Harmony of the Resurrection
STONE ROLLED AWAY.(1) There was a violent earthquake,
for an angel of the Lord came down from
heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on
it. His appearance was like lightning, and
his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him
that they shook and became like dead men.
WOMEN COME TO THE TOMB.(2) [Mk] When the Sabbath was
over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of
James, [Lk] Joanna, [Mk] and Salome bought spices so that they
might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on
the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on
their way to the tomb and they asked each other,
"Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very
large, had been rolled away.
The women had left for Joseph of Arimathea 's tomb early
Sunday morning, when it was still dark. By the
time they had arrived, however, the sun was rising and had just
begun to show its f rst rays of light. The
stone was rolled away during the womens' journey.
RESURRECTION ANNOUNCED.(3) [Mk] As they entered the
tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white
robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. [Lk] They
did not find the body of the Lord.
[Mk] "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus
the Nazarene, who was crucified. He
has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is
going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as
he told you."
WOMEN REMINDED OF PROPHECY.(4) While they were wondering
about this, suddenly two men in
clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their
fright the women bowed down with their
faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look
for the living among the dead? He is not
here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still
with you in Galilee: 'The son of Man must
be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on
the third day be raised again."' Then they
remembered his words.
WOMEN GO AWAY FEARFUL.(5) Trembling and bewildered, the
women went out and fled from the tomb.
They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
It has been hvpothesised that Mary Magdalene simply ran
back to John s house faster than the other women.
However, it is most likely that she simply left before the rest
of them, probably before the other women had
even investigated the inside of the tomb. Bewildered and
confused, she breathlessly told Peter and John of
the empty tomb.
PETER AND JOHN TOLD.(6) So [Mary of Magdala came
running to Simon Peter and the other disciple,
the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of
the tomb, and we don t know where they
have put him!"
and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God
and your God."'
The narratives then tell us that Jesus appeared to the
other women. This was on their way back to John 's
house. More than likely, due to being unfamiliar with the city's
geography, the women were probably
traveling by lvay of the Ephraim Gate, which was a longer,
indirect route. John, Peter, and Mary
Magdalene probably took the Gehenna Gate, which was the most
JESUS APPEARS TO WOMEN.(9) So the women hurried away
from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and
ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings,"
he said. They came to him, clasped his feet
and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid.
Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee;
there they will see me."
CHIEF PRIESTS COVER UP.(10) While the women were on
their way, some of the guards went into the city
and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.
When the chief priests had met with the
elders and devised a plan. they gave the soldiers a large sum of
money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His
disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were
asleep.' If this report gets to the governor,
we will satisfy him and keep him out of trouble. And this story
has been widely circulated among the Jews John, a local resident,
knew the shor est way to the tomb, which was through the Gennath Gate. Mary
Magdalene, perhaps unbeknownest to the disciples, followed
behind Peter and John at a distance.
PETER AND JOHN VIEW THE TOMB.(7) So Peter and the other
disciple started for the tomb. Both were
running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the
tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the
strips of linen Iying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter,
who was behind him, arrived and went into
the tomb. He saw the strips of linen Iying there, as well as the
burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head.
The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
Finally the other disciple, who had reached the
tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still
did not understand from Scripture that Jesus
had to rise from the dead.)
Then the disciples went back to their homes.
The disciples, convinced that the tomb was empty, but
confused abouJ its implications,left in haste. Mary,
however, lingered behind. Still bewildered and confused, she was
unable to comprehend the scene.
JESUS WITH MARY MAGDALENE.(8) [Mk] [When Jesus rose
early on the first day of the week, he appeared
first to Mary Magadalene, out of whom he had driven seven
demons.] [Jn] Mary stood outside the tomb crying.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two
angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had
been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, 'Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't
know where they have put him." At this,
she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not
realize that it was Jesus.
"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have
carried him away, tell me where you have
put him, and I will get him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!"
(which means Teacher).
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet
returned to Father. Go instead to my brothers
to this very day.
