John 20:1-18

John 20:1-18
Easter A
Easter – A Women’s Lectionary


EarlyI on the firstII day of the week,III while it was still dark,IV

Notes on verse 1a

I “early” = proi. 12x in NT. From pro (before, earlier than, ahead, prior). This is early, at dawn, during the daybreak watch.
II “first” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.
III “week” = sabbaton. From Hebrew shabbath (sabbath); from shabath (to rest, stop, repose, cease working; by implication, to celebrate). This is the sabbath. It can also be used as shorthand for a week i.e. the time between two sabbaths.
IV “dark” = skotia. 16x in NT. From skotos (darkness literal or figurative – as moral or spiritual darkness, sin and what comes from it; obscurity); from skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is darkness or dimness. Figuratively, it can be a spiritual darkness. This is obscurity in a literal or figurative sense.

MaryV MagdaleneVI cameVII to the tombVIII

Notes on verse 1b

V “Mary” = Maria. From Hebrew Miryam (Aaron and Moses’s sister); from marah (to be contentious, rebellious, bitter, provoking, disobedient; to be or make bitter or unpleasant; figuratively, to rebel or resist; causatively to provoke). This is Miriam or Mary.
VI “Magdalene” = Magdalene. 12x in NT. From Magdala (Magadan, a place near the Sea of Galilee); perhaps from Aramaic migdal, see also Hebrew migdal (tower); from gadal (to grow, grow up, be great). This is from Magdala.
VII “came” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
VIII “tomb” = mnemeion. From mousikos (to remember); from mneme (memory or mention); from mnaomai (to remember; by implication give reward or consequence); perhaps from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is properly a memorial – a tomb, grave, monument.

and sawIX that the stoneX had been removedXI from the tomb. 

Notes on verse 1c

IX “saw” = blepo. This is literally to see – it is primarily used in the physical sense. However, figuratively it can be seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, and acting on the visual information. It can also mean beware.
X “stone” = lithos. This is stone in a literal or figurative sense.
XI “removed” = airo. This is to lift up in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could mean to lift, carry, or raise. It could also imply lifting something in order to take it away or remove it. Figuratively, this can be used for raising the voice or level of suspense. It can mean sailing off as raising the anchor. It can also correspond to a Hebrew expression for atonement of sin (lift/remove sin).

So she ranXII and wentXIII to SimonXIV PeterXV

Notes on verse 2a

XII “ran” = trecho. 20x in NT. To run, make progress, rush. This is running like an athlete in a race. Figuratively, to work quickly towards a goal in a focused way.
XIII “went” = erchomai. Same as “came” in v1. See note VII above.
XIV “Simon” = Simon. From Hebrew Shimon (Simon – Jacob’s son and his tribe); from shama (to hear, often implying attention and obedience). This is Simon, meaning “he who hears.”
XV “Peter” = Petros. Related to petra (large rock that is connected and or projecting like a rock, ledge, or cliff; can also be cave or stony ground). This is Peter, a stone, pebble, or boulder.

and the otherXVI disciple,XVII the one whom JesusXVIII loved,XIX

Notes on verse 2b

XVI “other” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
XVII “disciple” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
XVIII “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
XIX “loved” = phileo. From philos (dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person). This is friendship love and fondness with personal attachment.

and saidXX to them, “They have takenXXI the LordXXII out of the tomb, and we do not knowXXIII where they have laidXXIV him.” 

Notes on verse 2c

XX “said” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
XXI “taken” = airo. Same as “removed” in v1. See note XI above.
XXII “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
XXIII “know” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
XXIV “laid” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.

Then Peter and the other disciple set outXXV and went toward the tomb. The twoXXVI were running together,XXVII but the other disciple outranXXVIII Peter and reachedXXIX the tomb first.XXX 

Notes on verses 3-4

XXV “set out” = exerchomai. Related to “came” in v1. From ek (from, from out of) + erchomai (see note VII above). This is to go out, depart, escape, proceed from, spread news abroad.
XXVI “two” = duo. This is two or both.
XXVII “together” = homou. 4x in NT. From homos (the same). This is together.
XXVIII “outran” = protrecho + tachion. Protrecho is related to “ran” in v2. 2x in NT. From pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + trecho (see note XII above). This is to run ahead or outrun. Tachion is 4x in NT. From tachus (quickly, promptly; without unreasonable delay). This is more rapidly, more swiftly, without unnecessary delay.
XXIX “reached” = erchomai. Same as “came” in v1. See note VII above.
XXX “first” = protos. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier). This is what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief.

