Angels Open the Tomb and Announce Jesus’ Resurrection
After Jesus was crucified, His disciples laid His body in a new tomb. A large stone was rolled in front of the opening. The Pharisees and chief priests were afraid Jesus’ followers would take away the body and claim He had risen from the dead, so they posted guards at the tomb. On the third day after Jesus died, Mary Magdalene and other women went to the tomb. The stone had been rolled away, and Jesus’ body was gone.
Matthew’s Account: On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb of Jesus. “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the bangel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.” (Matt 28:2) The angel said unto the women, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is arisen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matt 28: 5-6) The women were filled with joy and went to tell Jesus’ disciples. “And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.” (Matt 28: 8 )
Mark’s Account: From the gospel of Mark, we get a little more detail. “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week.” (Mark 16: 1-2) When they arrived, they saw the stone had been rolled away. “And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen.” (Mark 16: 5-6) The angel then told them to go and tell Peter and the disciples, and they quickly fled from the tomb.
Luke’s Account: Similar to the others, Luke says, “And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed there about, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24: 3-6) And like the other accounts, those at the tomb went to tell the others. “It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.” (Luke 24: 10-11)
John’s Account: John’s account is similar to the others, but adds some detail. It says that Mary Magdalene said to Peter, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.” John and Peter then run to the tomb and go inside to see the linens that Jesus had been buried in, but not the Savior’s body. It was then that John says he “saw, and believed.” (John 20: 8)
Woman, why weepest thou?: Mary Encounters the Resurrected Savior
At some point, either before or after Peter and John came to the empty tomb, Mary Magdalene stood weeping outside Jesus’ tomb. John’s account says that “as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20: 11-13)
As she turned back, Mary noticed someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she did not recognize Him until He spoke her name. “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” (John 20: 15-16)
The Savior explained that He had not yet ascended to His Father in Heaven and asked her to tell the Apostles the things He said to her. “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20: 17) Then Mary ran quickly to tell the Apostles that she had seen the risen Lord.
Jesus appears to disciples
Not long after His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and some other disciples. They were frightened because they thought He was a spirit. Jesus showed them the wounds in His hands, feet, and side and invited the members of the group to touch Him so they would know He was not just a spirit. Jesus also asked for food and ate fish and honey to show that He had a resurrected body. The Apostles and other disciples rejoiced to see their risen Lord.
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24: 36-43)
John adds a couple of interesting details to this account. He says that “the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews,” (John 20: 19) when Jesus came unto them. John also mentions at this time that the Savior bestows upon them the Holy Ghost. He says Jesus “breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20: 22)
One of the twelve apostles, Thomas, was not present in the scene above when Jesus came. The other disciples testified unto him that they had seen the risen Lord, but he would not believe them. Said Thomas, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20: 25)
“And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20: 26-29)