Today’s passage: John 20:11-23
- In today’s passage, we see the same pattern of eyewitness accounts:
- Mary Magdalene sees Christ first, alone.
- Then the disciples see Christ together at one time.
- The evidence is given. The eyewitness accounts are corroborated. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. He is alive!
- Jesus also reveals two important truths:
- He would ascend to the Father.
- The Holy Spirit would come and minister in His absence.
- From the ESV Study Bible:
- “The expressions they are forgiven and it is withheld both represent perfect-tense verbs in Greek and could also be translated, “they have been forgiven” and “it has been withheld,” since the perfect gives the sense of completed past action with continuing results in the present. The idea is not that individual Christians or churches have authority on their own to forgive or not forgive people, but rather that as the church proclaims the gospel message of forgiveness of sins in the power of the Holy Spirit, it proclaims that those who believe in Jesus have their sins forgiven, and that those who do not believe in him do not have their sins forgiven – which simply reflects what God in heaven has already done.”
Questions to consider:
- Why do you think Mary wouldn’t have recognized Jesus at first (Weeping, shock, the resurrection body after the image of His crucifixion had been in her mind)? What gave it away? When did she recognize her Lord?
- Why might Jesus still have the evidence on His resurrected body of the marks on His hands/arms and His side? What will those marks continue to proclaim for all eternity?
- What is this version of the “Great Commission” communicating to the disciples (And to the church) in verse 21? How does the sending of Jesus give us greater understanding of what it means to be sent to share the gospel?