Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
VISIT TO THE
1, 2. The first day . . . cometh Mary Magdalene early,
Mt 28:1, 2).
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--Dear disciple! thy dead Lord is to thee "the Lord"
3-10. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came
first to the sepulchre--These particulars have a singular air of
artless truth about them. Mary, in her grief, runs to the two apostles
who were soon to be so closely associated in proclaiming the Saviour's
resurrection, and they, followed by Mary, hasten to see with their own
eyes. The younger disciple outruns the older; love haply supplying
swifter wings. He stoops, he gazes in, but enters not the open
sepulchre, held back probably by a reverential fear. The bolder Peter,
coming up, goes in at once, and is rewarded with bright evidence of what
6-7. seeth the linen clothes lie--lying.
And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen
clothes--not loosely, as if hastily thrown down, and indicative of a
hurried and disorderly removal.
together in a place by itself--showing with what grand tranquillity
"the Living One" had walked forth from "the dead"
"Doubtless the two attendant angels
did this service for the Rising One, the one disposing of the linen
clothes, the other of the napkin" [BENGEL].
8. Then went in . . . that other disciple which came first to the
sepulchre--The repetition of this, in connection with his not having
gone in till after Peter, seems to show that at the moment of penning
these words the advantage which each of these loving disciples had of
the other was present to his mind.
and he saw and believed--Probably he means, though he does not say,
that he believed in his Lord's resurrection more immediately and
certainly than Peter.
9. For as yet they knew--that is, understood.
not the scripture that he must rise again from the dead--In other
words, they believed in His resurrection at first, not because they were
prepared by Scripture to expect it; but facts carried resistless
conviction of it in the first instance to their minds, and furnished a
key to the Scripture predictions of it.
11-15. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping,
&c.--Brief was the stay of those two men. But Mary, arriving perhaps by
another direction after they left, lingers at the spot, weeping for her
missing Lord. As she gazes through her tears on the open tomb, she also
ventures to stoop down and look into it, when lo! "two angels in white"
(as from the world of light, and see on
appear to her in a "sitting" posture, "as having finished some
business, and awaiting some one to impart tidings to" [BENGEL].
12. one at the head, and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus
had lain--not merely proclaiming silently the entire charge they
had had of the body, of Christ [quoted in LUTHARDT], but rather,
possibly, calling mute attention to the narrow space within which the
Lord of glory had contracted Himself; as if they would say, Come, see
within what limits, marked off by the interval here between us two,
the Lord lay! But she is in tears, and these suit not the scene of
so glorious an Exit. They are going to point out to her the incongruity.
13. Woman, why weepest thou?--You would think the vision too much
for a lone woman. But absorbed in the one Object of her affection and
pursuit, she speaks out her grief without fear.
Because, &c.--that is, Can I choose but weep, when "they have
taken away," &c., repeating her very words to Peter and John. On this
she turned herself and saw Jesus Himself standing beside her, but took
Him for the gardener. Clad therefore in some such style He must have
been. But if any ask, as too curious interpreters do, whence He got
those habiliments, we answer [with OLSHAUSEN and
LUTHARDT] where the two angels got theirs. Nor did
the voice of His first words disclose Him to Mary--"Woman, why weepest
thou? whom seekest thou?" He will try her ere he tell
her. She answers not the stranger's question, but comes straight to her
point with him.
15. Sir, if thou have borne him hence--borne whom? She says not.
She can think only of One, and thinks others must understand her.
It reminds one of the question of the Spouse, "Saw ye him whom my soul
tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away--Wilt thou,
dear fragile woman? But it is the language of sublime affection, that
thinks itself fit for anything if once in possession of its Object. It
is enough. Like Joseph, He can no longer restrain Himself
16, 17. Jesus saith unto her, Mary--It is not now the distant, though
respectful, "Woman." It is the oft-repeated name, uttered, no doubt,
with all the wonted manner, and bringing a rush of unutterable and
overpowering associations with it.
She turned herself, and saith to him, Rabboni!--But that single word
of transported recognition was not enough for woman's full heart. Not
knowing the change which had passed upon Him, she hastens to express by
her action what words failed to clothe; but she is checked.
17. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to
my Father--Old familiarities must now give place to new and more awful
yet sweeter approaches; but for these the time has not come yet. This
seems the spirit, at least, of these mysterious words, on which much
difference of opinion has obtained, and not much that is satisfactory
but go to my brethren--(Compare
Heb 2:11, 17).
That He had still our Humanity, and therefore "is not ashamed to
call us brethren," is indeed grandly evidenced by these words. But
it is worthy of most reverential notice, that we nowhere read of
anyone who presumed to call Him Brother. "My brethren: Blessed
Jesus, who are these? Were they not Thy followers? yea, Thy forsakers?
