John Chapter 20 and 21

Published Aug. 30, 2023, 12:55 p.m.

Summary : Jesus gave himself to the mob, arranging for his disciples to go free and fulfill scripture.  Jesus is tried in an illegal court.  He is taken to Pilate who wants nothing to do with him.  Pilate appeases the mob with a death sentence for Jesus.  Barabbas -- an actual guilty insurrectionist -- is freed and Jesus -- declared guiltless by Pilate is ordered crucified.  The religious leaders won't defile themselves by entering the governor's house while delivering Jesus up for death and declaring "We have no king by Caesar!"   Peter denies Jesus. -- Peter fails in his strong suit.  Jesus declares on the cross 'It is Finished."-- Tetelesti --- Paid in Full.

None of Jesus bones are broken to fulfill scripture.  Jesus is pierced to fulfill scripture.  Jesus is buried in the tomb of a rich man to fulfill scripture. 

Chapter 20

The Resurrection

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus'[a] head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

  1. Mary sees the stone moved and thinks what?
  2. John (the other disciple) is a faster runner than Peter and he thought you ought to know that. :)
  3. What is the reason given that their heretofore unbelief?
  4. What are some heart attitudes we might have with "difficult' scripture?

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

  1. Mary sees a guy in the garden and thinks what?
  2. Mary sees Jesus but doesn't recognize him.  What jogs her memory?
  3. What is Mary's response to seeing Jesus?  Have you had a moment like that?
  4. "Don't cling to me".  Some make much of this and some do not.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[c] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

  1. Recall John 14:26-29: (26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 2Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. )
  2. What does Jesus show them to prove who he is?  Mary didn't recognize Jesus.  Luke 24:15-16 says "their eyes were kept from recognizing him." about the disciples. 
  3. Isaiah 52:14 says " As many were astonished at you—
        his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
        and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—"

 Jesus and Thomas

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin,[d] was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

  1. Jesus' former "don't cling to me" is here replaced with an invitation to touch him.
  2. What are your thoughts on Thomas (often called "doubting Thomas")? 
  3. Thomas confession "My Lord and my God" is as high and direct as a confession can be.  Have you made that confession?

The Purpose of This Book

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

  1. It is nice when the author tell you exactly why he wrote what he wrote.  Luke prefaces his Gospel with his reason: 
    "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught."
  2. How are John and Luke's reasons different?

Chapter 21 

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards[e] off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

  1. John 21 reads like an Epilogue.  The main story is over.  John wants to tie up some loose ends from his account -- specifically about Peter.
  2. This story echos the story in Luke 5 where Jesus calls Peter to be a disciple, however with significant contrasts:  In Luke, the nets break,  the boat start to sink, and Peter confesses his wretchedness and desires the Lord to leave his presence.  The charcoal fire is also mentioned when Peter first denied Jesus.  -- John makes these parallels for us.
  3. Why do you think Peter covers himself before swimming to see Jesus?
  4. Why are the fish numbered?  153?
  5. None dared ask "Who are you?"  implying that Jesus is not recognized by sight?
  6. Jesus is often eating in these appearances.

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

  1. Jesus, here, appears to "restore" Peter -- Three confessions of love following three confessions of denial.  
  2. In Jesus questions he asks  Do you "love" (agapas, agapas, Phileis ) Peter responds "You know that I dearly love you" ( philō, philō, philō ).  Some scholars see the word change as significant.  Some do not.
  3.  Feed my lambs,  Tend my sheep, and Feed my sheep are the three responses of Jesus.
  4. agapao:
    to love; in the NT usually the active love of God for his Son and his people, and the active love his people are to have for God, each other, and even enemies
    to love, value, esteem, feel or manifest generous concern for, be faithful towards; to delight in, to set store upon, Rev. 12:11
  5. phileo:
    to love, to have affection and regard of a very high order, not unlike {27,} and overlapping in meaning in some contexts
    pr. to manifest some act or token of kindness or affection; to kiss, Mt. 26:48; Mk. 14:44; Lk. 22:47; to love, regard with affection, have affection for, Mt. 10:37; Jn. 5:20; to like, be fond of, delight in a thing, Mt. 23:6; Rev. 22:15; to cherish inordinately, set store by, Jn. 12:25

 Jesus and the Beloved Apostle

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers[f] that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

  1. John also apparently want to clear up some confusion about what Jesus said and how it was interpreted.  It is comforting (to me) that disputes about the meaning of what Jesus said are not new.  More comforting still that John and others took the time to clarify important things for our benefit and encouragement.
  2. What is "wierd" about verse 24?
  3. "what is that to you"?  --Follow me!  What does that tell us about God's relationship with us and our relationship with each other?


  1. John 20:7 Greek his
  2. John 20:16 Or Hebrew
  3. John 20:19 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time
  4. John 20:24 Greek Didymus
  5. John 21:8 Greek two hundred cubits; a cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
  6. John 21:23 Or brothers and sisters


  • Introduction to John's Gospel

  • John Chapter 1

  • John Chapter 2

  • John Chapter 3

  • John Chapter 4

  • John Chapter 5

  • John Chapter 6

  • John Chapter 7 (and end of Ch.6)

  • John Chapter 8

  • John Chapters 9 and 10

  • John Chapter 10 and 11

  • John Chapter 12

  • End of John 12 and Chapter 13

  • John Chapter 14

  • John Chapter 15 and 16

  • John Chapter 17

  • John Selections from Ch. 18 and 19

  • John Chapter 20 and 21
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