The Empty Tomb
The stone rolled away (Matt. 28:2-4)
And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.
The tomb visited by the women (Matt. 28:1, Mark 16:1)
Now after the Sabbath was over, as it began to dawn early toward the first day of the week, while it was still dark, when the sun had risen, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Mary the mother of James), and Salome, came to look at the grave and bought spices they prepared, so that they might come and anoint Him.
The tomb found to be empty by the women (Matt. 28:5-8; Mark 16:2-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1)
They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away from the tomb, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus; they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, one of the men said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples and Peter that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” One of the men said, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words. And they went out and fled the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them. They ran to report it to His disciples, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
The tomb found to be empty by Peter and John (Luke 24:9-12; John 20:2-10)
So she (Mary Magdalene) and the other women (Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them) returned from the tomb and ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and reported all these things to the eleven apostles and to all the rest. Mary said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. So Peter and the other disciple went 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 only 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. Simon Peter went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
The Post-Resurrection Appearances
Appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18)
Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her. When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.
Appearance to the other women (Matt. 28:9-10)
And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
Report of the soldiers to the Jewish authorities (Matt. 28:11-15)
Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.
Road to Emmaus: Appearance to the two disciples (incl. Cleopas) traveling to Emmaus, Report of appearance to Cephas (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35) (1 Cor. 15:5a)
After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” And He appeared to Cephas.
They got up that very hour and went away to return to Jerusalem, and reported it to the others, and to the eleven found gathered together with them, saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread, but they did not believe them either.
Appearance to the ten disciples in the upper room (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
It was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. While they were telling these things, Jesus Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet and His side. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
Appearances after passion week:
Following Sunday: Appearance to the eleven in the upper room (1 Cor. 15:5b; Mark 16:14; John 20:26-31)
Eight days afterward, he appeared to the twelve, the eleven themselves, as the disciples were again inside, reclining at the table, and Thomas with them; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Sea of Galilee: Appearance to the seven disciples while fishing (John 21:1-25)
After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will also come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you do not have any fish, do you?’ They answered Him, ‘No.’ And He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.’ So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.’ Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples ventured to question Him, ‘Who are You?’ knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.’ Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!’ Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?’ This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.
Galilee: Appearance to the Eleven on a mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18)
But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Appearance to more than five hundred (1 Cor. 15:6)
After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep.
Appearance to James, Jesus’ brother (1 Cor. 15:7)
Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
Ascension from Mount of Olives in Jerusalem 40 Days After Resurrection: Appearance to the disciples & Christ’s parting blessing (Acts 1:3-12; Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:44-53)
To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’ He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.’ And after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them these things, He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them, and He was lifted up (carried, received) into heaven while they were looking on, and sat down at the right hand of God, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’ Then they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away, and they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And they were continually in the temple praising God. And after that, they went out and preached everywhere from east to west, while the Lord Jesus Himself worked with them, and confirmed the word, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation, by the signs that followed.
Blending of Luke 24:36-53; Acts 1:4-14; Matthew 28:16-20 (Mark 16:14-20b excluded)
To Paul on the road to Damascus several years later (Acts 9:1-19; 22:3-16; 26:9-18; 1 Cor. 9:1)
Has Saul/Paul not seen Jesus, our Lord? Saul was a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in Jerusalem, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God. So then, Saul thought to himself that he had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Saul persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. And this is just what he did in Jerusalem; not only did he lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death he cast his vote against them. And as he punished them often in all the synagogues, he tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, he kept pursuing them even to foreign cities. While so engaged, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, he went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. As he was approaching Damascus at midday (with the authority and commission of the chief priests), suddenly about noontime, a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, flashed around him and those who were journeying with him; and they all fell to the ground and Saul heard a voice saying to him in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene whom you are persecuting. For this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice and seeing the light, but seeing no one. They did not understand the voice of the One speaking to Saul. And Saul said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to Saul, ‘Get up and stand on your feet; go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing because of the brightness of that light; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there; and the Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.’ So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after standing near and laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And immediately Saul looked up at him, and there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight. And Ananias said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. ‘For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ And he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus.