Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      John - Chapter 20 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
    2. She ran to Simon Peter and to Jesus' favorite disciple and said, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb! We don't know where they have put him."
    3. Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
    4. They ran side by side, until the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got there first.
    5. He bent over and saw the strips of linen cloth lying inside the tomb, but he did not go in.
    6. When Simon Peter got there, he went into the tomb and saw the strips of cloth.
    7. He also saw the piece of cloth that had been used to cover Jesus' face. It was rolled up and in a place by itself.
    8. The disciple who got there first then went into the tomb, and when he saw it, he believed.
    9. At that time Peter and the other disciple did not know that the Scriptures said Jesus would rise to life.
    10. So the two of them went back to the other disciples.
    11. Mary Magdalene stood crying outside the tomb. She was still weeping, when she stooped down
    12. and saw two angels inside. They were dressed in white and were sitting where Jesus' body had been. One was at the head and the other was at the foot.
    13. The angels asked Mary, "Why are you crying?" She answered, "They have taken away my Lord's body! I don't know where they have put him."
    14. As soon as Mary said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know who he was.
    15. Jesus asked her, "Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?" She thought he was the gardener and said, "Sir, if you have taken his body away, please tell me, so I can go and get him."
    16. Then Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him, "Rabboni." The Aramaic word "Rabboni" means "Teacher."
    17. Jesus told her, "Don't hold on to me! I have not yet gone to the Father. But tell my disciples that I am going to the one who is my Father and my God, as well as your Father and your God."
    18. Mary Magdalene then went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. She also told them what he had said to her.
    19. The disciples were afraid of the Jewish leaders, and on the evening of that same Sunday they locked themselves in a room. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the middle of the group. He greeted them
    20. and showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they became very happy.
    21. After Jesus had greeted them again, he said, "I am sending you, just as the Father has sent me."
    22. Then he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
    23. If you forgive anyone's sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don't forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven."
    24. Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn't with the others when Jesus appeared to them.
    25. So they told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But Thomas said, "First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won't believe unless I do this!"
    26. A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples
    27. and said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!"
    28. Thomas replied, "You are my Lord and my God!"
    29. Jesus said, "Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!"
    30. Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book.
    31. But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

John - Chapter 20

Entered: August 16, 2005

Entered: September 19, 2011

Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead was a climax to His ministry leading up to the crucifixtion. It, possibly more than any other of His miracles, caught people's attention and raised the concern of the religious leaders leading them to a the decision to do something about Jesus. This is when they seriously plotted Jesus' arrest. But even this event did not bring full understanding or belief on the part of His disciples as to who He was. It was Jesus' own resurrection that led to full understanding and belief. 

One of the greatest obstacles to the understanding and belief on the part of the disciples was their misunderstanding and false expectation of the Messiah. Even though Jesus' miracles pointed to Him as a person of special significance and probably a person from God, if He were really the Messiah why was He not taking a more victorious role over the Jewish circumstances? Why was He arrested and killed by the Romans, prompted by the Jewish leaders? None of this made sense to them so belief had not yet come. But when they saw Jesus following His resurrection His teaching suddenly made sense. All of the pieces came together. 

Much unbelief is due to false expectation. We judge God based on our own ideas of how He should operate, and when He doesn't do things the way we think He should, we choose not to believe or even deny His existence. If we are to understand God and trust ourselves to Him, we will have to put aside our own perceptions and notions about God and let Him teach us about Himself. 

Once Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples following His resurrection and they finally believed, He immediately made them His emissaries. When they rejoiced at seeing His resurrected body, Jesus told them, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." (20:21)