The Bible

 

John 20:19-31 : Christ Appears to the Disciples in an Upper Room, and Doubting Thomas

     

Study the Inner Meaning

19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 96, 2397, 2628, 2724, 2798, 2921, 3006, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 12, 81, 343, 520, 618, 839, 962

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 32, 120

Divine Love and Wisdom 383

Divine Providence 230, 324

The Lord 19, 20, 35, 41, 51

Faith 10

Heaven and Hell 287, 461

True Christian Religion 140, 146, 153, 188, 298, 303, 337, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 286


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 53, 102, 130, 183, 254, 365, 419, ...

Canons of the New Church 39, 43

Divine Wisdom 6

Miracles and Signs 18

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 5, 14, 64

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




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first
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day of
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Week
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doors
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shut
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disciples
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fear
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jews
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came
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midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

saith
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peace
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hands
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Side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

Glad
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

the Lord
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father
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send
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holy
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sins
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remit
'To forgive seven times' signifies forgiving at all times.

retain
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one
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twelve
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called
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see
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hand
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Put
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believe
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eight
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days
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reach
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my lord
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God
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blessed
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many
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signs
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written
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Book
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christ
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son
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son of god
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life
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name
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Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Compare the Easter Story in 4 Gospels
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 Death and Resurrection
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Read the story in the gospel of John (20:1-16) about Mary Magdalene seeing the Lord. Use the discussion questions to talk about this story. 
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Commentary

 

Two Meetings in Jerusalem after the Resurrection      

By Joe David

The risen Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room. 22.4.2010: Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Emilio Romagna, Italy.

Late on the first Easter Sunday, after the Lord had risen from the sepulcher, ten of the disciples gathered for the evening in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem (John 20). They were afraid and probably confused. Since their leader had been crucified by the Roman power, as organized by their own Jewish leaders, they feared that now his followers might also be hunted down and punished. They closed and locked the doors. Were any of the women there? The story does not say, but Peter and John were, who saw and talked with the angels that morning, and the stories of the women were known. Some time must have been spent wondering and perhaps arguing - was He really alive? How could they know it was really Him? This kind of thing, coming back to life after you’re dead, this doesn’t happen in this real world, there must be some mistake!

Then two of the followers, not of the twelve, but the two that had gone to the village of Emmaus, came in, excited and bursting with their news. They had seen Him! They had walked with Him for seven miles and He had told them wondrous things! They had only recognized Him when He broke bread and ate with them. "Don’t doubt us, it really was Jesus!"

And then as they all talked and argued, there He was, standing with them in the room. "Peace be unto you," He said, and He showed them His hands and feet and His side, where he was wounded. He calmed them, and told them that just as he had come down to mankind, so they must go out and teach to all people all the true things that He had taught in the years He was with them.

It was these truths about how to live one’s life that were saving, not the disciples themselves. These saving truths have the power to remit or retain sins, because they were from the Lord, the disciples only transmitted them from the Lord to those who would listen and take them to heart. Then He breathed on them - representing His holy spirit - so that they would not only want to pass these truths on to people, but would also be given the words to say whenever the times came. And then He was gone again.

Thomas was not there that night. We don’t know why. And Thomas, when he heard the story, just could not swallow it. "Except I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe", he said. (John 20:25.)

The next verse tells us that the next Sunday they gathered again, and that Thomas was present this time. As before, the Lord was suddenly there, saying again, "Peace be unto you", and then directly to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger… and reach hither thy hand… and be not faithless but believing". Now Thomas's response was, "my Lord and my God". It seems as if the Lord came this time just to convince Thomas, because it was Thomas who needed Him.

I think He does work this way. I am reminded of another story, from the gospel of Mark (Mark 9:17-27) where a father comes to Jesus with a young son who is possessed by a devil, and asks Jesus to cure him, and is asked in turn: "Do you believe I can do this?" In Mark 9:24 the father responds. Crying out, he said with tears, "I believe, help thou my unbelief."

I think many people have this conflict between lingering doubts and a desire to have the doubts taken away. If we carry on and make our decisions in life as if the doubts were indeed gone, then indeed they will lose their strength and actually will be gone.

These are the only details given of these two meetings in Jerusalem. Chronologically the next post-Easter stories are the ones that take place in Galilee.

John does go on to say at the end of his gospel "...many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God...." (John 20:30-31). Perhaps there were more post-Easter stories that weren't written down, but the ones we do have are strong. For the disciples who were involved, there was an unstoppable impact from the life and teachings of the Lord, and His crucifixion, and physical death, and now - in these stories - His resurrection. Hearing the Lord's charges to them, these Galilean fishermen and their colleagues launch out into the wide world, and work to achieve the Great Commission, enduring hardships and persecution, and succeeding - probably beyond their wildest dreams!

