Chapter 55

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Commentary: The character profiles or personalities of four different kinds of believers seem to be presented in the chapter of John 20:1-31, but these four are really perhaps only two. They are Peter and John whom we shall deal with herein, and Mary and Thomas whom we shall hopefully deal with in a future exposition, as the Lord leads. However, our present thoughts are that Peter and Thomas represent two ends of the same character spectrum of believers, and that John and Mary represent two ends of yet another, but closely related, character spectrum of believers. There is much here.


(John 20:1,2)  The first day of the week [Sunday, resurrection day] cometh Mary Magdalene [“out of whom he had cast seven devils” Mark 16:9] [an embedded prophecy: “seven” symbolizes complete and “Mary” symbolizes all mankind] early, when it was yet dark [signifying no understanding in the world, but approaching very close to dawn, i.e., “the light of the world” (John 8:12) is coming and the darkness of understanding shall flee], unto the sepulchre [pointing to the dark tombs of thoughts in the graveyard of our mind, where we attempt to keep hidden, confined and out of sight, our “uncomfortable”( unforgiven) bad memories], and seeth the stone [the hard stone of obstruction, the thick rigid obstacle, “the stony heart” that we have each erected and set in place to block, confine, and otherwise restrain our “bad” memories from entering into our conscious perceptions] taken away from the sepulchre [a consequence of “he is risen” (Mat 28:6,7; Mark 16:6), the Light of God (Gen 1:3,4)]. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon [Heb: hearing] Peter [Gk: a piece of (the) rock], and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved [John, referring to himself – the disciple of love (i.e., noted for his love)], and saith unto them, They [the bad (Heb: evil) guys] have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they [the bad (Heb: evil) guys] have laid him [i.e., His dead body] [Mary did not understanding the symbolic meaning of the removal of “the stone” of our hearts, Mary did not yet understand that “he is risen” into a new eternal life, into the fulfillment of the type and shadow of being born-again. Praise God! Thank you Lord].

1.      Mary = Heb: rebellious /// bitterness, i.e. (fig.) rebellion; concr. bitter:--(most) rebel (-ion, -lious).

2.      sepulchre = Gk: remembrance, (place of interment):--grave, tomb /// memory /// to recall to mind.

3.      (Ezek 36:26)  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.



Hypothesis: the harder your heart is, the less you will see (Gk: understand)

(John 20:3-8)  Peter [the operative leader of the disciples; the most aggressive and domineering] therefore [impulsively, hastily] went forth [(leading)], and that other disciple [John followed Peter; i.e., love followed the leader, like we follow Jesus, like a godly marriage in order where the wife follows the husband], and [they] came to the sepulchre [in essence, they came together to Jesus]. So they ran both [(emphasis)] together: and the other disciple [John, the disciple of love] did outrun Peter [who was by far the more hard hearted of the two (and thus, in a sense, more weighted down – more handicapped)], and [John] came first to the sepulchre [i.e., love comes first]. And he [John, stopped outside,] stooping down [in a kind of subjective respectful humility], and looking in [How? Answer: carefully, cautiously, prudently, wisely, with judgment, (investigating-ly); thoughtfully looking into the things of God as would a Berean (Acts 17:10,11); rather like kneeling down and slowly licking the water out of his hand (Judg 7:5; Heb 5:14)], saw [from afar] the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in [Why did John not go in? Answer: he rightfully righteously deferred to the authority of Simon Peter]. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and [Simon Peter] went into the sepulchre [Simon Peter, somewhat breathlessly from the running, violently rushed in (“and the violent [Gk: a forcer, i.e. (fig.) energetic] take it [the kingdom of heaven] by force” Mat 11:12), he barged in, or charged into the tomb in an aggressive (unthoughtful) manner, without first looking – blindly; rather like sucking up the milk of the word (water) at the breast (Judg 7:5; Heb 5:12,13)], and seeth the linen clothes lie [(a dual allusion) from up close (able to touch); the binding clothing of the world could not contain nor restrain Jesus Christ], And the napkin [Gk: a towel or handkerchief for binding the face of a corpse], that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together [“folded up” NIV] in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple [John], which came first to the sepulchre [i.e., love comes first (repeated)], and he [John] saw [Gk: perceived, understood] [after investigating], and believed.






Commentary: “but wrapped together” = is the primary evidence that initself indicates either that Jesus Himself or someone else had intentionally and carefully folded Jesus’ napkin into a symmetrical form that resulted in order and set it “in a place by itself.” However, the act of neatly folding the napkin indicates a respect that was quite lacking and contrary to what one would expect of a hurrying furtive criminal who had just broken into and desecrated a tomb and was in the very act of surreptitiously stealing the body. One must ask, would that criminal, himself laboring under the life-threatening fear-pressure of being suddenly discovered by Roman soldiers, first take the time, the several moments necessary to carefully fold the napkin, and then reach out and set it “in a place by itself”? Is it not much more likely that the criminal, deeply engrossed in the frantic hustle of removing the body, almost certainly without the slightest care would have allowed the unfolded unnoticed unimportant napkin to drop wheresoever it might upon the floor in a heap of unsymmetrical chaos? Further, intending to immediately hastily transport the body, why would the criminal pause to strip the dead body that was oozing bodily fluids of its protective (for the thief) clothing?


Commentary: Therefore, the actual scenario appears to be that Jesus Christ Himself stood up, thereby shedding as He arose (note the wonderful symbolism) the hampering binding linen clothing which consisted of long cloth strips of white linen wound tightly about His body like those commonly found on mummified Egyptians (the land of the unsaved from which we have been drawn out of, i.e., the land of dead people, the land of zombies if you will), the hampering binding linen clothing that fell in a confused heap about His feet, in a sense confessing Him (Phil 2:10,11), the hampering binding linen clothing that represented the lies of this world securely wrapped about, clinging to this Messiah, lies that had attempted to deny, confine, and restrain Him, and Jesus Christ grasped with His hands (the Hand Ministry: Eph 4:11) the offending covering napkin and removed it (as the “the stone” of offense had been removed) from off His face (symbolizing born-again sight – thank you Lord), neatly folded it (set it in order), placed it on something like a ledge “in a place by itself,” and exited the tomb. The latter sequence perhaps describes the thoughts or is very close to the thoughts that John reasoned at the tomb as he stooped down at the entrance and was intently “looking in,” and then following after Peter, John entered the tomb and “saw,” and with his conjectures confirmed, finally concluded that indeed…, “he is risen” (Mat 28:6,7; Mark 16:6).

1.      May we encourage you to please note the undercurrent but quietly powerful permeating theme of bringing order out of chaos (Gen 1:1-5) existent throughout this scenario.