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The Empty Tomb

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw the stone [already] removed from the [groove across the entrance of the] tomb.(A) So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the [a]other disciple (John), whom Jesus loved (esteemed), and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and [b]we do not know where they have laid Him!” So Peter and the other disciple left, and they were going to the tomb.(B) And the two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and arrived at the tomb first. Stooping down and looking in, he saw the linen [c]wrappings [neatly] lying there; but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came up, following him, and went into the tomb and saw the linen wrappings [neatly] lying there; and the [burial] [d]face-cloth which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the [other] linen wrappings, but [e]rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, went in too; and he saw [the wrappings and the face-cloth] and [f]believed [without any doubt that Jesus had risen from the dead]. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.(C) 10 Then the disciples went back again to their own homes.

11 But Mary [who had returned] was standing outside the tomb sobbing; and so, as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She told them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 After saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? For whom are you looking?” Supposing that He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you are the one who has carried Him away from here, tell me where you have put Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in [g]Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, [h]Do not hold Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene came, reporting to the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that He had said these things to her.

Jesus among His Disciples

19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, [i]Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.(D) 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].”

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Didymus (the twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails, and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later His disciples were again inside the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though the doors had been barred, and stood among them and said, “Peace to you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but [stop doubting and] believe.”(E) 28 Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, do you now believe? Blessed [happy, spiritually secure, and favored by God] are they who did not see [Me] and yet believed [in Me].”

Purpose of Writing this Gospel

30 There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus 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 [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name.(F)


  1. John 20:2 See note 19:26.
  2. John 20:2 This indicates others were also present.
  3. John 20:5 Removing the burial wrappings and spices from a dead, decaying body would have been not only extremely difficult (if not impossible), but overwhelmingly nauseating. If a tomb robber had even attempted such a thing, the tomb would have been left in shambles. It would make no sense for a tomb robber to remove a dead body from the wrappings before stealing it.
  4. John 20:7 The word used here, soudarion, is taken from Latin (sudarium), where it refers to a linen handkerchief (cf Acts 19:12) or large linen napkin. This suggests something of the dimensions of the cloth, which was probably a new, unused piece of material.
  5. John 20:7 Jesus either caused the tight linen wrappings to fall from His body miraculously or His resurrected body miraculously passed through the linen wrappings, leaving them just as they were where He was lying (except for the face-cloth), unlike Lazarus who emerged from the tomb and had to be released from the wrappings. In either case, the grave wrappings would collapse on themselves on the flat surface of the slab where His body had been placed. The text also indicates that Jesus may have removed the face-cloth Himself once His hands were free, and neatly placed it apart from the other wrappings.
  6. John 20:8 John, the “other disciple,” knew immediately that no one could have fabricated the sight before him: (1) no one could have surreptitiously removed the stone covering the entrance (cf Matt 28:2), even if the guards assigned to the tomb had fallen asleep, as they were later paid to say by the chief priests (Matt 28:13); (2) removing the grave clothes from a dead body in a dark tomb in the middle of the night made no sense (cf note v 5); (3) stealing Jesus’ body would have accomplished nothing. The disciples’ reaction of disbelief when told of His resurrection implies they were neither expecting nor prepared for this miraculous event (cf Matt 28:16, 17; Mark 16:8-14; Luke 24:6-11). The actual resurrection of a living, flesh-and-bone Jesus gave the disciples the courage to begin proclaiming anew the message of salvation, and provided the strength for them to face both great personal suffering and martyrdom for their faith.
  7. John 20:16 I.e. Jewish Aramaic.
  8. John 20:17 In her joy Mary had probably reverently embraced Jesus at the knees or ankles.
  9. John 20:19 A normal Hebrew greeting.

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