The Meaning of John 20:19 Explained

John 20:19

KJV: Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

YLT: It being, therefore, evening, on that day, the first of the sabbaths, and the doors having been shut where the disciples were assembled, through fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith to them, 'Peace to you;'

Darby: When therefore it was evening on that day, which was the first day of the week, and the doors shut where the disciples were, through fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and says to them, Peace be to you.

ASV: When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

What does John 20:19 Mean?

Verse Meaning

John moved his readers directly from the events of Easter morning to those that happened that evening.
"The seventh day of the week, the Sabbath, commemorates God"s finished work of Creation ( Genesis 2:1-3). The Lord"s Day commemorates Christ"s finished work of redemption, the "new creation."...
"For centuries, the Jewish Sabbath had been associated with Law: six days of work, and then you rest. But the Lord"s Day, the first day of the week, is associated with grace: first there is faith in the living Christ, then there will be works." [1]
Apparently the Eleven except Thomas were present (cf. Mark 16:14; John 20:24). How much Thomas missed because he did not meet with the other disciples on the Lord"s Day (cf. Hebrews 10:22-25)! He had to endure a whole week of fear and unbelief unnecessarily. The disciples had gathered in a secure room because they feared the Jewish authorities. The Jewish authorities had crucified their rabbi, so it was reasonable to think that they might come after them as well. Contrast their boldness following Jesus" ascension just a few weeks later.
John implied that Jesus appeared miraculously even though the disciples had shut up (Gr. kekleismenon, i.e, "locked" NIV) the doors (cf. John 20:26). Jesus" resurrection body had passed through grave clothes and a rocky tomb. Now it passed through the walls of this structure.
Jesus" greeting was common enough (i.e, Heb. shalom "alekem). However, He had formerly promised His disciples His peace ( John 14:27; John 16:33). Consequently He was imparting rather than just wishing peace on them. This seems clear because Jesus repeated the benediction two more times ( John 20:21; John 20:26). "Shalom" summarized the fullness of God"s blessing, not just the cessation of hostility (cf. Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7).
"Never had that "common word" [2] been so filled with meaning as when Jesus uttered it on Easter evening. ... His "Shalom!" on Easter evening is the complement of "it is finished" on the cross, for the peace of reconciliation and life from God is now imparted. "Shalom!" accordingly is supremely the Easter greeting. Not surprisingly it is included, along with "grace," in the greeting of every epistle of Paul in the NT." [3]

Context Summary

John 20:19-25 - The Risen Christ Brings Peace
Evidently our Lord was clothed in the spiritual body of which the Apostle speaks, not subject to the laws governing physical life. Twice He uttered the salutation, Peace be unto you. The first time He accompanied His words with the indication of His wounds: He showed unto them His hands and His side. This was the peace of forgiveness, falling on conscience-stricken hearts as the dew distils on the parched herbage. "Look at the wounds of Jesus!" cried Staupitz to Luther, and there is, indeed, no other sign which can give rest to the penitent. This is the peace of the evening hour, when we come back from the soil and fret of the world, and need to have our feet washed and our heart quieted.
The second time the message of peace was accompanied by an injunction to go forth into the world, as He was sent from the Father, on the great errand of world evangelization. Then He breathed on them and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, which shortly after was to descend as a rushing, mighty wind. There is no way of remitting sin but by preaching the gospel of reconciliation, with the Holy Spirit accompanying our message. This is the peace of the morning, when we go forth to our post of duty or danger. [source]

Chapter Summary: John 20

1  Mary comes to the tomb;
3  so do Peter and John, ignorant of the resurrection
11  Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene,
19  and to his disciples
24  The incredulity and confession of Thomas
30  The Scripture is sufficient to salvation

