Category Archives: JOHN 20:1-20

The resurrection appearances of Christ to Mary Magdalene and the apostles.

John 20:1-20

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN CHAPTER 20, VERSES 1 TO 10:

20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him.
20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
20:4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
20:7 And the napkin, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
20:8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
20:9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
20:10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

The first day of the week- in Old Testament times the first day of the week was called “the day after the sabbath”, for the sabbath was the climax to the week. Now the emphasis is different, for a new era has dawned, and what happened on the very first day of that new era gives character to it. In the Old Testament, God was working towards the setting up of Christ’s kingdom on earth, when He will be able to rest gloriously with His people, for “there remaineth therefore a rest (the word has the idea of the keeping of a sabbath) for the people of God”, Hebrews 3:9. The first sabbath was after God’s six days of work in creation, but now a new creation has begun, and the sabbath recedes.
Cometh Mary Magdalene early- this Mary had stood by the cross before the Lord committed His mother to John’s keeping. They, no doubt, left the scene before the hours of darkness, perhaps with His mother’s sister. Mary Magdalene seems to have then withdrawn to be with other women who stood further away, John 19:25; Matthew 27:56. Then she, with Mary the mother of Joses, watched where His body was laid, as they sat over against the sepulchre, Matthew 27:61; Mark 15:47. Then Mark tells us they bought sweet spices, Mark 16:1. They prepared those spices and ointments, Luke 23:55,56; 24:1, 10. They rested the sabbath day, according to the commandment, Luke 23:56. Now Mary is doing the seventh thing, for she is coming to the sepulchre to anoint His body. After all, she had been delivered from the domination of seven devils, and now, released from her tormentors, she shows her love and devotion in a seven-fold way. Mark seems to make this connection when he writes, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils”, Mark 16:9. Her love and devotion was rewarded, and she showed herself a fit messenger to tell of His rising again.
Having noted her devotion, we should remember that there was one Mary who did not come to the sepulchre, and that was Mary of Bethany. This was not because of any lack of devotion to Christ, but rather because she had already anointed His body unto the burial whilst He was alive and could appreciate it, John 12:1-8. It is always good to show our devotion in a way that most pleases Christ.
When it was yet dark- this no doubt refers to when she started out. The sun was rising when she arrived, Mark 16:2. We know from Mark 16:1,2 that she came with Mary the mother of James, and Salome, but John only tells us about Mary Magdalene. Just as Peter is always mentioned first when the apostles are listed, so Mary Magdalene is always first when the women are listed. John is impressed with her fervent devotion.
Unto the sepulchre- the word sepulchre has the idea of memorial about it, suggesting that the person within was worthy of remembrance. The Lord Jesus is indeed worthy of remembrance, but He is remembered as one who has conquered death, and His tomb, whilst important when He was in it, has lost its attraction now. The question of the angels was, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen”, Luke 24:5,6. The Living One is pleased to be found amongst the living, those who have eternal life, as we see in verse 19.
And seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre- she had watched Joseph of Arimathea roll a great stone to the entrance to the sepulchre, Matthew 27:60,61. But this no doubt was comparatively easy, for the custom was to have a trench cut into rock which sloped towards the entrance to the tomb, and the stone would be like a huge millstone that could be rolled down this trench until it covered the doorway completely. To roll the stone back uphill would be a different task altogether, and she knew that she, even with her companions, would not be able to do this, Mark 16:3.
We are not told whether she knew that the Jews had obtained permission from Pilate to seal and guard the tomb. She might have thought that to be a disaster, but in fact it was ordered of God, so that no-one could steal the body even if he wanted to. God makes the wrath of man to praise Him, over-ruling their schemes to His glory.
It is interesting to see how Matthew interrupts his account of the arrival of the women at the sepulchre, to tell us how it was that the stone was rolled away. He recounts the actions of the Jews, and then tells us of the actions of the angel. We could set it out like this:

“So they went” (with authority from Pilate).  “the angel of the Lord descended from heaven”, (with authority from God).
“And made the sepulchre sure” (ensuring it was kept closed).  “and sat upon it”, (ensuring it was kept open).
“Sealing the stone” (to show everyone that the body was inside). “rolled back the stone from the door”, (to show everyone that the body was gone, but the grave-clothes were intact)
“Setting a watch” (to ensure that none would approach). “the keepers did shake, and became as dead men” (to ensure the women, Peter, and John could approach).

