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John 20:1 Empty Tomb

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Empty Tomb

It is now Sunday morning. Bearing spices to complete the preparation of the body of Jesus, several women arrived at the Empty Tomb.

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John 20:1-18

1. While it was still dark, Mary Magdalene was the first of several women to arrive 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).” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1423)

She found the tomb empty!

“It is significant that the first witnesses of the resurrection of Christ were believing women…These Christian women had a greater message than that of the law, for they knew that their Savior was alive.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 388)

2. Mary “ran to give the news to Peter and John. ” See Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8 for the account of the other women who went to the tomb to prepare Christ’s body for burial. They did not expect that He would be alive. (Wiersbe, 388)

“We find Simon Peter and John together. Apparently John has taken him in.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 495)

“Mary Magdalene was not expecting the Resurrection. Her thought was that someone had stolen away the Lord’s body.” (McGee, 495)

She didn’t know where they took Him.

Peter and John at Tomb

3-4. Peter and that other disciple ran to the tomb to see for themselves.

“Simon Peter and John were not expecting the Resurrection. They probably thought that Mary didn’t see well in the dark. She saw the stone rolled away, became frightened, and ran…So they rush to the cemetery. Friend, you don’t go into a cemetery to look for the living. They were not expecting to find Jesus alive when they rushed to the tomb. They were expecting to find the Lord’s body.” (McGee, 495)

When John arrived at the tomb he saw, “the graveclothes lying on the stone shelf without any evidence of violence or crime. But the graveclothes were empty! They lay there like an empty cocoon, still retaining the shape of Jesus’ body.” (Wiersbe, 389)

6-7. Peter rushed into the tomb.

“He also saw the linen clothes lying there empty and the cloth for the head carefully rolled and lying by itself. Grave robbers do not carefully unwrap the corpse and then leave the graveclothes neatly behind…The only way those linen clothes could be left in that condition would be if Jesus passed through them as He arose from the dead.” (Wiersbe, 389)

8. “John then entered the tomb and looked at the evidence, ‘He saw, and believed.’” [NKJV] (Wiersbe, 388)

9. Peter and John did not understand the Scripture.

10. They returned home.

Mary Magdalene

11. Making sure Jesus was not in the tomb Mary looked inside the tomb.

12. She saw two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

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.” (MacArthur, 1424)

13. “The brief conversation neither dried her tears nor quieted her mind. She was determined to find the body of Jesus.” (Wiersbe, 389)

14. Turning away from the tomb, she saw Jesus but did not recognize Him.

15. Thinking He was the gardener, Mary questioned Him to tell her where He was.

16. “Whatever the reason for her failure to recognize Jesus, the moment He spoke the single word, ‘Mary,’ she immediately recognized Him.” (MacArthur, 1424) (John 10:3-4,27)


17. “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 for forty more days, and then He ascended (Acts 1:3-11).” (MacArthur, 1424)

Jesus told her to go tell My brethren [NKJV).

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 (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 1:5; Hebrews 2:10-13).” (MacArthur, 1424)

18. “Mary not only shared the fact of His resurrection and that she had seen Him personally, but she also reported the words that He has spoken to her. Again, we see the importance of the Word of God. Mary could not transfer her experience over to them, but she could share the Word, and it is the Word that generates faith (Romans 10:17). The living Christ shared His living Word (1 Peter 1:23-25).” (Wiersbe, 391)


Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004

Burial                                                                                                                               Meeting Disciples

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