Greek Commentary for John 20:19

When therefore it was evening on that day [ουσης ουν οπσιας τηι ημεραι εκεινει]
Genitive absolute with οπσια — opsia John often uses this note of time (John 1:39; John 5:9; John 11:53; John 14:20; John 16:23, John 16:26). The addition of τηι μιαι σαββατων — tēi miāi sabbatōn (see John 20:1 for this use of μιαι — miāi like πρωτηι — prōtēi) proves that John is using Roman time, not Jewish, for here evening follows day instead of preceding it. When the doors were shut Genitive absolute again with perfect passive participle of κλειω — kleiō shut to keep the Jews out. News of the empty tomb had already spread (Matthew 28:11). See John 7:13 for the phrase “for fear of the Jews”; cf. John 12:42. Stood in the midst Second aorist (ingressive) active (intransitive) of ιστημι — histēmi “stepped into the midst.” Peace be unto you The usual oriental salutation as in John 20:21, John 20:26; Luke 24:36, here with probable reference to John 14:27 (Christ‘s legacy of peace). [source]
Assembled []
Omit. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for John 20:19

John 21:14 The third time []
The two former occasions being recorded in John 20:19, John 20:26. The appearance to Mary Magdalene is not counted, because the Evangelist expressly says to His disciples. [source]
John 14:27 My peace [ειρηνην την εμην]
This is Christ‘s bequest to the disciples before he goes, the μεδη δειλιατω — shalom of the orient for greeting and parting, used by Jesus in his appearances after the resurrection (John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26) as in 2 John 1:3; 3 John 1:14, but here and in John 16:33 in the sense of spiritual peace such as only Christ can give and which his Incarnation offers to men (Luke 2:14). Neither let it be fearful Added to the prohibition in John 14:1, only N.T. example of δειλος — deiliaō (rare word in Aristotle, in a papyrus of one condemned to death), common in lxx, like palpitating of the heart (from deilos). [source]
John 20:26 After eight days [μετ ημερας οκτω]
That is the next Sunday evening, on the eighth day in reality just like “after three days” and “on the third day.” Within Apparently in the same room as before. Cometh Vivid dramatic present. The other items precisely as in John 20:19 save Thomas was with them. [source]
John 21:14 Now the third time [το ηδη τριτον]
“To the disciples” (apostles) John says, the two others being told by him (John 20:19, John 20:26) on the two Sunday evenings. There were four other appearances already (to Mary Magdalene, to the group of women, to the two on the way to Emmaus, to Peter). [source]
John 1:39 Come and ye shall see [ερχεστε και οπσεστε]
Polite invitation and definite promise (future middle indicative οπσεστε — opsesthe from οραω — horaō correct text, not imperative ιδετε — idete). Where he abode Indirect question preserving the present active indicative after secondary tense “By his side,” “beside him.” That day Accusative of extent of time, all during that day. About the tenth hour Roman time and so ten o‘clock in the morning. John in Ephesus at the close of the century naturally uses Roman time. See John 20:19 “evening on that day,” clearly Roman time. Thus also John 19:14 (sixth hour, morning) and Mark 15:25 (third hour, nine a.m.) suit. To his latest day John never forgot the hour when first he met Jesus. [source]
John 7:13 Howbeit [μεντοι]
See John 4:27 for this compound particle Imperfect active of ουδεις παρρησιαι — laleō “was speaking,” picturing the whispering or secret talk (no man openly, εν — oudeis parrēsiāi). Best MSS. do not have παρρησιαι — en here with εν — parrēsiāi (locative or instrumental case of manner) as in John 7:26; John 10:24; John 11:54, but παρρησιαι — en genuine in John 7:4; Colossians 2:15. This adverbial use of δια τον ποβον των Ιουδαιων — parrēsiāi is common enough (Mark 8:37). For fear of the Jews (dia ton phobon tōn Ioudaiōn). Objective genitive. The crowds really feared the Jewish leaders and evidently did not wish to involve Jesus or themselves. See the same phrase and attitude on the part of the disciples in John 19:38; John 20:19. [source]
Acts 20:7 Week [σαββάτων]
The plural used for the singular, in imitation of the Hebrew form. The noun Sabbath is often used after numerals in the signification of a week. See Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; John 20:19. [source]
Acts 1:3 Shewed himself alive [παρεστησεν εαυτον ζωντα]
To the disciples the first Sunday evening (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25), the second Sunday evening (John 20:26-29), at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23), on the mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Corinthians 15:6), to the disciples in Jerusalem and Olivet (Luke 24:44-53; Mark 16:19.; Acts 1:1-11). Luke uses this verb παριστημι — paristēmi 13 times in the Acts both transitively and intransitively. It is rendered by various English words (present, furnish, provide, assist, commend). The early disciples including Paul never doubted the fact of the Resurrection, once they were convinced by personal experience. At first some doubted like Thomas (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:41; John 20:24.; Matthew 28:17). But after that they never wavered in their testimony to their own experience with the Risen Christ, “whereof we are witnesses” Peter said (Acts 3:15). They doubted at first, that we may believe, but at last they risked life itself in defence of this firm faith. After his passion (μετα το πατειν αυτον — meta to pathein auton). Neat Greek idiom, μετα — meta with the articular infinitive (second aorist active of πασχω — paschō) and the accusative of general reference, “after the suffering as to him.” For πατειν — pathein used absolutely of Christ‘s suffering see also