John 20: Resurrection, Life, and Salvation

(31 verses, 2:30 to read)


What I am about to READ

After Jesus rises from the dead, those who love Him find the tomb where His body was laid empty. The risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene and then the Twelve-now-Eleven. God through St. John reveals the purpose of this Gospel.


  • 1-10: Jesus’ tomb is found empty
  • 11-18: Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene
  • 19-23: Jesus appears to His disciples and gives the gifts of the Spirit, forgiveness, and retention of sins.
  • 24-29: Jesus appears again to His disciples and speaks to Thomas
  • 30-31: The purpose of the Gospel


– From the other Gospels we know the women have come to do for Jesus’ body what they could not the previous day. They are as surprised as the Twelve that Jesus’ body is not in the tomb. Peter and John arrive at the tomb and still do not understand what has happened though Christ and even the Old Testament speak of the resurrection of the dead.

– Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene. As He teaches her, she calls Him teacher though she did not as yet recognize Him. His journey is not at an end, He must still ascend to the right hand of the Father now that He has put all enemies under His feet.

– Christ next appears to the disciples who are hiding from fear of the Jews, that is, the ones who have killed Jesus. He appears and blesses them and comforts them with the Gospel! He then gives them the gift of the Spirit and sends them to forgive sins for the penitent and bind the sins of the impenitent.

– One week later, Jesus again appears again to the stowed away disciples and now Thomas is there. In order to prove that He is truly Jesus Whom they’ve known and no imposter and that He’s not a ghost, Jesus reveals the wounds of His crucifixion that He still has in His true body.

– John insists that what is written in the Gospel is sufficient for the salvation of mankind.


Consider this important addition to the Small Catechism, which teaches about God’s gift of the Office of the Keys:

The Office of the Keys

As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household

(The Office of the Keys was not originally a part of the Small Catechism, written by Martin Luther. It was included, however, during the life of Martin Luther, and in this place, and is useful and beneficial for instruction.)

What is the Office of the Keys?

It is the unique power which Christ has given to His Church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to retain the sins of the impenitent as long as they do not repent.

Where is this written?

The Apostle John writes in his Gospel, chapter twenty:
“[The Lord Jesus] breathed on [His disciples] and said to them, `Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.’”

What do you believe according to these words?

I believe that when the called ministers of Christ deal with us by His divine command, especially when they exclude publicly known and unrepentant sinners from the Christian congregation, and, also, when they forgive those who repent of their sins and desire to reform, this is as valid and certain, even in heaven, as if Christ, our dear Lord, was dealing with us Himself.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:

-Pastor Weslie Odom


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