God is Light

1John 1:5-10 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanse us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 

‘This then is the message which we have heard of him … God is light, and in him is no darkness at all’ This is the chief message Christ came to deliver, of which John can testify in person, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Neither Moses nor the prophets ever gave the fullness of this message (John 1:16-17). Christ Himself is the chief manifestation of God’s light to men (John 1:1-9; 3:16-20; 8:12; 12:35-36).

‘God is light’ God is a person and dwells “in the light that no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen (in all His glory) nor can see” (1Tim. 6:16). The phrase “God is light” does not constitute the being of God. It must be understood in the same sense that we understand God is love, God is good, God is a consuming fire, and other statements about Him. In the same sense, we understand that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, or the door (John 10:9; 14:6). These expressions don’t do away with the reality and personality of God and Christ.

‘Darkness’ as the source of wisdom, knowledge, holiness, and truth, God cannot have the least degree of ignorance, imperfection, sinfulness, and darkness. God is to man what the sun is to our world, hence the importance of the message that God is light and no darkness at all.

‘If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie’ there are 5 “If’s” of Human experience given: The hypocrite – (1:6) if we say we know God and still walk in darkness, our sins prove we are liars. The Christian – (1:7) if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with the Father and the Son (1:3) and the blood of Jesus Christ keeps us cleansed from all sin. The self-deceiver – (1:8) if we say we have no sin to confess, that is, we are not sinners, we deceive ourselves because we know better, and we lie. Gnostics and other heretics deny that they are sinners and that Christ’s death atones for sin. The penitent sinner – (1:9) if we confess our sins, that is, if we will be honest and acknowledge we are sinners (Rom. 3:23), God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The wilful rebel against God – (1:10) if we say that we have never sinned, we make God a liar and His Word is not in us. In 1John 1:8 the idea is of contending that we are not guilty before God; here it is that we were never guilty.

‘Blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanse us from all sin’ we are cleansed from all sin from the time of confession of sin (1:9) and as long as we walk in the light (1:7).

‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ if we do one thing – confess our sins – God will do four things: Be faithful to us; be just with us; forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Fellowship

1John 1:3-4 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 

‘Fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ’ four persons with whom to have fellowship: God the Father (1:3-7; Isa. 57:15; John 14:23; 17:21-23; 1Cor. 6:13); God the Son (Matt. 18:20; John 14:23; 15:1-8; 1Cor. 1:9; 10:16); God the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9; 1Cor. 3:16; 2Cor. 13:14; Php. 2:1); other Christians (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 42-47; Eph. 5:19; Php. 2:1-2).

Scriptures warn against fellowship and friendship with non-believers: not to get counsel from the ungodly, or to follow in the same ways as sinners or workers of iniquity, or to sit with those who mock the Word of God, those who are vain or wicked (Ps. 1:1-6; 6:8; 26:4-5; 1Jn. 2:15-17) and not to go in with dissemblers [hypocrites]. Not to cast your lot with criminals and sinners when they entice you to follow in their wicked ways (Pro. 1:10-15). We are warned to stay away from foolish and angry people and not to be friends with them (Pro. 9:6; 14:17; 22:24); to stay away from backslidden Christians and those who walk disorderly (Matt. 18:15-17; 2 Thess. 3:6; 2Jn. 1:9-11) and those that cause divisions and offences (Rom. 16:17). We cannot listen to false teachers’ teachings and think we will afterwards understand God’s Word at all (1Tim. 4:1-2; 6:3-5; 2Tim. 2: 16-17; 2Jn. 1:10). We cannot have company with those who do not obey God’s Word (2Thess. 3:14-15); be in business, friendship or fellowship with unbelievers or those who live in unrighteousness and darkness (2Cor. 6:14-18). We cannot keep company or eat with fornicators, covetous, heady and high-minded people, idolaters, railers, drunkard, or extortioners (1Cor. 5:9-11). Stay away from those who are lovers of themselves; boasters; proud, unthankful, unholy people; blasphemers; disobedient to parents; those without natural affection; trucebreakers; false accusers; incontinent; fierce people, despisers of those who are good traitors, those who love pleasure more than God and the hypocrites – those who have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” (2Tim. 3:2-5).

