The Chronology of Resurrection Sunday

All four gospels record the events of the resurrection of Jesus. When we put all the accounts together, we can get a more clear understanding of what happened on that incredible Sunday morning.

1. Jesus was placed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb (Luke 23:53)

  • He wraps Jesus in linen strips and the ladies attempt to begin anointing His body (Luke 23:53)

  • Because it is almost the Sabbath day (sundown on Friday), they have to stop and wait until Sunday morning (Luke 23:54-56).


2. Sometime Sunday morning, there is another earthquake and an angel rolls away the stone (Matthew 28:2-3).

  • The Roman guards faint in fear like dead men (Matthew 28:4), and then run and flee


3. A group of women go to the tomb early Sunday morning

  • Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, others (Luke 24:10)

  • Apparently Mary Magdalene gets to the tomb first, while it is still dark (John 20:1). She sees the stone rolled away and the missing body and in a panic, assumes the worst, and runs to tell John and Peter.

  • When the other ladies get there just a bit later, the sun is just coming up (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1).

  • These ladies do not expect to see the stone rolled away and are asking, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” (Mark 16:3)

  • They find the stone rolled away (Mark 16:4, Luke 24:2, John 20:1) and discover the body of Jesus is gone (Luke 24:3)

  • An angel gives the women a message that Jesus is risen (Matthew 28:5-7, Mark 16:5-7, Luke 24:4-7). Matthew 28:5 “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead…”)

  • Jesus had been telling his followers about his death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:17-19, 27:63)


4. Mary Magdalene runs and tells the disciples that His body is gone (John 20:2)

  • “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (John 20:2)

  • The other women are telling people about the message of the angel (Luke 24:9-10)


5. The disciples are in disbelief (Luke 24:11)


6. Peter and John take off in a footrace to get to the tomb (Luke 24:12)

  • John gets to the tomb first, but does not go in (John 20:4). He sees the grave clothes lying there (John 20:5)

  • Peter eventually gets there and goes in (John 20:6) and then John goes in as well (John 20:8)


7. Peter and John go back to tell the other disciples (John 20:10)

  • While they are going back to the disciples, Mary Magdalene goes back to the tomb a second time


8. Mary Magdalene appears at the tomb a second time and is greeted by an angel (John 20:11-13)

  • Mary looks in the tomb

  • The angel speaks to her

  • Mary expresses her sadness at not knowing where someone has put the body of Jesus (John 20:13)


9. Jesus then appears to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11, John 20:15-17)

  • She doesn’t immediately recognize Him, apparently because of her grief and tears


10. Mary Magdalene then goes back to the disciples again (John 20:18)


11. While this is happening, Jesus greets the other women (Matthew 28:9-10) as they worship Him (Matthew 28:9)

  • “Greetings”

  • “do not be afraid”

  • “go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee and there they will see me” (Matthew 28:10)


12. All the while, the guards tell the chief priests what has happened and they are given money as a bribe to say the body of Jesus was stolen (Matthew 28:11-15)

Notice this theme in Luke 24

  • Luke 24 has 3 episodes: the women with the angels at the empty tomb (24:1-12); the encounter on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35); Jesus’ appearance to His disciples in Jerusalem (24:36-49)

  • In all 3 episodes, there is a call to remember the Word of God (Luke 24:6, 24:27, 24:44-47)

  • Do not miss this: as you go through the seasons of life, always remember the Word of God and measure everything you read and hear through the filter of God’s Word.


Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

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