John 20:1-18 . MARY'S VISIT TO THE SEPULCHRE, AND RETURN TO IT WITH PETER AND JOHN--HER RISEN LORD APPEARS TO HER.
John 20:19-23 . JESUS APPEARS TO THE ASSEMBLED DISCIPLES.
19-23. the same day at evening, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus--plainly not by the ordinary way of entrance.
and saith unto them Peace be unto you--not the mere wish that even His own exalted peace might be theirs ( John 14:27 ), but conveying it into their hearts, even as He "opened their understandings to understand the scriptures" ( Luke 24:45 ).
20. And when he had so said, he showed them his hands and his side--not only as ocular and tangible evidence of the reality of His resurrection that resurrection" dispensing all His peace to men.
Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.
22. he breathed on them--a symbolical conveyance to them of the Spirit.
and saith, Receive ye the Holy Ghost--an earnest and first-fruits of the more copious Pentecostal effusion.
23. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, &c.--In any literal and authoritative sense this power was never exercised by one of the apostles, and plainly was never understood by themselves as possessed by them or conveyed to The power to intrude upon the relation between men and God cannot have been given by Christ to His ministers in any but a ministerial or declarative sense--as the authorized interpreters of His word, while in the actings of His ministers, the real nature of the power committed to them is seen in the exercise of church discipline.
John 20:24-29 . JESUS AGAIN APPEARS TO THE ASSEMBLED DISCIPLES.
was not with them when Jesus came--why, we know not, though we are loath to think (with STIER, ALFORD and LUTHARDT) it was intentional, from sullen despondency. The fact merely is here stated, as a loving apology for his slowness of belief.
25. We have seen the Lord--This way of speaking of Jesus (as John 20:20 and John 21:7 ), so suited to His resurrection-state, was soon to become the prevailing style.
Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my linger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe--The very form of this speech betokens the strength of the unbelief. "It is not, If I shall see I shall believe, but, Unless I shall see I will not believe; nor does he expect to see, although the others tell him they had" [BENGEL]. How Christ Himself viewed this state of mind, we know from Mark 16:14 , "He upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen." But whence sprang this pertinacity of resistance in such minds? Not certainly from reluctance to believe, but as in Nathanael from mere dread of mistake in so vital a matter.
26-29. And after eight days--that is, on the eighth, or first day of the preceding week. They probably met every day during the preceding week, but their Lord designedly reserved His second appearance among them till the recurrence of His resurrection day, that He might thus inaugurate the delightful sanctities of THE LORD'S DAY ( Revelation 1:10 ).
disciples were within, and Thomas with them . . . Jesus . . . stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither . . . behold . . . put it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing--"There is something rhythmical in these words, and they are purposely couched in the words of Thomas himself, to put him to shame" [LUTHARDT]. But wish what condescension and gentleness is this done!
28. Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God--That Thomas did not do what Jesus invited him to do, and what he had made the condition of his believing, seems plain from John 20:29 ("Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed"). He is overpowered, and the glory of Christ now breaks upon him in a flood. His exclamation surpasses all that had been yet uttered, nor can it be surpassed by anything that ever will be uttered in earth or heaven. On the striking parallel in Nathanael, of the supreme divinity of Christ here manifestly taught--as if it were a mere call upon God in a fit of astonishment--is beneath notice, save for the profanity it charges upon this disciple, and the straits to which it shows themselves reduced.
29. because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed--words of measured commendation, but of indirect and doubtless painfully--felt rebuke: that is, 'Thou hast indeed believed; it is well: it is only on the evidence of thy senses, and after peremptorily refusing all evidence short of that.'
blessed they that have not seen, and yet have believed--"Wonderful indeed and rich in blessing for us who have not seen Him, is this closing word of the Gospel" [ALFORD].
The connection of these verses with the last words of John 20:29 is beautiful: that is, And indeed, as the Lord pronounced them blessed who not having seen Him have yet believed, so for that one end have the whole contents of this Gospel been recorded, that all who read it may believe on Him, and believing, have life in that blessed name.
30. many other signs--miracles.
31. But these are written--as sufficient specimens.
the Christ, the Son of God--the one His official, the other His personal, title.
believing . . . may have