Contact: David Parham 940-322-4343

Website: Internet Bible Studies

John Menu

















Ball23A0.gif (3556 bytes)


John Chapter 20:16-31

Memory verses for this week:  Psa 119:165  Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.


Introduction:   In our last week’s study, we saw Mary Magdalene coming to the sepulchre at the dawning of Sunday morning to find the tomb empty.    She tells Peter and John about it, and they come to also find the tomb empty.   Mary returns, and finds two angels where the Lord had laid in verses 12-13.  

John 20:12  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.

John 20:13  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. 

After this, the Lord himself appeared to Mary.  We pick up on verse 16 this week.


I.                     Mary Recognizes Jesus 

John 20:16  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

John 20:17  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. 

Mary recognized Jesus, and calls him Rabboni.   Jesus knows His sheep, and as we read in last weeks lesson, the sheep know their master’s voice.    He tells her to not touch Him, since he had not yet ascended unto the Father.  We know that after Jesus ascended, He took the perfect offering of His blood to God, and made the sacrifice that would atone for the sins of all mankind.  Unfortunately, only those who come to Jesus by faith receive this gift.   That is why we need to be about the Father’s work, and spreading the Gospel to everyone we come into contact with.   We see in verse 17 that Jesus makes it very clear that it was not only His Father and His God, but also it was Mary’s father and God.   Because of Jesus, we are joint heirs with Christ. 

Rom 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Rom 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 

Few things are more important to the child of God than to know that Jesus was resurrected from the grave.  We as Christians, are the only religion that claims to have a resurrected founder.  Mohammed was a great man, but he died.    Many of the eastern religions had great men that founded their religions, but each one is dead and still in the tomb.   Praise God that you and I serve the true and living God, and Jesus is just as alive as any of us, and is now seated on the right hand of God today, making intercession for you and I.  Paul expressed what vanity we would be facing if Christ be not risen to the church in Corinth. 

1 Cor 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

1 Cor 15:18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

1 Cor 15:19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

1 Cor 15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Cor 15:21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Cor 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

John 20:18  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. 

Some people believe that when Jesus told Mary to go and tell His brethren that he had risen, He spoke of His personal family.   But earlier in our study, we saw that Jesus’ own half brothers did not believe He was the Son of God.   I think that Mary went to the exact ones Jesus directed her to go to, and that was the disciples.   She tells them about what she had witnessed and what Jesus had said unto her. 

II.  Christ Appears Unto the Disciples 

John 20:19  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.

John 20:20  And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 

Jesus did not leave the disciples in doubt, but comes unto them.   And most of the disciples were there allowing them to all experience the blessing at the same time.   It is interesting how that even though Jesus had a glorified body, he still had those nail prints in His hands and the wounds in His side.   Most likely, these are there as symbols of what He suffered when he died for us there on the Cross of Calvary.   When we receive our glorified bodies, I think they will be perfect and without blemish.  It took those wounds for Jesus to purchase our salvation.

John Calvin in his commentary on the Gospel of John said this:

“The evangelist now tells us that Christ’s resurrection was proved to the disciples by their seeing Him.  God provided that they were assembled in one place, so that the event might be more certain and trustworthy.  It is notable how gently Christ acted towards them, not keeping them in suspense any longer than that evening.  Moreover, he enlightened them by bringing the pledge of new life while darkness was spreading over the world.   It was a sign of faith, or at least of a godly attitude, that they had all assembled.  It is true that keeping themselves behind locked doors was some proof of their weakness; but although the strongest and boldest minds are sometimes overcome by fear, it is easy to see that the apostles were then frightened in a way that showed their faith.  This example is worth noticing, for although they are less courageous that they should have been, they still do not give way to their weakness.  True, they seek concealment to escape danger, but they gather courage enough to remain together; otherwise they would have been scattered, and none of them would have dared look at anyone else.   Similarly, we too should struggle against the weakness of our flesh and not give way to fear, which temps us to apostatize.  Christ also blesses their zeal when he appears to them while they are together, though Thomas is rightly deprived of the grace given to all his brothers because, like a wandering soldier, he had deserted from the banner of union.  Here is a lesson for those who are excessively timid: they must learn to discipline themselves and take it on themselves to correct their sinful fear.” 

John 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

 John 16:33  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. 

Peace comes when Jesus enters the room, and peace comes to every sinner who invites Jesus into their hearts.   On every occasion, from the first meeting with the angels until now, Jesus wanted the women and the disciples to not fear.   He is ever with us when we know Jesus as our own Personal Savior.  What a blessing to know that whatever we face, even in death, Jesus is with us every step of the way.   Many of you know my cousin, Aric Johnson, who is the Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Iowa Park, Texas.   With no doubt at all in my mind, Aric is my favorite cousin of the dozen or so I have.  And he has introduced me as his favorite cousin many times.   Our common love for God and God’s Word is a bond that makes us almost inseparable.   He and my younger brother and Aric’s older brother, Alan, grew up together as children, and we had much fun running together on my grandfather’s farm west of Seymour.   Aric is in the final stages of what the doctors have said is a fatal case of cancer, and as we visited together yesterday in the hospital, we talked of how we both trusted in the sovereignty of God.   I told of how much easier it was to believe that when things are going well, we are healthy, and we have plenty of money in the bank.   Without a miracle, Aric won’t be in this world much longer.   But whether he lives or dies, one thing we both know is Jesus is going to be there by his side.   King David probably put the best words together found in the bible concerning how God is with His child through everything, even through death. 

Psa 23:1  A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Psa 23:2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

Psa 23:3  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Psa 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psa 23:5  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psa 23:6  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. 