Eventually, Mary, mother of James, Salome, and Joanna arrived at the
disciples house. They probably
arrived shortly before Mary Magdalene. At this time, all of the
women had seen the risen Jesus; they tried
to explain this to the disciples. The disciples, however, were
already mourning and weeping due to the
confusion of Peter and John 's report of the missing body, as
they had notyet received an angelic revelation
or an appearance of the risen Christ.
WOMEN TELL OF APPEARANCE.(11) When they came back from
the tomb, they told all these things to
the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna,
Mary the mother of James, and the others
with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not
believe the women, because their words seemed
to them like nonsense.
JESUS APPEARS TO CLEOPAS. (12) Now that same daytwo of
them were going to a village called Emmaus,
about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each
other about ever,vthing that had happened.
As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus
himself came up and walked along with
them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named
Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a
visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have
happened there in these days?"
"What things?" he asked.
"About Jesus of Nazareth, "they replied. "He was a
prophet, powerful in word and deed before God
and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him
over to be sentenced to death, and they
crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was
going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it
is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of
our women amazed us. They went to the tomb
early this morning but didn't find his body. They came and told
us that they had seen a vision of angels, who
said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb
and found it just as the women had said,
but him they did not see."
He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of
heart to believe all that the prophets have
spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then
enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses
and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all
the Scriptures concerning himself.
JESUS' IDENTITY REVEALED.(13) As they approached the
village to which they were going, Jesus acted
as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, "Stay
with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is
almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave
thanks, broke it and began to give it to
them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and
he disappeared from their sight. They
asked each other. "Were not our hearts burning within us while
he talked with us on the road and opened the
Scriptures to us?"
Although a direct reference is not made to it, Jesus also
appeared to Simon Peter at some point on Sunday.
This is can be seen by examining the following passage.
CLEOPAS TELLS OF APPEARANCE. (14) [Lk] They got up and
returned at once to Jerusalem. There [ ~n on
the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples
were together with the doors looked for fear of
the Jews,] they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled
together and saying, "It is true! The Lord...
JESUS APPEARS TO DISCIPLES. (15) While they were still
talking about his, Jesus himself stood among
them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a
ghost. He said to them, "Why are you
troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands
and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me
and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
When he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And
while they still did not believe it
because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have
anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece
of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was
still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that
it written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the
Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they
could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is
written: The Christ will suffer and rise from
the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of
sins will be preached in his name to all nations,
beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these thing. I am
going to send you what my Father has
promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with
power from on high."
APOSTLES RECEIVE AUTHORITY. (16) Again Jesus said,
"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said,
"Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive
anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them,
they are not forgiven."
THOMAS DOUBTS. (17) Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of
the Twelve, was not with the disciples when
Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the
But he said, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and
put my finger where the nails were, and
put my hand in his side, I will not believe it."
JESUS APPEARS TO THOMAS. (18) A week later his
disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was
with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood
among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands.
Reach out you hand and put it into my side.
Stop doubting and believe."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have
believed; blessed are those who have
not seen and yet have believed."
JESUS APPEARS TO DISCIPLES. (19) Afterward Jesus
appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of
Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called
Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee.
the sons of Zebedee. and two other disciples were together. "I'm
going out to fish," Simon Peter told them,
and they said, "We ll go with you." So they went out and got
into the boat, but that night they caught
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the
disciples did not realize it was Jesus.
He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?"
"No," they answered.
He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and
you will find some." When they did, they
were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciples whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is
the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard
him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around
him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into
Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have
Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It
was full of large fish, 153, but even with
so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have
breakfast." None of the disciples dared
ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came,
took the bread and gave it to them, and
did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus
appeared to his disciples after he was raise
from the dead.
PETER REINSTATED. (20) When they had finished eating,
Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John,
do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do
you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know
all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.
PETER'S DEATH FORETOLD. (21) I tell you the truth, when
you were younger you dressed yourself and
went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out
your hands, and someone else will dress
you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this
to indicate the kind of death by which Peter
would glorify God. Then He said to him, "Follow me!"
