March 23, 2023 – Thursday
John 20:8 NIV
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
In chapter 19, Jesus was sentenced to die by crucifixion. He was crucified and died on the cross. His legs were not broken to hurry up His death as was done to others as He was already dead. Nonetheless a spear was thrust into His side to confirm His death. He was buried that same day in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea, a secret admirer of Jesus. Nicodemus assisted in the burial.
Then in this chapter we find 1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. If you do not remember who Mary Magdalen was go to Luke 8:2 or Mark 16:9 to reacquaint yourself with her. While it is not mentioned in John, after Jesus was entombed, the tomb Jesus was buried in was both sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers – see Matthew 27:62-66. Mary was shocked at her discovery, 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved [John], and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” She thought Jesus’ body had been stolen.
Of course, they could not simply take Mary’s word for this, this was just too big of an event and they had to check it out for themselves. 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.
Much has been made of the the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. What are we to make of this? First of all, both Peter and John saw the linen in which the body had been wrapped, but the body was gone. This was a sign the body had not been stolen as if it had been stolen the linen would not have been left behind. Additionally, to take the body without the linen would have taken some time due to the difficulties of unwrapping the body when one considers how many wrappings the Jews used to wind their corpses in for burial. Moreover, what was observed there in the tomb was not scattered about but still lying it its place.
Then in verse 8 we have, 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. So, it was John (the other disciple) who first believed Jesus had risen from the dead. Guzik writes, Generally, the very first Christians did not believe in the resurrection only because the tomb was empty, but because they saw and met the resurrected Jesus. John was something of an exception; he believed simply by seeing the empty tomb, before meeting the resurrected Jesus. I find this lack of initial belief in the resurrection to be understandable. No one had ever survived a Roman crucifixion. Of course neither did Jesus survive it, but He did rise on the third day and failure to grasp that until they had seen the risen Christ is again understandable. It was beyond normal understanding for their time as well as ours for many people.
That John believed and understood what had happened, that Jesus was risen is also something very unusual for his time as well. But for him it was the only way to make sense out of what they found in the tomb. Not everyone found it so ‘easy’ to believe as we will find out, but in Guzik’s commentary we find, Sir Edward Clark, an English jurist, once wrote: ‘‘As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the first Easter day. To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling… As a lawyer I accept it unreservedly as the testimony of men to facts that they were able to substantiate.” (Boice)
Bottom Line: Jesus did rise on the third day.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for all the evidence of the Risen Christ. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton