For most people, the story of their life’s pilgrimage would have ended at their death, but not only did Jesus’ story continue beyond his suffering and death, but by his own life, death, and resurrection, we Christians believe that all of our stories will continue on beyond the physical death into our eternal lives with Christ.
Mary Magdalene goes to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday morning and is surprised to find it empty. Despite Jesus’ teaching, the disciples had not understood that Jesus would rise again.
In the Book of Matthew
In Matthew, there are guards at the tomb. An angel descends from heaven and opens the tomb. The guards faint from fear. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” after they visited the tomb. Jesus then appears to the eleven remaining disciples in Galilee and commissions them to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In the Book of Mark
In Mark, Salome and Mary, mother of James are with Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:1). A young man in a white robe (an angel) in the tomb tells the women that Jesus will meet his disciples in Galilee, as he had told them (referring to Mark 14:28).
In the Book of Luke
In Luke, Mary and various other women meet two angels at the tomb, but the eleven disciples did not believe their story (Luke 25:1–12). Jesus appears to two of his followers in Emmaus. He also makes an appearance to Peter. Jesus then appears that same day to his disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:13–43). Although he appears and vanishes mysteriously, he also eats and lets them touch him to prove that he is not a spirit. He repeats his command to bring his teaching to all nations (Luke 24:51).
In the Book of John
In John, Mary is alone at first, but Peter and the beloved disciple come and see the tomb as well. Jesus then appears to Mary at the tomb. He later appears to the disciples, breathes on them, and gives them the power to forgive and retain sins. In a second visit to disciples, he proves to a doubting disciple (“Doubting Thomas”) that he is flesh and blood. The disciples return to Galilee, where Jesus makes another appearance. He performs a miracle known as the catch of 153 fish at the Sea of Galilee, after which Jesus encourages Peter to serve his followers.
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