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The Empty Tomb.* 1On the first day of the week,a Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark,* and saw the stone removed from the tomb. b 2So she ran* and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” 3* So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. 4They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. 6c When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths* there, 7and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.d 8Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. 9* e For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned home.
The Appearance to Mary of Magdala.* 11But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.f And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. 13And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.g 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”h She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”* which means Teacher. 17Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,* for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”i 18Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and what he told her.
Appearance to the Disciples.* 19On the evening of that first day of the week,j when the doors were locked, where the disciples* were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.* The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.k 21* [Jesus] said to them again,l “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22* And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,m “Receive the holy Spirit. 23* n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Thomas. 24Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”o 26Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”p 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” 28* q Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29* Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?r Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Conclusion.* 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book.s 31But these are written that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.t
* [20:1–31] The risen Jesus reveals his glory and confers the Spirit. This story fulfills the basic need for testimony to the resurrection. What we have here is not a record but a series of single stories.
* [20:1] Still dark: according to Mark the sun had risen, Matthew describes it as “dawning,” and Luke refers to early dawn. Mary sees the stone removed, not the empty tomb.
* [20:2] Mary runs away, not directed by an angel/young man as in the synoptic accounts. The plural “we” in the second part of her statement might reflect a tradition of more women going to the tomb.
* [20:16] Rabbouni: Hebrew or Aramaic for “my master.”
* [20:17] Stop holding on to me: see Mt 28:9, where the women take hold of his feet. I have not yet ascended: for John and many of the New Testament writers, the ascension in the theological sense of going to the Father to be glorified took place with the resurrection as one action. This scene in John dramatizes such an understanding, for by Easter night Jesus is glorified and can give the Spirit. Therefore his ascension takes place immediately after he has talked to Mary. In such a view, the ascension after forty days described in Acts 1:1–11 would be simply a termination of earthly appearances or, perhaps better, an introduction to the conferral of the Spirit upon the early church, modeled on Elisha’s being able to have a (double) share in the spirit of Elijah if he saw him being taken up (same verb as ascending) into heaven (2 Kgs 2:9–12). To my Father and your Father, to my God and your God: this echoes Ru 1:16: “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” The Father of Jesus will now become the Father of the disciples because, once ascended, Jesus can give them the Spirit that comes from the Father and they can be reborn as God’s children (Jn 3:5). That is why he calls them my brothers.
* [20:19] The disciples: by implication from Jn 20:24 this means ten of the Twelve, presumably in Jerusalem. Peace be with you: although this could be an ordinary greeting, John intends here to echo Jn 14:27. The theme of rejoicing in Jn 20:20 echoes Jn 16:22.
* [20:21] By means of this sending, the Eleven were made apostles, that is, “those sent” (cf. Jn 17:18), though John does not use the noun in reference to them (see note on Jn 13:16). A solemn mission or “sending” is also the subject of the post-resurrection appearances to the Eleven in Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47; Mk 16:15.
* [20:22] This action recalls Gn 2:7, where God breathed on the first man and gave him life; just as Adam’s life came from God, so now the disciples’ new spiritual life comes from Jesus. Cf. also the revivification of the dry bones in Ez 37. This is the author’s version of Pentecost. Cf. also the note on Jn 19:30.
* [20:28] My Lord and my God: this forms a literary inclusion with the first verse of the gospel: “and the Word was God.”
* [20:29] This verse is a beatitude on future generations; faith, not sight, matters.
* [20:30–31] These verses are clearly a conclusion to the gospel and express its purpose. While many manuscripts read come to believe, possibly implying a missionary purpose for John’s gospel, a small number of quite early ones read “continue to believe,” suggesting that the audience consists of Christians whose faith is to be deepened by the book; cf. Jn 19:35.
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