John 20:2 is the second verse of the twentieth chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament. Mary Magdalene has just discovered that the tomb of Jesus has been opened. In this verse she seeks out and tells this news to Peter and the Beloved Disciple.
In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:
- Then she runneth, and cometh to
- Simon Peter, and to the other
- disciple, whom Jesus loved,
- and saith unto them, They have
- taken away the LORD out of
- the sepulchre, and we know
- not where they have laid him.
The World English Bible translates the passage as:
- Therefore she ran and came to
- Simon Peter, and to the other
- disciple whom Jesus loved,
- and said to them, "They have
- taken away the Lord out of
- the tomb, and we don’t know
- where they have laid him!"
That she seeks out Peter and the Beloved Disciple implies that Mary Magdalene knew these two well enough to know where they were staying in Jerusalem. It also shows that Mary felt the two would be concerned enough to act on her information, despite Peter's actions at the crucifixion. The repeated word "to" implies that Peter and the Beloved Disciple were staying at different places and that Mary thus delivered her message twice. John, who is often considered to be the Beloved Disciple, is said by other sources to be staying with Mary, the mother of Jesus, at this time. Schnackenberg notes that the double-barreled name Simon Peter is how the Gospel of John usually refers to Peter.
This is the third appearance of the Beloved Disciple in John, he also appears in John 13:23 and John 19:26. The introduction of the Beloved Disciple leads to two starkly different views on the veracity of the passage and those that come later. To those who believe in the traditional view that the Beloved Disciple is the author of the Gospel it adds great weight to what comes next as it is the report of an eyewitness. To most modern scholars who feel the Gospel was written at a later date the arrival of the Disciple makes the text less credible as they see him as a fictional creation.
Mary Magdalene refers to they, but does not make clear who they are. Westcott lists three possibilities: She might mean grave robbers. Grave robbery was a problem in Palestine during this era, as a Roman first century edict condemning the practice makes clear. They could also refer to the Jewish leaders who may have had a reason to take the body. Some feel the "we don't know where they have put him" makes it possible that they refers to the grave keepers and that Jesus' body was merely shifted to another tomb. Brown notes that the verb tithenai, which is translated as laid/put can also mean buried. However, if Mary was thinking the body had merely been shifted by workers it raises the question of why she is so concerned, and why Peter and the Beloved Disciple so quickly leave to investigate.
Mary refers to Jesus as lord, previously in John this title had not been used by Jesus' followers. Some, such as Brown, see this as evidence that this section was written by a different author from the rest of the gospel. An alternative theory is that the new title is permissible now that Jesus is dead.
Mary states that "we don't know where they have put him." However the previous verse only mentioned her at the tomb. Many scholars link this to the synoptic gospels where Mary is described as going to the grave with a group of other women. To those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible this is evidence that the other women were in fact with Mary, but the author of John did not feel it was necessary to mention them. Conversely Wellhausen and Spitta have both argued that the we could have been an alteration by a later editor who modified John to make it more like the other Gospels. Some early versions of the Gospel do have I instead of we at this point. Brown does not think much of this theory as the rest of the passage remains unaltered. Dalman argues that it was not uncommon to use the first person plural for the first person singular in this era.
Famous quotes containing the word john:
“Thou hast brought him a pardon from good King John.”
—Unknown. King John and the Abbot of Canterbury (l. 108)