Study Guide

Gospel of John Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

Tomb Raiders

  • Three days after Jesus is killed, Mary Magdalene comes to visit the tomb. It's very early in the morning, so it's still dark outside. When she comes closer to the tomb, she sees that the stone that laid over the opening has been removed and the tomb has been open. That's weird.
  • Mary runs to tell Peter and the Beloved Disciple this odd piece of news.
  • Peter and the Beloved Disciple rush with her back down to the tomb. When they arrive, Peter goes inside and sees the linen cloths that had wrapped Jesus's body lying on the ground. 
  • The Beloved Disciple sees it, too, and believes that Jesus has risen from the dead. This guy just gets it.

He Is Risen

  • The two men return to their homes, leaving Mary alone at the tomb, weeping in despair. Thanks a lot, guys.
  • When Mary looks into the tomb, she sees two angels dressed in white sitting in the place where they laid the body of Jesus. Whoa.
  • The angels ask Mary why she is crying. Apparently, talking to angels is just another day at the office for Mary.
  • She tells them it's because someone must have taken Jesus's body and she has no idea where they could have put it. A good guess, but keep going.
  • As she says this, she turns around and sees Jesus standing there, only she doesn't recognize him. Being resurrected is very slimming.
    Like the angels, Jesus asks her why she's crying.
  • Mary thinks that he must be the gardener and asks him if he took the body. Mary, you're so close.
  • "Mary!" Jesus says to her, and—light bulb!—she recognizes him. Jesus tells her not to touch him though; he hasn't yet gone back to God. But, what she could do is go tell his disciples that he is going to God. That would be great. Okay, thanks. Bye.
  • Mary rushes back to the disciples once again to give them the good news.

In Lock Down

  • That evening, the disciples meet at a house. They lock all the doors because they're still afraid of what might happen to them if the religious authorities find them. Probably smart.
  • Suddenly, Jesus comes into the room and greets them.
  • Surprise!
  • He shows the disciples the wounds on his hands and in his side, and the disciples are thrilled to see him again.
  • Jesus tells them that they are being sent out, and then… he breathes on them. They have now received the Holy Spirit and have the power to forgive the sins of others. Pretty cool.

No Doubt About It

  • Thomas, however, wasn't around to see any of this. Later, he rejoins the disciples and they tell him everything. Thomas isn't buying it. He says that, until he sees the nail marks and wounds on Jesus first-hand, he's not going to believe their story. Thomas needs proof of life.
  • A week later, the disciples are meeting again in the same house and Thomas is there. What could possibly happen? Oh yeah. Again, all the doors are locked, but again, Jesus comes. Of course.
  • He greets the disciples and then tells Thomas that he's free to put his hand in the wound in his side and shows him the nail marks on his hands.
  • Jesus heard what you said, Thomas. Don't you feel silly now? Jesus tells him not to doubt, but to believe.
  • Faced with some pretty strong evidence, Thomas believes whole-heartedly. Duh.
  • Jesus says it's great that he believes, but it's even better when people who haven't seen him believe. Like Christians are going to have to do for the next couple millennia.

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