‘That your joy may be full’ to live in peace, harmony and love we have to follow God’s instruction on fellowship otherwise we allow other’s consequences for sin into our lives as well as give our approval to their sinful natures and habits.  Listen to His commandments if you want to stand in Truth and against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:10-18).

We have clear instructions not to allow those who live in sin and don’t follow in Christ’s footsteps (1Pet. 2:21-23) into our lives from 2John 1:9-11: “Whosoever transgress, and abide not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abide in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that bid him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

Eternal Life

1John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us) 

These are the facts given by John of eternal life: People can have it by believing on Christ and God (John 3:15-16, 36; 5:24; 6:40, 47). It becomes a well springing up in the soul (John 4:14). People must gather fruit unto life eternal (John 4:36). It comes through searching the Scriptures (John 5:39). People must labour for it (John 6:27). It comes by drinking of (i.e., partaking of) the benefits of the blood of Jesus Christ by faith (John 6:54). Christ has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Christ gives eternal life to His own who meet the conditions (John 6:27, 10:27-29). God commands people to get it (John 12:50). God sent Jesus to give it to all who come to Him through Christ (John 17:2). To know or to experience God and Christ is eternal life (John 17:2-3). Jesus Christ is that eternal life (1:1-3). This eternal life has actually been seen, heard, and handled (1:1-3). People must not only meet the conditions of eternal life of John 6:27, but they must let (permit) it to remain in them after they get it (2:24). If people do permit (let) it to remain in them, then they will continue in the Son and in the Father (2:24). Eternal life is promised to all (2:25), but it is given only to those who meet the conditions of receiving and keeping it (John 6:27). No one who hates his brother has it (3:15). It comes from God (5:11) and it is only in God’s Son (5:11). All people may know they have it (5:13, 20; John 3:16; 5:24; 17:2-3).

We get eternal life now and keep it forever if we meet the following conditions: Come to Christ (John 6:37, 44, 45, 65); know God and Christ (John 17:2-3); cause no offense (Matt. 18:8-9); forsake all (Matt. 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30); overcome sin (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21); live free from sin (Rom. 5:21; 6:16-23; 8:1-13; Tit. 2:11-14); fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on it (1Tim. 6:12, 19); be sober and hope to the end for it (Tit. 1:2; 3:7; 1Pet. 1:5, 9, 13); endure temptations (Jas. 1:12); love everybody (1Jn. 3:14-15); keep yourself in the love of God, looking for eternal life (Jude 1:20-24); be faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10; Heb. 12:14-15); believe and obey the gospel (John 3:15-19, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40, 47, 54; 2Cor. 5:17; Rom. 1:5); be born again, hear Christ, and follow Him (John 3:1-36; 10:27-29).

BUT eternal life does not become an unforfeitable eternal possession until we enter into it (Matt. 7:13; 18:8-9; 19:17; Rom. 6:22); receive it (Rom. 6:23; Jas. 1:12; 1Pet. 1:13; Rev. 2:10); reap it (Gal. 6:7-8); and inherit it in the world to come (Matt. 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30; Luke 18:28-30), and at the end of this life (Rom. 6:22).

The Word of Life

1John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life 

‘That which was from the beginning’ that glorious and wonderful person, Jesus Christ the Lord (1:1, 3-4).

‘From the beginning’ ten things concerning Jesus Christ: He is from the beginning (1:1; John 1:1-2); from everlasting (Micah 5:1-2; Heb. 1:8); we [the disciples] have heard Him with our ears (1:1); we [disciples] have seen Him with our eyes (1:1); our [disciples] hands have handled Him (1:1); He is the Word of Life (1:1; John 14:6); we [disciples] bear witness of this Life (1:2); He is that eternal Life (1:2); He is not the Father, but was with Him from all eternity (1:2; John 1:1-2); He was manifested to us [disciples] (1:2); we [disciples] declare Him to you for two reasons: (1) That you may have fellowship with us, with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ (1:3); (2) That your joy may be full (1:4).

