Tho the emphasis of this day is the resurrection of Jesus, many will wind up questioning whether He was raise. One of the reasons revolves around the seeming contradictions in the Gospels. For those of you who are familiar with this problem, I would encourage you to read the following harmonizing of the resurrection events. I hope you find it helpful.
Events and Appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection
(An attempt at harmonizing the gospel accounts.)
- After the actual resurrection had taken place, but before dawn, an earthquake occurred, an angel rolled away the stone from the entrance of the tomb, and the guards trembled and fled (Matt. 28:2-4).
- As morning was dawning on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome approached the tomb, intending to anoint Jesus with the perfumed oil brought by other women who evidently set out later. To their amazement they found the stone rolled away (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1-4; John 20:1).
- One or more of the women entered the tomb and announced that the body was not there (an inference from John 20:2, where Mary Magdalene does not simply say, "The stone has been taken away").
- Mary Magdalene immediately returned to tell Peter and John that the body had been removed (John 20:2).
- Mary (the mother of James and Joses) and Salome saw an angel ("a young man" in Mark) inside the tomb who announced the resurrection and directed the women to tell the disciples that Jesus would meet them in Galilee (Matt. 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7).
- These two women returned to the city without greeting anyone on the way (Matt.28:8; Mark 16:8).
- Certain women from Galilee, along with Joanna (cf. Luke 8: 3), arrived at the tomb, carrying perfumed oil to anoint the body of Jesus. They met two "men" ("angels"; cf. Luke 24:4, 23) and then returned to report the angels' message of the resurrection "to the Eleven and to all the rest" (Luke 24: 1-9,22-23) who had evidently now gathered together (c£ Matt.26: 56) .
- Meanwhile, informed by Mary Magdalene, Peter and John (and others?; Luke 24:24) ran to the tomb (without meeting Mary and Salome), observed the grave-clothes, and returned home (John 20:3-10; and Luke 24: 12).
- Mary Magdalene followed Peter and John to the tomb, saw two angels inside, and then met Jesus (John 20: 11-17; cf Mark 16:9).
- Mary Magdalene returned to inform the disciples that Jesus had risen (John 20:18; c£ Mark 16:10-11).
- Mary (the mother of James and Joses) and Salome met Jesus and were directed to tell his brethren to go to Galilee (Matt. 28:9-10).
- The disciples had now had reports concerning the empty tomb or the resurrection from three sources (viz., Mary Magdalene, Joanna and the women from Galilee, Mary [and Salome]), but they refused to believe these reports (Luke 24:10-11; cf. Mark 16:11).
- During the afternoon Jesus appeared to two disciples on the way to Emmaus. They then returned to Jerusalem to report the appearance to the Eleven and others (Luke 24:13-35; c£ Mark 16:12-13).
- Jesus appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15 :5).
- That evening Jesus appeared to the Eleven and others (Luke 24:33), Thomas being absent (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23; 1 Cor. 15:5; cf Mark 16:14).
- One week later Jesus appeared to the Eleven, Thomas being present (John 20:26-29) .
- Seven disciples had an encounter with Jesus by the Sea of Tiberias in Galilee (John 21: 1-22).
- The Eleven met Jesus on a mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16-20; cf Mark 16:15-18).
- Jesus appeared to more than five hundred people (Luke 24:44-49; 1 Cor. 15:6).
- He appeared to James (1 Cor. 15 :7) .
- Immediately before his ascension, Jesus appeared to the Eleven near Bethany along with about 120 brethren (Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Cor. 15:7; cf Mark 16: 19-20).