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Chapter 20

The tomb where Jesus was buried is found to be empty (20:1-9).

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran back to Simon Peter and me and told us, "They've taken our Lord out of the tomb! We don't know where they've put him."

So Peter and I ran for the tomb. We left together, but I outran Peter and got there first. Bending down to look inside, I could see the linen cloths lying there, but I didn't go in.

But when Simon Peter came running up, he went straight into the tomb. He, too, saw the linen grave-clothes and the burial cloth that had been wound around Jesus' head. (It was not with the other wrappings but folded up and lying by itself.) Then I -- the one who had arrived first at the tomb -- went inside. When I saw that the tomb was empty, I believed Mary's report. (As yet we did not understand from Scripture that Jesus would rise from the dead.)


The Garden Tomb, a traditional burial site for Jesus

The risen Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb (20:10-18)

Then we went back to our homes, but Mary remained outside the tomb weeping. Still in tears, she bent down to look inside. There she saw two angels dressed in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at his head and the other at his feet. "Dear woman, why are you weeping?" they asked her.

Mary answered, "They have taken away my Master, and I don't know where they've put him."

She glanced over her shoulder and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn't recognize him. Jesus asked, "Dear woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?"

Thinking him to be the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you are the one who carried him away, tell me where you put him, so I can go and get him."

Then Jesus said to her, "Mary!"

She turned to him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabbouni!" (The word means "Teacher.")

"You don't need to hold on to me!" said Jesus. "I haven't yet ascended to my Father. But go to my disciples and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and God, and to your Father and God.'" Mary Magdalene came to us and exclaimed, "I have seen the Master!" Then she told us everything he had said to her.


Inside the empty tomb

Jesus appears to his disciples (20:19-23).

On the evening of the same day, Sunday, we had gotten together behind locked the doors for fear of the Jewish authorities. Suddenly Jesus was standing right there in our midst. After greeting us in the customary way ("Peace be with you!"), he showed us his hands and his side. We were filled with joy when we realized it was the Lord.

"Peace be with you!" he said again, and added, "I am now sending you, just as the Father sent me." Then he breathed on us and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; but if you do not forgive their sins, they are not forgiven."

Jesus appears to Thomas (20:24-29).

Although Thomas (called "The Twin") was one of the Twelve, he was not with us when Jesus had suddenly appeared. We kept telling him, "We have seen the Lord!"

His response was: "Unless I see the wounds where the nails were driven through his hands, and touch them with my own finger, I will never believe it. "I would have to put my hand into his side where the spear was thrust."

A week later we were together in a house, and this time Thomas was with us. Again Jesus appeared in our midst, although the doors were closed and securely locked. "Peace be with you," he said. Turning to Thomas, he said, "Put your finger here where the nails were driven through. Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and learn to trust."

Thomas exclaimed, "It is you! My Lord and my God!"


Column capital on one of Herod's homes

Jesus said, "Thomas, you believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who will come to believe without ever having seen me."


Why John wrote his story (20:30-31).

The other disciples and I watched Jesus perform many other miracles that are not included in this story.

But the ones you have read are here so you will come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

By believing that he is who he says he is, you will receive eternal life.