Gospel of John 2015 – 11 John 19:37 – 21



Anderson, Paul. N.  The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John.  (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2011).


Brown, Raymond E.   The Community of the Beloved Disciple: The Life, Loves, and Hates of an Individual Church in New Testament Times.  (Paulist Press, New York, 1979).


________________.   The Gospel According to John I – XII.    Volume 29 of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman.   (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1966).


________________.   The Gospel According to John XIII – XXI.    Volume 29A of the Anchor Bible Series, Series edited by W.F. Allbright and David Noel Freedman.   (Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1970).


Elowsky, Joel C. editor.  John 1 – 10.  Volume IVa of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden.  (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2006).


__________________.  John 11 – 21.  Volume IVb of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series edited by Thomas C. Oden.  (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL, 2007).


Keener, Craig S.   The Gospel of John: A Commentary  Volume One(Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).


_______________  The Gospel of John: A Commentary  Volume Two(Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody MA, 2003).


Lewis, Scott M.  The Gospel According to John and the Johannine Letters. Part of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary series edited by Daniel Durkin O.S.B.  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 2005).


Maloney S.D.B., Francis J.   The Gospel of John.   Volume 4 of the Sacra Pagina series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S.J.   (Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN, 1998).


Martyn, J. Louis.  History and Theology in the Fourth Gospel.  One of the Classics in the New Testament Library series whose editorial board is C. Clifton Black, John T. Carroll, and Beverly Roberts Gaventa.  Third Edition.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).


O’Day, Gail R.  The Gospel of John: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections.  In Volume IX of the New Interpreter’s Bible whose editorial board is convened by Leander Kick.  (Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1995).


Sloyan, Gerard.   John.   Part of the Interpretation series edited by Mays, Miller, Achtemeier.

(John Knox Press, Atlanta GA, 1988).




After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.


John Chapter 20


On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran  and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,

“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.


They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned home.


But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her,

“Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them,

“They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.


Jesus said to her,

“Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and said to him,

“Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will

take him.”

Jesus said to her,


She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.


Jesus said to her,

“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.

But go to my brothers and tell them,

‘I am going to my Father and your Father,

to my God and your God.'”

Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the

Lord,” and what he told her.


On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them,

“Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.


(Jesus) said to them again,

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

And when he had said this,

he breathed on them and said to them,

“Receive the holy Spirit.

Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,

and whose sins you retain are retained.”


Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him,

“We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them,

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”


Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said,

“Peace be with you.”

Then he said to Thomas,

“Put your finger here and see my hands,

and bring your hand and put it into my side,

and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Thomas answered and said to him,

“My Lord and my God!”


Jesus said to him,

“Have you come to believe because you have seen me?

Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of (his) disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may (come to) believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.


John Chapter 21

After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.


Simon Peter said to them,

“I am going fishing.”

They said to him,

“We also will come with you.”

So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.


When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them,

“Children, have you caught anything to eat?”

They answered him,


So he said to them,

“Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find


So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.


So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter,

“It is the Lord.”

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,

he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.

The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore,

only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish.


When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them,

“Bring some of the fish you just caught.”

So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.


Jesus said to them,

“Come, have breakfast.”

And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord.


Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

He said to him,

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

He said to him,

“Feed my lambs.”


He then said to him a second time,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

He said to him,

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

He said to him,

“Tend my sheep.”


He said to him the third time,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him,

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

(Jesus) said to him,

“Feed my sheep.


Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;

but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,

and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him,

“Follow me.”


Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?”

When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus,

“Lord, what about him?”

Jesus said to him,

“What if I want him to remain until I come?

What concern is it of yours? You follow me.”


So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? (What concern is it of yours?)” It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.








Two endings, chapter 20 and chapter 21.


End of chapter 19 tells the story of Joseph of Arimathea who buries Jesus along with Nicodemus.  Did they ever come to full faith?   No one knows.


Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb on Sunday morning just before dawn, alone.  In all the other gospels – with other women.  However, a “we” later may indicate a root tradition that multiple women went, with Mary being a “type” that John is setting forth.


Peter does not understand what the signs mean.  May represent those who see signs of the Lord’s resurrection and cannot fathom the meaning.


Slowly things begin to get clarified.


The Beloved Disciple may represent those who

  • have been touched by the Lord’s love and
  • have a basic inclination toward faith

Mary Magdalene may represent

  • disciples who are saddened or disappointed by the way their lives are going but are still intent on seeking the Lord.  She does not go home but stays, weeping.


When the Lord calls her name the signs are now understood.  She then witnesses to the other disciples. Communicating the gospel to others is one way the news is made real for the messenger, as well as for those who hear it.


Expressing what our faith means to us helps clarify that very faith.


“I’ve been a believer all my life, but now I know what it’s all really about.”  He saw the Lord at work in his life in ways he had never noticed before.


Thomas: an example who represents more than himself.  His honest questioning makes his later declaration “My Lord and My God” is the culmination of the whole gospel.  A statement about himself and about God.




