N Sunday morning, two days after the death and burial of Jesus, some women went very early, as soon as it was light, to the tomb in the garden. One of these women was Mary Magdalene, another was also named Mary, and another was named Salome. They were bringing some more fragrant gums and spices to place in the wrappings upon the body of Jesus. And as they went they said to each other, "Who will roll away for us the great stone at the door of the cave?"
But when they came to the cave, they saw that the seal was broken, the stone was rolled away, and the soldiers who had been on guard were gone. There stood the tomb of Jesus all open! They did not know that before they came to the tomb there had been an earthquake; and that an angel had come down from heaven and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it. When the soldiers on guard saw the angel, with his flashing face, and his dazzling garments, they fell to the ground as though they were dead, and as soon as they could rise up, they fled away from the spot in terror; so when the women came there was no man in sight.
The guards of the tomb fall to the earth
As soon as Mary Magdalene saw that the tomb was open, without stopping to look into it, she ran quickly to tell the disciples. A moment after she had gone, the other women looked into the tomb and they saw that the body of Jesus was not there. But they saw sitting at each end of the tomb a young man, clothed in a long white garment. Their faces shone like angels, and when the women saw they were filled with fear. One of the angels said to them:
"Do not be afraid; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here; he is risen, as he said that he would rise from the dead. Come, see the place where the Lord lay; and then go and tell his disciples, and tell Peter too, that Jesus will go before you into Galilee, and you shall see him there."
The women see the angel at the tomb of Jesus
Then the women went away in mingled joy and fear. They ran in haste to bring this word of the angel to the disciples.
But while these women were looking into the tomb, and were listening to the angel, Mary Magdalene was seeking the disciples, to tell them that the tomb was open and the body of Jesus was not there; for she did not know that he had risen. She found Peter and John and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him!"
Then Peter and John at once went as quickly as they could go, to the tomb. John outran Peter, and came first to the tomb, perhaps because he was the youngest. But when he saw the open door, and the broken seal, and the stone lying at one side, he stood still for a moment. John stooped and looked into the cave, and he could see the linen cloths that had been wrapped around the body of Jesus lying together. But when Peter came up he did not wait, but pressed at once into the tomb; and then John followed him, and he too walked into the cave. Now he could see not only the long strips of linen rolled up; but in another place, carefully folded, the napkin that had been tied over the face of Jesus.
Then suddenly it flashed upon the mind of John, "Jesus has risen from the dead!" For he had not seen the angel, nor heard his words. From that moment John believed that Jesus was once more living. Both Peter and John went away, to think of the strange things they had seen. And very soon Mary Magdalene came back to the tomb. No one was there, for both the women and the disciples had gone away. Mary Magdalene did not know that Jesus had risen, for she had not heard the angel's message.
She wept as she thought of her Lord, slain by wicked men, and not even allowed to rest in his grave. And still weeping, she stooped and looked into the tomb. There she saw two men in white garments sitting, one at the head, the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. They were the two angels whom the other women had seen, but Mary Magdalene did not know this. One of them said to her, "Woman, why do you weep?"
She answered, "Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him."
Something caused her to turn around; and she saw a man standing behind her. It was Jesus; but her eyes were held for a moment from knowing him. He said to her, "Woman, why do you weep?"
Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Jesus
She supposed that he was the gardener, and said, hardly looking at him, "Sir, if you have carried him out of this place, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
Then the stranger spoke her name, "Mary!" and she knew that he was Jesus, no longer dead, but living. She turned around, and fell down before him, and was about to seize his feet, as she said, "My Master!"
But Jesus said to her, "Do not take hold of me; I am not yet going away to my Father. But go to my brothers, and say to them, I go up to my Father and to your Father, to my God, and to your God!"
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples how she had seen the Lord, and how he had spoken these things to her. So this was the first time that any one saw Jesus after he rose from the dead.
You remember that the other women, another Mary, and Salome, and the rest, had not seen the risen Christ, but they had seen an angel, who told them that he had risen, and would meet his disciples in Galilee. They went into the city, and were looking for disciples when suddenly Jesus himself stood before them, and said "All Hail!" That means, "A welcome to all of you!" They fell down before him, and worshipped him. And Jesus said to them, as he had said to Mary Magdalene, only a few moments before, "Do not be afraid; but find my brothers, and tell them to go into Galilee and they shall see me there."
And this was the second time that Jesus showed himself living on the day when he arose.
On that same day two of the followers of Jesus were walking out of Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles away. While they were talking over the strange happenings of the day, they saw that a stranger was walking beside them. It was Jesus, their risen Lord, but they were held back from knowing him. The stranger said to them, "What words are these that you are speaking with each other, which seem to make you so sad?"
One of the two men, named Cleopas, answered, "Are you even a stranger in Jerusalem, and have not heard of what things have taken place there in the last few days?"
The stranger said, "What things?"
And they said, "The things with regard to Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in his acts and his words before God and all the people; how the chief priests and our rulers caused him to be sentenced to death, and how he died on the cross. But we hoped that he was the promised One, who was to save Israel. And now it is the third day since he was put to death. And today some women of our company who were early at the tomb surprised us with the news that the tomb was empty, his body was not there; and they had seen a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Then some of us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him."
Then the stranger said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe what the prophets have said! Was it not needful for the Christ to suffer these things, and then to enter in his glory?"
Then he began with the books of Moses, and went through the prophets, and showed them in all the Scriptures the meaning of all that was told about Christ. And as they went on they came to the village to which they were going, and he acted as though he would go on beyond it. Then they urged and persuaded him to stay with them. They said, "Abide with us, for it is now almost evening, and the day is at its close."
And he went in with them and sat down with them to a supper. As they were about to eat he took the loaf of bread into his hands, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them. And at that moment their eyes were opened and they knew that he was the Lord; and he passed out of their sight. They said to each other, "Was not our heart burning within us while he talked to us on the road, and while he opened to us the words of the Scriptures?"
This was the third time that Jesus showed himself on that day. These two men hastened to Jerusalem that night to tell what they had seen. And they found ten of the disciples met together and saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has been seen by Simon Peter."
We do not know what Jesus said to Peter; but this was the fourth time that he was seen living on that day when he arose.
The ten disciples and other followers of Jesus were together in a room on that night, and the doors were shut. Suddenly Jesus himself was seen standing among them. He said, "Peace be unto you!"
Some of them were alarmed when they saw him and thought that he must be a spirit. But he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do fears come to you? Look at the wounds in my hands and my feet! Handle me, and see. A spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have."
And he showed them his hands and his side. They could scarcely believe for the joy of seeing him again. He said, "Have you here anything to eat?"
They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and of a honeycomb, and he ate before them. And he said, "This is what I told you while I was with you, that everything written of me in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, must come to pass. It was needful that Christ should suffer thus, and should rise from the dead, and that everywhere the gospel should be preached in his name. I will send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in Jerusalem after I leave you, until power shall come upon you from on high."
Then when the disciples saw that it was really the Lord, and that he was alive from the dead, they were glad. And Jesus said to them again, "Peace be to you, as my Father has sent me, even so I send you. May the Spirit of God come upon you!"
And this was the fifth time that Jesus showed himself alive on that day. This Sunday was the brightest day in all the world, because on it Jesus rose from the dead. And that Sunday in every year is called Easter Sunday.
The risen Christ blessing his disciples