Text:   John 20:1-18 (emphasis on verses 11-18)

Date:   March 31, 2002




Step I - (Initial) Acquaintance
A.        Comparison of English or other published translations

·        Verse 13 – “crying” (NIV) vs. “weeping” (NRSV, New Jerusalem)

o       Weep as exclusive to John’s account

o       klaio

·        Verse 17 – “do not cling to me” (NKJV, New Jerusalem) vs. “do not hold onto me” (NRSV, NIV) vs. “stop clinging to me” (NASB) vs. “touch me not” (ASV)

B.         Greek/Hebrew Textual Criticism

·        Repeated “weep” references recall 16:20

·        Klausete – you will weep

·        Prohibition against holding on/clinging/touching

·        Not about physical touching

·        Thomas later invited to do just that

·        Prohibits “holding on to” hapto

·        Resistance of resurrection/ascension?

·        “My brothers” in verse 17

·        adelphos

·        inclusive identifier

·        disciples as family

·        compare adelphoi translated as “community” at 21:23 (NRSV)


C.                 One's Own Rough Translation

·        “But Mary stood at the tomb outside weeping.  As therefore she was weeping, she stooped into the tomb and beholds two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet of where lay the body of Jesus.  And say to her those: Woman, why do you weep?  She says to them: They took the Lord of me, and I know not where they put him.  These things saying, she turned back and beholds Jesus standing, and knew not that Jesus it is.  Says to her Jesus: Woman, why do you weep?  Who do you seek?  That one thinking that the gardener it is, says to him: Sir, if you did carry him tell me where you did put him and I him will take.  Says to her Jesus: Mary.  Turning that one says to him in Hebrew: Rabbouni (which is said ‘Teacher’).  Says to her Jesus: Not me touch, for not yet have I ascended to the Father; but go you to the brothers of me and tell them; I ascend to the Father of me and the Father of you.  Comes Mary the Magdalene announcing to the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to her.”

Step II - Disposition
A.        Genre - How the text says what it says

·        Distinctive narrative style

·        The readers know something Mary does not

·        Identity of Jesus

·        Readers participate in anticipation of what they know is about to happen


B.         Personal Interaction - Questions and observations

·        Mary’s reaction to angels

·        Seems matter-of-fact

·        Doesn’t interrupt her weeping

·        Unlike other angel incidents, in which common initial reaction is fear

·        Who is Mary looking for?

·        Jesus’ body

·        Jesus the Messiah

·        Isn’t that who we’ve been looking for in John’s gospel since the beginning

·        His first words in John: “Who are you looking for?” (John 1:38)

·        Who are we looking for?

·        What is distinctive, different in this story than anything else we have encountered before

·        Resurrection

·        We look for the resurrected one


C.                 Organization - Where the elements of "B" are located

·        The exchange between Mary and Jesus

·        Johannine misunderstanding

·        Gardener vs. Savior


Step III - Composition
A.        Immediate Context - preceding/following pericope

·        Follows the crucifixion

·        Joseph’s preparation of Jesus’ body

·        Precedes Jesus’ appearance to the disciples

·        Breathes the Holy Spirit on them

·        Thomas’ doubt


B.                 Organization of the Compositional Whole

·        John concludes discourse on what difference the incarnation makes to the reader

·        Resurrection

·        Hope for resurrection

·        Jesus’ Farewell Discourse promises fulfilled in John 20

·        Ascension will complete Logos story

·        Returning to God means possibility for new life for believers

·        Ascending to “my God and your God”

·        Jesus revealing what ascension means to us

·        New identity for community of believers

·        We know God like Jesus does


C.                 Issues of Authorship

·        Discipleship not limited to men by John

·        Mary as first witness

·        Names Mary uses for Jesus

·        “Rabbouni” and “Lord” similar to farewell meal words (13:13)

·        “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right for that is what I am.”


Step IV - Context
A.        Primitive Christianity

·        Angels behave differently

·        Heighten our understanding of Mary’s personal grief?

·        Angels do not announce Easter

·        Matthew 28:5

·        Angels sit where Jesus’ body had lay

·        Eschatological message of ascending/descending?


B.                 Old Testament and Judaism

·        “Rabbouni”

·        Variant form of “Rabbi”

·        John 1:38?

·        Personal address

·        Term of endearment

·        Reveals relationship

·        Sheep know the shepherd’s voice


C.                 Hellenistic World


Step V - Distillation
A.        Summary of Salient Features

·        Weeping

·        Sadness over loss

·        Recognition of Jesus

·        When he speaks, he is recognized

·        Christ is risen

·        Resurrection

·        Distinctiveness of resurrection

·        John’s gospel

·        Starts and ends with God, Jesus

·        No discussion about us until we establish something about them


B.                 Smooth Translation



C.                 Hermeneutical Bridge

·        Easter vs. Christmas

·        Why is one so much more popular, especially with the secular world?

·        Resurrection hard to believe?

·        Or resurrection simply too powerful

·        Misunderstanding of Easter as retelling of other stories

·        Christmas stories

·        Sequel to previous faith stories

·        Easter contains its own original material


Step VI - Contemporary Address
A.        Description of Audience

·        United Methodists

·        Easter Sunday


B.                 Intended Goals for the Address

·        Explore differences between Easter and Christmas

·        Resurrection as the main difference

·        Resurrection as hope for new life in all arenas

·        Community of believers – church

·        Personal life and relationships

·        Faith relationships


C.                 Address