He saw and believed…

8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. [1] Jn 20:8

It’s the little things that make the story real.  It’s also the little things that underpin the validation of the author.  This sentence shows the importance that the author gives to having arrived first.  The author [and the Spirit, his inspirer] placed additional significance to this fact, insofar as it is repeated within the space of three verses.  Linguistically, that phrase could have been omitted and the reader would be expected to understand it was the aforementioned “other disciple.”  But that’s not what was written.

It seems that the clarity of the identification of this disciple is very important, obviously not to the writer, but for the writer to convey to the reader.  Since the target audience of this gospel was initially the Johannine community, it is these, the author’s disciples, whom John is writing and whom he wishes to impress with the fact…not simply that he arrived first, though that bit of realism validates his eye-witness status nor, even, its later perceived allegorical demonstration of the importance of contemplation in the Christian Community…perhaps something he learned from Mary whom we are told both at the birth and at the finding in the temple who kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart, [Lk 2:19,51]…but that he went in,…and he saw and believed.

He saw and believed. This is the critical, relevant, momentous information which John wishes to impart.  He saw in the emptiness of the tomb, the fullness of Jesus own prediction…that he would rise after three days [Mk 8:31]the tumblers clicked into place, everything He said had come true: The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed [Mk 8:31]it followed, as day follows night, that this incredible, unintelligible “rising from the dead” had actually happened.  He said it again and again: on the third day he will rise.”[Lk 18:33] How could we have been so blind…But they understood nothing of this; the word remained hidden from them and they failed to comprehend what he said. [Lk 18:33]…

Now to embark on the never ending journey to understand the implications of this fact….I saw and believed…Amen. Alleluia!!!

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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