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3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.

 

20:3

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb.

Both Peter and John ran to the tomb upon the news from Mary Magdalene. They went to see for themselves what the facts were.

20:4

So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.

John was faster of foot than Peter and arrived at the tomb first. They would not have wasted the energy to run had they believed that disciples had already taken the body from the tomb, as some suppose.

20:5

And he, stooping down and looking in,

John stopped at the entrance of the tomb and looked inside. The Greek indicates that he took a cursory look into the tomb.

saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.

John did not go into the tomb, but he saw the graveclothes lying there. Robbers would not have left graveclothes if they had taken Jesus’ body.

20:6

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb;

Peter as a slower runner than John came to the tomb after John. Rather than hesitating like John to enter the tomb, he charged right into the tomb.

and he saw the linen cloths lying there,

The linen cloths lying there would indicate that this was not a case of robbery. The Greek word for Peter seeing means to theorize. No grave robber would have left the graveclothes behind, so he speculated as to why the graveclothes were there.

20:7

and the handkerchief that had been around His head,

The burial cloths were separated from the head covering. This separation casts doubt on the Shroud theory because that scheme assumes one piece of wrapping.

not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

The resurrected Jesus left the tomb with things in order. The graveclothes were even “folded.” They were there in place, undisturbed. It was an orderly scene. There was nothing chaotic about the grave. No grave robber would have left the grave neatly arranged.

20:8

Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also;

John followed Peter into the tomb. There is emphasis on the empty tomb in the course of this narrative.

and he saw [the graveclothes] and believed.

John believed immediately upon seeing the order of the graveclothes that Jesus rose from the dead. The Greek word here for “saw” is to see with understanding. There was no uncertainty in his mind. He had not yet seen the risen Lord Himself. He knew that this was not a case of robbery. This is the first assertion of belief in the resurrection.

PRINCIPLE:

Christianity is based on the empirical evidence of the resurrection.

APPLICATION:

The apostle John saw then believed (Jn 2:23). Many see and do not believe (Jn 6:30; 9:38-41; 12:37). His belief did not come from Scripture but from empirical evidence. He did not believe without adequate evidence. Faith always requires something objective in which to believe.

The empty tomb verifies the historical continuity between Jesus’ pre-resurrection and post-resurrection body. Yet the post-resurrection body has unique features (1 Co 15:35ff). The Christian’s hope lies in a resurrection body as well (1 Th 4:13-18).

There was no stark pessimism in this outlook. The death of Jesus was no failure. Evil had not triumphed over Jesus.

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