OUR SUNDAY VISITOR
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb
Gospel: John 20:1-9
- In the Gospel of John, Mary runs to tell Peter and John about the empty tomb.
- John is the first to arrive at the tomb which shows his special position as the beloved disciple.
- Upon entering the empty tomb, John makes his profession of faith, “he saw and believed.”
SOURCE: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor
Feasting on the Word
The empty tomb is the beginning, not the end, of the Easter proclamation
John 20:1–10 has many narrative similarities with the empty tomb story of Mark 16:1–8, but the two Gospels could not be more different in how they understand the relationship between the empty tomb and the Easter proclamation. For Mark, as we have seen at the Easter vigil, the empty tomb fully conveys the cosmic significance of God’s power over death. The empty tomb evokes fear and terror in Mark’s account; in John, Peter and the other disciple simply go home after seeing the empty tomb. For John, like Mark, the empty tomb shows God’s power over death, but that is the beginning, not the end, of the Easter proclamation.
SOURCE: Content taken from FEASTING ON THE WORD, YEAR B (12 Volume Set); David L. Bartlett (Editor); Copyright © 2011. Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.
Some time in late January each year, millions of people are glued to their television sets to watch the NFL's annual "Superbowl," the most heavily viewed television program of the year and the most expensive for commercial advertising. The hoopla leading up to this usually covers at least a week with special programming, heavy gambling of both legal and illegal dollars, and the selling of a vast array of paraphernalia like T-shirts and team hats. In the vocabulary of the past two decades it has become known as "Super Sunday."But the first Super Sunday took place hundreds of years before anyone invented football, much less the Superbowl. Approximately in the year A.D. 30, the Son of God rose from the grave never to die again. He broke the bonds of death on the first day of the week, thereby changing the worship schedule of the people of God and setting the theme for most New Testament preaching.
SOURCE: Content taken from Holman New Testament Commentary Series (12 Volume Set); Holman Reference Editorial Staff (Author); Copyright © 2001. Holman Reference. All rights reserved.
The Biblical Imagination
The contents of the tomb
John 20 6-7 describe the contents of the tomb. It had not been ransacked by grave robbers. The strips of linen that had been wrapped around the body were literally “lying in their folds,” as if the body had simply evaporated through them. The sweat cloth (soudarion) that had been wrapped around Jesus’ face was folded up separately, indicating a lack of haste. In verse 8 John tells us he saw the conditions of the tomb and believed. He would be the first of Jesus’ disciples to believe in the resurrected Lord. It’s important to note that he believed without seeing Jesus himself. Luke tells us Peter left the tomb “wondering to himself what had happened” (Lk 24:12 NIV). John whispers the explanation in verse 9, that they had not yet put all of this together with the Scriptures.
SOURCE: Content taken from THE BIBLICAL IMAGINATION (4 Volume Series); Michael Card; Copyright © 2011-14. IVP Books. All rights reserved.
God's Justice Bible
An unlikely witness
John 20:1–3, 10–18 In a historical period where the testimony of a woman is invalid, Mary Magdalene is the star witness. She is the first to report the situation. Later she is the first to whom Jesus appears and the one commissioned to pass the news to the others. The resurrected Lord gives honor to a woman while society denies it.
SOURCE: Content taken from GOD'S JUSTICE BIBLE: The flourishing of Creation & the Destruction of Evil notes by Tim Stafford; Copyright © 2016. Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Life Recovery Bible
God can roll away our burdens
Mark 16:1-7 These women were wondering how they could ever roll the great stone from the tomb entrance, when, to their amazement, they found it already gone. The tomb was empty! The women had only wanted to roll back the stone, but God had accomplished so much more: He had raised Jesus from the dead! If God can give life to a dead body, he surely can restore our life to wholeness. We must put our trust in him. There is always hope. With God, all things are possible! He specializes in rolling away burdens too great for our feeble human strength to handle. And, if we set out to do what we can in the recovery process, we will likely discover that God has already accomplished our goals—and even more!
SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE
Four stages of belief
People who hear about the resurrection for the first time may need time before they can comprehend this amazing story. Like Mary and the disciples, they may pass through four stages of belief.
- At first, they may think the story is a fabrication, impossible to believe (20:2).