He bent down to look inXXXI and saw the linen wrappingsXXXII lyingXXXIII there, butXXXIV he did not go in.XXXV 

Notes on verse 5

XXXI “bent down to look in” = parakupto. 5x in NT. From para (by, beside) + kupto (to stoop, bend forward, bow one’s head); perhaps from kuma (wave, billow, curve, bend); from kuo (to swell as one pregnant). This is to bend beside or stoop. To bend over to peer into.
XXXII “linen wrappings” = othonion. 5x in NT. From othone (a cloth made of linen, a sail). This is a band of linen, a wrapping.
XXXIII “lying” = keimai. This is to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined. It is to lie down literally or figuratively.
XXXIV “but” = mentoi. 8x in NT. From men (truly, indeed, even, in fact; often, not translated, but used for affirmation) + toi (therefore). This is yet, however, indeed.
XXXV “go in” = eiserchomai. Related to “came” in v1 & “set out” in v3. From eis (to, into, for, among) + erchomai (see note VII above). This is to go in in a literal or figurative sense.

Then Simon Peter came, followingXXXVI him, and went into the tomb. He sawXXXVII the linen wrappings lying there, and the clothXXXVIII that had been on Jesus’s head,XXXIX

Notes on verses 6-7a

XXXVI “following” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.
XXXVII “saw” = theoreo. From theaomai (to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit); from thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance); from theoros (a spectator or envoy). This is gazing, beholding, experiencing, discerning. It is looking at something to analyze it and concentrate on what it means. This is the root of the word “theatre” in that people concentrate on the action of the play to understand its meaning.
XXXVIII “cloth” = soudarion. 4x in NT. From Latin sudarium (sweat cloth) This is a napkin, face cloth, or handkerchief. It can be used as a towel to wipe sweat from the face or a cloth for the head of a corpse.
XXXIX “head” = kephale. This is head or chief. It can be a literal head or, figuratively, a ruler or lord. It can also refer to a corner stone. This is where the word “cephalic” comes from.

not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled upXL in aXLI placeXLII by itself.XLIII 

Notes on verse 7b

XL “rolled up” = entulisso. 3x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + tulisso (to twist); {probably akin to helisso (to roll up, coil, wrap)} This is to wrap, entwine, envelop, wine up.
XLI “a” = heis. Same as “first” in v1. See note II above.
XLII “place” = topos. This is a place or region. It is a smaller space that can only hold a limited number of people whereas chora is a larger place. Figuratively it could be an opportunity.
XLIII “by itself” = choris. From chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). This is apart from, separate from.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first,XLIV also went in, and he sawXLV and believed,XLVI for as yet they did not understandXLVII the scripture,XLVIII

Notes on verses 8-9a

XLIV “first” = protos. Same as “first” in v4. See note XXX above.
XLV “saw” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
XLVI “believed” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
XLVII “understand” = eido. Same as “know” in v2. See note XXIII above.
XLVIII “scripture” = graphe. From grapho (to write). This is literally writing, a document. In the New Testament, this is always used for scripture.

that he mustXLIX riseL from the dead.LI 10 Then the disciples returnedLII to their homes.LIII

Notes on verses 9b-10

XLIX “must” = dei. From deo (to tie, bind, compel; declare unlawful). This is what is necessary or proper. It is what is needed or what one should do – a duty or something inevitable. This refers to something absolutely necessary.
L “rise” = anistemi. From ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to raise up, rise, appear. It is to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect.
LI “dead” = nekros. Perhaps from nekus (corpse). This is dead or lifeless, mortal, corpse. It can also be used figuratively for powerless or ineffective. It is where the word “necrotic” comes from.
LII “returned” = aperchomai. Related to “came” in v1 & “set out” in v3 & “go in” in v5. From apo (from, away from) + erchomai (see note VII above). This is to depart, follow, or go off in a literal or figurative sense.
LIII “homes” = hautou. 9x in NT. Related to heautou (of himself or herself, alone); from autos (he, she, self, they, same). This is his or her own, themselves, home.

11 But Mary stoodLIV weepingLV outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb, 12 and she sawLVI two angelsLVII in whiteLVIII

Notes on verses 11-12a

LIV “stood” = histemi. Related to “rise” in v9. See note L above.
LV “weeping” = klaio. This is to weep, lament, or sob. It is weeping aloud.
LVI “saw” = theoreo. Same as “saw” in v6. See note XXXVII above.
LVII “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
LVIII “white” = leukos. Related to luke (light). This is bright, white, or brilliant.

sittingLIX where the bodyLX of Jesus had been lying, oneLXI at the head and the otherLXII at the feet.LXIII 13 They said to her, “Woman,LXIV why are you weeping?”

