John 20: The Risen Christ
Early in the morning, when it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the Sepulchre where Jesus was laid to rest. When she arrived she found that the tomb had been opened and immediately ran to Peter to tell him what had happened. Peter and the other Apostles ran to see for their own eyes. It is interesting that it specifically mentions; “…the other disciple did outrun Peter…” (John 20:4) I don’t know why this was important; perhaps the other Apostle had a stronger desire to know for himself? Maybe Peter was out of shape?
The Apostles leave and Mary stays behind weeping, she takes a look in the tomb and finds two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had been laid to rest and they ask her; “…Woman, why weepest thou?” (John 20:13) and she responds; “…Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20:13) Mary turns back around and sees a man [Jesus] (who she assumed was the gardener), Jesus asks her the same question and she asks the gardener to help her find the body of Jesus. But in that same instant; Jesus called out to her; “…Mary…” (John 20:16) and she immediately recognized His voice and she said; “…Rabboni [which means Master]…” (John 20:16) Mary must have been really excited and most likely reached out to Him as she called Him, because Jesus responded; “…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: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17) We learn from this scripture that Jesus Christ is separate from the Father, or else why would He ascend unto Himself? Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and God the Father is His Father and OUR Father. What does that make Jesus to us? He is our brother! But we need to look at Him with respect, because He is our eldest brother, and He has become like our Father being a god.
Mary Magdalene went to the other Apostles and told them about her interaction with Jesus. That same night the Apostles were gathered behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus had found a way to get in without anyone noticing and stood in the midst of them and said; “…Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19) Jesus invites all gathered to feel and see His hands and feet to see where the nails had left prints from the Crucifixion. Jesus also gives them the Holy Ghost. Thomas was the only one not present at the time. The next time the Apostles saw Thomas they told Him that had seen Jesus and felt His prints. Thomas was a difficult one to persuade and said; “…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.” (John 20:25)
Eight days pass and they gather again, this time Thomas is present and Jesus comes to him and says; “…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.” (John 20:27) After hearing these words, Thomas said to Jesus; “…My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28) It took seeing Jesus for Thomas to believe, however Jesus does not attack him for this, but instead gives everyone else a great reminder; “…Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) Anyone who follows Jesus, follows with Faith, for only the Prophets and Apostles of old and new have seen God or Jesus Christ.
We learn that Jesus performed; “…many other signs… in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) I like how this chapter ends by saying that Jesus performed many more miracles and signs in their presence, but that they are not written in this book. Many things are not included in the scriptures, but some would be revealed later and some are revealed through modern day prophets. For this reason we cannot go with the Bible alone, we need Power, Authority, we need GOD’s Church on earth. The Bible is great and any God fearing Christian should love and cherish the Bible, but to remember that it isn’t conclusive. For God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow… He will continue to call prophets and instruct His children. The good news is that He didn’t just leave us with the Bible, He has also given us the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.