Acts 17:3; Acts 26:23. By many proofs Literally, “in many proofs.” Τεκμηριον — Tekmērion is only here in the N.T., though an old and common word in ancient Greek and occurring in the Koiné{[28928]}š (papyri, etc.). The verb τεκμαιρω — tekmairō to prove by sure signs, is from τεκμαρ — tekmar a sign. Luke does not hesitate to apply the definite word “proofs” to the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ after full investigation on the part of this scientific historian. Aristotle makes a distinction between τεκμηριον — tekmērion (proof) and σημειον — sēmeion (sign) as does Galen the medical writer. Appearing (οπτανομενος — optanomenos). Present middle participle from late verb οπτανω — optanō late Koiné{[28928]}š verb from root οπτω — optō seen in οπσομαι ωπτην — opsomaiοπτασια — ōphthēn In lxx, papyri of second century b.c. (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 83). Only here in the N.T. For δι ημερων τεσσερακοντα — optasia for vision, see note on Acts 26:19; Luke 1:22; Luke 24:23. By the space of forty days At intervals In the Gospel of Luke 24 this separation of forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension is not drawn. The things concerning the Kingdom of God (ευαγγελιον — ta peri tēs basileias tou theou). This phrase appears 33 times in Luke‘s Gospel, 15 times in Mark, 4 times in Matthew who elsewhere has “the kingdom of heaven,” once in John, and 6 times in Acts. No essential distinction is to be drawn between the two for the Jews often used “heaven” rather than “God” to avoid using the Tetragrammaton. But it is noticeable how the word kingdom drops out of Acts. Other words like gospel (τα περι — euaggelion) take the place of “kingdom.” Jesus was fond of the word “kingdom” and Luke is fond of the idiom “the things concerning” (ta peri). Certainly with Jesus the term “kingdom” applies to the present and the future and covers so much that it is not strange that the disciples with their notions of a political Messianic kingdom (Acts 1:6) were slow to comprehend the spiritual nature of the reign of God. [source]
Acts 20:7 When we were gathered together [συνηγμενων ημων]
Genitive absolute, perfect passive participle of συναγω — sunagō to gather together, a formal meeting of the disciples. See this verb used for gatherings of disciples in Acts 4:31; Acts 11:26; Acts 14:27; Acts 15:6, Acts 15:30; Acts 19:7, Acts 19:8; 1 Corinthians 5:4. In Hebrews 10:25 the substantive επισυναγωγην — episunagōgēn is used for the regular gatherings which some were already neglecting. It is impossible for a church to flourish without regular meetings even if they have to meet in the catacombs as became necessary in Rome. In Russia today the Soviets are trying to break up conventicles of Baptists. They probably met on our Saturday evening, the beginning of the first day at sunset. So these Christians began the day (Sunday) with worship. But, since this is a Gentile community, it is quite possible that Luke means our Sunday evening as the time when this meeting occurs, and the language in John 20:19 “it being evening on that day the first day of the week” naturally means the evening following the day, not the evening preceding the day. To break bread (κλασαι αρτον — klasai arton). First aorist active infinitive of purpose of κλαω — klaō The language naturally bears the same meaning as in Acts 2:42, the Eucharist or the Lord‘s Supper which usually followed the Αγαπη — Agapē See note on 1 Corinthians 10:16. The time came, when the Αγαπη — Agapē was no longer observed, perhaps because of the abuses noted in 1 Corinthians 11:20. Rackham argues that the absence of the article with bread here and its presence (τον αρτον — ton arton) in Acts 20:11 shows that the Αγαπη — Agapē is ] referred to in Acts 20:7 and the Eucharist in Acts 20:11, but not necessarily so because τον αρτον — ton arton may merely refer to αρτον — arton in Acts 20:7. At any rate it should be noted that Paul, who conducted this service, was not a member of the church in Troas, but only a visitor. Discoursed Imperfect middle because he kept on at length. Intending (μελλω — mellō). Being about to, on the point of. On the morrow Locative case with ημεραι — hēmerāi understood after the adverb επαυριον — epaurion If Paul spoke on our Saturday evening, he made the journey on the first day of the week (our Sunday) after sunrise. If he spoke on our Sunday evening, then he left on our Monday morning. Prolonged his speech (Παρετεινεν τον λογον — Pareteinen ton logon). Imperfect active (same form as aorist) of παρατεινω — parateinō old verb to stretch beside or lengthwise, to prolong. Vivid picture of Paul‘s long sermon which went on and on till midnight (μεχρι μεσονυκτιου — mechri mesonuktiou). Paul‘s purpose to leave early next morning seemed to justify the long discourse. Preachers usually have some excuse for the long sermon which is not always clear to the exhausted audience. [source]
Galatians 6:16 Peace be on them [εἰρήνη ἐπ ' αὐτοὺς]
The only instance of this formula in N.T. Commonly εἰρήνη with the simple dative, peace unto you, as John 20:19, John 20:21; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; Galatians 1:3, etc. In the Catholic Epistles, with πληθυνθείη bemultiplied. See 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2; Judges 1:2. [source]
3 John 1:14 Peace to thee [ειρηνη σοι]
Pax tibi like the Jewish greeting οι πιλοι — shalōm (Luke 10:5; Luke 24:36; John 20:19, John 20:21).The friends (κατ ονομα — hoi philoi). Those in Ephesus.By name John knew the friends in the church (at Pergamum or wherever it was) as the good shepherd calls his sheep by name (John 10:3, the only other N.T. example of kat' onoma). The idiom is common in the papyri letters (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 193, note 21). [source]