- Like Peter, they may check out the facts and still be puzzled about what happened (20:6).
- Only when they encounter Jesus personally are they able to accept the fact of the resurrection (20:16).
- Then, as they commit themselves to the risen Lord and devote their lives to serving him, they begin to understand fully the reality of his presence with them (20:28).
SOURCE: Content taken from LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE NOTES, Copyright © 2019. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
CATHOLIC Bible Study
The empty tomb
by Michal Hunt (Agape Bible Study)
In the Gospel Reading from the morning Mass, we relive the events surrounding Jesus’ Resurrection as Mary Magdalene and the Apostles Peter and John discover the empty tomb on the “first day of the week” that we call Sunday. It was the “first day” because it was the first day of Creation (Saturday was the seventh day in Gen 2:2). Resurrection Sunday is the first day of the New Creation in Christ! According to the schedule of the seven annual Sacred Feasts, the day of Christ’s resurrection was the Feast of Firstfruits, celebrated the day after the Sabbath of the holy week of Passover/Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:9-12). Sunday became the New Covenant Sabbath of “the Lord’s Day.” It is the day set aside for redeemed humanity to commune with the Most Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in a family meal that supernaturally nourishes us with the life of God the Son on our journey to eternal salvation.
The word “tomb”
Verses 2-8 repeat the word “tomb” a significant seven times (1 twice, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8). In the symbolic use of numbers in Scripture, eight is the number of salvation, regeneration, and renewed life.
On the first day of the week
On the first day of the week in the Greek text is day one of the week, a Hebrew idiom. Fr. Brown, in his commentary, The Gospel According to Luke, points out that the use of the Greek word for the 4th Night Watch, proi [pro-ee], translated here as “early” in verse 1, is evidence that John used Roman time in his Gospel. He also used Roman place-names like the Sea of Tiberias instead of the Sea of Galilee. In the first century AD, the Jews and Romans had the same four night-watches separated into the same time divisions identified by trumpet signals (Mk 13:35). However, the Jews did not use the word proi for the 4th Night Watch that was from 3 AM to dawn. The use of this word, and that it is still dark suggests it is the time of the 4th Watch Roman time. The Roman day officially began at midnight; most modern nations keep Roman time.
“The first day of the week” for the Jews is the day we call “Sunday” (the seventh-day Sabbath was the only day of the Jewish week that had a name). It was the “first day” because it was the first day of Creation (Saturday was day #7, therefore day #1 was our Sunday). Resurrection Sunday becomes the first day of the New Creation in Christ! According to the schedule of the seven annual Sacred Feasts, it was also the Feast of Firstfruits. Leviticus 23:5-14 commanded the observance of Firstfruits on the day after the Sabbath of the week of Passover/Unleavened Bread. This day became the New Covenant Sabbath, the day set aside for humanity to commune with God. Christians call it the “Lord’s Day,” the day of worship for New Covenant believers. After Pentecost (which also fell on a Sunday fifty days as the ancients counted after Firstfruits), it became the custom for the New Covenant Church to worship on the first day of the week (see Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2; Rev 1:10).
As Catholics, we still observe the Old Covenant custom of beginning the next day at sunset; therefore, our Sunday Vigil Mass should take place at sundown on Saturday (unfortunately not always strictly observed).
The women at the tomb
John 20:1 seems to suggest that Mary Magdala was alone, although “the other Mary” (the wife or daughter of Clopas) may have accompanied or followed soon after her (see Mt 28:1). There may have been two or three groups of women going to the tomb that morning. The other Gospels list Mary Magdala as one of several women who went to the tomb of Christ on Resurrection Sunday. Mark 16:1 names the women and Salome (the mother of James and John Zebedee) at the tomb just when the sun “had risen,” or “was rising.” Luke does not mention how many women went to the tomb only that they went “at the first sign of dawn.” It may be that Mary Magdalene (perhaps with Mary of Cleopas) went before dawn, and the others came at first light. See the chart ” Harmony of the Gospels: The Resurrection”.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is not present
However, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was not present with the other women. Perhaps it was because she knew He was no longer in the tomb. Her Son arose from death as God’s Firstfruits of the New Creation on the Jewish Feast of Firstfruits. The disciple Mary from Magdala, a fishing village on the shores of the Galilee, is a central figure in the story of the Resurrection. The Gospels mention her by name twelve times (Mt 27:56, 61; 28:1; Mk 15:40, 47; 16:1, 9; Lk 8:2; 24:10; Jn 19:25; 20:1, 18). She is present at the cross and in the Resurrection accounts. It is from the Gospel of Luke that we learn Jesus performed an exorcism on her, casting out seven evil spirits (Lk 8:2) before she became one of His women disciples. Luke also includes the information that she was one of several wealthy women (with Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward, and Susanna) who provided for Jesus and his disciples out of their own resources. According to some traditions, she is the sinful woman who anointed Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee. However, the identity of that woman as Mary Magdala cannot be confirmed, nor is she ever identified in Scripture as a prostitute.
