Commentary on John 20:19-31

My latest on John 20. Hope it helps those of you who preach and teach on April 23 a bit.

John 20 tells us that Jesus appeared to some of his most important disciples “on the first day of the week.”

First of all, to Mary Magdalene (20:11-18). Commissioning her as the Apostle to the Apostles, he commands her to proclaim the resurrection, which she does (“I have seen the Lord!”). He also tells her to proclaim the result of the resurrection — that the hearers of the gospel are now “children of God,” sharing the same Parent as Jesus, just as John started foreshadowing in 1:12-13.

To whom must she proclaim all of this good news? To Jesus’ adelphoi. The NRSV translates adelphoi as “brothers” in verse 17, but elsewhere they translate it “brothers and sisters,” correctly. Adelphoi is the word used if both males and females are present and it’s the word used if only males are present. There’s no reason to limit Mary’s audience to males. If one chooses to do so, it must be on grounds other than grammatical, linguistic ones.

Did Thomas hear her proclamation of the gospel?

Full Essay on
Read More


This essay is an adaptation of chapter 15 of Jaime Clark-Soles’ new book Reading John for Dear Life: A Spiritual Walk with the Fourth Gospel. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016.