What do the individual words in John 20:19 mean?

It being therefore evening the day same first of [the] week and the doors having been shut where were the disciples through the fear of the Jews came - Jesus stood in the midst He says to them Peace to you
Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ μιᾷ σαββάτων καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον λέγει αὐτοῖς Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν

Οὔσης  It  being 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
ὀψίας  evening 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ὀψία 
Sense: late.
ἡμέρᾳ  day 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ἡμέρα  
Sense: the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night.
ἐκείνῃ  same 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ἐκεῖνος  
Sense: he, she it, etc.
μιᾷ  first 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
σαββάτων  of  [the]  week 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: σάββατον  
Sense: the seventh day of each week which was a sacred festival on which the Israelites were required to abstain from all work.
θυρῶν  doors 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Plural
Root: θύρα  
Sense: a door.
κεκλεισμένων  having  been  shut 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Participle Middle or Passive, Genitive Feminine Plural
Root: κλείω  
Sense: to shut, shut up.
ὅπου  where 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ὅπου  
Sense: where, whereas.
μαθηταὶ  disciples 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: μαθητής  
Sense: a learner, pupil, disciple.
διὰ  through 
Parse: Preposition
Root: διά  
Sense: through.
φόβον  fear 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: φόβος  
Sense: fear, dread, terror.
τῶν  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Plural
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἰουδαίων  Jews 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: Ἰουδαῖος  
Sense: Jewish, belonging to the Jewish race.
ἦλθεν  came 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἔρχομαι  
Sense: to come.
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἰησοῦς  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
ἔστη  stood 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἵστημι  
Sense: to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set.
μέσον  midst 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: μέσος  
Sense: middle.
λέγει  He  says 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λέγω 
Sense: to say, to speak.
αὐτοῖς  to  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
Εἰρήνη  Peace 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: εἰρήνη  
Sense: a state of national tranquillity.
ὑμῖν  to  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.