The Resurrection Gospel Accounts Reconciled:
By BL. Highlighter.
A great earthquake takes place, and the Angel of the Lord rolls the stone away and sits upon it scaring away the guards of Christ’s tomb:
“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.” (Matthew 28:2-4).
Synoptic (Repeat) Gospel Occurrence:
On the end of the Sabbath at the first day of the week, when it is still dark, Mary Magdalene and the other women set out to the tomb of Christ, and they arrive at the sepulcher (tomb) when the sun dawns (or when the sun rises) and find the stone to the tomb is rolled away:
“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” (Matthew 28:1).
Mary Reports to Peter and John what has happened and they race to Christ’s tomb. Peter and John enter the tomb (being the first followers of Christ to enter), but they end up just returning back home (seeing Peter did not believe):
“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, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.” (Mark 16:1-4).
“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.” (Luke 24:1-2).
“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” (John 20:1).
“Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.” (John 20:2-10).
The women decide to enter Christ’s tomb, and they encounter two men (angels) in shining garments standing who speak to them about the words of Christ:
“And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, 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: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Luke 24:3-7).
Mary either does not appear to believe or she does not understand the angel’s words; So she weeps for Jesus’ missing body. The angels ask why she is weeping, and she says that someone has taken away the Lord. Then Jesus appears to Mary and she wants to touch or hold on to Him. However, Jesus forbids it saying that He must yet still ascend to His Father:
“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and 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. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 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. 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 20:11-17).
Synoptic (or Repeat) statement in Mark:
Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus:
“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” (Mark 16:9).
The angel of the Lord who rolled the stone away and sat upon it (Who scared away the guards of Christ’s tomb) returns again and speaks to the women:
“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.” (Matthew 28:5-8).
The women hear the angel’s message and departedly quickly from the tomb to tell the disciples what the angel said. As the women are on the way to tell the disciples the message from the angel, Jesus appears to the women and they grab on to his feet and worshiped Him; Jesus then tells the women to speak to the disciples and tell them to go to Galilee where they will see Him:
“And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.” (Matthew 28:9-10).
The guards (who guarded Christ’s tomb) report back to the Chief Priests on what had happened:
“Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” (Matthew 28:11-15).
Possible Scenario (That Fits the Events):
After the women encounter Jesus on the way to tell the disciples of the messages from the angel of the Lord, and the Lord Jesus Christ, certain women (or all of them) double back to Christ’s Tomb; When they enter the tomb, they encounter a young man (angel) sitting on the right side. In short, the angel tells them the same message that Jesus and the others have told them:
(Note 1: This may have happened due to the fact that these ladies did not enter the tomb with the other women, and they wanted to see the empty tomb for themselves. They also may have desired to see Jesus again, and or have an encounter with the angel like the others had reported).
(Note 2: Take notice of Mark 16:7 the words, “as he said unto you.” The young man (angel) tells the women of the same message given before by the other angels and ALSO by Christ (i.e. “as he said unto you.”); So this means that these women were the ones who encountered Jesus on their way to tell the disciples to go into Galilee).
“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; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:5-8).
Mary tells the disciples that she has seen the Lord, but they cried over the loss of the Lord and did not believe her:
“Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.” (John 20:18).
The women remembered the Lord’s words and having returned back to the sepulcher (Christ’s tomb), they told all these things to the eleven disciples and to all the rest. However, they did not believe them:
“And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.” (Mark 16:10-11).
“And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 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 24:8-11).
Peter heads back to Christ’s tomb and looks upon the clothes of Jesus in the tomb; He is left wondering to himself what was to come next:
“Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.” (Luke 24:12).
Again, I hope this chronology helps somebody today.
May God's grace, love, and good ways be upon you all.
May the Lord Jesus get all the glory.