20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him.

Then she runneth- without investigating further, she leaves the other two within sight of the tomb, and runs to tell the disciples that the body has been taken. It is good to be quick to do the Lord’s will, but we should remember the Scripture which says, “He that believeth shall not make haste”, Isaiah 28:16. We must serve the Lord with careful thought, and not be rash.
And cometh to Simon Peter- he is the one that has most often taken the lead, and his name is always first in the list of the apostles. It seems that the apostles as a whole, (with the exception of John, verse 8), did not believe Christ was raised until Peter was convinced it was so. Those who occupy leadership roles should be very careful to maintain a strong faith, lest they hinder others. Note John calls him Simon Peter here and in verse 6. Simon was his birth-name, whereas Peter, or Cephas was the name given to him by the Lord Himself, John 1:42. 20:3 The two names tell of what he was by nature, and what he had become by Divine calling. So in this verse and verse 6 there is something of the old about him. Here, he is the one who has denied his Lord, and is cowering in fear. In verse 6 we shall see him still in unbelief, despite having seen more than John.
And to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved- this is usually thought to be the way that John puts his signature on the gospel. He uses the expression in John 13:23; 19:26; 21:7; 21:20. We should bear in mind, however, that the expression “whom Jesus loved” is most likely to be applied to Peter as well as to John. It is also true that in this place the verb for loved” is different to the one used in the other cases.
The fact that Mary is said to come to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, rather than coming to Simon Peter and John, suggests that they were in separate places. The Lord had prophesied that “ye shall be scattered, each to his own”, 16:32. This had come to pass. No doubt John would be anxious to keep the mother of Jesus safe in isolation.
And saith unto them- even if they were in separate places, the message to them both was the same.
They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre- this was, in fact, not true, but the hasty conclusion from seeing that the stone had been rolled away. This would be the last thing God would allow to happen. Mary does not explain who the “they” are. Does she mean Joseph and Nicodemus? After all, it does seem that they had laid the body in the sepulchre temporarily, for John tells us, “Now in the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jew’s preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand”, John 19:41,42. Notice the “therefore” and the “for”, giving reasons for the choice of sepulchre, namely, that it was nigh at hand, and the body could be laid there quickly, before the sabbath started. Against this must be set the fact that when Mary later sees a man near the tomb, she does not think it to be Joseph or Nicodemus, but the gardener.
And we know not where they have laid Him- it does not cross her mind that He might be risen from the dead. She expected Him to rise with the righteous dead “at the last day”, as Martha said about Lazarus, John 11:24. Daniel 12:2 speaks of the resurrection from among the dead, when the righteous of Old Testament times rise, leaving the unrighteous behind in the grave, to wait for the resurrection to shame and everlasting contempt. What had puzzled the disciples was the idea of one man rising from among the dead, Mark 9:9,10. The truth was withheld from them, so that it could not be said that the resurrection was the fabrication of those who had been told it would happen and who believed it would happen.
So Martha is still seeking the resting-place of the body so that she can anoint it. She is surely not suggesting that the Jews would have removed the body. The last thing they want to do is make it look as though He has risen. They sealed the tomb to stop this happening, Matthew 27:62-66. She says “we” to assure us that she speaks for all the women that came to the tomb. All the other believers were avoiding the tomb.

20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple- they are mentioned individually again, as if they are coming from different places, see on verse 2.
And came to the sepulchre- they seem to join up before they reach the sepulchre.

20:4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

So they ran both together- they not only ran with concern, fearing the body had been stolen, but also perhaps with fear, in case any had seen them start out, and they were being followed.
And the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre- there was perhaps a certain hesitancy with Peter. He had denied the Lord three times, and had said he would go into prison and death with Him if necessary. We can well understand that his steps were not quite so eager as John’s. He would also be more fearful of being spotted, since he had used the sword in the garden.

