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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)

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

JOHN 20:6-8
6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying, 7 and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed.

John stood outside the tomb awaiting Peter’s arrival, a mark of respect for the senior apostle who would be the first to see the empty tomb. The youthful John was shaken by what he saw at first glance of the stone rolled away, the tomb open and the body vanished. The grave clothes also were carefully arranged. Thoughts churned in his mind; he prayed asking for light from the Lord as to what may have happened.

Soon Peter was there, entering directly into the open tomb; he perceived that the kerchief that had been on Jesus’ face was placed separately on the side. This meant that the body had not been stolen, since his exit had been orderly and calm.

Peter entered as if he was an inspector, but did not grasp the meaning of the obvious signs. John, the mystic, pondered, prayed and sensed hope. When he responded to Peter’s call and entered, his soul was illumined and began to believe in Christ’s resurrection. It was not his meeting with the Risen One that created faith in him, but the empty tomb and the grave clothes neatly folded pointed him to the truth and to faith.

JOHN 20:9-10
9 For as yet they didn’t know the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

Jesus did not remain in the tomb like the rest, philosophers, prophets and sinners in general, but rose leaving death as one would discard clothes. The Holy One remained sinless. Death had no dominion over him. God’s love never fails.

Christ’s enemies cannot claim that Jesus’ body disintegrated in the tomb because that was empty. Christ did not flee nor was he abducted, because the chamber of his death was a picture of orderliness, that was the witness to John. In the swaddling clothes of the manger he began his life’s journey, and in the grave-clothes he took his leave. So with the resurrection a new phase of his existence began on a heavenly plane. Even though he still retained his human nature.

These thoughts churned around in John’s mind as he returned from the open tomb. Yet he did not boast of this experience although he was the first to realize the victory of God’s Son in the Resurrection, but confessed that he believed in this miracle belatedly, even though it had been made clear in Scripture. His eyes were closed to what he had read about the death and victory of the Servant of God in Isaiah 53, nor did he grasp David’s prophecies on the same theme (Luke 24:44-48; Acts 2:25-32; Psalm 16:8-11).

The morning of the Great Feast witnessed two disciples returning home, troubled yet hopeful, trusting yet questioning, with prayers to Jesus who had left the tomb and his whereabouts unknown.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we offer you heartfelt thanks, for you are Victor in the hearts of your disciples, creating in them a trust in your rising. You have granted us a great hope of eternal life. We worship you, for you are the eternal God, and we become immortal by your grace. Save our friends from dying in their sins and grant them life everlasting by faith in your sacrifice.


  1. In what did John trust while inside the empty tomb?


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