Life Journal (8/18/2015) – John on Understanding and Belief

Scripture      John 20:1-10 NIV

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.


  • Interesting – never noticed before today that  Mary doesn’t go into the tomb or look but reports Jesus’ body isn’t there
  • Why does John mention it was still dark? (John’s emphasis on dark and light?)
  • What doesn’t “the other disciple” go into the tomb until after Peter had entered? (Humility? Same as “the other disciple”)
  • What is the connection in verse 5 (looking into the tomb) and entering the tomb (verse 8) and belief?
  • What did the other disciple believe. The “for” suggests it was not that Jesus had risen from the dead


Faith is not understanding… nor does belief require that we understand. My intellectual bent, my tendency to overthink, needs to remember this! “The other disciple” (John) doesn’t know that Jesus must rise from the dead according to the Scriptures. But he believes! What, exactly, he believes he doesn’t tell us here. Is this in contrast to Peter’s lack of belief or Mary’s? (Not sure about that in the context here but certainly something is different about John’s reaction).

Believing Christ is not the same as understanding him. Jesus is not a subject to be studied (like math) or a person to be researched (in the saame way I research my ancestors and family history). But someone to be believed.

I need to train my mind and spirit with God’s help to believe as the first response to my experience of Jesus. To let what I experience and learn deepen, strengthen, aid my belief before all else.


Lord Jesus, I do not always understand. But I can believe. And when I do. may that belief be a gateway to your understanding, to you. I do not need to understand you as I do calculus… but I want to know you as deeply and as well as anyone else I know. Even more. May my understanding flow from my belief in you this day. Amen.


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