20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

And he stooping down- Jewish sepulchres were usually six feet high inside, and had a nine foot by nine foot area upon entry, and then a nine foot by six foot area for the niches for the bodies. These niches would be seven handbreadths from the ground and six hand-breadths wide. We could understand how the doorway would be lower than this, so that a person needed to stoop down to gain entry.
And looking in, saw the linen clothes lying- John does not enter, perhaps being of a more sensitive nature in the face of death, but can see the linen clothes on the ledge within. Perhaps in the semi-darkness of dawn he cannot see distinctly.
Yet went he not in- even though he could see the linen clothes, he could not see clearly enough to realise their implication. He is satisfied that the body has not been stolen, for the linen clothes are still in the tomb, and are as if wrapped around a body.

20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

Then cometh Simon Peter following him- Peter now arrives on the scene. It needn’t be more than a minute or so after John.
And went into the sepulchre- with characteristic and business-like purpose he goes straight into the sepulchre. Perhaps John told him that he had seen the linen clothes, and Peter wanted to make sure for himself that the body was still there.
And seeth the linen clothes lie- he now sees close-up what John sees from a distance. The linen clothes are lying as if the body within is outstretched, for this is the meaning of the word used for “lying”. They are not lying in a heap.

20:7 And the napkin, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

And the napkin, that was about His head- clearly there were two sets of linen clothes, (hence 19:40 speaks of winding the body with linen clothes), and one set was for the body, the other for the head, separately. Lazarus had come forth from the grave bound hand and foot with grave clothes, suggesting that the limbs were wrapped separately, allowing for enough movement to come forth but still with some restriction.
Not lying with the linen clothes- the clothes that were around the body showed that they had not been unwrapped. This would mean one of two things. Either the body was still within, or it had been raised as a spiritual body. A spiritual body does not need the grave-clothes to be unwrapped in order to allow it to leave them. (This, incidentally, shows that Lazarus did not come forth with a body fit for resurrection conditions, but with his body unchanged from when he was alive before. If he had been given his resurrection body, the stone would not have needed to be removed from the entrance to the tomb, nor would the grave-clothes restrict him. Christ must be the first of them that should rise from among the dead, with a resurrection body, Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:23).
The position of the napkin settles which of the two possibilities is in fact the case. If the napkin had been in its original position, then it would not be evident that the body was gone. But since there is a space between the body-clothes and the head-clothes, it is certain that there is no body.
But wrapped together in a place by itself- is it not the case that the Lord Jesus, raised from the dead, lays the cloth or napkin that was wound about His head some distance away? (The other option is that the angels did it, but this would introduce an element of interference, and it is vital that neither man nor angels interfere with the grave-clothes. The angels say nothing about the napkin to the women, but simply point out where the Lord lay, and not where the napkin lay). So there are now three indications that He is risen. One, the clothes which were around His body are undisturbed. Two, the cloth that was wound around His head is not where it would be if His head were still within it and attached to His body. And three, because the word John uses for “wrapped together” is the same one that Matthew and Luke used for “wrapped” in connection with the burial, then the head came out of the napkin without disturbing the cloth, for it is still as when Joseph wrapped it round His head.

20:8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre- notice these two men seem not to say anything to one another. They are each having their own thoughts about what they are seeing. Encouraged by Peter’s entry, John now either joins Peter in the tomb, or goes in after Peter has come out, we are not told which.
And he saw, and believed- John understands now the implication of the state and position of the grave-clothes, and by this means he believes Christ is in fact risen. This shows that the state of the grave-clothes was significant, and enough to prove that Christ was risen.

20:9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead- they should have realised the meaning of the Old Testament scripture about the resurrection of Christ. The psalmist wrote about the Messiah as follows,

“I will bless the Lord, who hath given Me counsel:
My reins also shall instruct Me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before Me:
Because He is at Mt right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore My heart is glad, and My glory rejoiceth:
My flesh also shall rest in hope.
For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell;
Neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.
Thou wilt shew Me the path of life:
In Thy presence is fulness of joy;
At Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore”.
Psalm 16:7-11.

