30).
24:36 Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them. The doors were closed and locked (John 20:19). See note on v. 31.
24:39 Behold My hands and My feet. He was showing them the nail wounds to prove it was really Him. Cf. John 20:27.
24:45 opened their understanding. He undoubtedly taught them from the OT, as He had on the road to Emmaus (see note on v. 27). But the gist of the expression also seems to convey a supernatural opening of their minds to receive the truths He unfolded. Whereas their understanding was once dull (9:45), they finally saw clearly (cf. Ps. 119:18; Is. 29:18, 19; 2 Cor. 3:14–16).
24:46–53 This section contains several ideas that are echoed in the opening of Acts, including Christ’s suffering and resurrection (v. 46; Acts 1:3); the message of repentance and remission of sins (v. 47; Acts 2:38); the disciples as His witnesses (v. 48; Acts 1:8); the Promise of the Father (v. 49; Acts 1:4); tarrying in Jerusalem (v. 49; Acts 1:4) and the beginning of gospel outreach there (v. 47; Acts 1:8); power from on high (v. 49; Acts 1:8); Christ’s ascension (v. 51; Acts 1:9–11); the disciples’ return to Jerusalem (v. 52; Acts 1:12); and their meeting in the temple (v. 53; Acts 2:46).

Reformation Study Bible Notes:

24:1 the first day of the week. This began at sunset on Saturday. The women would have had the hours of darkness to complete their preparations before setting out for the tomb at daybreak.
24:2, 3 A stone tomb would be closed by rolling a stone in front of the opening (Mark 15:46 note). Matthew notes that a seal was placed on the stone (Matt. 27:66).

John 20:1-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Empty Tomb

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there,7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.15 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus *said to her, “Mary!”She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

Jesus among His Disciples

19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again,“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

MacArthur Study Bible Notes:

20:1–31 This chapter records the appearances of Jesus to His own followers: 1) the appearance to Mary Magdalene (vv. 1–18); 2) the appearance to the 10 disciples (vv. 19–23); and 3) the appearance to Thomas (vv. 24–29). Jesus did not appear to unbelievers (see 14:19; 16:16, 22) because the evidence of His resurrection would not have convinced them as the miracles had not (Luke 16:31). The god of this world had blinded them and prevented their belief (2 Cor. 4:4). Jesus, therefore, appears exclusively to His own in order to confirm their faith in the living Christ. Such appearances were so profound that they transformed the disciples from cowardly men hiding in fear to bold witnesses for Jesus (e.g., Peter; see 18:27; cf. Acts 2:14–39). Once again John’s purpose in recording these resurrection appearances was to demonstrate that Jesus’ physical and bodily resurrection was the crowning proof that He truly is the Messiah and Son of God who laid down His life for His own (10:17, 18;15:13; cf. Rom. 1:4).
20:1 first day of the week. A reference to Sunday. From then on, believers set aside Sunday to meet and remember the marvelous resurrection of the Lord (see Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). It became known as the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10). See notes on Luke 24:4, 34. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark. 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 (Luke 24:1).
20:2 other disciple, whom Jesus loved. This is the author John. They have taken. Though Jesus had predicted His resurrection numerous times, it was more than she could believe at that point. It would take His showing Himself alive to them by many “infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) for them to believe.
20:5–7 saw the linen cloths lying there. A contrast existed between the resurrection of Lazarus (11:44) and that of Jesus. While Lazarus came forth from the grave wearing his grave clothes, Jesus’ body, though physical and material, was glorified and was now able to pass through the grave clothes much in the same way that He later appeared in the locked room (see vv. 19, 20; cf. Phil. 3:21). linen cloths…handkerchief. The state of those items indicates no struggle, no hurried unwrapping of the body by grave robbers, who wouldn’t unwrap the body anyway, since transporting it elsewhere would be easier and more pleasant if it was left in its wrapped and spiced condition. All appearances indicated that no one had taken the body, but that it had moved through the cloth and left it behind in the tomb.
20:8 the other disciple. John saw the grave clothes and was convinced by them that He had risen.
20:9 did not know the Scripture. Neither Peter nor John understood that Scripture said Jesus would rise (Ps. 16:10). This is evident by the reports of Luke (24:25–27, 32, 44–47). Jesus had foretold His resurrection (2:19; Matt. 16:21; Mark 8:31; 9:31;Luke 9:22), but they would not accept it (Matt. 16:22; Luke 9:44,45). By the time John wrote this gospel, the church had developed an understanding of the OT prediction of Messiah’s resurrection (cf. “as yet”).
20:11–13 weeping. Mary’s sense of grief and loss may have driven her back to the tomb. She apparently had not crossed paths with Peter or John and thus did not know of Jesus’ resurrection (see v. 9).
20:12 two angels. Luke (24:4) describes both. Matthew (28:2, 3) and Mark (16:5) report only one. John’s reason for the mention of angels is to demonstrate that no grave robbers took the body. This was an operation of the power of God.
20:14 did not know that it was Jesus. The reason for Mary’s failure to recognize Jesus is uncertain. She may not have recognized Him because her tears blurred her eyes (v. 11). Possibly also, the vivid memories of Jesus’ bruised and broken body were still etched in her mind, and Jesus’ resurrection appearance was so dramatically different that she failed to recognize Him. Perhaps, however, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, she was supernaturally prevented from recognizing Him until He chose for her to do so (see Luke 24:16).
20:16 “Mary!” Whatever the reason for her failure to recognize Jesus, the moment He spoke the single word, “Mary,” she immediately recognized Him. This is reminiscent of Jesus’ words “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (10:27; cf. 10:3, 4).
20:17 Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended. 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 (Acts 1:3–11). After He went to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit (“The Helper”) so that they would not feel abandoned (see note on 14:18, 19). My brethren. Disciples have been called “servants” or “friends” (15:15), but not “brothers,” until here. Because of Jesus’ work on the cross in place of the sinner, this new relationship to Christ was made possible (Rom. 8:14–17;Gal. 3:26, 27; Eph. 1:5; Heb. 2:10–13).
20:19 the same day. See note on v. 1. the doors were shut.The Gr. word indicates the doors were locked for fear of the Jews. Since the authorities had executed their leader, they reasonably expected that Jesus’ fate could be their own. Peace be with you. See notes on 14:27; 16:33. Jesus’ greeting complements His “It is finished,” for His work on the cross accomplished peace between God and His people (Rom. 5:1;Eph. 2:14–17).
20:20 Jesus proved that He who appeared to them was the same One who was crucified (cf. Luke 24:39).
20:21 This commission builds on 17:18. See Matt. 28:19, 20.
20:22 Since the disciples did not actually receive the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost, some 40 days in the future (Acts 1:8;2:1–3), this statement must be understood as a pledge on Christ’s part that the Holy Spirit would be coming.
20:23 See notes on Matt. 16:19; 18:18. This verse does not give authority to Christians to forgive sins. 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 20:30-31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Why This Gospel Was Written

30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

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2 thoughts on “Resurrection Sunday – Don’t Say Easter!

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