Harmony of the Resurrection Accounts

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 direct path.

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 looking for?" 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 Lord!" 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 nothing. 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 just caught." 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 him?" 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 forty days.

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 age."

[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 well.

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 heaven."

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

4. Lk.24:4-8

5. Mk. 16:8

6. Jn.20:2

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

9. Mt.28:8-10

10. Mt.28:11-15

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

16. Jn.20:21-23

17. Jn.20:24-25

18. (Week after resurrection) Jn.20:26-29

19. Sea of Galilee (Some later time) Jn.21:1-14

20. Jn.21:15-17

21. Jn.21:18-19

22. Jn.21:20-24

23. On mountain in Galilee Mt. 28:16-20

Other articles on the Internet dealing with the resurrection accounts:

Pro: Harmonization of the Resurrection taken from Life of Christ in Stereo

Con: Leave No Stone Unturned: An Easter Challenge for Christians by Dan Barker.


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