In the first five statements, the Messiah speaks of His dependence upon His God, and His determination to have Him foremost in His thoughts at all times. As a consequence He is confident that after He has died, there will be the same care for Him as was evident during His life. His flesh will rest in the grave in hope, and that hope is based on three things. One, that God will not leave His soul in hell. Two, that His body will be kept free from any external defilement whilst in death. And three, that the path of resurrection life will open up before Him. Now on the Day of Pentecost the apostle Peter used this Scripture to show that the resurrection of Christ was foretold in Old Testament scripture, Acts 2:24-31. But at this point in time it is only John amongst the apostles that has made the connection between the grave-clothes and Psalm 16. As a result, he believes.
Luke tells us that God deliberately withheld from the apostles the meaning of the Lord’s words when He said, “‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again’. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken”, Luke 18:31-34. No wonder Luke next tells us of the blind man in Jericho whose sight was restored. He was like the apostles, blind to the truth about Christ until the moment of God’s choosing. There is the added thought that the giving of sight to the blind was one of the features of the Messiah as foretold in Isaiah 35:5; Luke 4:18; Luke 7:18-23.
It seems from what the Lord said to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, that they only believed the glory part of the prophecies about the Messiah. So that when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, they began to doubt whether He was the Messiah after all. And the consequence of not believing what He said about His person was that they did not believe about His rising again.
We have already been reminded from Luke 18:34 that these things were hid from the apostles by God. This means that they did not preach the resurrection of Christ simply because the believed what He said. They preached about the resurrection of Christ as those who did not believe at first that He was going to rise, but who had seen with their very own eyes that He had risen. It was not, then, that their enthusiasm for His words led them to convince themselves that He alive from the dead when in fact He was not. Their unbelief was turned to belief by evidence, not by wishful thinking.
Now that the apostles have gone through this process, and can personally testify to the resurrection of Christ, then we, nearly twenty centuries later, may have confidence, both in their writings, and also in the Old Testament scriptures as well. We may come into the blessing the Lord promised when He said, “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”, John 20:29. For us, the scriptures are the evidence.

20:10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

Then the disciples went away again unto their own home- they need time to digest the things they have seen. They are not hasty in their reactions, but soberly consider what has taken place. John’s belief must have been a qualified one, for when the women came to tell what the angels had said to them, Luke tells us that “their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not”, Luke 24:11. And when the Lord Himself appeared to them, He “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen”.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN CHAPTER 20, VERSES 11 TO 20:

20:11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
20:12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
20:13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.
20:14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.
20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.
20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her.
20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20:20 And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

20:11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping- the tense of the verb (pluperfect) suggests that she had been standing at the tomb a little while before she stooped down. Hence John points out that she was without, to contrast with Peter and John who had been within. She had been very brave to stand by the cross, and now she is brave as she stands by the sepulchre, for who is to tell when the guards will wake up?
She was standing facing the sepulchre, (such is the preposition used for “at”, and yet was outside. Her interests lay in the direction of the tomb.
She was weeping, understandably, not only because the Lord had been crucified, but now was further grieved, for His body seems to have been stolen, and she cannot pay her respects by anointing His body.
And as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre- how true to life this all is. She fears that the body is gone, but her fears are going to be relieved.

