John 20:19-31

John 20:19-31
Second Sunday of Easter A
A Women’s Lectionary – Second Sunday of Easter


19 When it was eveningI on that day,II the firstIII day of the week,IV

Notes on verse 19a

I “evening” = opsios. 15x in NT. From opse (after, late, in the end, in the evening); from opiso (back, behind, after); from the same as opisthen (after, back, from the rear); probably from opis (back); optanomai (to appear, be seen by); from horao (become, seem, appear). This is afternoon, evening, nightfall, or late.
II “day” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
III “first” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.
IV “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.

and the doorsV were lockedVI where the disciplesVII were,

Notes on verse 19b

V “doors” = thura. This is opening or closure so it’s a door, gate, or entrance. Figuratively, this can refer to an opportunity.
VI “locked” = kleio. 16x in NT. This is to close, shut, or lock in a literal of figurative sense. Figuratively used for shutting out of the kingdom of heaven or the wedding banquet, the heavens shutting as in there is no rain, and also for heartlessness.
VII “disciples” = 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.

for fearVIII of the Jews,IX JesusX cameXI

Notes on verse 19c

VIII “fear” = phobos. From phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect.
IX “Jews” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.
X “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.
XI “came” = erchomai. This is to come or go.

and stoodXII amongXIII them and said,XIV “PeaceXV be with you.” 

Notes on verse 19d

XII “stood” = histemi. This is to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast.
XIII “among” = mesos. Perhaps from meta (with among, behind, beyond; implies a change following contact or action). This is middle, among, center, midst.
XIV “said” = lego. This is to speak, say, name, call, command. It is generally to convey verbally.
XV “peace” = eirene. Perhaps from eiro (to join, tie together to form a whole). This is one, peace, quietness, rest, peace of mind, harmony. Peace was a common farewell among Jews (i.e. shalom) and this well-wishing included a blessing of health and wholeness for the individual. This word also indicates wholeness and well-being – when everything that is essential is joined together properly. This is peace literally or figuratively. By implication, it is prosperity (but not in the sense of excessive wealth. Prosperity would have meant having enough from day to day.)

20 After he said this, he showedXVI them his handsXVII and his side.XVIII Then the disciples rejoicedXIX when they sawXX the Lord.XXI 

Notes on verse 20

XVI “showed” = deiknumi. This is to show in a literal or figurative sense so it can be to teach, bring, or point out.
XVII “hands” = cheir. This is the hand in a literal sense. Figuratively, the hand is the means a person uses to accomplish things so it can also mean power, means, or instrument.
XVIII “side” = pleura. 6x in NT. This is the side or the side of the body. It is where “pleurisy” comes from.
XIX “rejoiced” = chairo. From char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting. This is the root verb that the Greek word for “grace” comes from (charis).
XX “saw” = horao. Related to “evening” in v19. See note I above.
XXI “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.

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the FatherXXII has sentXXIII me, so I sendXXIV you.” 

Notes on verse 21

XXII “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
XXIII “sent” = apostello. Related to “stood” in v19. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (see note XII above)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
XXIV “send” = pempo. This is to send, put forth, or dispatch. This often refers to a temporary errand. It is sending someone with a focus on the place they departed from. By contrast, another Greek word, hiemi, emphasizes the destination and yet another word, stello, focuses on the motion that goes with the sending.

22 When he had said this, he breathed onXXV them and said to them, “ReceiveXXVI the HolyXXVII Spirit.XXVIII 

Notes on verse 22

XXV “breathed on” = emphusao. 1x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + phusao (to blow). To breathe into or on, to puff.
XXVI “receive” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
XXVII “Holy” = Hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
XXVIII “Spirit” = Pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breathe, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.

23 If you forgiveXXIX the sinsXXX of any, they are forgiven them; if you retainXXXI the sins of any, they are retained.”

Notes on verse 23

XXIX “forgive” = aphiemi. From apo (from, away from) + hiemi (to send). This is send away, release, permit, forgive, allow to depart, discharge, or send forth.
XXX “sins” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
XXXI “retain” = krateo. From kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised). This is being strong or mighty so, by extension, to prevail or rule. It can also mean to seize, grasp hold of and thereby control.

24 But ThomasXXXII (who was calledXXXIII the Twin),XXXIV oneXXXV of the twelve,XXXVI was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the otherXXXVII disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

Notes on verses 24-25a

XXXII “Thomas” = Thomas. 11x in NT. From Hebrew toam (twin). This is Thomas, meaning twin.
XXXIII “called” = lego. Same as “said” in v19. See note XIV above.
XXXIV “Twin” = Didumos. Related to “twelve” in v24. 3x in NT. From dis (twice, utterly, again); from duo (see note XXXVI below). This is Didymus, which means twin or double in Greek.
XXXV “one” = heis. Same as “first” in v19. See note III above.
XXXVI “twelve” = dodeka. From duo (two, both) + deka (ten). This is twelve – also shorthand for the apostles.
XXXVII “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).

