Acts 10:34,37-43 II:
1 Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and
saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.
2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom
Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him."
3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.
4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and
reached the tomb first.
5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he
did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the
linen wrapping lying there,
7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen
wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.
8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he
saw and believed;
9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from
- This passage opens the last part of John: The resurrection and
appearance of Jesus (ch. 20). We have this empty tomb story (1-10); then
Jesus' appearances to
a) Mary Magdalene (11-18),
b) to the disciples without Thomas (19-23), and
c) to the disciples with Thomas (24-29).
- In the preceding passage, Jesus' body was laid in a new tomb in the
garden (19:41). This tomb was probably a horizontal cave with a small
ground-level entrance, usually less than a yard high. This explains why the
disciple must bend down to look inside (v 5).
- Jesus' body was not put into a coffin but probably laid in an
"arcosolia", a semi-circle niche, a sort of side-way flat bed formed by
cutting two or three feet deep into the side of the cave.
- Since his body was wrapped in cloth and aromatic oils, and the face was
covered with a small piece of cloth, the presence of the cloths in v. 6-7
shows that the body was probably not stolen because thieves would not unwrap
and fold the cloths so neatly.
- There are some difficulties within this story, for example, Mary
Magdalene went to the tomb alone but in v.2 spoke as "we." Furthermore, it
contains some details that are different from the synoptic resurrection
- "He saw and believed" (v. 8) seems to contradict "they still did not
understand scripture" (v.9). The most natural explanation is that the
beloved disciple believed that Jesus had risen from the dead, based on his
own observation of the empty tomb, rather not on Scripture.
One Main Point
The resurrection is Jesus' ultimate glory. It is the sign of the victory
over death, the hope for us, the basis for our Christian faith.
- Imagine that you standing in front of the empty tomb and looking in, what
does the tomb look like? Is it foul? What do you see?
- Put yourself in Peter's place: guilt-ridden by his betrayal of Jesus,
dispirited by Jesus' death, and, now, even the body was gone! Have you ever
experienced moments when God is absent from your life?
- The beloved disciples saw the folded linen cloths and believed. Recall
one specific sign that led you to believe in the Risen Lord.
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community