John 19:31-20:17 – Jesus Is The Firstfruits

Dear Friends,

Greetings in Christ! In our last post, Jesus was still on the cross. Having paid for our sins, Jesus commended his spirit to his Father and gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46) This brings us to the resurrection, one of the many things that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions. Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


John 19:31-20:17
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. [Ps 34:20]
37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. [Zec 12:10]
38 ¶ And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. [1]
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Chapter 19 ends with Jesus in the grave. Three days and three nights will pass before Chapter 20 opens on Sunday morning just before sunrise. (Matt 12:40; cf Jonah 1:17)

1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

In Mark’s Gospel, an angel tells Mary to go tell the disciples “and Peter” that Jesus is risen and He will meet them in Galilee. I’m sure Peter needed to hear that. He most likely thought Jesus was through with him. 

2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved [John], and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

It does not say Mary was alone in verse 1, which is important to note in order to reconcile John’s account with those of the other Gospel writers. In fact, Mary’s use of the pronoun we in verse 2 indicates she was with the other women noted in the other Gospel accounts.

3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. [This verse seems to indicate that the Shroud of Turin is a fake.]
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

In his own subtle way, John tells us he was the first to believe Jesus is risen.

9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11 ¶ But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
John 19:31-20:17


Interesting choice Jesus made, appearing to Mary first before anyone else. Not only were women given very little respect in the ancient world, but Mary was also known as a woman of ill repute. In other words, if not for Jesus, Mary would have been shown nothing but contempt. Yet the Bible says in Christ there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus and again, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (Gal 3:28; 2 Cor 5:17) Despite the world’s attempts to paint Christianity as an oppressive system that holds women down, the fact remains that Jesus is the greatest liberator of women in the history of the world. If that were not true, Jesus would not have appeared first to Mary. If that were not true, Paul would not have entrusted his magnum opus, the Book of Romans, to a woman named Phebe. (2) Christianity elevated women to where they are today. In the areas of the world where the gospel has had no influence, women are still treated very poorly.

But why did Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him? One of the key chapters for unlocking the Bible is Leviticus 23. Leviticus 23:10, 11 says that following the Passover, a sheaf of the firstfruits was to be presented to the LORD on the morning after the Sabbath (Sunday). In other words, the Feast of Firstfruits points to Jesus as the firstfruits of the first resurrection. (1 Cor 15:20, 23) Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Firstfruits by presenting Himself to his Father after He rose from the dead. That is why Jesus told Mary not to touch Him. Yet He said it in a very gentle way: Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:

Certain new versions have Jesus saying, “Stop clinging to me.” Many years ago, Dave Hunt wrote a book called The Seduction of Christianity (Harvest House, 1985) that revealed the damaging effects psychology was having on the church. This happened at a time when new versions were gaining popularity and displacing the KJV. When one carefully considers the subtle changes made to the text it is not hard to see why Christians started turning to psychology. (Eg “Stop clinging to me.”) If you read the KJV, God is going to nurtureadmonish … and … humble you. (Eph 6:4; 2 Cor 12:21) If you read certain of the new versions, the same verses say God will “disciplineinstruct … and … humiliate” you. I do not think there is any question that these and many other subtle changes left Christians seeking help from psychology, then led to movements like the emerging church and other forms of apostate Christianity where Christians no longer bother to bring their Bibles to church. None of the people we read about in the gospels needed psychology. What they needed was the pure bread of life. For a closer look at the bread that came down from heaven and how to keep from being deceived by counterfeits, see here. This is one link I highly recommend you click on and read. I do not usually say that but this topic gets to the heart of the matter concerning the deception that Jesus warned us about (Matt 24:4). Christianity is not a game and if there was ever a time when you need to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, that time is now. Father, thank You that your Son has conquered the grave. Thank You that He is coming back again for us. Thank You for keeping your promise to preserve your word for us. Draw us closer to You and direct our paths, for your glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


PS: Earlier this week I had the privilege of visiting the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. After spending some time in the Small Chapel where I prayed and read Zechariah chapters 4-14, I happened upon some Americans holding a communion service in the Large Chapel. Receiving holy communion in the garden was an added blessing. There is a beautiful wine press in the garden and a perfect view of Golgotha, but I saved the best for last when I viewed the empty tomb. (More here.) Other sites I have visited so far include the old city of Nazareth, Capernaum and other sites around the Sea of Galilee, the pool of Siloam, the Mount of Olives, Bethlehem, Bethphage, and Bethany. 

Praying in the Small Chapel.

The Large Chapel.

The winepress.

View of Golgotha from the Garden Tomb.

Exterior view of the tomb.

Interior view of the tomb.

PPS: (6/18/23) I was recently told by a learned guide here in Jerusalem that the Third Wall of the Second Temple period (near the Garden Tomb) did not exist at the time of the crucifixion. Agrippa I began construction on this wall circa 44 AD. Therefore, the location of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was without the gate at the time of the crucifixion, ie beyond the Second Wall. This site was chosen by Helena, the mother of Constantine. I still take this location with a grain of salt. Helena also chose the Sinai Peninsula as the location of Mt Sinai, while the Bible clearly says it is in Arabia. (Gal 4:25) 


Prophecy Update: I recently reviewed the video from Dana Coverstone that I posted in July of 2020. I have often thought about whether Coverstone’s dream was truly prophetic. We have not seen anything like the ‘explosion’ when the fist hit the calendar in Coverstone’s dream. There has been no invasion by foreign troops. In the dream, the hand that tapped November on the calendar seemed to be significant because of the stolen election in 2020. As I said in my review of 2021, I am not going to vote for Trump again, but that does not change the fact that we had a stolen election. That does not change the fact that the coup is continuing into our next election cycle. I had almost made up my mind that Coverstone’s dream was not truly prophetic. In fact, I was planning on saying so in this post, but then Trump was indicted, again. In light of this and other recent developments, I have decided to once again reserve judgment on the dream until later. The peaceful transfer of power has been one of the features that has distinguished America as the land of the free ever since the end of the Civil War. With the Biden DOJ prosecuting Biden’s number-one challenger in 2024, things are not looking good, to say the least. Thankfully we have a blessed hope. (Hab 1:5; Luke 21:36; John 14:3; Acts 13:41; 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16-18; Tit 2:13) In other words, knowing that Jesus was faithful to suffer and die for us, knowing that God was faithful to deliver his Son from the grave, and knowing He is coming back, we have nothing to worry about. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

(1) The pound John refers to here is the Roman libra, which was 11 oz or .725 lbs. Therefore, the myrrh and aloes that Nicodemus used to prepare Jesus’ body for burial weighed 72.5 lbs.
(2) See postscript following Romans 16, KJV.