But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and
looked into the sepulchre, (12) And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head,
and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (13) And they say unto her,
Woman, why weepest thou?
She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they
have laid him. (14) And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus
standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
(15) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?
She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence,
tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
(16) Jesus saith unto her, Mary.
She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
(17) Jesus saith 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.
(18) Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he
had spoken these things unto her.
(19) 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 saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (20) And when he had so said, he shewed
unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
(21) Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even
so send I you. (22) And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost: (23) Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them;
and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
(24) But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus
came. (25) 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.
(26) 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.
(27) Then saith 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.
(28) And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
(29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed
are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Mary Magdalene, from whom seven demons where exorcised, was one of Jesus’ disciples. Having
gone to the sepulcher and finding the stone rolled away from the entrance, she wept. When she
looked into the tomb, she saw two angels , who asked her why she was crying. Her response
shows her state of mind – she believes someone has taken the body of Jesus and placed it
When Mary turns to leave, Jesus was standing in front of her – but she did not recognize Him.
Whether it was that her eyes were blurred with tears, or that the unexpectedness and seeming
impossibility of the experience deceived her, it is not unknown when seeing someone
Thinking that Jesus was the gardener, she thought He had moved the body of Jesus.
When Jesus addressed her, she recognized Him.
Touch me not (mē mou haptou). Present middle imperative in prohibition with genitive case,
meaning “cease clinging to me” rather than “Do not touch me.” Jesus allowed the women to
take hold of his feet (ekratēsan) and worship (prosekunēsan) as we read in Mat_28:9. The
prohibition here reminds Mary that the previous personal fellowship by sight, sound, and
touch no longer exists and that the final state of glory was not yet begun. Jesus checks Mary’s
For I am not yet ascended (oupō gar anabebēka). Perfect active indicative. Jesus is here at all
only because he has not yet gone home. He had said (Joh_16:7) that it was good for them that
he should go to the Father when the Holy Spirit will come through whom they will have
fellowship with the Father and Christ.
Robertson’s Word Pictures
Mary then reported her interaction to the disciples.
The Other Disciples
The evening of the first day of the week, the disciples were fearfully assembled behind closed
doors. Jesus appeared in their midst, and showed them His hands and His side.
[Now that the apostles knew their Master, he repeats his blessing (Jn 20:19), and as the New
Testament is now sealed in his blood according to the commission under which he came, he,
in turn, commissions the twelve to go forth and proclaim its provisions. Symbolic of the
baptism that they were to receive at Pentecost, he breathes upon them, and, having thus
symbolically qualified them, he commissions them to forgive or retain sin, for this was the
subject-matter of the New Testament.]
The Fourfold Gospel, J.W. McGarvey
John 20:23 Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, etc. It will be seen at
once, by a comparison with Mat_16:19, that the keys then promised to Peter are now given to
all the apostles, and all have similar power to open and shut, to remit sin, and to bind. The
meaning is plain when we consider, first, the charge that the Savior was making, and,
secondly, look forward and see how that charge was carried out; or, in other words, observe
the apostles "remitting sins" and retaining them. It is the Great Commission to preach the
gospel that the Savior gives for the first time in Joh_20:21. It is with reference to carrying out
that Commission that he speaks in Joh_20:23. It was in order that they might present the
terms of that Commission infallibly to the world that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was
imparted, of which there is a foreshadowing in Joh_20:22. The great end of that Commission
was to declare to men "repentance and remission of sins" in the name of Christ. The following
facts are manifest: (1) The Savior gave to his apostles his Commission that they might make
known his will. (2) He bade them preach "remission of sins." (3) He gave them a measure of
the Holy Spirit, and bade them wait until "endued with power from on high" by the baptism of
the Holy Spirit. (4) When the Holy Spirit fell, they spoke as it "gave them utterance" (Act_2:4).
(5) They then declared, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the terms on which "sins could
be remitted." To anxious sinners they answer, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in
the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins." Here, then, they, directed by the Holy
Spirit, "remit" and "retain" sins by declaring the terms on which Christ will pardon. Thus, also,
they do in their preaching recorded through the Acts of the Apostles the very thing that the
Savior gave them power to do. This power was not imparted to a hierarchy, nor to any
ecclesiastical body, but to the apostles, and was fulfilled by them in declaring to the world the
conditions of pardon and condemnation under the Commission of our Lord.
Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them. When they told Thomas
they had seen Jesus, he declared that he would only believe when he saw evidence of the nail
prints and the spear wound.
The next Sunday, Jesus appeared again to His disciples. He told Thomas to examine Him, and
believe. Belief or faith does not vanish by sight. It is established by evidence. Thomas saw and
touched Jesus, and believed.
Thomas’ declaration, “My Lord and my God!”, showed that Jesus was “both Lord and Savior.” He
stated Jesus was Master, and that He was Deity.
Thomas saw and believed. Many countless individuals following his time have believed because
of the testimony of others. “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached
unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved,
if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I
delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins
according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day
according to the scriptures: (5) And that he 7was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: (6)
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part
remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. (7) After that, he was seen of James;
then of all the apostles. (8) And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due
time. (9) For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I
persecuted the church of God. (10) But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace
which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all:
yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (11) Therefore whether it were I or they, so
we preach, and so ye believed.
• Validity of Testimony
If you are going to establish the validity of an event, and the identity of those involved, those who
know the people intimately are the most reliable witnesses. In the case of Jesus, those who had
spent time with Him as His disciples for a space of three years would be the best eye-witnesses to
establish His identity.
• Sincerity of Testimony
The sincerity of eye-witnesses (thus establishing that they believe what they are saying is true) is
shown by the consistency of their testimony. When inducements to change, what is the response?
Those who bore witness to the resurrection of Jesus when faced with social rejection,
imprisonment, torture, or death, did not change their testimony. If nothing else, it must be admitted
that with all that was within them, they believed that they had seen the resurrected Christ.
• Historical Significance
When establishing the authenticity and validity of historical events, eye-witness testimony is
invaluable. If we wish to establish the identity of individuals, we seek out those who were there,
giving greater weight to those who were familiar with them. If we wish to establish the attendance
of individuals, we do so through eye-witness testimony. Without the weight of eye-witness
testimony we would have no history. Thus, those who seek to discredit and reject the eye-witness
testimony of the resurrected Christ also discredit and reject the basis of history as we know it.