20:12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

And seeth two angels in white sitting- Luke 24:22 records the two on the road to Emmaus saying that the women had seen a vision of angels. But it fact the women did not see a vision, but the angels themselves appeared to her, and to the other women separately, as recorded in Matthew 28:1-7. Angels appeared at His birth, and now they appear at His resurrection. They were not in evidence at Calvary, for their help was not requested, although it was available. The work of Calvary must be done alone. In any case, Calvary was a very public place.
There are two angels, enough for adequate witness. They are in white, for they come from the pure glory of heaven, and sit in a scene of death, but unpolluted. This tomb is unique in this. All other burying-places, (even of believers), contain corruption. The tomb had not been defiled by the Lord’s body; nor has it been defiled by the presence of robbers.
The one at the head, and the other at the feet- like the cherubim over the ark. They are guarding the valuable evidence to the resurrection of Christ, His grave-clothes. He has no further need of them to wear, but they are filling an important role nonetheless. As we have already seen, the grave-clothes are in the same position as when the body was inside.  they are not in a heap, so the angels know where the body was and where the head was.
Where the body of Jesus had lain- the angels are said to be sitting where He had lain, not where the clothes were still laying, although that was true. Perhaps the glory of the angels and her tears, caused that she only saw them, and not the grave-clothes. She does not need the evidence of the grave-clothes, as Peter and John did, for she is about to see the Lord Himself.

20:13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.

And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? To ask a woman in normal circumstances why she was weeping at a grave, would be insensitive. But this is to encourage her to tell what is in her heart, so they can relieve her sorrow.
She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him- she is still concerned about anointing Him, and so emphasises she does not know where the body is. She calls Him “My Lord”, for He had rid her of seven devils, and showed Himself superior to the forces of evil that had held her. She is about to learn that He is also Lord over death, for He has defeated the one who had the power of death, the Devil Himself.
Mary Magdalene is the only one to speak to the angels. The other women only listened. They did not appear at all to Peter and John, perhaps because they were sensitive to the fact that they had forsaken the Lord, and in the case of Peter, had denied Him. The Lord warned that denial of Him would mean denial in the presence of the angels, Luke 12:9.
Mary now grieves because of the apparent stealing of the body. She had not gone into the sepulchre, but had only seen the angels through her tears, and still thought the body had gone. She had thought that when she saw the stone rolled away, and now she still thinks it. Perhaps she thought the angels had been sent to tell her that this was the case.
We note in all the visits to the tomb, and also the reaction of the disciples to the news that Christ was risen, a refusal to believe at first.
“Their words seemed unto them as idle tales, and they believed them not”, Luke 24:11.
“And they, when they had heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not”, Mark 16:11.
“After that, He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them”, Mark 16:12,13.
“Afterward He appeared unto the eleven, as they sat at meat, and upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them that had seen Him after He was risen”, Mark 16:14.

Luke tells us that God had ordained that this should be so, for he tells us that when the Lord foretold His death and resurrection, “they understood none of those things,: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken”, Luke 18:34. So it was not that they were expecting it, and then convinced themselves it had happened.
So Mary is not expecting the Lord to have risen after just three days. She thought He was going to rise at the resurrection of the just. Perhaps she thought the “three days” was figurative, as Hosea uses the term when he wrote, “After two days He will revive us, in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight”, Hosea 6:2.

20:14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

And when she had thus said- the angels do not respond to her statement, no doubt because they know the Lord is now present, and defer to Him, for He is Lord of angels.
She turned herself back- she has not gone into the tomb, but only stooped to look within. She now turns her head away from the sepulchre, sensing that someone is behind her. The Lord is not seen in the tomb, for His contact with death is for ever over.
And saw Jesus standing- this is not only literal, but figurative, for He stands in resurrection, as He has fallen in death. John saw Him in heaven as the Lamb, standing, Revelation 5:6. He was as one who was slain, with the marks of Calvary upon Him still, but not laying on the altar any more.
And knew not that it was Jesus- it is said of the two on the road to Emmaus, “their eyes were holden, that they should not know Him”, Luke 24:16. They, and Mary, must know Him in the way He chooses, and that is by Him speaking to them. So it is for us. We are to know Him with spiritual faculties, not natural, so we are at no disadvantage to the apostles and those who saw Him in resurrection. He speaks to us in the scriptures.