Anointing Jesus’ body
The Gospels of Mark and Luke record that the women came to the tomb with aromatic resins and herbs to anoint Jesus’ body on the third day Jesus was in the tomb (as the ancients counted with no zero place-value from Friday to Sunday). The women did not come the day before because the day of the crucifixion was Preparation Day for the Jewish Sabbath (Mk 15:42), and they did not have time to prepare His body because it was almost sundown when the Romans removed Jesus from the Cross. The Sabbath was a day of rest, and work was prohibited, even preparing the dead (Ex 20:8-11; 31:12-17). The women met on the way to the tomb.
The Gospel of Mark records that the women were concerned about who would help them roll the stone away from the tomb entrance, but when they arrived, they discovered that the stone, which was very big, had already been rolled back (Mk 16:3-4).
The disciple whom Jesus loved
Mary saw the stone removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved
Here the expression “the other disciple” is joined for the first time to “the beloved” or “the one whom Jesus loved.” This expression helps us identify the “other disciple” who had access to the house of the high priest Annas, as John Zebedee, or at least as the same man as the “beloved disciple” (Jn 18:15). From the time Jesus told Peter and John to prepare the Upper Room for the Passover Meal in Luke’s Gospel, and from now on in the Gospel of John as well as in Acts of Apostles and Galatians, St. Peter is continually paired with St. John Zebedee. This pairing helps to confirm the identity of the “beloved Apostle” as St. John Zebedee, as the Fathers of the Church identified him (see Lk 22:8; Acts 1:13; 3:1, 3, 4, 11; 4:1, 3, 7, 13, 19, 23; 8:14, 17, 25; Gal 2:9).
and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
Mary’s “we” confirms the Synoptic accounts that she was not alone, and other women came with her. Luke 24:10-11 records that Joanna and Mary, the mother of James, went with her to tell the Apostles the news of Christ’s Resurrection. The Gospel of Luke records that the Apostles did not believe the women (Lk 24:9-11).
3 So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
If this “other disciple” is indeed St. John, he is a much younger man than St. Peter, and it is reasonable that he should run faster and arrive at the tomb first. He did not enter the tomb because he recognized the priority and the superiority of Peter, the one to whom Jesus entrusted the “keys of the Kingdom” with authority over Jesus’ Kingdom of the Church (Mt 16:16-18). All the previous lists of the Apostles name Peter first followed by Andrew, and John follows James, his brother. However, from now on, when the Apostles are listed, John comes immediately after Peter, who continues first in the lists (see Acts 1:13).
Inside the tomb
There must have been enough daylight for the two Apostles to see into the interior of the tomb, suggesting that the opening was to the east. There may be a connection to the instructions for God’s Tabernacle that the entrance was to always to face toward the east (Ex 27:13; 38:13). The entrance gate to the Temple in Jerusalem and the Sanctuary faced to the east, and all early Christian churches had an east-facing entrance, including St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
6 When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7 and the cloth that had covered his head not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. 8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.