‘We have heard, which we have seen with our eyes’ the disciples had absolute certainty of the reality of what they proclaimed. They have actually heard, seen, and touched Christ, not transiently, but frequently. They lived with Him daily for years. They heard His teaching and saw His divine works (1:1-3; 2Pet. 1:16; Acts 5:31; 1Cor. 15:1-8).

‘Looked upon’ the Greek word theaomai, gazing with a purpose; see with desire; regard with admiration. Related to theoreo, to gaze at, as a spectacle. It is used of physical sight and the actual presence of the object on which the gaze is fixed. It means a prolonged and continued gaze.

‘Word of life’ the Word was made flesh and dwelled among men so that they would have as much proof of His personal existence, as they had of any other person in their midst (John 1:1-2, 14; 1Tim. 3:16). ‘Word’ the Greek word logos which refers to Christ (John 1:14; Rev. 19:13) and proves His pre-existence (Micah 5:1-2; Rev. 1:8, 11; 2:8; 22:13-16). He is an eternal Being as are also the Father and the Holy Spirit (Psa. 90:1-2; Heb. 9:14). They make the Divine Trinity (1Jn. 5:7).

The Beloved

John 21:20-25 Then Peter, turning about, sees the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayed thee? Peter seeing him said to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus said unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarries till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testified of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. 

‘The disciple whom Jesus loved’ the last of five times, referring to John (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20, 24). He was not loved more than others by Christ, but he accepted His love and chose to call himself accordingly. God does not have respect for persons, with regards to their looks, races, classes and sexes (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 3:28; Jas. 2:1-4).

‘Lord, which is he that betrayed thee? … what shall this man do? … If I will that he tarries till I come, what is that to thee?’ Peter had his instructions; now he wanted to know what John was supposed to do. Jesus rebuked his curiosity by stating that if He wanted John to live to the second coming that was none of his concern. He told Peter to follow Him and let John do likewise. This statement about John not dying is explained in John 21:23. He did die about the close of the first century after he finished the book Revelation on the isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:9).

‘This is the disciple which testified of these things, and wrote these things’ this is proof of the authorship of John. ‘Many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.’ This verse simply expresses the idea that Jesus had done so many things which are not written, that if they should be written in books the world (Greek word kosmos: social world) would not have room for them. Men would not even take time to examine or digest them.

Follow Me

John 21:15-19 So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love thou me more than these? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; thou know that I love thee. He said unto him, Feed my lambs. He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love thou me? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; thou know that I love thee. He said unto him, Feed my sheep. He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Love thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou know all things; thou know that I love thee. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou was young, thou girded thyself, and walked whither thou would: but when thou shall be old, thou shall stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou would not. This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said unto him, Follow me. 

‘Simon, son of Jonas, love thou me more than these?’ Peter is always addressed as “Simon” except in Luke 22:34. The question from Jesus to Peter was if he really loves Jesus more than the rest of the disciples, as he boasted (Matt. 26:33-35)? He had boasted of greater love than the rest and yet, no one (except Judas) had treated Him so basely. Peter in his reconverted state gave a most modest reply.

‘Love’ Jesus used the Greek verb agapao in the first two questions, which means ardently, supremely, perfectly, while Peter answered with the verb phileo to like, be fond of, feel friendship for another. The third time the Lord used phileo which deeply humbled Peter.

‘Feed’ the Greek word bosko, to feed, tend a flock, provide pasture for, take care of, guide, lead, defend, govern, and shepherd His lambs. ‘Lambs’ the Greek word arnion. Only here and 27 times in Revelation, and always of Christ except John 13:11. The other word for lamb is amnos as used in John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32 and 1Pet. 1:19. ‘Sheep’ the Greek word probation for sheep. Used figuratively of Christ (Acts 8:32); lost people (Matt. 9:36; 10:6; 15:24; 1Pet. 2:25); saved people (Matt. 10:16; 26:31; John 10:1-27; 21:16-17; Rom. 8:36; Heb. 13:20); and people in general (Matt. 25:31-46).

‘Third time’ Peter had denied the Lord three times before the cock crowed; now Christ caused him to make a triple confession. ‘Grieved’ the Greek word lupeo, to make sorrowful, to affect with sadness, cause grief, make uneasy. It is translated “grieve;” “sorry” and “sorrowful;” and “be in heaviness.”