From Swedenborg's Works

 

The Lord #51

The Lord (Dole)      

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51. 5. When “spirit” is used in speaking of the Lord, it means specifically the life his wisdom gives us, which is divine truth.

I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. If I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go away, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)

When he, the Spirit of Truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but will say whatever he has heard. (John 16:13)

He will glorify me, because he will take of what is mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are mine. That is why I said that he will take of what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:14-15)

I will ask the Father to give you another Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot receive him, because it does not see him or know him; but you know him, because he dwells among you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you. You will see me. (John 14:16-17-19)

When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, he will testify concerning me. (John 15:26)

Jesus cried out, saying, “If any are thirsty, they must come to me and drink. As the Scripture says, from the bellies of those who believe in me will flow rivers of living water.” He said this concerning the Spirit that those who believed in him would receive. There was not the Holy Spirit yet because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)

Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)

(References: John 14:16-18)


[2] We can see that the Lord meant himself by the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, and the Holy Spirit from these words of the Lord, that the world did not yet know him-that is, they did not yet know the Lord. Further, when he said that he would send him, he added,

I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you, and you will see me. (John 14:16-19, 26, 28)

And in another passage,

Behold, I am with you all the days, even to the close of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

And when Thomas said, “We do not know where you are going, ” Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth” (John 14:5-6).

(References: John 14:6, John 14:18-19)


[3] Because the Spirit of Truth or the Holy Spirit is the same as the Lord, who is the truth itself, it also says “There was not the Holy Spirit yet because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39). This is because after his glorification or full union with the Father, which was accomplished by his suffering on the cross, the Lord was then divine wisdom itself and divine truth-therefore the Holy Spirit.

The reason the Lord breathed on the disciples and said “Receive the Holy Spirit” was that all of heaven’s breathing originates with the Lord. Angels breathe just as we do, and their hearts beat. Their breathing depends on their acceptance of divine wisdom from the Lord and their heartbeat or pulse depends on their acceptance of divine love from the Lord. This will be explained in its proper place.

[4] From the following passages we can clearly see that the Holy Spirit is divine truth that comes from the Lord:

When they hand you over to the synagogues, do not worry about what you are going to say. The Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you should say. (Luke 12:11-12; 21:14; Mark 13:11)

Jehovah said, “My spirit, which is upon you, and my words, which I have placed in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth.” (Isaiah 59:21)

A shoot will go forth from the trunk of Jesse. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the spirit of his lips he will slay the ungodly. Truth will be a belt around his hips. (Isaiah 11:1, 4-5)

Now he has commanded with his mouth and his spirit has gathered them. (Isaiah 34:16)

Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

It is the spirit that gives life-the flesh is of no benefit. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63)

John said, “I am baptizing you with water into repentance, but the one who is to come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16)

To baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire is to regenerate by means of the divine truth that produces faith and the divine goodness that produces love [within us].

When Jesus was being baptized, the heavens were opened and he saw the Holy Spirit coming down like a dove. (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21; John 1:32-33)

A dove represents purification and regeneration by means of divine truth.

(References: Luke 3:21-22; Mark 1:9-10, 1:10-11)


[5] When “the Holy Spirit” is used in speaking of the Lord it means his divine life and therefore himself, and specifically it means the life his wisdom gives us, which is called divine truth; therefore the spirit of the prophets, which is also called the Holy Spirit, means divine truth that comes from the Lord. This is the case in the following passages:

... what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:7, 11, 29; 3:1, 6, 13, 22)

The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne are the seven spirits of God. (Revelation 4:5)

In the midst of the elders stood a Lamb, having seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (Revelation 5:6)

The lamps of fire and the eyes of the Lord mean divine truths, and seven means what is holy.

... says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors.” (Revelation 14:13)

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” (Revelation 22:17)

They made their hearts diamond-hard so that they would not hear the law or the words that Jehovah sent by his spirit through the hand of the prophets. (Zechariah 7:12)

The spirit of Elijah came upon Elisha. (2 Kings 2:15)

John went before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah. (Luke 1:17)

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. (Luke 1:41)

Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. (Luke 1:67)

David said by the Holy Spirit, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand.’” (Mark 12:36)

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10)

Since, then, the Holy Spirit means specifically the Lord’s divine wisdom and therefore his divine truth, we can see why it is that people say of the Holy Spirit that it enlightens, teaches, and inspires.

(References: John 14:6, John 16:13-15; Revelation 2:17)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 87, 173, 472, 490, 666

Divine Love and Wisdom 359, 383


Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.


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