20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? He asks the same question as the angels did, no doubt for the same reason.
Whom seekest thou? Without waiting for an answer, for He saw her distress, the Lord moves quickly to the matter in hand. Notice He does not say “What seekest thou?”, even though He knew she was seeking a body. He will not for one moment allow that He is not alive, and is about to prove this to her.
She, supposing Him to be the gardener- John tells us that the tomb was in a garden, 19:41. It was Adam who was the original gardener, but he failed in that garden, and was defeated by evil there. This one has defeated evil, and is now beginning to show that victory, for He is last Adam. Cain became a gardener too, and made the mistake of offering to God the fruits of a cursed earth. The Lord is Head of the new creation, and will remove the curse from creation when He comes. Meanwhile, His people are in Him, and as such are a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away- these are very forceful words, and they can be rendered literally, “Sir, as for you, if you carried Him off, tell me at once where you have laid Him, and, as for myself, I will carry Him off”. The strength of her affection gives strength to her resolve, even if she was mistaken in some things. She claims to be able to carry away a dead body, when she and her companions were not strong enough to roll back the stone!  Such is the strength of her devotion to Him.
She seems to think that the questions of this “gardener” are a distraction from the matter that is foremost in her mind. His body had been mis-treated enough, and she will prevent that happening again. If she had answered His questions, she would have realised that He was not the gardener. Then she would have stopped weeping, and also learned that He was alive in the body, and not lying elsewhere, dead.

How disastrous this would have been if the man was really the gardener, and the body had been removed, and he had known where the body was, and told her, and she had carried Him away. This was exactly what the Sanhedrin, lying, said had taken place, Matthew 28:13.
This would have been disastrous for another reason, for the place where He lay would have become a shrine, with all the attendant superstition and money-making that accompanies such places. This is why God did not disclose where Moses’ body was buried, Deuteronomy 34:6. It was important that where the Lord Jesus was buried should be well-known while He was there, so that after He was risen it could be shown that He was in it no longer. It was also important to know exactly where it was, so that the authorities could seal the right tomb. It is noticeable that the sepulchre did not become a centre of interest for the disciples in the Book of the Acts; they were taken up with their risen Lord.

20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

Jesus saith unto her, Mary- she does not seem to have recognised His voice when He asked her the two questions. What alerts her is the fact that He knew her name. He was not a stranger, but the Lord she was seeking. But she was seeking Him in the wrong place. As the angels said to the other women, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”, Luke 24:5. He is the great shepherd of the sheep, and He has been brought again from the dead by the God of all grace, Hebrews 13:20. One of His features as shepherd is that “He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out”, John 10:3. He has carried over into resurrection all the feelings that He had for His own before the cross. His personal interest, personal knowledge, and personal care for His own, are now to be known in resurrection. He has laid down His life and taken it again, and as such He has shown ultimate concern.
She turned herself- we see her first standing facing the sepulchre, verse 11, then stooping to look inside, in which position she seems to have remained until she realised there was someone standing behind her. At that point she did not turn her whole body around, for she did not expect the Lord to be alive. The sense of “turned herself back” is to “turn oneself to the rear”, which she could do without turning her body, for she was preparing to concentrate on the tomb again, after she had spoken to the “gardener”. She no doubt expected some response from the angels to her statement that His body had been taken away.
And saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master- even though she told the angels she was looking for the Lord, in the intensity of her emotion she calls Him what the disciples had often called Him, their Teacher. But, again in her intense emotion, she calls Him “Rabboni”, which is a Galilean form of the word Rabbi, meaning “My Great Master”.