The Biblical text mentions linen cloths in the plural. The cloths in verse 7 are probably the sidon, or burial shroud, and the soudarion, a cloth that covered Jesus’ head when He was taken down from the cross and then used in His burial. The Gospel of John mentions a similar cloth as part of Lazarus’ burial garb (see Jn 11:44). A rolled cloth was usually passed under the chin of the deceased and tied on top of the head to prevent the mouth from falling open. The disciple probably observed these cloths lying on the shelf of the tomb where the body had lain. The observation that the one cloth was still “rolled up” could indicate it was still in an oval loop with the ends tied as it had been when it was around Jesus’ head and chin. It was separate perhaps because it was still lying where Christ’s head had been while the shroud itself was in a heap at the other end of the burial bed or on the floor of the tomb or still intact on the shelf. The Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Christ, is over 14 feet long.
There are two relics known as the soudarion of Christ (also spelled sudarium).
- One is the relic of the image of the face of Jesus on the veil of the woman who has come to be known as Veronica (a name meaning “true image”). This holy cloth is in Rome.
- The other is the cloth placed over Christ’s face when His body was removed from the cross and used in His burial because it contained His bloodstains.
According to tradition, the blood must accompany the body; that is why a person who died a violent death was not washed in preparation for burial. This face-cloth soudarion is a precious relic kept at the Camara Santa of the Cathedral of San Salvador, Oviedo, Spain. The blood on that cloth exactly matches the blood type of the bloodstains of the man of the Shroud of Turin; they are type AB positive.
And he saw and believed
What did the “beloved disciple” see that made him believe? What he believed, of course, was that Jesus had been raised from the dead, but was it simply the empty tomb and the burial clothes that brought about his belief? What did he see that made him believe in Jesus’ Resurrection? What he saw is a mystery.
Some modern scholars contend that the disciple did not suddenly come to believe in the Resurrection but became convinced that Mary Magdala had spoken the truth when she said that the body was missing.
Ancient scholars suggested that seeing the burial clothes left behind supported their belief in Jesus’ Resurrection. If grave robbers took Jesus’ body, they would have kept the body wrapped in the clothes. They would have wanted to avoid drawing attention to themselves, and burial cloths were considered valuable. St John Chrysostom (martyred 407) supports this argument:
“If anyone had removed the body, he would not have stripped it first; nor would he have taken the trouble to remove and roll up the soudarion and put it in a place by itself” (Homilies on St. John LXXXV, 4).
Other scholars have also put forward the theory that it was the position or form of the clothes and not just their presence that convinced the “beloved disciple.” They have suggested that Jesus emerged from His burial shroud in a supernatural manner that allowed Him to pass through the clothes, leaving them virtually in place and still wrapped and tied like an empty cocoon. They also contend that the force of the words means much more than the acceptance of Mary’s statement, but rather that it is the beloved disciple who is the first to believe in the risen Savior in his “seeing and believing.”
If the Shroud of Turin is the burial shroud that bore the image of the Resurrected Savior, perhaps this disciple saw the imprint of Jesus on the shroud and believed.
They did not understand
9 For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
When Mary Magdala first came to them, the disciples did not believe her testimony that Jesus was not in the tomb. Didn’t it occur to them that He had resurrected as He prophesied? It hadn’t occurred to Mary (see Jn 20:11-13). They knew what Jesus promised, but they didn’t understand. St. Matthew tells us that even the chief priests and the Pharisees knew of Jesus’ claim that in three days, He would arise from the dead (Mt 27:62-66). It is the reason they requested that Pilate must place a guard and seal the tomb.
Jesus’ prophecies of his Resurrection
Jesus prophetically predicted His Resurrection repeatedly in His attempt to prepare His disciples:
|Matthew||12:38-40; 16:21; 17:9, 23; 20:18, 19; 26:32; 27:63|
|Mark||8:31-9:1; 9:10, 31; 10:32-34; 14:28, 58|
|John||2:18-22; 12:34; chapters 14-16|
Jesus not only predicted His Resurrection, but He also emphasized that His Resurrection from the dead would be the prophetic “sign” to authenticate His claim that He is the Messiah:
|Matthew||12:1-8; 16:21; 17:9, 22, 23; 20:18, 19; 26:32|
Perhaps they were thinking of resurrection in the same way that Martha of Bethany understood in John Chapter 11 when Jesus spoke to her of Lazarus’ resurrection. She assumed He was speaking of the resurrection of the dead at the Final Judgment (Jn 11:24). Or, perhaps they “knew” in the same way that we “know” that one day we will face a final judgment before the throne of God when He holds us accountable for our lives. We “know,” but do we understand?