Chapter 20 ends in most manuscripts:

“But these are written that you may come to believe.”

Other manuscripts have:

“But these are written that you may continue to believe.”


Chapter 21 is an addition to the tradition, a later phase.  A concern is clear for the church and Peter.  Throughout the gospel Peter is not shown as the best example of discipleship, the Beloved Disciple is.  Here Peter is lifted up, a corrective?  Triple response of love, brings in the whole catch by himself.


  • Shows initiative
  • Is respected
  • Dedicated to service
  • Chief shepherd


Transformations in these chapters:

  • Mary Magdalene goes from weeping and confused to Apostle to the Apostles
  • Peter goes from denier to chief shepherd
  • Thomas goes from doubter to one who makes the supreme declaration of faith
  • The Beloved Disciple recedes from the foreground.

Always the hope that Jesus can come to us and transform our lives.





Lewis p. 98: with regard to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus  “John insists that public and unequivocal profession of belief in Jesus is necessary, ruling out any sort of fence-sitting.  By their bold and public actions, both men seem to be moving toward full and explicit faith.”   BUT – the text does not say what happens.


It is an interesting point – how many times have people hidden true beliefs / facts out of fear, only to come out of the woodwork once things begin to change?  Would change have happened much sooner if they had gone public sooner?  Faith, sexual orientation, resistance to the Nazis, etc.


O’Day p. 835: “Nicodemus is an ambiguous figure, showing interest in Jesus, but never confessing his faith.  At Jesus’ death, Nicodemus, like Joseph, abandons neutrality and secrecy and acts out his love and reverence for Jesus.  The actions of these two men demonstrate the truth of Jesus’ three predictions about the salvific effect of his crucifixion: his “lifting up” is a decisive moment of judgment through which Joseph and Nicodemus come to “realize that I AM”.


Chapter 20

Sloyan p. 219: “All Four gospels in their canonical form contain appearance stories of the risen Christ.  All tell of the discovery of the empty tomb.  Close examination of these two types of narratives shows each to be independent of the other in origin.”


“do not hold me”  Sloyan p. 223: “John’s meaning is that the close bond between disciple and teacher cannot be resumed on the old terms.  Jesus must proceed to his glorification by ascending to his Father …   Jesus’ stay is but an interim from an earthly standpoint, even though his final glory at the Father’s side has been achieved.”


Lazarus came out of the tomb still wrapped in burial garments – perhaps a signal that death still had a grip on him, that he was destined to die again.  Jesus is resurrected and the burial garments are left behind – death has no future claim on him, Jesus is triumphant.


Moloney p. 533: “Despite the struggle of foundational characters in the Christian story to move from no faith through partial faith into unconditional belief they stand at the beginning of a further generation of believers.  The readers of the Gospel have come to belief in the resurrection of Jesus.  They do so through the Scripture, including the Johannine Gospel, and through the holiness, peace, joy, and judgment made possible by the Lord’s gift of the spirit and Jesus’ sending disciples to bring forgiveness of sin to a later generation.”


With regard to Thomas’ confession of faith –  O’Day p. 850: “The language of this confession affirms the central truth with which the Gospel began: “The Word was with God, and the Word was God”.  Thomas sees God fully revealed in Jesus.”


Breathing on the disciples signifies a new creation (Genesis ch. 2)


Chapter 21

Sloyan p. 227: “Chapter 21 is rightly considered to be an appendix to chapters 1-20 written by another hand.  Not only are there major differences in vocabulary and style but his is obviously an added account of the relation between Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved, written when both are dead.  It could not well have been worked into the narrative any earlier.”


O’Day says “not so fast with the conclusions”.    p. 855: “It is inaccurate, therefore, to state that John 21:1-25 introduces ecclesial concerns that are not integral to the Gospel.  In John 16:2-3, for example, Jesus predicted the future persecution and martyrdom of members of the community, predictions that are revisited in the stories of Peter and the beloved disciple in 21:15-24.”


Sloyan p. 228: “The exact significance of the catch of a hundred and fifty-three fish is not spelled out. We are left to deduce that it stands for all in the believing community.  (It may derive from Ezek. 47:10, where a river filled with fish, like those of the Mediterranean, flows from the temple; and the place name (En-eglaim yields a total of 153 if the customary numbers are assigned to Hebrew letters.)”


Lewis p. 104: “For us, the most likely and useful answer is that it is a symbol of universality and completeness and involves the quest to bring souls to God.”  They are to become “fishers of men”.


The net does not tear despite the great number of fish – like the unity of Jesus and the Father etc. mentioned above.







  • Re-read the Gospel of John in as large chunks as possible so that the ebb and flow of the gospel is clear.  Then:
  • Try to read the Gospel of John as an icon.  Pause with each question asked in the gospel by Jesus as if it were addressed directly to you.  Meditate over them.
  • Re-read the commentary and notes.
  • Begin to read the Book of Isaiah.


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