20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch Me not- aware of the strength of her feeling, the Lord pre-empts her touching Him. It was not that no-one was to touch Him in resurrection, for He invited Thomas to do so a week later, verse 27. The point is that all contact with Christ, as far as John’s gospel goes, must be on a heavenly level. The gospel is the “burnt offering gospel”, for just as everything with the burnt offering was upward, (one of its names was “ascending offering”), so the emphasis with John is Christ’s link with heaven, and His journey back there.
In Matthew’s gospel we read of the other women that came to the sepulchre holding the Lord by the feet, Matthew 28:9. This is entirely appropriate in the context, for Matthew presents Christ as the rightful King of Israel who shall reign over the earth one day. He does not record the ascension of Christ, although of course he believed it happened. It is as if Matthew holds Christ to the earth as well, and shows Him to be fit to rule over it.
The apostle Paul made it clear that the link the believer has with Christ now is a spiritual one, for he wrote, “But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit”, 1 Corinthians 6:17. The link between believer’s spirit and Christ is established by the Spirit of God. Because of this, the apostle can speak of “holding the head”, Colossians 2:19, meaning to grasp firmly the truths regarding the headship and supremacy of Christ. This is not to say that our hold of Him is what guarantees eternal security; but it does mean that we need to hold to the truth about Christ and not let them go in the face of error.
For I am not yet ascended to My Father- in this way the Lord emphasises that links with Him are heavenly in character. It is as an ascended Christ that we know Him. This is how Paul came to know Him, for he saw Jesus of Nazareth in heaven, and his conversion is the pattern for conversion during this age, 1 Timothy 1:16. Of course we must believe in Christ as the one who was crucified and rose again, but we must not stop there if we would come into the fulness of Christian things.
This is the third time that the ascension of Christ is spoken of in John’s gopspel. Each of the references is directly from the Lord Jesus. In His conversation with Nicodemus He said, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven”, John 3:13. Here the emphasis is on the fact that even as a man upon the earth He has not lost His Deity, for He claims to be in heaven still, God being omnipresent. In John 6:62 He said, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?” here the emphasis is on His coming down in the past. The manna had come down from heaven from God, yet the people did not understand what it was. Nor did many of them understand who Christ was. If they did not understand the meaning of his coming down, how would they understand the meaning of His ascending up?
Here in John 20, however, the reference is to what Christ will be for His people after He has ascended. He is returning to the Father, conscious that all He was sent to achieve has been accomplished. He could say, “I have glorified Thee upon the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do”, John 17:4.
But go to My brethren- one day the message came to the Lord as He taught in a house, “‘Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without desiring to speak with Thee’. But He answered and said unto him which told Him, ‘Who is My mother? And who are My brethren?’ And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, ‘Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother'”, Matthew 12:47-50. So it is spiritual relationship which is the most important, and that spiritual relationship is with Him as the ascended Man. The believer’s link to Christ is heavenly, and does not depend on anything of earth. Mary had the closest natural relationship to the Lord, yet he said to her, “What have I to do with thee, Mine hour is not yet come”, John 2:4. In other words, even Mary’s spiritual relationship with Him depended on what He would do in “His hour”, the time between His prayer to the Father in John 17 and His return to the Father spoken of here in John 20.
Psalm 22:22 had foretold that in resurrection He would declare the Father’s name to His brethren, and He had pledged to do that in His prayer. He said, “I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them”, John 17:26. He is fully able to declare the Father’s name, (meaning His character), because He shares all the characteristics of the Father, being His Only begotten Son. He did this upon the earth, but the disciples were not able to appreciate fully. When He returned back to heaven, however, He would send the Holy Spirit, and they would understand in a much better way.
And say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father- notice He does not say “Our Father”, although both He and His people have relationship with the Father. His relationship is as the Only-begotten of the Father, who is one with Him in the full possession of Deity. Believers call Him Father because they have been born again of the Spirit of God, and from that moment share His life.
No sooner has Mary found the Lord she sought, that He declares He is leaving her! But as He had said to the disciples in the Upper Room, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you”, John 16:7. So the Spirit of God would come to make good to them all that the Lord had said, and other things besides.
And to My God, and your God- if having God as Father speaks of relationship, then having Him as God speaks of resources. The Lord Jesus has known God as His Father for all eternity, but it was only as He came into manhood that He could address His Father as His God. As “the Spirit of Christ”, (1 Peter 1:11) expressed beforehand in Psalm 22:10, “Thou art My God from My mother’s belly”. It was as He came into manhood that He needed the resources from Him as His God, so that He could glorify Him in His life in the flesh. We need resources too, and they are readily available from our all-sufficient God in heaven. Those resources are released to us because the Son has gone back to heaven, for Paul wrote to the Philippians, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”, Philippians 4:19. Well might we add, in the words of the following verse, “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen”.

