Richard Burridge: John Chapters 20-21

John 20:1-10. The authorities would have taken the body wrapped; robbers would have only taken the wrappings.

John 20:11-18. Jesus calls Mary "woman" as he did his mother at Cana and his first words in the Gospel are repeated now: "Whom are you looking for?" He says: "Mary" and the sheep knows the shepherd’s voice. In their new relationship Mary cannot cling onto the risen Christ, she must be the Apostle of the Resurrection. He brings a new Covenant relationship (Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 31:33; Ruth 1:16).

John 20:19-23. Jesus breaths the Spirit into them (Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 37:1-14).

John 20:24-31. Jesus did not want Mary to touch him, preserving the old way of life, but he wants Thomas to touch him, heralding the new way of life. "My lord and my God" echoes the claim of the Emperor Domitian to be: "Dominus et Deus Noster".

John 21:1-7. many scholars think this chapter was written later than the others but no manuscript is without it. The Disciples, led by Peter, are back to their old ways, in the dark, but catch nothing.

John 21:8-14. The charcoal fire recalls Peter in the High Priest's courtyard. The bread and fish echo the feeding miracle. There is great speculation about the meaning of 153 but no clear solution.

John 21:15-19. Peter has been more "rocky" than "rock-solid"; Jesus questions him formally. Jesus uses agapo the first two times whereas Peter replies with philo which Jesus takes up in his final question. Some commentators read significance in this but the two words are used interchangeably in John. Peter is hurt by the repetition. After the difficult questions, Jesus converts Peter from the hireling to the good shepherd.

John 21:19-25. Jesus' last words to Peter are his first: "follow me".

Taken from:

Burridge, Richard: John: The People's Bible Commentary, The Bible Reading Fellowship, revised 2008, ISBN 978 1 84101 570 5.


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