‘Lord, thou know all things; thou know that I love thee.’ This might have been the confession and the humility Christ was looking for. A few days before, he knew more about himself than Christ did and was frank enough to say so, but his fall and repentance had greatly humbled him. Now he was not so sure of himself, but he was sure that he loved Jesus.

‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee’ the last of 25 times in John meaning surely, surely or Amen, amen.

‘When thou was young, thou girded thyself, and walked whither thou would: but when thou shall be old, thou shall stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou would not.’ The 43rd and last New Testament prophecy in John fulfilled. A prediction of the kind of death Peter should glorify God with. This was written after his death. Ancient writers say he was crucified head down as per his own request because he thought he was unworthy to die with his head up like his Master.

‘Young’ the Greek word neoteros that means younger. The word neos generally applied to people under thirty. The use of this word and the fact John outran him (20:4) gave rise to the tradition that he was a middle-aged man.

‘Carry’ the Greek word phero means lead, carry, bear, or bring forth. This refers to the time when Peter would die. Another would take him to where he would not desire to go – to death and the grave.

‘Follow’ in Greek is akoloutheo and is used of a servant, soldier, or pupils following their leader even to death (Matt. 8:19; 9:9; 19:27; John 12:26; 21:22). This statement no doubt relieved Peter, showing that Christ was not going to make any more predictions of his weaknesses and failure. Twice he is commanded here to follow (21:19, 22).

It Is the Lord

John 21:1-14 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter said unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said unto them, Children, have you any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus said unto them, Bring of the fish which you have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus said unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who are thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then come, and take bread, and give them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he rose from the dead. 

‘After these things’ After Christ’s resurrection and His two appearances to the disciples, He showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias where they were catching fish. ‘Showed’ the Greek word phaneroo which means He manifested His power and glory after His resurrection.

Seven disciples of which were Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His disciples went on a fishing trip. They didn’t catch anything repeating the same results as when they went on the last fishing trip. In both instances, Christ gave them a miraculous catch, which convinced them that it was the Messiah. On both occasions, they received a call to preach the Word as it was given to them (Luke 5:1-11; John 21:1-20).

‘Knew not that it was Jesus’ Because of darkness, distance, or another reason is not stated.

‘Children, have you any meat?’ the word child is used for a term of endearment here for His followers, which are stated in the Word in various forms for believers and unbelievers: children of light (or darkness); children of righteousness (or unrighteousness); children of God (or of the devil); etc.

‘Meat’ the Greek word prosphagion which mean something to eat with bread. Here it was used of fish.

John said to Peter: “It is the Lord,” whereby Peter wrapped his fishermen’s coat around himself. ‘Naked’ means he had only his tunic or undergarment on. He cast himself into the sea, perhaps the shallow water to help draw the boat and net to shore.

‘They saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread’ this was as miraculous as the catch of fish, demonstrating that the Lord could supply every need and that they did not have to go back to the fishing business to make a living.

‘Dine’ the Greek word aristao, to eat the morning meal (Luke 11:37); not deipnon which is supper (Mark 6:21; Luke 14:12-24; John 12:2; 13:2, 4; 21:20; 2Cor. 11:20-21; Rev. 19:9, 17). Christ no doubt ate with them to prove He was real and His friendship in them and that resurrected people still eat (Luke 24:42-43). Even God and angels eat (Gen. 18:1-33; Ex. 24:9-11).

‘Third time that Jesus showed himself’ the third time to show Himself to the majority of apostles (20:19, 26; 21:1-14). It was the seventh appearance since the resurrection.

The twelve appearances of Christ is as follows: To Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:15-16); to the women at the tomb (Matt. 28:9); to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31); to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1Cor. 15:5); to the ten apostles (20:19); to the eleven apostles (20:26); to the seven apostles (21:1-22; this was after the second Sunday); to the eleven apostles on a certain mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16); to the twelve apostles, including Matthias (1Cor. 15:5; Acts 1:26); to five hundred brethren (1Cor. 15:6); to James, the Lord’s brother (1Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19); to all the apostles (1Cor. 15:7; Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:3-12, 26).