20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things unto her.

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord- note that John now reverts back to the name by which Mary was known normally. In verses 11 and 16 she was simply Mary, (the only places where she is called by this single name), but when it is a question of being linked to Christ in heaven, where she came from becomes irrelevant. Magdala was near Galilee, Matthew 15:39. She was of Magdala by birth, but of heaven by new birth. Now that she is conveying a message to the disciples, her everyday name is used, being the name they knew her by.
It is one of the marks of the genuineness of the gospel records of the resurrection, that it is based on the testimony of the women. Now the testimony of females was not allowed in Jewish courts, so any Jew attempting to write a forged account would carefully avoid giving prominence to the testimony of women. Not so the writers of the true gospels. They are confident that what they write about is true, and are very comfortable with telling the facts as they are.
And that He had spoken these things unto her- so her testimony was two-fold; what she had seen, and what she had heard. She had seen a living Person, the one who had been crucified on a cross, but who was now alive for evermore. She had heard His un-mistakable voice, and she now passes on what she heard.
John does not tell the reaction to her words, but Luke does, and he writes, “And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not”, Luke 24:11. So it was that love and faith found their reward in the first sight of the Lord, but unbelief would soon meet with its rebuke, for Mark tells us “Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them that had seen Him after He was risen”, Mark 16:14.

20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Then the same day at evening- the order in Genesis chapter one was “the evening and the morning”. Now, however, that is reversed as the new creation begins, for verse 1 speaks of “the first day of the week…early”. Now we have the same first day, but in the evening.
Being the first day of the week- it is one of the marks of the great change that Christ has brought in, that it is the first day of the week that is special, not the last day, the Sabbath, as with the Jews. Certain of the Old Testament rituals took place on the first day of the week, but it was described, not in that way, but as “the day after the Sabbath”, still keeping the dominance of the seventh day, which has to do with the earth, being the day which commemorates the completion of the creation of the world in six days, Exodus 20:8-11.
There are three things especially connected with the first day of the week now. The first is, of course, the resurrection of Christ. The second, the remembrance of Him, Acts 20:7. The third, the collection for the work of the Lord, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no collections when I come”.
So the remembrance of the Lord in the Lord’s Supper is not on the same day of the week that it was instituted, nor is the shewing of His death on the day of the week he died. Rather, it is done on the day on which He rose from the dead. His resurrection gives reality to the Supper, as we look back and remember Him in a state in which He is not now, for He is glorified.
When the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews- they are still fearful. They have rejected the testimony of the women, and have not yet the confidence which His rising again will bring to them. In verse 26, a week later, the doors were shut again, but this time John does not need to add “for fear of the Jews”. We are not specifically told that this took place in the Upper Room, no doubt to prevent any earthly place being made into a shrine.
Came Jesus and stood in the midst- He re-occupies the place He had in the Upper Room. He must always be central. The resurrection body is not restricted by closed doors, being a spiritual body. All physical limitations are absent from it.
And saith unto them, Peace be unto you- this is just what they needed, the peace He alone can bring. Fear of the Jews recedes when His peace comes into the heart. John does not make any mention of His rebuke for their unbelief. He is emphasising the Lord, and not the disciples.

20:20 And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side- in Luke’s account, the Lord said, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself”, Luke 24:38. They supposed that they had seen a spirit, but a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as He says in verse 39. Hands and feet are parts of the body exposed to view when the Eastern robe is worn. The disciples were used to seeing these, and knew them to be His, totally apart from the nail-prints. In John, however, the emphasis is on His hands and His side, and later He will invite Thomas to satisfy himself that He has nail-prints, and the wound from the spear-thrust. 
Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord- He had promised that they would see Him again, and the experience would be like a mother who has just given birth to a child, when all the pain of the previous hours is overwhelmed by her new-found joy, John 16:21,22. So it is now with the disciples. They forget the trauma they had been through as the find themselves in the presence of their Risen Lord.