How dost Thou raise these titles with Thyself! At first they were Thy
servants; then disciples; a little before Thy death, they
were Thy friends; now, after Thy resurrection, they were Thy
brethren. But oh, mercy without measure! how wilt Thou, how
canst Thou call them brethren whom, in Thy last parting, Thou
foundest fugitives? Did they not run from Thee? Did not one of them
rather leave his inmost coat behind him than not be quit of Thee? And
yet Thou sayest, 'Go, tell My brethren! It is not in the power of the
sins of our infirmity to unbrother us'" [BISHOP
I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your
God--words of incomparable glory! Jesus had called God habitually
His Father, and on one occasion, in His darkest moment, His
God. But both are here united, expressing that full-orbed
embraces in its vast sweep at once Himself and His redeemed. Yet, note
well, He says not, Our Father and our God. All the deepest of
the Church fathers were wont to call attention to this, as expressly
designed to distinguish between what God is to Him and to us--His Father
essentially, ours not so: our God essentially, His not so: His God only
in connection with us: our God only in connection with Him.
18. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the
Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her--To a woman
was this honor given to be the first that saw the risen R edeemer, and
that woman was not His mother. (See on
APPEARS TO THE
19-23. the same day at evening, the first day of the week, the doors
being shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews,
came Jesus--plainly not by the ordinary way of entrance.
and saith unto them Peace be unto you--not the mere wish
that even His own exalted peace might be theirs
but conveying it into their hearts, even as He "opened their
understandings to understand the scriptures"
20. And when he had so said, he showed them his hands and his
side--not only as ocular and tangible evidence of the
reality of His resurrection (See on
but as through "the power of that resurrection" dispensing all
His peace to men.
Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.
21. Then said Jesus--prepared now to listen to Him in a new character.
Peace be unto you. As my Father hath sent me, so send I
22. he breathed on them--a symbolical conveyance to them of the Spirit.
and saith, Receive ye the Holy Ghost--an earnest and first-fruits of
the more copious Pentecostal effusion.
23. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them,
&c.--In any literal and authoritative sense this power
was never exercised by one of the apostles, and plainly was
never understood by themselves as possessed by them or conveyed to
them. (See on
The power to intrude upon the relation between men and God cannot have
been given by Christ to His ministers in any but a ministerial
or declarative sense--as the authorized interpreters of His
word, while in the actings of His ministers, the real nature of
the power committed to them is seen in the exercise of church
APPEARS TO THE
24, 25. But Thomas--(See on
was not with them when Jesus came--why, we know not, though we are
loath to think (with STIER,
LUTHARDT) it was intentional, from sullen despondency. The
fact merely is here stated, as a loving apology for his slowness of belief.
25. We have seen the Lord--This way of speaking of Jesus (as
and Joh 21:7),
so suited to His resurrection-state, was soon to become the prevailing
Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my linger
into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will
not believe--The very form of this speech betokens the strength of
the unbelief. "It is not, If I shall see I shall believe, but,
Unless I shall see I will not believe; nor does he expect to
see, although the others tell him they had" [BENGEL]. How Christ Himself viewed this state of mind, we
"He upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart because
they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen." But
whence sprang this pertinacity of resistance in such minds? Not
certainly from reluctance to believe, but as in Nathanael (see on
from mere dread of mistake in so vital a matter.
26-29. And after eight days--that is, on the eighth, or first day of
the preceding week. They probably met every day during the preceding
week, but their Lord designedly reserved His second appearance among
them till the recurrence of His resurrection day, that He might thus
inaugurate the delightful sanctities of THE
disciples were within, and Thomas with them . . . Jesus
. . . stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither . . . behold . . . put it
into my side, and be not faithless, but believing--"There is something
rhythmical in these words, and they are purposely couched in the words
of Thomas himself, to put him to shame" [LUTHARDT]. But wish what
condescension and gentleness is this done!
28. Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God--That Thomas
did not do what Jesus invited him to do, and what he had made the
condition of his believing, seems plain from
("Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed"). He is
overpowered, and the glory of Christ now breaks upon him in a flood.
His exclamation surpasses all that had been yet uttered, nor can it be
surpassed by anything that ever will be uttered in earth or heaven. On
the striking parallel in Nathanael, see on
The Socinian invasion of the supreme divinity of Christ here manifestly
taught--as if it were a mere call upon God in a fit of astonishment--is
beneath notice, save for the profanity it charges upon this disciple,
and the straits to which it shows themselves reduced.
29. because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed--words of measured
commendation, but of indirect and doubtless painfully--felt rebuke: that
is, 'Thou hast indeed believed; it is well: it is only on the evidence
of thy senses, and after peremptorily refusing all evidence short of
blessed they that have not seen, and yet have believed--"Wonderful
indeed and rich in blessing for us who have not seen Him, is this
closing word of the Gospel" [ALFORD].
Joh 20:30, 31.
The connection of these verses with the last words of
is beautiful: that is, And indeed, as the Lord pronounced them blessed
who not having seen Him have yet believed, so for that one end have the
whole contents of this Gospel been recorded, that all who read it may
believe on Him, and believing, have life in that blessed name.
30. many other signs--miracles.
31. But these are written--as sufficient specimens.
the Christ, the Son of God--the one His official, the other His
believing . . . may have life--(See on