John XX. 1-9.
6. "And on the first of the week came Mary Magdalene early, when
it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and saw the stone taken away from
the sepulchre." The first of the week is what Christian practice now
calls the Lord's day, because of the resurrection of the Lord. "She ran,
therefore, and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus
loved, and saith unto them, They have taken the Lord out of the sepulchre,
and we know not where they have laid Him." Some of the Greek codices have,
"They have taken my Lord," which may likely enough have been said by the
stronger than ordinary affection of love and handmaid relationship; but
we have not found it in the several codices to which we have had access.
7. "Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came
to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and that other disciple did
outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre." The repetition here
is worthy of notice and of commendation for the way in which a return is
made to what had previously been omitted, and yet is added just as if it
followed in due order. For after having already said, "they came to the
sepulchre," he goes back to tell us how they came, and says, "so they ran
both together," etc. Where he shows that, by outrunning his companion,
there came first to the sepulchre that other disciple, by whom he means
himself, while he relates all as if speaking of another.
8. "And he stooping down," he says, "saw the linen clothes
lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went
into the sepulchre, and saw the linen clothes lying, and the napkin, which
had been about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but folded up
in one place by itself." Do we suppose these things have no meaning?
I can suppose no such thing. But we hasten on to other points, on which
we are compelled to linger by the need there is for investigation, or some
other kind of obscurity. For in such things as are self-manifest, the inquiry
into the meaning even of individualdetails is, indeed, a subject of holy
delight, but only for those who have leisure, which is not the case with
9. "Then went in also that other disciple who had come first to the
sepulchre." He came first, and entered last. This also of a certainty
is not without a meaning, but I am without the leisure needful for its
explanation. "And he saw, and believed." Here some, by not giving
due attention, suppose that John believed that Jesus had risen again; but
there is no indication of this from the words that follow. For what does
he mean by immediately adding, "For as yet they knew not the scripture,
that He must rise again from the dead"? He could not then have believed
that He had risen again, when he did not know that it behoved Him to rise
again. What then did he see? what was it that he believed? What but this,
that he saw the sepulchre empty, and believed what the woman had said,
that He had been taken away from the tomb? "For as yet they knew not
the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead." Thus also when
they heard of it from the Lord Himself, although it was uttered in the
plainest terms, yet from their custom of hearing Him speaking by parables,
they did not understand, and believed that something else was His meaning.
But we shall put off what follows till another discourse.