(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
34. CHRIST’S RESURRECTION, APPEARANCES AND ASCENSION (Spring of A.D. 30 or 29 in Judea and Galilee)
(1). The Women Visit The Tomb After The Sabbath Was Past
After preparing the spices and resting on the Sabbath, at dawn on Sunday the two women were on their way to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus – “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.” .
(2). The Earthquake, Rolling Away Of The Stone, The Terror Of The Guards
Before the actual arrival of the women at the tomb, sometime before sunrise, “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.” .
(3). The Women Arrive At The Empty Tomb, The Angels’ Message
There may seem to be somewhat of a conflict between the record of Mark and John, but we should understand that the women arrived at the tomb just before, or at, sunrise. “Very early on the first day of the week…..” , “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark….” . Having watched Joseph and Nicodemus lay the body of our Lord in the tomb, and knowing that a large stone had been used to cover the opening, “…they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’” , but to their surprise the stone had already been rolled away from the entrance. Upon entering the tomb they could see that the Lord Jesus’ body was not there. Both Mark and Matthew record that there was one angel, while Luke records that there were two, but the message was the same; “”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.” , “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” , “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.” .
They were also told that “’He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” ; so the women left hurriedly to tell the disciples the good news.
(4). Peter And John Visit The Empty Tomb
Returning from the tomb, the women said to the disciples “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” , telling “…all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” .
So Peter and the other disciple began running to the tomb , and the other disciplearriving first looked in and saw the linen strips lying there but did not enter. Peter arrived and entered the tomb also seeing the burial cloths lying in the place where Jesus’ body lay . “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..” where they were staying in Jerusalem.
(5). Jesus Appears To Mary Magdalene (Sunday)
“When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene…” . The other disciples had departed for their homes but John records that Mary remained outside the tomb weeping. Looking inside the tomb she sees two angels who ask why is she crying, and after her response to them she turns and sees the Lord Jesus standing there but mistook Him for the gardener . In response to His question “”Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”” she inquires “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” . The Lord Jesus then addresses her by her name “Mary”to which she responds by referring to her Lord as “Rabboni” (or (my) teacher – NIV Study Notes).
“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.”. There is no apparent recorded intent on Mary’s part to hold onto the Lord Jesus, so there are two possible meanings to our Lord’s statement. Firstly, it could have meant that our Lord’s ascension was still some time away. Secondly, our Lord may have been reminding her of His previous teaching that after His crucifixion he would not be present in person with her (or other believers) except through the Holy Spirit <(NIV Study Notes) see Jn.16:5-16>.
Our Lord then requests of her to go to “His brothers” and say to them “’I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Because we are members of the Family of God, God is our Father and the Father of our Lord Jesus, thus the Lord Jesus is our brother . Although Mary delivers the message, the disciples did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead .
(6). Jesus Appears To The Other Women (Sunday)
Having been given the good news that the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead, the women hurried away from the tomb to tell the disciples. “Suddenly Jesus met them.” Upon which“They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.” . There is no recorded reason why these women were allowed to hold unto Jesus’ feet while Mary Magdalene was not permitted to do so .
Our Lord then requested the women to confirm the message of the angels, “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” .