The Resurrection


The resurrection story has many details that can be gleaned from the four gospel accounts.In this paper I have indicated which gospel account adds more detail to the story by the following method.Matthew is regular text, Mark is bold, Luke is underlined, and John is in italics.


When Jesus dies on the cross a rich man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, named Joseph who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, prominent council member, and a good and just man, asks Pilate for his body.Mat. 27: 57-58, Mark 15:43, Luke 23:50-52, John 19:38 Pilate gives him permission and he takes the body down and wraps him in a clean linen.These stripes of linen were accompanied with spices consisting of a mixture of myrrh and aloes about 100 pounds, which was provided by Nicodemus.They laid Jesus in Josephís new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock in a garden where no one had every lain before. He rolled a huge stone against the door of the tomb and departed Mat. 27:59-60, Mk. 27:46, Luke 23:53, John 19:39-41.The women who had followed Jesus from Galilee observed the tomb and how his body was laid. Some of the names of the women are Mary Magdalene (Jesus cast out 7 demons from her Lk. 8:2), Mary the mother of James and Joses, the mother of Zebedeeís soní Salome and Joanna (wife of Chuza Herodís steward Lk 8:3).Then they retuned to prepare fragrant oils and they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Mat. 27:55-56, 61, Mark 15:47,16:1 Luke 23:55-56, 24:10.

††††††††††† On Saturday the chief priests and the Pharisees want Pilate to give them a guard to secure the tomb until the third day.They didnít want Jesusí disciples to come and steal the body and then claim that He had risen from the grave.Pilate grants their request and they go and seal the tomb and set a guard. Mat. 27:62-66.

††††††††††† On Sunday morning the women, who included Mary Magdalene, the mother of Zebedeeís son, Mary the mother of James, Salome, Joanna, and other women started out early to the tomb before day break.They brought spices so they might anoint him.On their way to the tomb they wondered who would roll away the stone for them. Mat. 28:1, Mk. 16:1-3, Luke 24:1,10, Jn. 20:1.

Before the women arrive at the tomb there is a great earthquake and an angel of the Lord descends from heaven and rolls back the stone and sits on it.The soldiers on duty saw this and were very scared.It seems that the soldiers donít hang around long and they go into the city to tell the chief priests all the things that happened. The chief priests bribe the soldiers to say that the disciples took Jesus in the night when they were sleeping. Mat. 28:2-4, 11-15.

The women arrive at the tomb and find the stone rolled away.They go into the tomb and they did not find Jesus.The women encounter some angels that are recorded as saying different things. I want to put their saying in an order that makes sense to me.First of all, I think the women come back out of the tomb when the two angels appear and say Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee that the son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified he is not here, for he has risen, as he said.Come, see the place where he lay.Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead and behold He is going before you to Galilee.These women enter back into the tomb per the angelís instructions and they encounter a young man with a white robe sitting on the right side.He tells them,do not be alarmed you seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified.He has risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid him.But go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him just as he told you.They fled from the tomb because they were so scared and full of joy they didnít say anything to anyone along the way.They were on their way to tell the disciples what had happened when Jesus appears to them and said, ďGreetings!Ē Then they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid, go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.Eventually the women make it to the disciples and the apostles and tell them about these events.

Now we have to back track and pick up another aspect of the story.Mary Magdalene did go with the women to the tomb and she saw that Jesusí body was not there. Apparently she left before the angles appeared based on what John tells us.Mary runs to where Simon Peter and John are. She tells them that someone has taken Jesus out of the tomb and she doesnít know where they have taken him. Peter and John run to the tomb to investigate.John gets there first and sees the linen cloth lying there but he doesnít go in the tomb. Peter goes into the tomb and sees the linen cloth and the face cloth, which was on Jesus head.It was folded up in a place by itself away from the linen cloth.John comes into the tomb and believed. At this point the disciples leave and go back home.When Peter and John came to the tomb apparently the other women had already left the tomb on their way to where the disciples were staying.Peter and John apparently make it back to the house before the women arrive there.While Peter and John make their way back home, Mary stays at the outside of the tomb and weeps. Now Mary has her first encounter with these two angles that the other women had already seen and heard. One was sitting where Jesus feet were and the other where his head was.They asked her why are you weeping? She said to them, they have taken away my lord and I do not know where they have laid him.At this point Mary still doesnít understand that Jesus has been raised from the dead.When she said these things to those angels she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she didnít know that it was him. Jesus asked her, Woman why are you weeping? Whom are seeking?Mary thought he was the gardener so she said, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus calls her name, Mary.At this point she realizes that itís Jesus and calls him Rabboni! which means teacher.She grabs on to him not wanting to let him go, but Jesus tells her to go tell his disciples that he is ascending to his Father and your Father to my God and your God.Jesus appeared to Mary first.He appeared to the other women second.So, Mary goes and tells the disciples that she had seen the Lord.Both Mary and the other women tell the apostles about what happened and how they saw Jesus (Lk 24:10).However, the disciples did not really believe them at this time. We have to realize at this point only these women had encountered the angels and Jesus.The apostles and the other disciples were only sure that Jesus body was gone.They had not seen any evidence to suggest that Jesus was raised from the dead other than these womenís word.Jesus put their doubts to rest as he appears to many of his disciples.Mat. 28: 5-11, Mark 16: 4-11, Lk. 24:4-12, John 20:2-18 Here is listing of Jesusí appearances starting with Mary.


††† 1. To Mary Magdalene, as earlier indicated (John 20:14-18)

††† 2. To the other women on their way to tell the disciples (Matt. 28:9-10)

††† 3. To the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32)

††† 4. To Simon (Luke 24:33-35; 1 Cor. 15:5);

††† 5. To the ten apostles, Thomas being absent (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19,25)

††† 6. To the eleven apostles with Thomas present (Mark 16:14; John 20:26-29)

††† 7. To the seven apostles at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-24)

††† 8. To the eleven apostles on a mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16-20)

††† 9. To over five hundred brethren at once (1 Cor. 15:6)

†† 10. To James the Lord's brother (1 Cor. 15:7)

†† 11. To all the apostles at the ascension (Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:3-11).


I have tried my best to harmonize the four gospel accounts of Jesus resurrection.We have to keep in mind that each writer was writing to a different group of people and not each writer gives all the details.That is why it is important to examine all four gospels closely to get the full story.No matter which account you look at the same basic principle is found there.The disciples find and empty tomb because Jesus had been raised from the dead.


Cougan Collins