Summary of passage: Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb and saw the stone to the entrance had been moved. She ran and told Peter and John who came running to the tomb. John got there first and looked in and saw no body. Peter went in and saw the strips of linen lying there and the burial cloth, folded up separate. John followed inside. They left and still did not get it that Jesus had risen!
3a) John was the cautious one. He had to stop and think. Peter the reckless, impulsive, more courageous one.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I’m unsure I expect anything of Jesus. I hope for things–for him to work in my life and provide me the way and the strength to do His will–but I don’t think I expect anything from him. His death was enough for me. I’m in bible study to draw closer to God and Jesus. Period.
4) John saw the strips of linen and the burial cloth folded up separate from one another. This wouldn’t have been done by tomb robbers who would have ripped the cloth and thrown it haphazardly about.
5) Part personal Question. My answer: If Jesus doesn’t rise from the grave, none of us will rise either. He was raised so we’d be justified before God and spend all of eternity together with Him. Furthermore, it was in Scripture and thus the will of God. It has made all the difference.
Conclusions: Stock answer to “difference in life” question we’ve had many times in this study. I think they saw and believed but still didn’t get it. The Holy Spirit has yet to descend on them. I believe this is where all the disciples finally get it.
End Notes: Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus risen from the dead and spread the word. All we know about her was she came from Magdala, a city on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus drove 7 demons from her. Afterwards, she dedicated her life to him and helped finance his ministry. She was there at the crucifixion and went faithfully to care for his body. As a second class citizen in ancient times, God chose her to be the first to witness Jesus’ work fulfilled. Imagine: Jewish courts did not even accept women’s testimony. Take that, mankind!
Fun Fact: Mary Magdalene is mentioned more often than most of the other believing women, and usually first.
Jesus was crucified on a Friday (or some say Thursday). Afterwards, the tomb was guarded (Matthew 27:62-66) until today. Other Gospel accounts say Mary was not the only woman to go to Jesus’ tomb. She was just the one to run back and report her findings. The women were probably going back to finish burial rites. She immediately thinks the body is stolen. No one was expecting a risen Jesus!
John was humble enough not to mention his name but prideful enough to say he outran Peter! Peter is in his mid-40-50’s and John is in his mid-20’s. Obviously, he outran Peter.
The Greek work blepei meant “seeing clearly.” There was no doubt what John saw. However, he didn’t enter either presuming the body was there since he saw the wrappings or out of fear of defilement of touching a dead body. A rich man’s tomb would have been big enough to walk into but probably with some stooping.
Peter saw (Greek theorei meaning contemplate and scrutinize) the cloths as if the body has evaporated. Remember the linens were lathered with ointments, aloes, and spices. They would have hardened and would have had to have been cut off the body. Think ancient Egyptian mummies and Howard Carter and King Tut. The point here is something inhuman was at work here.
Some scholars point to the Shroud of Turin here. However, would God allow the wrappings to be preserved so it could be worshipped?
John then saw (the Greek word eiden meaning, “to understand, to perceive the significance of”) and then believed. The distinctive arrangement of the burial wrappings convinced him. Note that John believed here but Peter did not. He would not until he met the resurrected Jesus. John believed on faith with his eyes only. It is obvious they did not make up a story of a resurrection to fit preconceived understanding of Scriptural prophecy when it was written about later.
Both Peter and John know the fact Jesus rose again. They don’t understand the meaning behind it yet. That Jesus is the Son of the One, True God. That he died sinless for our sins so we can rise again and be with God. It proves the gnostics of the day wrong that God does have a plan for our bodies, which is sacred (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).