So Peter and the other disciple when forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. John 20:3-8 9 (NASB)
You may have noticed the repetition of the word “saw” in today’s reading. What you would not know, unless you looked at the Greek text, is that John utilised three different Greek words for “saw”.
Firstly, we are told that John “saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in”. The Greek word translated “saw” in this verse is bleep which refers to a quick glance or a simple look. It was a mere viewing of the facts.
The second Greek word translated “saw” is in verse 6. Peter “saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself”. The Greek word for “saw” is theoreo, which carries the idea of ‘looking carefully; to observe intensely or scrutinise’. We get our word ‘theatre’ from it. Peter’s seeing was deeper because he went into the tomb and clearly saw something astounding. However, he did not yet understand completely.
The third “saw” is in verse 8 where we are told that John entered the tomb “and he saw and believed”. This is the Greek word eido which means ‘to perceive or look with understanding’. John perceived what had actually taken place. John’s reaction from ‘seeing’ was ‘believing’.
Peter had sight; John had insight. How about us this Easter? What do we see? Are we just peering into the pages of the Easter narrative and observing what happened? Or, are we perceiving and understanding that Jesus went to the Cross for us and when He cried out, “It is finished!” it was not a terrified cry of defeat, but a triumphant cry of victory? It meant ‘mission accomplished’. Are we perceiving the Bible’s glorious message that He has risen and is alive today?
…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NASB)
We need to be careful when we present the gospel that we remember the best part of the story. Not only did Jesus die for our sins on the cross, but He was raised from the dead. May the eyes of your heart may be enlightened to this truth and may this transform our lives. May we ‘see and believe’.