John 20: The Implications Of And The Evidences For Yeshua’s Resurrection

I’ve had some great days in my 59 years of life. Hopefully, you have too. Maybe one of your great days was the day you became a Bar or Bat Mitzvah; the day you graduated from highschool or college; the day you were married; the day your first child was born; the day you were able to pay off your mortgage or the day you retired. Just as individuals have great days, the world has had some great days too.

Here’s my short list for the world’s great days: each of the seven days of creation; the day Noah came out of the Ark; the day God called Abraham out of Chaldea and made a covenant with him; the day of the first Passover; the day God came down on Mount Sinai and gave Israel the Ten Commandments: the day Yeshua was incarnated; the day Yeshua was born; the day Yeshua died; and the day Yeshua was resurrected; the day the Holy Spirit was given to Messiah’s first followers.

Yeshua’s resurrection is one of the great events in history.

Since God would not allow a liar, a sinner, a false prophet or false Messiah to be resurrected, Yeshua’s resurrection is God’s declaration to the world that Messiah is sinless, flawless, blameless, perfect.

Yeshua’s resurrection is God’s seal of approval on Yeshua’s life and ministry. Yeshua’s resurrection validates everything He did and everything He said.

Yeshua’s resurrection let’s us know that Yeshua is the Messiah, and the Son of God, and the Lord and Savior of Israel and the nations, and the coming King.

Yeshua’s resurrection lets us know that He is high and lifted up and greater than any of the prophets of Israel or the leaders of any other religion or ideology.

Yeshua’s resurrection makes Him unique, since no one else has been raised from the dead like He has – not Buddha, not Confucius, not Moses or Mohammed, Marx or Freud, or anyone else.

When Yeshua rose from the dead, He defeated Satan and the fallen angels. He conquered sin. He even defeated death – for Himself and for us – if we believe in Him. Yeshua’s resurrection guarantees our resurrection – if we become loyal to Him.

Yeshua’s resurrection is of the utmost importance. It is a matter of eternal life and eternal death.

Is there evidence that Yeshua’s resurrection actually happened? That it is a historical reality? That it really took place? Yes, there is evidence, good evidence, lots of evidence.

God had created Israel, a special people to be His witnesses, and God had raised up special men and women from that special people to be witnesses of Yeshua’s resurrection. John, our author, was one of those witnesses.

After Yeshua had died and was buried, John recorded the following: Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene (one of the women who followed Yeshua and was there when He died) went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. John records the first person to discover that the stone that had been used to close the entrance to Yeshua’s tomb been removed from the entrance and that the tomb was empty. That person was Mary. And John records the day and the time when Mary made that discovery. It was early Sunday morning during that special week of Passover, while it was still dark.

This was very important information, and it was upsetting information to Mary. She knew where some of the disciples were and so she came running (indicating the urgency of the information) to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Yeshua loved – which was John, our author, who was a great apostle and representative of the Lord, and who out of humility, didn’t refer to himself by name; and he referred to himself in terms of his relationship to Messiah, I think because John felt that was the most important thing about himself.

Mary came running to Peter and John and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him!” Mary knew that Yeshua’s body was not in the tomb. She concluded, wrongly, that some unknown group of people had taken His body.

They ran to the tomb to investigate for themselves. So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running (again indicating their understanding of the urgency of the situation), but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Yeshua’s head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside.

When John went in and saw the empty tomb, and the cloth and the linen strips, everything came together for him in a cohesive way. He saw and believed. Everything now made sense. He knew the reason the stone had been removed and the tomb was empty and the cloth and linen strips were there was not because Yeshua’s body had been taken by others, but because Yeshua had come back to life.

John wants us to know that up until this point, none of the disciples, including himself, understood that Yeshua would be resurrected. They still did not understand from Scripture that Yeshua had to rise from the dead. Neither the prophecies from the Tenach about Messiah’s resurrection, like Psalm 16 or Psalm 118, Isaiah 53 or Zechariah 12, nor the repeated teaching of Yeshua about His resurrection, had brought them to the place of understanding. It took Yeshua’s actual resurrection and the stone that was moved and the cloth and linen strips lying there without a body to bring them to the place of understanding.

Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Again, notice the details that are recorded, which lets us know that this is a firsthand account of someone who was there.

Peter and John were the ones who Mary found and reported her information to.

Peter and John ran, not walked, to the tomb.

John outran Peter and got there first.

John bent over and looked in the tomb but did not go into the tomb.

John saw the strips of linen that were part of the burial wrappings for Yeshua’s body.

Then Peter arrived and went directly into the tomb.

Peter saw the strips of linen lying there, and also the cloth that had been wrapped around Yeshua’s head.

The cloth was lying in its place, separate from the strips of linen.

Finally John went inside.

Peter and John returned to the place they were staying.

Mary had returned to the tomb with them, but instead of returning with Peter and John, she remained at the tomb.

These are very specific details, which let’s us know they are based on eyewitness testimony.

Evidence for Yeshua’s resurrection continued to accumulate, involving more incidents and more people.

The next evidence involved Mary and two supernatural, but real, servants of God. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Yeshua’s body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. Again, notice the details that John recorded for us. Mary was outside the tomb. She was crying. She bent over to look in the tomb. She saw not one, not three, but two angels. They were dressed in white clothes – no other color. They were seated where Yeshua’s body had been laid, not standing or kneeling. The two angels were not seated next to each other in the center of where Yeshua’s body had been laid; one was seated at the top and one was seated at the bottom.

And the two messengers did not remain silent. They spoke to Mary. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” The question was designed to move her understanding in another direction – that there was no need for her to cry because the body of Yeshua hadn’t been stolen. He had been resurrected.

Mary responded by repeating the reason for her distress. “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put Him.”

John has given us the evidence of the stone that had been removed; the evidence of the cloth and linen strips that remained that had been used to bury Yeshua’s body, but there was no body; and the testimony of two angels. Now John gives us the strongest evidence so far – an eyewitness account of someone who saw and spoke to and touched the risen Messiah.

The angels had spoken to Mary, preparing her for Yeshua’s resurrection. Now the risen Messiah Himself appeared to her. At this, she turned around and saw Yeshua standing there, but she did not realize that it was Yeshua. Only Mary knew that at first, she didn’t realize the one who appeared to her was Yeshua. That lets us know that this is based on Mary’s eyewitness account of what happened.

Like the angels, Yeshua also spoke to Mary, and asked her a question designed to move her understanding in the direction of His resurrection. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Mary still did not understand. She thought this man, who may have been the gardener, may have been the one responsible for moving Yeshua’s body. Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will get Him.” Again, this is very specific dialogue; and it reveals Mary’s thoughts, which were mistaken, about the identity of the One speaking to her. This information had to have come from Mary herself.

The risen Lord now opened her understanding with one word – her name. Yeshua said to her, “Mary.” Good relationships can help us in many ways. There is something about having a relationship with someone that enables us to understand things that we otherwise might not understand. As soon as Mary heard Him speak her name, she knew the identity of the One who was speaking to her. She knew this was the same One she had a relationship with before, the same Rabbi who had taught her so many wonderful things and made her life so much better. She knew Yeshua’s body hadn’t been stolen. He was alive and standing there!

She turned toward Him and cried out in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Mary knew Yeshua had been her Teacher, and was still her Rabbi. And the truth is that Yeshua will always be her Rabbi. Don’t you want the Rabbi of rabbis, the greatest of all teachers, the Rabbi who overcame death, the Rabbi who is alive now, the Rabbi who can teach you now and forever, to be your teacher? I know I do.

Yeshua said, “Do not hold on to Me (which implies that she was clinging to Him; which also means that He was not a spirit without a body, but had a body that could be touched), for I have not yet ascended to the Father – which means that Yeshua was the risen Son of God who would soon ascend to Heaven and be seated at the right hand of His Father, ruling the universe with Him. Mary needed to understand that although this was the same One she had known before, and her beloved Rabbi, Yeshua’s situation had changed. She could still have a wonderful relationship with Him, but she couldn’t relate to Him in the same way.

