John 20: Believing in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 92


The Savior’s mortal ministry ended on the cross, but the empty tomb testified of His divinity and gave hope of a resurrection for all of us. What evidence is there that Jesus Christ was resurrected? Why do you not need to see Him to believe that He has risen from the dead? Ponder John’s testimony in John 20:31 before you read and study this chapter.
Christ appears to Mary at the tomb

Understanding the Scriptures

John 20

Napkin (v. 7)Cloth covering the face of a dead person 
First day of the week (vv. 1, 19)Sunday 
Remit, remitted (v. 23)Forgive, forgiven 

John 20:17—Where Was the Lord’s Spirit While His Body Lay in the Tomb?

When the resurrected Savior appeared to Mary Magdalene, He said, “I am not yet ascended to my Father.” Where had His spirit gone then while His body lay in the tomb? Peter taught that “he went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:18–20). On 3 October 1918, President Joseph F. Smith was pondering that account by Peter. He received in vision a more extensive view of the Savior’s three-day mission (see D&C 138).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study John 20.

Activity A iconChrist the Lord Is Risen

How can we know that Jesus Christ was resurrected? John 20 records three levels of knowledge concerning the Resurrection. Discover these levels by reading the references below and answering the accompanying questions:

  1. 1.

    Read John 20:1–10. What evidence do these verses give of the Resurrection? How is an empty tomb evidence? How did the empty tomb affect what Mary Magdalene, Peter, and “that other disciple” (John) believed?

  2. 2.

    What new evidence was given to Mary Magdalene? (see vv. 11–18). How did this experience affect Mary’s belief regarding the Resurrection of the Savior?

  3. 3.

    According to John 20:19–20, after the Lord had appeared to ten of the Apostles, what did Thomas require before he would believe their story of seeing the Lord? What new evidence did Thomas receive about the Resurrection? What important principle did the Lord teach Thomas about believing in the Resurrection?

How can you know that Jesus was resurrected? Write your testimony of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

the resurrected Christ