Text is based on the accounts found in the four New Testament Gospels, presenting events that occurred from the burial of Jesus up through His resurrection.1
After the crucifixion and the death of Jesus, a wealthy man, Joseph of Arimathea, asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission for him to take the body.
Before Jesus was crucified, Joseph of Arimathea was only secretively a disciple of Jesus because he had feared the Jews. But afterwards, he stepped forward to care for Jesus’ burial.
A Pharisee named Nicodemus (who on a previous occasion had met with Jesus at night2) brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes for the preparation of the body for burial.
In the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden with a new sepulcher that had not yet been used for a burial. They laid Jesus’ body in this sepulcher because it was close by, and the burial needed to be cared for quickly due to it also being a time of preparation for a special annual Jewish event.
They wound the body of Jesus in linen clothes along with the spices, which was the way the Jews prepared the dead for burial.
The day before Jesus was arrested was the preparation for the Passover Feast. John and Peter had been sent ahead of time to locate the place of the meal and to make preparations for the Passover meal (Mark 14:12–17). After having the meal with His disciples, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, where He was betrayed and arrested. The next day was the preparation for a special annual Sabbath, the Passover Sabbath.3
Once Jesus’ body was placed in the sepulcher, a great stone was rolled in front of the entrance. Mary Magdalene and another Mary were present at the time.
According to the Jewish calendar, the Sabbath begins in the evening at sunset and ends the following day at nightfall. This is based on the wording of the Creation story in Genesis 1. At the end of each day, it says: “And there was evening and there was morning.4
The day following this day of preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate with a request. “Sir, while he was alive, that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Command that the sepulcher be guarded until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples might come at night to steal the body and then tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ That will make things even worse than before.”
Pilate told them, “You have guards. Go ahead and make it as secure as you can.”
So they sealed the stone on the sepulcher and placed guards there.
Once the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome took sweet spices to the tomb in order to anoint Jesus’ body.
On the first day of the week, they went to the sepulcher at sunrise.
Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and an angel of the Lord appeared!
The angel came, rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing shone white as snow. The guards were so frightened that they couldn’t move, and even fainted.
The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus. But He is not here. He has risen, as He said He would.
“Come, see the place where His body lay. Then go quickly, and tell Jesus’ disciples that He has risen from the dead! In fact, He goes before you into Galilee; there you will see Him.”
Excitedly, some of the women left the sepulcher to tell Jesus’ disciples.
But Mary Magdalene, weeping, stooped down to look into the sepulcher. She saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, the one at the head, and the other at the feet.
The angels asked her, “Why do you weep?”
She answered, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid Him.”
Mary then turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.
Jesus asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
Mary, thinking this was the gardener, said, “Sir, if you moved His body, please tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She answered him, “Rabboni,” which means, Master.
Jesus said, “Don’t hold onto Me, because I haven’t ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and tell them that I ascend to My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.”
Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and what He had told her.
Peter and John went to the sepulcher. John arrived first at the sepulcher, having ran faster than Peter.
John stooped down and looked in. He saw the linen clothes lying there. But he didn’t enter. However, after Peter arrived, he went into the sepulcher, where he saw the linen clothes. The napkin that had been about Jesus’ head was not lying with the linen clothes, but was wrapped together in a place by itself.
Then John also went in and he too saw the tomb was empty.
1 John 19:38–42; John 20:1–18, Matthew 27:55–66; Matthew 28:1–15, Mark 15:40–47; Mark 16:1–11 and Luke 23:48–56; Luke 24:1–12.
2 John 3:1–21
3 John 19:31; Luke 23:50–56
4 Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31