Jesus and Thomas

John 20:24-31 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou have seen me, thou have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name. 

‘Thomas’ the third mention of him in John (11:16; 14:5; 20:24). He is one of the 12 apostles, called also Didymus (twin, 20:24; 21:2; Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). He is known as “doubting Thomas” because he doubted (20:25), but on the same basis, we can call all the apostles doubters and unbelievers (Matt. 28:17; Mark 16:11-14; Luke 24:11, 25, 41). He simply had not been with the others when Christ had appeared. He missed out by not being faithful to gather with the rest, and so it is today (Heb. 10:25). He is thought to have laboured in India and left many Christian converts. There, idolatrous priests tortured him with red-hot plates. Then they cast him into an oven which had no effect on him. They then pierced him with spears while in the furnace until he died. Jerome says that his body, unconsumed, was buried at a town called Calamina.

‘I will not believe’ all unbelief is unreasonable, obstinate, rebellious, prejudiced, presumptuous, insolent, stubborn, self-willed, boastful, insensible, hardening, and deceitful. Thomas’s unbelief was temporary as we can see how much faith he had in the eternal life Christ provided for all who choose to believe.

‘After eight days’ the 8th day after the last meeting of Christians on the first day of the week (20:19) the second Sunday after the resurrection – Thomas went to the gathering where the other disciples were. Again Christ appeared with them and gave the usual salutation (20:19, 21, 26). The doors were again shut, emphasizing again that resurrected bodies can go through material substance without an opening. He simply appeared in their midst, as on other occasions and after teaching them He vanished out of their sight (Luke 24:31). Six more Sundays after this 18th day after the resurrection made 50 days, the day of Pentecost. His time on the other 4 Sundays while He remained on earth with them was spent in teaching (Acts 1:3). The 40th day, or Thursday, He ascended (Acts 1:11), leaving 10 days until the 2nd Sunday after His ascension and the 7th Sunday after His resurrection, which was the 50th day or Pentecost (Acts 2:1; Lev. 23:15-16).

‘Thomas with them’ Thomas was not with the first gathering of Christians (20:19), but when he heard that they had seen Jesus alive and that He had appeared to them on the first Sunday, he was determined to be present on the next time when they were to gather again. Jesus, as usual, satisfied the doubting and unbelief of Thomas (20:27-28).

‘My Lord and my God.’ This is not a mere exclamation, but one of the plainest and most irresistible testimonies of the deity of Jesus Christ. Whether he did feel the nail prints and the spear wound in the side is not stated. He was the first to give the title of God to Jesus, other than the prophets in predicting these events (Isa. 9:6-7; Psa. 45:6-7; etc; cp. John 1:1-2; 5:17-47; 10:33-36; Acts 20:28; Php. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-18; Heb. 1:8-9).

‘Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed’ no special blessings are pronounced on those who have seen God over those who have not seen Him.

‘Signs’ referring to the two signs of 20:19 and 26, or to all the many signs of the gospel (Acts 1:3; Heb. 2:1-4; Mark 16:15-20; etc.).

‘Which are not written in this book’ here was the chance for the writers of the apocryphal gospels, of which they were not slow to avail themselves. What we need to know have been written, adding or taking away from God’s Word have serious consequences (Deut. 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19). The apocryphal books were not written or approved by prophets; they were not recognized by the Jews as inspired and a part of Scripture. The last Old Testament prophet predicted that the next messenger coming to Israel from God would be the forerunner of Christ (Mal. 3:1). Most of the Apocryphal books were written during the period between Malachi and Christ when God did not give Word. The books contain statements at variance with the Bible history and they are self-contradictory and in some cases opposed to doctrines of Scripture.

‘That you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name’ To prove beyond all doubt that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah and God’s Son and that we might have full redemption and the benefits of the gospel by faith.

Appearance to the Disciples

John 20:19-23 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 said unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father had sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive you the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins you retain, they are retained. 