JOHN'S DEATH QUESTIONED. (22) Peter turned and saw that
the disciple whom Jesus loved was following
them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the
supper and had said, "Lord, who is going
to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about
Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I
return, what is that to you? You must follow
me." Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that
this disciple would not die. But Jesus did
not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to
remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who
wrote them down. We know that this
testimony is true.
Paul records in I Corinthians 15. 6 an appearance to over
500 brethren. This could have occurred during
the Great Commission. which follows, or could have occurred at a
seperate appearance. Paul also records
in I Corinthian 15. 7 an appearance to James at some point after
the appearance to the 500, during the f nal
JESUS COMMISSIONS APOSTLES. (22) Then Jesus came to them
and said, "All authority in heaven and on
earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of
all nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching
them to obey everything I have commanded
you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the
[The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient
witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-21]
Jesus' parting instructions to the disciples were given in
Jerusalem forty days after his resurrection, on the
day of his ascension, as the they were all gathered together for
the final time. Before his last private
instruction to the disciples, he reminded the disciples of their
stubbornness at not believing the women's
testimony after the resurrection, perhaps foreshadowing the fact
that some would doubt their testimony as
PARTING INSTRUCTIONS. (24) Later Jesus appeared to the
Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them
for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe
those who had seen him after he had risen.
He said to them, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be
saved, but whoever does not believe will
be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe:
In my name they will drive out demons;
they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with
their hands; and when they drink deadly
poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their
hands on sick people, and they will get well."
The ascension of Jesus occurred at the Mount of Olives,
which is about 1,200 yards from Jerusalem. It is
on the path to Bethany.
JESUS ASCENDS. (25) [Lk] When he had led them out to
the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and
blessed them. [Ac] [They] asked him, "Lord, are you at this time
going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or
dates the Father has set by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
After he said this, he was taken up before their very
eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was
going, when suddenly two men dressed in white
stood beside the. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand
here looking into the sky? This same
Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back
in the same way you have seen him go into
Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties
(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House,
1982) pp. 347-356.
The Daily Bible in Chronological Order, New International
Version, Commentary edited by F. LaGard Smith
(Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishing, 1984) pp. 1478-1483.
John Wenham, Easter Enigma: Are the Resurrection Accounts in
Conflict? (Grand Rapids, Michigan:
Baker Book House, 1984 & 1992).
1. (Sunday morning) Matthew 28:2-4 The texts are unclear as to
whether or not the stone was rolled
away while the women were at the tomb or on their way to the
tomb. A harmonization of the
texts produces the following conclusion: The stone was rolled
away while the women were very
near the tomb, but they did not see the event itself.
2. At the tomb (Sunday morning) Matthew 28:1; Mk.16:1-4;
Lk.24:1-3,10; Jn.20 l
3. Mt 28 5-7; Mk.16:5-7; Luke 24:3
5. Mk. 16:8
7. At tomb Jn.20:3-10 Luke 24:12 is a late interpolation.
It is absent from the earliest
Greek manuscripts and is not to be considered part of the
onginal Gospel accounts.
8. Mk. 16:9; Jn.20:11-17
11. Mk.16:10-11; Lk. 24:9-11; Jn. 20:18
12. Road to Emmaus (Sunday afternoon) Mk.16:12; Lk.24:13-27
13 Emmaus (Sunday evening) Lk. 24:28-32
14. Mk. 16:13; Lk. 24:33-35; Jn. 20:19
15. (Sunday night) Mk. 16:14; Lk. 24:36-49; Jn 20:20
18. (Week after resurrection) Jn.20:26-29
19. Sea of Galilee (Some later time) Jn.21:1-14
23. On mountain in Galilee Mt. 28:16-20
Other articles on the Internet dealing with the resurrection accounts:
the Resurrection taken from Life of Christ in Stereo
Stone Unturned: An Easter Challenge for Christians by Dan Barker.
Go back to Contend for the Faith.
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