But he said to them, “Unless I see the markXXXVIII of the nailsXXXIX in his hands and putXL my fingerXLI in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”XLII

Notes on verse 25b

XXXVIII “mark” = tupos. 16x in NT. From tupto (to strike repeatedly, wound, punish; figuratively to offend). This is a figure, model, image, impression, pattern, copy. Properly, this is a model created through much repetition so figuratively it is the proper model. It can be the impression of a stamped image, the mark of a scar, the shape of a statue. Figuratively, it can refer to a style or resemblance. Used specially, it is a model as something to imitate or as a cautionary tale. This is where the word “type” comes from.
XXXIX “nails” = helos. 2x in NT. This is a nail, stud, or spike.
XL “put” = ballo. This is to throw, cast, rush, place, or drop. It is throwing, but it could be with more or less velocity and with more or less force/violence.
XLI “finger” = daktulos. Related to “twelve” in v24. 8x in NT. Probably from deka (see note XXXVI above). This is finger. It is part of where “pterodactyl” comes from.
XLII “believe” = 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.

26 A week laterXLIII his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut,XLIV Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

27 Then he said to Thomas, “PutXLV your finger here and seeXLVI my hands.

Notes on verses 26-27a

XLIII “week later” = meta + hemera + okto. Literally, “after eight days.” Hemera is the same as “day” in v19. See note II above. Okto is 10x in NT. This is eight.
XLIV “shut” = kleio. Same as “locked” in v19. See note VI above.
XLV “put” = phero. This is to bear, bring, lead, or make known publicly. It is to carry in a literal or figurative sense.
XLVI “see” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.

ReachXLVII out your hand and putXLVIII it in my side. Do not doubtXLIX but believe.”L 

Notes on verse 27b

XLVII “reach” = phero. Same as “put” in v27. See note XLV above.
XLVIII “put” = ballo. Same as “put” in v25. See note XL above.
XLIX “not doubt” = ginomai + apistos. Ginomai is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth. Apistos is related to “believe” in v25. From a (not, without) + pistos (faithful, trustworthy, reliable, sure, or true; a fullness of faith); {from peitho (see note XLII above)}. This is unbelieving, incredulous, faithless. It is someone who chooses to reject faith.
L “believe” = pistos. Related to “believe” in v25 & “doubt” in v27. See note XLIX above.

28 Thomas answeredLI him, “My Lord and my God!”LII 

29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seenLIII me? BlessedLIV are those who have not seenLV and yet have come to believe.”

Notes on verses 28-29

LI “answered” = apokrinomai. From apo (from, away from) + krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging). This is to reply or respond, to draw one’s own conclusions, to speak when one is expected to.
LII “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
LIII “seen” = horao. Same as “saw” in v20. See note XX above.
LIV “blessed” = makarios. From makar (happy); from mak– (to become long or large). This is blessed, happy, fortunate. It is when God’s grace/abundance is extended.
LV “seen” = horao. Same as “saw” in v20. See note XX above.

30 Now Jesus didLVI manyLVII, LVIII other signsLIX

Notes on verse 30a

LVI “did” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
LVII “many” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
LVIII {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
LIX “signs” = semeion. From the same as semaino (to give a sign, signify, indicate, make known); from sema (a sign or mark). It is literally a sign of any kind. It also refers to a sign given by God to confirm or authenticate a message or prophecy. It is not necessarily miraculous, but it can be. The Gospel of John generally uses this word instead of miracle.

in the presenceLX of his disciples that are not writtenLXI in this book.LXII 

Notes on verse 30b

LX “in the presence” = enopios. Related to “evening” in v19 & “saw” in v20. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (see note I above)}. This is literally “in sight of.” It means before in a literal or figurative sense.
LXI “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
LXII “book” = biblion. From biblos (the inside bark of papyrus so it could refer to anything that was written on – a scroll, book, record, roll; could also have an association with the sacred); perhaps from bublos (papyrus); from Phoenician Byblos (a Phoenician city that exported papyrus for writing); {from gb (well, origin) + I (God)}; from Proto-Canaanite g-b-l (Gubla – maybe meaning to border). This is paper, book, scroll, certificate. It is where the word “Bible” comes from.

31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah,LXIII the SonLXIV of God, and that through believing you may haveLXV lifeLXVI in his name.LXVII

Notes on verse 31

LXIII “Messiah” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.
LXIV “Son” = Huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
LXV “have” = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.
LXVI “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
LXVII “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.

Image credit: “Thomas Medallion” – Doubting Thomas from the 7th century, perhaps from Calabria. Photo by Martinus KE, 2023.

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