the first day of the week: See study note on Mt 28:1.
tomb: Or “memorial tomb.”—See Glossary, “Memorial tomb.”
the other disciple, for whom Jesus had affection: That is, the one for whom Jesus had special affection. This is the third of five occurrences mentioning a certain disciple “whom Jesus [or, “he”] loved” or “for whom Jesus had affection.” (Joh 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20) It is generally believed that the disciple referred to is the apostle John. (See study notes on Joh 13:23; 18:15.) In the four other occurrences, the Greek word a·ga·paʹo is used. This verse uses a synonym, the Greek word phi·leʹo, often rendered “have affection for” in this translation.—Mt 10:37; Joh 11:3, 36; 16:27; Joh 21:15-17; 1Co 16:22; Tit 3:15; Re 3:19; see study notes on Joh 5:20; 16:27; 21:15.
the scripture: Probably referring to Ps 16:10 or Isa 53:10. Certain prophecies about the Messiah were not yet understood, even by Jesus’ disciples. This was particularly true about those prophecies dealing with the Messiah’s rejection, suffering, death, and resurrection.—Isa 53:3, 5, 12; Mt 16:21-23; 17:22, 23; Lu 24:21; Joh 12:34.
Hebrew: See study note on Joh 5:2.
Rabboni!: A Semitic word meaning “My Teacher.” Some think that originally “Rabboni” was a more respectful title or that it conveyed more warmth than the form “Rabbi.” However, here and at Joh 1:38, John simply translated both titles as Teacher. Perhaps the first person suffix (“-i” meaning “my”) added in the title “Rabboni” had lost its special significance by the time John wrote his Gospel.
Stop clinging to me: The Greek verb haʹpto·mai can mean either “to touch” or “to cling to; to hang on to.” Some translations render Jesus’ words: “Do not touch me.” However, Jesus was not objecting to Mary Magdalene’s merely touching him, since he did not object when other women who saw him after he was resurrected “took hold of his feet.” (Mt 28:9) It appears that Mary Magdalene feared that Jesus was about to ascend to heaven. Moved by her strong desire to be with her Lord, she was holding fast to Jesus, not letting him go. To assure her that he was not yet leaving, Jesus instructed Mary to stop clinging to him and, instead, to go to his disciples and declare the news of his resurrection.
my God and your God: This conversation between Jesus and Mary Magdalene on Nisan 16, 33 C.E., shows that the resurrected Jesus viewed the Father as his God, just as the Father was God to Mary Magdalene. Two days earlier, when on the torture stake, Jesus had cried out: “My God, my God,” fulfilling the prophecy found at Ps 22:1 and acknowledging his Father as his God. (Mt 27:46; Mr 15:34; Lu 23:46) In the book of Revelation, Jesus also speaks of his Father as “my God.” (Re 3:2, 12) These passages confirm that the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ worships the heavenly Father as his God, just as Jesus’ disciples do.
the Jews: Apparently referring to the Jewish authorities or religious leaders.—See study note on Joh 7:1.
the Twin: See study note on Joh 11:16.
My Lord and my God!: Lit., “The Lord of me and the God [ho the·osʹ] of me!” Some scholars view this expression as an exclamation of astonishment spoken to Jesus but actually directed to God, his Father. Others claim that the original Greek requires that the words be viewed as being directed to Jesus. Even if this is so, the intent of the expression “my Lord and my God” is best understood in the context of the rest of the inspired Scriptures. Since the record shows that Jesus had previously sent his disciples the message, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God,” there is no reason to believe that Thomas thought that Jesus was the almighty God. (See study note on Joh 20:17.) Thomas had heard Jesus pray to his “Father,” calling him “the only true God.” (Joh 17:1-3) So Thomas may have addressed Jesus as “my God” for the following reasons: He viewed Jesus as being “a god” though not the almighty God. (See study note on Joh 1:1.) Or he may have addressed Jesus in a manner similar to the way that servants of God addressed angelic messengers of Jehovah, as recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures. Thomas would have been familiar with accounts in which individuals, or at times the Bible writer of the account, responded to or spoke of an angelic messenger as though he were Jehovah God. (Compare Ge 16:7-11, 13; 18:1-5, 22-33; 32:24-30; Jg 6:11-15; 13:20-22.) Therefore, Thomas may have called Jesus “my God” in this sense, acknowledging Jesus as the representative and spokesman of the true God.
Some argue that the use of the Greek definite article before the words for “lord” and “god” indicates that these words refer to the almighty God. However, in this context the use of the article may simply reflect Greek grammar. Cases where a nominative noun with the definite article is used as vocative in Greek can be illustrated by a literal translation of such scriptures as Lu 12:32 (lit., “the little flock”) and Col 3:18–4:1 (lit., “the wives”; “the husbands”; “the children”; “the fathers”; “the slaves”; “the masters”). In a similar way, a literal translation of 1Pe 3:7 would read: “The husbands.” So the use of the article here may not be of significance in determining what Thomas had in mind when he made his statement.