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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 4 - Light Overcomes Darkness
B - The Resurrection and Appearance of Christ (John 20:1 - 21:25)
1. Events at the Passover dawn (Easter) (John 20:1-10)

a) Mary Magdalene at the graveside (John 20:1-2)

JOHN 20:1-2
1 Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went early, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb. 2 Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”

The disciples and the women who followed Jesus were devastated by the happenings of Friday. From a distance, the women watched how Jesus was placed in the tomb. Both the women and the disciples had hurried home, so as not to be blamed for breaking the Sabbath, starting Friday at dusk, round six o’clock.

On that great Sabbath, coinciding with the Passover Feast, no one dared go to the tomb. Whereas the multitudes were rejoicing at the thought that God was reconciled with the nation symbolically with lambs slain, Christians were gathered fearfully and tearfully. Their hopes lay buried with their Lord’s burial.

On the Sabbath eve, the women did not go out of the city gates or to buy spices and other items for anointing the body. They waited expectantly for the dawn on Sunday. The evangelist highlights the Magdalene’s visit to the tomb, but there is a hint of the other women companions in Mary Magdalene’s use of the plural "we". Salome, John’s mother and a few others went out together early on Sunday in tears for the anointing.

It was very early at dawn when they came near, distressed in grief to the tomb which they assumed was sealed. Their hopes were shattered, overcast with despair. The light of resurrection had not yet shone on them, and eternal life had not risen over their minds.

On arriving, they were dismayed to see the huge stone, wondering how they would move it from the mouth of the tomb.

The open grave was the first miracle on the day, a witness to our anxieties and unbelief that Christ is able to roll away all stones weighing down our hearts. He who believes finds help in God; faith sees a great future.

John tells us nothing about the angels appearing. Most likely, Mary Magdalene overtook her friends and peered into the tomb. She found no body there. Terrified, she rushed to the disciples. She was sure that the head of the apostolic band had to know of this miracle with the rest of the disciples. When Mary Magdalene reached Peter and his fellow disciple, she burst out with, "The body of the Lord is lost. Surely somebody took it and we don't know its place. This is an additional crime." This shows that she and the disciples were spiritually blind because they thought someone had stolen the body. It did not occur to them that the Lord had risen from the dead because he was Lord.

b) Peter and John race to the tomb (John 20:3-10)

JOHN 20:3-5
3 Therefore Peter and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb. 4 They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter, and came to the tomb first. 5 Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying, yet he didn’t enter in.

This was a race for love. Each of them wanted to be first beside Jesus. Peter, the older one, was panting behind the youthful John, unable to catch up. Both forgot their fear of spies and guards and passed through the city gates. When John reached the tomb, he did not enter, in deep reverence he held back. Looking into the hewn rock of the tomb he saw in the gloom the white grave clothes rolled up and left like the chrysalis vacated by the silk worm. The grave clothes had not dropped, but remained where the body lay. This is the third of the miracles linked with the resurrection. Christ did not tear away the clothes, but came out right through them. The angels did not move the stone to help Jesus out, but to let the women and disciples in. The Lord passed through rock on his way out.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for rising from the dead. You overcame all evils, and opened the way to God. You are with us in the valley of death and do not forsake us. Your life is ours; your power is made perfect in our weakness. We bow before you and love you because you have granted all believers a triumphant hope.


  1. What are the three lines of evidence for the resurrection of Christ?


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