However, after seeing the interior of the tomb, they not only believe, but they recall the Scriptures that prophesized these events. It is possible that St. John is referring to Psalm 16:10, Hosea 6:2, Jonah 1:17, or Jonah 2:1, and 9. But it is also possible that since there is no specific Old Testament reference here, it may be that John intends to suggest the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament in Jesus’ Resurrection.
The fulfillment of prophecy is what Jesus will explain to two disciples on their way to Emmaus on Resurrection Sunday in Luke chapter 24:25-27 ~
And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.
And again to the Apostles in Luke 24:44-45 ~
He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.
St. Paul will make this same reference to Scripture in his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul wrote:
The tradition I handed on to you in the first place, a tradition which I had myself received, was that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he was buried; and that on the third day, he was raised to life, in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3-4 (NJB).
It is a truth we especially acknowledge on the celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection of our Savior on Easter Sunday as we too testify to the empty tomb, and receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we also declare our belief!
SOURCE: content taken from Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission. Section divisions and titles added.[/su_spoiler] [/su_accordion]
The beloved disciple saw and believed
Points to consider
John may make the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection more plain to his listeners than the other evangelists did with their narratives of the discovery of the empty tomb.
For John the good news is reported from one disciple to another, without an angel to intervene and interpret the void. The other gospels provide details that may distract us from the message, but not John. Mary is not going to do anything at the tomb; she just came to the tomb.
I hear the excitement building. I hear them running, first Mary and then the disciples. I can reflect that excitement in the acceleration of my voice.
The first report is just a news account, as we have seen so many times in John’s narratives. They have taken the Lord– this would be our own reaction if we found the graves of our loved ones disturbed. When the disciples arrive at the tomb they remain silent, perhaps looking at each other in bewilderment, and I can reflect with my pauses that same state of surprise.
The details of the burial cloths convince the disciples and ourselves that Mary was wrong, that the corpse was not stolen. It is beginning to sound like a detective novel, with new clues and shifts in suspicion. If I take my time I can point this out and maybe take the assembly somewhere they had not gone before. Remember that we have learned the Easter story from the account in Matthew where an angel proclaims the Good News all at once. John’s account is much more existential and suggests a gradual awareness.
Notice how the beloved disciple saw and believed, just like doubting Thomas! I will say this sentence more deliberately, to indicate how faith is taking hold. Something is clicking.
Message for our assembly: If the disciples of Jesus did not yet understand the scripture, we may be forgiven a little doubting of our own. But we are not forgiven our actions of silence and doubt. Are we part of the same church that began as a sharing of good news? Do we pray for the same gift of faith?
I will challenge myself: To bring out the evangelization that is going on in this passage, from Mary to Peter and the beloved disciple. This is the first stage of a series of reports from one person to another. And it continues today between ourselves and those we meet.
Word to Eucharist
Are we witnesses to each other? Can we imagine, as we process in communion, that we are? How can we become more than strangers juxtaposed by accident?
SOURCE: Paul J. Schlachter at LectorWorks.org; Used with permission
Jesus speaks about his hour all throughout the Gospel of John. What is it that he is speaking of, and why is it when some Gentiles seek after him that he finally states that his hour has come? Check out this video with Dr. Brant Pitre to learn more about this topic.
WORD ON FIRE
Bishop Barron on the Resurrection of Jesus
Another part of a video series from Wordonfire.org. Father Barron will be commenting on subjects from modern day culture.
The Resurrection of the Body
…A second thing that’s really crucial to highlight about the Resurrection is the element where the text says, “They went in and did not find the body.” I cannot stress this enough, when we talk about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have to make absolutely sure that we know what we’re speaking about.
Empty There’s lots of confusion about what we mean by the Resurrection of Jesus. And all of that can be cleared up if we focused on that word, right there: they did not find “the body”. The Greek word there is soma. And when it’s talking about a dead body it means “a corpse”. So, when we talk about the Resurrection of Jesus, the discovery of the empty tomb, the fact that there’s no corpse in the tomb is a crucial element for understanding what the first Christians would have meant by Resurrection. …