Bible Study – Gospel according to John
Read John 20:1-9
1. Jews customarily visited the grave for three days after a burial to mourn for their dead.
But what about Mary Magdalene and the other women? Why were they so anxious to get
there “early on the first day of the week”? (see also Mark 16:1)
2. Note the “we” in v.2 – who accompanied Mary Magdalene? (see Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10)
How did the women know that they were at the right tomb? (see Luke23:49, 55-56)
3. Why did Peter and John run to the tomb? Why not the other disciples?
4. Read Matthew 28:11-15 with Jn. 20:1-9 – what are the accusations in both of these?
5. The phrase “put Him” is used 3 times in John (20:2, 13, 15). What does this tell us about
what the women thought? What would you have thought?
6. Why does John record that the linen strips and head cloth were still lying neatly in their
places? (v.5-8) (compare Jn. 11:43-44)
7. What is the underlying message of v.9?
Read John 20:10-18
8. Why did Mary (whom Jesus had cast out 7 demons – Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2) come back to the tomb?
9. Compare v.13 and 15. Wasn’t the answer to this same question pretty obvious?
10. Why didn’t Mary recognize Jesus? (v.15) When DID she recognize Him? (v.16)
11. What does Jesus tell Mary? (v.17) What does He mean by this?
12. Compare Jn. 20:2 with 20:18! What made the difference?
What makes the difference in us?
Read John 20:19-23
13. Compare 20:1 with 20:19. Why were the disciples still behind locked doors?
14. Why did Jesus appear to them? (v.21-23) [Read also Luke 24:13-49]
15. What was the first thing Jesus said to them? Why were these words
important? Why did He repeat them?
16. Why did Jesus show them His hands and His side? (knowing the next section
is about “doubting” Thomas – were the other disciples any different? What
if we were there?)
Read John 20:19-23 (continued)
17. What’s the importance of Jesus “breathing” on them? (see Genesis 2:7;
Ezekiel 37:1-14; Acts 2:2)
18. Who alone has power to forgive sins? (see Mark 2:7, 10) So what does v.23
mean? (see also Matthew 16:16-19; 18:18)
[Review “The Office of the Keys” – part 5 of Luther’s Small Catechism]
Read John 20:24-31
19. What do we know about Thomas? (v.24-28) see also John 11:16; 14:5
20. Why didn’t he believe his fellow apostles?
21. Only John records these appearances of Jesus to His disciples without and
with Thomas. What is the message of these appearances? (v.27-31)
22. What enables us to believe in Jesus? (see 1 Peter 1:8-12)
Note: John was writing to those of us who would not physically see Jesus
as His disciples and Thomas did!
23. What do we know about Jesus’ resurrected body? see 20:19 and 20:27
The disciples found themselves relating to Jesus in an entirely different way during this 40-day period of time. They were formerly with Him day and night. Now, they only saw Him from time to time. Eight days passed from the time Jesus first appeared to His disciples (John 20:19-23) to the time of His second appearance (John 20:26). He appeared to them only a handful of times in those 40 days (see 1 Corinthians 15:5-7). He came and went in such a way that they never knew when to expect Him. And He did not always look exactly the way He once did—which sometimes caused them to wonder whether or not it was really Him (see Mark 16:12; Luke 24:16, 31; John 21:12). I’m sure the disciples wished for the “good old days,” when they enjoyed much more intimate fellowship with Him. Jesus, however, was “weaning” them from those days, because He would no longer dwell among them as He once had. He was soon to ascend into heaven to be with His Father.
Read John 21:1-14
24. Why did Peter go fishing? Why did the others join him?(see also Matt. 28:7, 10;
Mark 14:28; 16:7)
25. Why did the disciples not recognize Jesus? What changed this recognition?
(compare this with Luke 5:1-11)
26. Why did Peter put his cloak back on before jumping into the water? (v.7)
Hendriksen, in an interesting footnote, summarizes some of the fanciful interpretations of the number 153, the exact count of the fish caught that morning: “Among the strange and, for the most part, allegorical interpretations of this item of information I have found the following: a.) The fish were not counted until the shore had been reached, in order to teach us that the exact number of the elect remains unknown until they have reached the shore of heaven.
b.) The ancients counted one hundred fifty-three varieties of fish!
c.) There is here a veiled reference to Matt. 13:47, 48, and an indication that all kinds of people are going to be saved.
d.) The reference is to an important date in Church History, namely, 153 A.D.
e.) The total represents the sum of all the numbers from 1 to 17. Well, what of it?
f.) In Hebrew characters the numerical equivalent of Simon Iona is one hundred fifty-three.
g.) The number one hundred fifty-three represents 100 for the Gentiles, 50 for the Jews, and 3 for the Trinity.”
Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, II, pp. 483-484, fn. 300.
Read John 21:15-23
27. Note in v.1-14, Jesus fed His disciples – what does He tell Peter to do in
these verses? (review again John 10)
28. Why did Jesus ask this of Peter 3 times? (It may not have been as a rebuke
or correction of Peter. Note: this was not the first time Jesus personally
revealed Himself to Peter after the resurrection, see 1 Corinthians 15:5;
Luke 24:34). Note v.15, “more than these?”
29. With the quick transition from v.17 to 18, remember what Peter had
promised back in 13:37. What would happen to Peter? (Note: Peter would
die in a similar way as His Good Shepherd did.
30. “Follow Me” in v.19 – see again John 1:43
31. Why does John include the question of Peter about John? (v.20-23)
Note: by the time John wrote this Gospel, Peter was possibly already dead.
Note also: instead of focusing on others, what should be our focus? v.22
32. Some have said John 21:15-19 is “the Great Commission of John”. Why do they say this?
Read John 21:24-25
33. Note how John “signs” the Gospel written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.