Yeshua gave her an important task. She was to bring the Good News to His disciples. Go instead to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’” She was to inform the disciples that Yeshua was alive, and had been raised from the dead, and would be raised even higher – into the presence of the God and Father that Yeshua shared with them.

What grace! Even though almost all of them had abandoned Him and Peter had denied Him, Messiah had forgiven them and declared them to be His brothers and sons of God. What an amazing thing! Fallen human beings, rebels against the High King of Heaven, and His Son, King Messiah, can become the brothers and sisters of the Son of God; they can have a relationship with the risen Lord that is characterized by brotherhood – which means mutual love and support. Human beings who have been alienated from God can be reconciled to God so that He is their God and their Father who loves them and protects them and provides for them – now and forever.

What does it mean that Yeshua called His Father “His God”? Can the Son of God have a God? The answer is yes. The Father and the Son are equal in nature. Both are equally “God.” However, God the Father is the God of Yeshua the Son in that the Father is higher and greater than the Son in position and in authority. The Son obey and serves the Father, who is greater than Him in position and in authority.

Mary completed the task Yeshua gave her. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that He had said these things to her.

The evidence for Yeshua’s resurrection continued to accumulate, and get even stronger. Now it wasn’t one woman who saw Yeshua, but a group of men. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders. Again, notice the details that are given, which let us know this is based on the reports of one or more eyewitnesses: it was the end of that same day. It was evening. The disciples were afraid that the Jewish leaders might be planning to harm them (and their fear was rational). They were gathered in a room with doors that were locked.

Although the doors were locked, that did not prevent Yeshua from entering. Again, notice the details. Yeshua came and stood among them (He stood, He didn’t sit) and said, “Peace be with you!” Messiah wasn’t angry with them for abandoning Him. He didn’t scold them or communicate how disappointed He was with them. He reassured them that He was at peace with them, that all was forgiven.

Then He gave them more evidence, unique evidence that it really was Him. After He said this, He showed them His hands and side. His hands still had the marks of the nails and His side the mark from the spear that pierced it.

When we are resurrected, our bodies will be perfect. The only One whose body will not be perfect is the body of Yeshua – which will be a reminder of how much He loved us, and how much He suffered for us to have our glorious new bodies.

The disciples knew it was Yeshua, and that He had come back to life, and that their relationship to Him was restored. They were beyond thrilled. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Every word in the Bible is important. If it is repeated, even more emphasis is given. Again Yeshua said, “Peace be with you!” Yeshua wanted His disciple to really know that all was well, all was forgiven; their damaged relationship had been made whole.

Then, He assigned them their great task. “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” Their great purpose was to continue His mission of world redemption; they were to continue His ministry proclaiming the Good News and teaching and building a new spiritual community of the redeemed. And, we have that same task. Which means that as individuals and as a community, we must have a deep sense of mission, that we have been sent by Messiah into the world to continue His mission of world evangelism.

And He promised them the Most Important Resource they would need to fulfill their great task. And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” It is the Holy Spirit of the Holy God living in human beings, that transforms them, and rearranges their thinking and their priorities, and empowers them that enables Messiah’s mission to continue and be successful.

Yeshua is faithful to all of His promises and this promise was fulfilled about 50 days later on the next Jewish holiday, Shavuot/Pentecost, when they received the Holy Spirit of the Holy Father and the Holy Son.

Yeshua would soon be ascending to His Father. These men would be the leaders of the Most Important Institution on Earth. Along with the promise of the Spirit, Yeshua assured them of their new spiritual authority. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. These men had been taught by Yeshua. They had been tested. They had gone through the fires and been purified. They knew what Yeshua taught better than anyone else. They knew what was true and what was false, what was a sin and when a sin could be forgiven and the offender restored to Messiah’s Community and when their sanctions against an offending individual needed to remain in place. Yeshua invested them with spiritual authority over His community. And valid spiritual leaders still have this same authority.

