Reflect: Let’s look at the three responses of Peter, John and Mary at Jesus’ tomb. John, pauses at first, even though he was at the tomb ahead of Peter (which he makes a point to tell the reader). But, Peter runs headlong into the tomb to see if Jesus is in The Greek word for “saw” is “theaomai” which is where we get our word theater. It means to be a spectator that fully sees or fully observes, like a person who is carefully watching a live play. Peter noticed the cloth was lying separately from the linen. This is significant because the word cloth in Greek is “sŏudariŏn.” It is a napkin or handkerchief that could be used for wiping sweat off one’s face and was also used to cover someone’s face after death. The cloth was still lying (folded) in its place (which would be where Jesus’ head had been laid). The body of a corpse was wrapped in strips of linen. The strips of linen were lying in place where Jesus’ body would have been, separate from the cloth that had been on His face. Luke 24:12 tells us what Peter was thinking after his careful observations, “he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” John indicates in verse 8, that he finally goes into the tomb (so it took some time for him to enter). But, when he saw, he believed. The Greek word “saw” here is “ĕidō” which means perceived, had knowledge, to understand. The Greek word for believe is, “pistĕuō” a verb, “to believe” which can be translated as: have faith; believe; to entrust one’s spiritual well-being. Elsewhere in the gospel any absolute use of the verb “to believe” indicates a robust, complete faith in Jesus. John took a look and immediately understood and believed that Jesus had risen from the dead. Verse 9 makes it clear that he didn’t understand from the Old Testament scriptures, on a theological basis, but He was convinced Jesus must have risen from the dead.
Mary Magdalene had been the first at the tomb and when she saw the stone rolled away, she ran back to tell others. Mary is stricken with sorrow because she thinks someone has stolen Jesus’ body so she returns to His tomb to mourn. Matthew 28 tells us that another Mary was with her. As they weep and cry out in front of the tomb, Jesus appears to them. Although, Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Him (this could have been because it was still dark out in the early dawn or His body was transformed and unrecognizable), she knew His voice when He called her by name, “Mary.”