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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

PETER AND JOHN COME TO THE TOMB

John 20:3-10 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. (Also See John 20:1-2; Luke 24:10-12)

Looking at the two verses preceding the lesson text, we find Mary Magdalene mentioned as coming to the tomb of Jesus at the dawning of the Sunday following the Passover Sabbath Day. Although she is the only woman mentioned by John, we know that she was not alone. Mary, the mother of James and Joses, Salome, and possibly other women came to the sepulchre of Jesus at this time intending to place aromatic spices about the body of Jesus. This additional information about the women coming to Jesus' tomb on this day can be found in Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-8, and Luke 24:1-11.

Continuing in John 20:1-2, Mary Magdalene, finding the stone rolled away from the tomb entry, immediately ran 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. The fact that this woman told Peter and John that "we know not..." indicates that other women, included in the "we,"and as noted by other gospel writers, had witnessed the same event. Mary Magdalene saw, and they, also, went with her to announce it to these apostles. This fact is verified by Luke's parallel account (24:10). Having looked into the tomb, they knew Jesus was not still buried there, but, lacking complete knowledge of His resurrection, they thought His body had been moved but didn't know where it was taken.

Having been told of this event by the women, Peter and John immediately ran both together, and came to the sepulchre in which Jesus had been buried. We find that John was first to arrive at the tomb. When he arrived at the site, he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. At this point John was completely satisfied that the body of Jesus was not where they had seen it placed by Joseph of Arimathea. Even though Peter arrived last, it was his inquisitiveness that prompted him to be first to enter into the tomb. Once inside, he saw the linen shroud that had bound the body of Jesus, and the napkin, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. John continues his account of this event by writing, in the third person that he, too, went into the sepulchre with Peter and seeing the complete evidence that the body of Jesus was not there, he believed.

The clothing, in which the body of Jesus was buried, appeared to have been cast off and laid aside. Some speculate that this was done by the angels that had been sent by God to minister to the needs of Jesus. Others say that Jesus, Himself, took the garments from His body and laid them aside. The debate will probably never end, but this we know, Jesus conquered death, was raised from death, and having no use for burial clothing any more, removed them, miraculously donned the clothing of the living, and departed from the sepulchre to the prearranged meeting with His disciples in Galilee.

This may be an odd question, but if someone, for some unknown reason, removed the body of Jesus from this tomb, why would they have taken the burial clothing from His body to transport it to another site? If His body was stolen, wouldn't thieves have left His body wrapped in the same shroud and His head covered with the same burial napkin?

With this taking place, Luke tells us that Peter departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. He, as well as John, failed to fully comprehend the spiritual nature of Jesus' resurrection: as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. One scripture they failed to understand was that David rejoiced knowing that his body would be resurrected in the hope of salvation, and neither wilt Thou (God) suffer Thine Holy One (Christ Jesus) to see corruption (Psa. 16:9-10). And without knowing what the future held, Peter and John departed, and went again unto their own home.