The evidence for Yeshua’s resurrection continued to accumulate, and get even stronger. The risen Lord appeared again to the disciples and to one of them who hadn’t been with them the first time. Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Yeshua came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

Thomas had doubts. He wanted more than eyewitness testimony. But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

The risen Messiah was aware of Thomas’ skepticism and was willing to accommodate His doubting disciple. A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Yeshua came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” That’s the third time Yeshua said “shalom alechem,” emphasizing again that all was well between them.

Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” This was not a mere expression of astonishment. Thomas was expressing his new understanding of who the risen Yeshua is.

Thomas understood that Yeshua was his Lord, not just his Adon – lord with a small l, but Adonai – Lord with a capital L.

Thomas understood that Yeshua was his God – not the Father, but God in the sense of being fully divine, eternal, uncreated, sharing all the essential attributes of God.

Yeshua had accommodated the request to see and touch Him made by one of His disciples who was one of the Twelve. He will rarely do that with others who make that same request. However, those who come to the same understanding that Thomas did, without seeing or touching the risen Lord, will receive a special blessing.

Then Yeshua told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” I am sure some of us have thought: wouldn’t it be great to see Yeshua, to touch Him? Wouldn’t that be a blessing? While it would be a blessing to see Him, Yeshua wants us to know that it’s even better, it’s even more blessed to not see Him and still believe.

That’s me! I believe but have never seen. And I have Yeshua’s promise that I am blessed. How fantastic is that? How about you?

Yeshua’s resurrection is a great miracle – one of the very greatest that has ever taken place. No other human being has been resurrected like this. And it is not the only miracle that Yeshua was involved in. John wants us to know that Yeshua performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book.

John selected these miracles with a very special purpose in mind. But these are written that you may believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. These specific miracles have been recorded for us based on eyewitness testimony, so that we can know the amazing things that God enabled Yeshua to do, so that we can understand who Yeshua really is:

Yeshua is the Messiah: the ultimate prophet who speaks for God; the ultimate priest who brings us closer to God and brings God closer to us; and the ultimate king who will rule over Israel and the nations, and reign over the redeemed forever.

Yeshua is the Son of God, who shares the Father’s name and nature, deity, essence and attributes.

And when we really believe that Yeshua is the risen Messiah and the Son of God, we will experience eternal life. We will passover from death to life. We will live forever in glorified, resurrected bodies just like His.

So, here is what John recorded so far about the evidences for Yeshua’s resurrection: the stone which had been at the entrance of the tomb had been removed; the tomb was empty; the cloth wrapped around Yeshua’s head and linen strips were there but there was no body; Mary Magdalene saw two angels who communicated that Yeshua was alive; Yeshua appeared to Mary; He spoke to her; she touched Him; Yeshua then appeared to His disciples in a locked room. He spoke to them; He showed them His hands which had the marks of crucifixion and His side which had the wound from the spear; He appeared a week later to the disciples and to Thomas who hadn’t been there the first time; He spoke to them and to Thomas.

So, here are your choices: You can conclude:

1. This book, and especially this account of Yeshua’s resurrection, is a scam concocted by liars, or con artists or deceived men and women – and you shouldn’t believe any of it.

Or 2. This book and this account of Yeshua’s resurrection is the truth accurately reported by good and honest men and women and must be believed.

I know which option is more credible to me.

Since this is the most important decision you will ever make, and since it is a matter of eternal life and eternal death, before you make your decision, do your due diligence. Seek – until you find. Knock until the door is opened. Pray that God would reveal the truth to you, and that you would have the courage to follow the truth that is revealed.

Let’s pray:

Father, thank You for John and for this account of Yeshua’s resurrection, and the many details and evidences it contains.

If any of us are like Thomas, and have doubts, help us seek until we find and our doubts are removed and we know the truth.

And if we know that Yeshua has been raised from the dead, help us live in a way that is consistent with that reality.