Notes on verses 12b-13a

LIX “sitting” = kathezomai. 7x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, among) + hezomai (to sit); {from aphedron (a seat, a base).  This is to sit down or be sitting.
LX “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
LXI “one” = heis. Same as “first” in v1. See note II above.
LXII “other” = heis. Same as “first” in v1. See note II above.
LXIII “feet” = pous. This is foot in a literal or figurative sense.
LIXV “woman” = gune. Perhaps from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.

She said to them, “They have taken awayLXV my Lord, and I do not know where they have laidLXVI him.” 14 When she had said this, she turnedLXVII aroundLXVIII and sawLXIX Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 

Notes on verses 13b-14

LXV “taken away” = airo. Same as “removed” in v1. See note XI above.
LXVI “laid” = tithemi. Same as “laid” in v2. See note XXIV above.
LXVII “turned” = strepho. From trope (turning, shifting, a revolution; figuratively, a variation); from trepo (to turn). This is to turn, change, turn back, be converted; to turn around completely to take the opposite path or a completely different one.
LXVIII “around” = opiso. Related to “saw” in v8. From the same as opisthen (after, back, from the rear); probably from opis (back); from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (see note XLV above). This is back, behind, after.
LXIX “saw” = theoreo. Same as “saw” in v6. See note XXXVII above.

15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”LXX

SupposingLXXI him to be the gardener,LXXII she said to him, “Sir,LXXIII if you have carried him away,LXXIV tell me where you have laidLXXV him, and I will take him away.” 

Notes on verse 15

LXX “looking for” = zeteo. This is to seek, search for, desire. It is searching for something by inquiring or investigation. It can be seek in a literal or figurative sense. There is a Hebrew figure of speech “to seek God’s face” so it can also mean to worship God. Alternately, you could seek someone’s life i.e. plot to kill them.
LXXI “supposing” = dokeo. From dokos (opinion). This is to have an opinion, seem, appear, think, suppose. It deals with a personal judgment. This is the root of the word “doxology.”
LXXII “gardener” = kepouros. 1x in NT. From kepos (garden with trees or herbs) + ouros (watcher). This is literally garden-keeper.
LXXIII “sir” = kurios. Same as “Lord” in v2. See note XXII above.
LXXIV “carried…away” = bastazo. Perhaps from the base of basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is to lift in a literal of figurative sense. It can also mean take up, carry, bear, or remove. Figuratively, it can mean declare, endure, or sustain.
LXXV “laid” = tithemi. Same as “laid” in v2. See note XXIV above.

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to him in Hebrew,LXXVI “Rabbouni!”LXXVII (which meansLXXVIII Teacher).LXXIX 

Notes on verse 16

LXXVI “in Hebrew” = Hebraisti. 7x in NT. From Hebrais (Hebrew language, Aramaic); from Eber (Heber); from Hebrew Eber (the region beyond; Eber, the name of several Israelites including a descendant of Shem); from abar (to pass over, pass through, or pass by; cross over or to alienate; used for transitions). This is Hebrew, perhaps meaning a descendant of Eber. This is in Hebrew or in Aramaic.
LXXVII “Rabbouni” = Rhabbouni. 2x in NT. From rhabbi (a title of respect for a teacher-scholar; literally, great one or honorable sir; also my master or my teacher); from Hebrew rab (chief); from rabab (to be many, increase, multiply). This is Rabbi, Lord, my master, my teacher in Aramaic.
LXXVIII “means” = lego. Same as “said” in v2. See note XX above.
LXXIX “Teacher” = Didaskalos. From didasko (to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge; in the New Testament, almost always used for teaching scripture); from dao (to learn). This is teacher or master.

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not touchLXXX me, because I have not yet ascendedLXXXI to the Father.LXXXII

Notes on verse 17a

LXXX “touch” = haptomai. From hapto (to touch, handle, kindle, lay hold of). This is a touch that has an impact on what is being touched – it has an influence on the recipient so that the recipient is changed.
LXXXI “ascended” = anabaino. Related to “carried…away” in v15. From ana (up, back, among, again, anew) + the same as basis (see note LXXIV above). This is to come up in a literal or figurative sense – ascent, rise, climb, enter.
LXXXII “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.

But goLXXXIII to my brothersLXXXIV and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my GodLXXXV and your God.’” 

18 Mary Magdalene went and announcedLXXXVI to the disciples, “I have seenLXXXVII the Lord,” and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Notes on verses 17b-18

LXXXIII “go” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
LXXXIV “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
LXXXV “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
LXXXVI “announced” = apaggello. Related to “angels” in v12. From apo (from, away from) + aggello (to announce, report); {from aggelos (see note LVII above)}. This is to report, declare, bring word. It is an announcement that emphasizes the source.
LXXXVII “seen” = horao. Same as “saw” in v8. See note XLV above.

Image credit: “Easter – Christ Appears to Mary” by Jesus MAFA, 1973.

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