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Seeing is believing? [John 20-21]

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  • Robert M Schacht
    John 20-21 describe three appearances of the risen Jesus-- at least, that is what we are told in 21:14. The first appearances took place in Jerusalem. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2000
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      John 20-21 describe three appearances of the risen Jesus-- at least, that
      is what we are told in 21:14. The first appearances took place in
      Jerusalem. The first was to Mary Magdalene in the garden.

      The final appearance of Jesus occurs in the epilogue. This event
      happens by the "Sea of Tiberias" -- that is, in Galilee. The writer of
      the
      epilogue (who may or may not have been the same writer) tells us:
      "This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after
      he
      was raised from the dead" (21:14). By some counts, this is actually the
      fourth appearance, unless the appearance to Mary didn't "count".

      In each of these accounts words are important -- although neither "logos"
      nor "rhema" are used. The first appearance ends with Mary announcing
      ["aggello" -- only occurrence in NT] to the disciples, "I *have seen* the
      Lord" and then telling them what Jesus had told to her (20:18).

      The second appearance results in the disciples telling Thomas, "We have
      *seen* the Lord" (20:25) -- (the same words that Mary had used). The same
      word is used by Jesus to Thomas in v. 29: "Have you believed because you
      *have seen* me?" This suggests that believing involves more than just
      seeing
      the risen Lord. Each of these verbs is in the perfect tense, which
      implies a
      past action with continuing effect in the present. They saw something in
      the
      past and that seeing continues to affect their lives.

      (I am indebted to Brian Stoffregen for these observations.)

      My question: is this word usage ("have seen" in the perfect tense)
      noteworthy?
      If so, is there anything special that is the writer attempting to convey
      by this usage?
      What does it tell us about the author's views about the resurrected
      Jesus?

      Does this usage occur elsewhere in the Gospels, and if so, in what
      context(s)?

      Thanks,
      Bob
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