John 20:22  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

John 20:23  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 

Jesus had told the disciples that after He left them, the Holy Ghost would come upon them, and He would bring all things to their remembrance.   Today, when you and I accept Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes immediately and takes up abode in our bodies.   We effectively become the temple of the Holy Ghost.    

1 Cor 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Cor 6:20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.


John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

Jesus had conquered death and the grave, and redemption had been purchased.  Now Christ sends the disciples forth into the world that they might preach the Gospel to every man, woman, boy and girl.   The directive was to the church, and we know that the Great Commission is to be carried out every day of our earthly existence. 

We know that from the time of Jesus’ birth until His death, and even in these early days of the church, they were going through a transitionary period between law and grace.  The grace of God was always in existence (Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord), but the people until Jesus’ death were still under the period called the dispensation of the law.   Today, we live in the dispensation of grace.   During the time of the apostles and disciples, certain things were done a bit differently than they were today.   Before this time, I believe each of the disciples (excluding Judas Iscariot), had come to a saving knowledge of the Lord.  But until now, the Holy Spirit had not been given unto them.  When Jesus breathed upon them, the Holy Ghost indwelled them.  The expression “breathed on them” is used only one other time in the bible.  In Genesis, God breathed into Adam the breath of life.   By being indwelt with the Holy Spirit, the disciples would be sustained by the power of God through the spirit.  In just a few days, Christ would come and baptize the church with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.  He would endue them with power from upon high.   

Eph 4:23  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

Eph 4:24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Eph 4:25  Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Eph 4:26  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Eph 4:27  Neither give place to the devil.

Eph 4:28  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Eph 4:29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Eph 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 

It is very important to understand that Jesus alone can forgive sin.  It was not given to the disciples to forgive the sin, but to preach the gospel, and all that truly repent and believe would receive forgiveness of their sins.  Forgiveness of sins is only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  In the Old Testament, all of those sin offerings could not take away one sin, but they pointed to the one who would come and die, Jesus Christ.  Effectively, God granted salvation “on credit” to those in the Old Testament, knowing that Jesus would come at the appointed time, live the sinless life, and die on Calvary on the set day ordained.  Today, we look back and see by faith what Jesus did for us, and we accept this salvation that is given which is so wonderful, yet free to all who will come. 

III.  Christ’s Appearance to Thomas and the Disciples 

John 20:24  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

John 20:25  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. 

Some might ask, why was Thomas not with the other ten disciples when they gathered together?  I could ask “Why is every member of our church not here today?”   Sometimes we are providentially hindered, but most times we simply lack the faith to come and assemble as God has commanded us to do.   Wherever Thomas was, he missed one of the greatest blessings ever given.  When we miss any church service, we don’t know what kind of blessing we are missing.   God directs each man who preaches as to what he is to preach, and God uses those messages to keep us on track and in fellowship with Him.   We are the ones who lose out when we fail to come.   What great peace and joy God gives to the child who is obedient, and honors God with his or her presence in the church. 

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Heb 10:24  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

Heb 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 

If we want to be filled with the fruits of the Spirit, we must be obedient.  We can not be Spirit filled people if we are not in synch with God, and to be in synch with Him is to be in the mind of Christ.  Even though truth was not always proclaimed in the synagogues, Jesus still as was His custom, came and worshipped on the sabbath day all through His ministry.  And if you want an example to follow that will never mislead you, Jesus is the one. 

Luke 4:16  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.


Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Gal 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Gal 5:24  And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Gal 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 

What happens if you don’t assemble with other believers?  You start to doubt God, and begin to walk in your own powers.   And your faith begins to waver, and you are a prime target for Satan to destroy.    Look at Thomas’ comment, “I won’t believe unless.”   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.  That is walking by sight, not by faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God. 

John 20:26  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.

John 20:27  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.

John 20:28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

John 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 

I want you to note that both times when Jesus entered, the door was shut.  Only a ghost or a spirit

(or God) could enter this way.   And again, Jesus wants them to not fear, but to have peace.

He comes for Thomas’ benefit, that he would not be in unbelief.   Notice that Thomas did not have to reach into the holes in Jesus’ hands nor thrust his hand unto the wounded side, but he proclaims: “My Lord and my God.”   Oh, if all mankind could come to the knowledge of the truth.  And verse 29 is for you and me.   “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  How can someone not believe when even the stars declare the handiwork of God.   But day after day, thousands go out of this world unprepared to meet God.   Pick up a paper.   Dozens of people who thought they had many days left, found out that yesterday was their last day on earth.  As I prepare this lesson, it is the last week of April in 1999.  Look at the tragedy we saw this past week in Loveland, Colorado when 15 high school students and teachers were killed when those two young men came in with the bombs and firearms.   You may think you’ll live until you are 88 years old, and if that is God’s will and time set for you, you may live that long.  But many died this week who never reached their 18th birthday.  The bible proclaims that now is the accepted time.   Today is the day of salvation. 

2 Cor 6:2  (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)


Prov 27:1  Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.


James 4:12  There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

James 4:13  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

James 4:14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

James 4:15  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

James 4:16  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 


IV.                Purpose of the Writing of the Gospel of John 

John 20:30  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

John 20:31  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. 

The Lord did many things that are not recorded.  We don’t know how many multitudes that were healed, how many blind were made to see, how many dead were brought back to life.  We only have a small segment of Christ’s life documented.  John did not attempt to write a biography of Jesus’ life.  What he did write was the exact Words God wanted us to have, that as verse 31 so clearly states, “That ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name. “ 

2 Pet 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.


Col 2:20  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Col 2:21  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

Col 2:22  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Col 2:23  Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Col 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Col 3:2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Col 3:3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Col 3:4  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.



Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.


Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


e-mail at:



Practice Random Acts of Kindness.  Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.