John 20

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the chapter of the Bible. For Pope John 20, see Pope John XX.
John 20
P. Oxy. 208 (J 16,14-22).jpg
John 16:14-22 on the recto side of Papyrus 5, written about AD 250.
Book Gospel of John
Bible part New Testament
Order in the Bible part 4
Category Gospel

John 20 is the twentieth chapter of the Gospel of John in the Bible. It relates the story of Jesus' resurrection. It relates how Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. Jesus appears to her and speaks of his resurrection and dispatches Mary to tell the news to the disciples. Jesus then appears to his disciples. The chapter is seemingly the conclusion to the Gospel of John, but it is followed by the somewhat tangential John 21. Most biblical scholars believe John 20 was the original conclusion of the Gospel, and John 21 was a later addition.[1] The events related in John 20 are described somewhat differently in Matthew 28, Mark 16, and Luke 24.


The chapter is divided into three distinct sections. Verses 1-18 describe events at Jesus' empty tomb when it is found empty and the appearance of the risen Jesus to Mary Magdalene (see Noli me tangere). The second section describes Jesus' appearances to his disciples, while the last two verses relate why the author wrote this gospel. The first section can also be subdivided between the examination of the tomb by Peter and the Beloved Disciple and Christ's appearance to Mary.

There are several inconsistencies both within the chapter and between it and the resurrection account in the other gospels. Brown has advanced the thesis that the work is a melding of two different sources. One source originally contained verses 1 and 11 to 18 and described Mary Magdalene's trip the tomb. This information is unique to John. Another had verses 3 to 10 and 19 to the end and dealt with the disciples. This portion is far more similar to the synoptics. To those who doubt that the Beloved Disciple was the author of John this portion is merely the synoptics rewritten to make it seem like it was an eyewitness account. The portion on Mary Magdalene, by contrast, had to have been based on sources that only John had access to.

Dodd states that the crucifixion is the climax of John's narrative and argues that this chapter is written as the dénouement and conclusion. Some scholars argue that John 21 seems out of place and that John 20 was the original final chapter of the work.[2] See John 21 for a more extensive discussion.



In the King James Version this chapter reads:

1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2 Then 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, and we know not where they have laid him.
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11 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.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
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.


  1. ^ Ehrman, Bart (13 February 2012). "Debate "Is the Original New Testament Lost?" (from around 23:40)". The Ehrman Project. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Paul Minear, writing in 1983, wrote "The jury of modern NT scholars has agreed with unparalleled unanimity on one issue in Johannine research: chapter 21 is not an integral part of the original gospel but was composed separately and probably by a redactor." Journal of Biblical Literature 102, 85-98.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barrett, C.K. The Gospel According to John, 2nd Edition. London:SPCK, 1978.
  • Brown, Raymond E. "The Gospel According to John: XIII-XXI" The Anchor Bible Series Volume 29A New York: Doubleday & Company, 1970.
  • Bruce, F.F. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983.
  • Leonard, W. "St. John." A Catholic Commentary on the Bible. D.B. Orchard ed. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1953.
  • Rudolf Schnackenberg. The Gospel According to St. John: Volume III. Crossroad, 1990.
  • Westcott, B.F The Gospel of St. John. London: John Murray, 1889.

Preceded by
John 19
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of John
Succeeded by
John 21