Peter and John run to the Empty Tomb – John 20:1-9 – Meaning and Commentary

1. Introductory prayer

I calm down and I feel the presence of God in me. I ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit to open the word of God, I accept it and allow it to fulfill my mission in me, in order to become more and more what I am in Holy Trinity. Then I ask God for this prayer, in my own words, or with those that are here…

Lord, may I experience the joy of the resurrection and live from this source every day, that with your help I may dare to step into new.

2. Reading – Listening: Peter and John run to the Empty Tomb – John 20:1-9 – Meaning and Commentary

The Empty Tomb

20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

3. Thoughts on the Gospel: Peter and John run to the Empty Tomb – John 20:1-9 – Meaning and Commentary

Early Sunday morning, the women with fragrances went from to the tomb to worship Jesus one last time. The students thought it all ended in tragedy. They were not prepared to see the empty tomb and to hear the angel’s message about Jesus’ resurrection and the invitation to believe it (Mark 16: 6-7).

It is strange that it was the women and not the apostles who were the first witnesses of the empty tomb and the risen Lord. The risen Christ thus restored to the women their dignity, which they had lost with the first sin. Just as it has always been said that women are to blame for the fall of a man, so it is now said that it was women who were the first to accept the wonderful news of the resurrection and bring it to men. The whole Church is invited to discover the dignity of women and the election they received after the risen Christ and still are.

The rolled stone was the first sign of Jesus’ resurrection. Such a large stone could never be rolled away by just one man. In addition, the tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers. Importantly, the disciples had to face the empty tomb first before they could accept Jesus ’announcement that He would die for our sins and then rise from the dead. They did not believe it until they saw the empty tomb.

Church Father Bede explains why the risen Lord gradually revealed himself to his disciples: “Our Savior revealed the glory of his resurrection to his disciples gradually and over time, also because it was such a great miracle that the weak hearts of mortals could not comprehend it all at once. To those who came first to the tomb, both the women who passionately loved him as well as the men, he first showed the stone that had been rolled away. Since his body was no more, he showed them the bandages in which he was wrapped. And to the women who were anxiously searching for him and were confused as to what they had heard, by seeing the angels he showed evidence that he had indeed risen from the dead.

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One thing is for sure, if Jesus had not risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, his life and work would have sunk into oblivion. Only this could have changed the sad and desperate men and women so much. Only this can also change us so that we can live the gospel and become His witnesses.

The reality of the resurrection is the heart of the Christian faith. We can enter into this only through the Holy Spirit, who is the first gift of the risen Christ. Only with him can we grasp the mystery of his resurrection, its significance for our daily lives and eternal life. Through him, the risen Lord gives “eyes of faith” so that we can see him and know his presence in our lives and in others and in the Church, which is his body. According to him, we receive his victory over sin, evil, and death, and new life in him. According to him, we also receive his immeasurable resurrection joy, which does not pass away, but always enlightens us with hope and trust even in the darkest moments of our lives.

4. Meditation – thinking

About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:

  • How ready am I to see an empty grave?
  • What signs in my life show me that Jesus rose from the dead?
  • With what thought can I step into the grave and then accept God’s thought?
  • How can I live the good news of the resurrection?

5. Personal Prayer

In the next moments of silence, I talk about this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God).

6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God

Now I let silence be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me. Perhaps from this silence, I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…

7. Action

When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving, and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action).

8. Prayer at the end

Lord, thank you for showing me how important it is to trust to the end so that then fresh air, light, a new look, a new breath, new thoughts and thus new words and new actions can come. Thank you that I can draw from your love, Christ, my Savior, my Beloved.

9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection

This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:

  • How was I feeling when I started praying?
  • What happened during the prayer?
  • What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
  • How did I feel about the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
  • What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others, and me to him and others?
  • How did I finish my prayer?
  • What did I receive for my everyday life?
  • In the end, I can write the lessons, findings, and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
  • Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. With a prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.

Lectio Divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home –

Text from the Bible – New International Version (KJV)

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!