‘Then the same day at evening’ after having gone to heaven and back (20:17). ‘First day of the week’ this and John 20:26; Acts 20:7 and 1Corinthians 16:2 disprove the theory that no Christian gathering ever took place on Sunday or the first day of the week. From John 20:19 and 20:26 it is clear that Christ honoured this day twice to meet with His disciples. Then, too, Pentecost fell on the first day of the week and they had gathered at least one other first day during the ten days of waiting for the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:1-8; 2:1). Christians did gathering on the first day or Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1Cor. 16:1-2) but no specific day is given because neither Christ nor any apostle commanded us to keep the old Jewish sabbath, or any other day, but did command all people not to be bound by any particular day (Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 5:9-11; Col. 2:14-17).

‘Doors were shut’ proving that resurrected bodies do not need openings to get into houses. They are called “spiritual” bodies in 1Corinthians 15:42-44. They evidently are like spirit beings that can appear and disappear or be visible and invisible at will.

‘Where the disciples were assembled’ perhaps the upper room in the friend’s house where the passover was eaten (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12; Acts 1:13).

‘Peace be unto you’ this was the common salutation of Hebrews (Matt. 10:12-13). Salutations became meaningless to the average person, but Jesus informed the disciples that when He used the word “peace” it meant something (14:27; 16:33).

‘He showed unto them his hands and his side’ proof of His physical resurrection (Luke 24:39).

‘As my Father has sent me, even so send I you’ the Son sends His disciples with the same impartation of power and the fullness of the Spirit that the Father gave to Him (7:37-39; 14:12; 17:18; 20:21; Luke 24:49; Acts1:4-8).

‘Whose soever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins you retain, they are retained.’ This is simply another form of expressing power to bind and to lose and to do the works of Christ. Binding and losing means more than declaring something lawful or unlawful. It also means to confirm the truth by power as Christ and the apostles did (Matt. 16:19; 18:18).

Appearance to Mary Magdalene

John 20:11-18 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And saw two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weep thou? She said unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus said unto her, Woman, why weep thou? whom seek thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou has laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus said unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and said unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus said 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. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. 

‘Mary stood without at the sepulchre’ Mary stayed at the sepulchre after Peter and John had gone. She saw this time two angels in the tomb (20:12). This was evidently the second appearance of angels. The one in Matthew 28:1-6 and Mark 16:1-6 was before Mary reported to Peter and John in 20:1-2.

‘I know not where they have laid him’ – compare John 20:2 where it is “we” because she was with other women (Mark 16:1). Here it is “I” because she was evidently alone.

‘Knew not that it was Jesus’ it is not clear why she did not recognize Him (cp. Luke 24:16).

‘Woman, why weep thou? whom seek thou?’ He knew whom she was seeking, but He wanted to hear what she had to say and whether she had any understanding as to the resurrection. He had told the disciples many times that He would be raised after three days and not one seemed to believe it. The ungodly Jews remembered it when the disciples did not (Matt. 27:63).

‘Gardener’ the Greek word kepouros meaning the overseer of the garden in charge of the workmen and produce to render account to the owner.

‘I will take him away’ “Love feels no load” seemed true in her case, yet how could she have borne Him?

‘Mary’ she now recognized Jesus. He showed Himself to her first and she became the first herald of the resurrection.

‘Rabboni’ Aramaic for Rabbi (20:16) and translated “Lord” (Mark 10:51). Rabbi means my teacher.

‘Jesus said unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, unto my Father, and Your Father; and to my God, and your God.’ the 42nd New Testament prophecy in John that is fulfilled when Jesus ascended to heaven to the Father. ‘Touch’ the Greek word haptomai, to fasten to, cling to. Mary attempted to hold Him and Jesus said, “Touch me not;” that is, “Do not cling to Me. I am going immediately to heaven. Go tell My brethren that I ascend to God but will be back again to see them.” That very day He did ascend to heaven and came back to appear to the disciples (20:19-23).

‘For I am not yet ascended to my Father’ this is the reason why He did not want Mary to detain Him. He permitted women to touch Him (Matt. 28:9), but not detain Him.

‘Brethren’ Christ made it clear who His brethren were – they were His disciples, not His fleshly brothers (Matt. 12:49; 28:10; Luke 8:19-21; Heb. 2:11).

‘Told the disciples that she had seen the Lord’ they did not believe (Mark 16:11).