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What happened the first Easter Day? The Full Resurrection Story from All Four Gospels, Compiled into One Story

Compiled and Edited by Hannah Brzozowski

When you think of the morning of Easter, what do you think of? The empty tomb? The mistrust of the disciples? One thing that always confused me was the order of everything. So, I sat down and plotted it all out in the best way I could. Please enjoy a compilation of all four Gospels with everything we know about that beautiful morning.

1. The women anointing.

While it was still dark on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna and Mary, the mother of James went to the tomb where Jesus was buried just three days earlier. They brought spices so that they could anoint Jesus’ body and they asked each other, who was going to move the stone from the entrance of the tomb. 

While they were still on their way, a violent earthquake happened and an angel came and rolled the stone away. His appearance was like lightening and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid that they shook and became like dead men. 

As the sun was rising, the women arrived at the tomb and they realized that the entrance was open and the stone had been rolled away. Immediately, Mary ran to Peter and John and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

The other women entered the tomb, realized that Jesus’ body was gone and saw two angels seated where Jesus’ body had been. The women bowed down to the ground and the angels said 

“Don’t be afraid, I know that you’re looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! Come and see the place where he lay. Remember how he told you while he was still with you in Galilee ‘The son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again,’ 

Then they remembered his words. “Now go and tell the disciples and Peter, ‘ He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 

So as they trembled and were bewildered, they left and fled the tomb, with joy to tell the other disciples. They told them all that had happened but the apostles didn’t believe them because it seemed like nonsense. 

2. Peter and John running.

Peter & John, however, got up and ran to the tomb with Mary. But John outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 

Finally John, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. Then they went back to their home and locked the doors for fear of the Jews. 

3. Mary staying.

But Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw the angels. They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him.” 

At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." 

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’" 

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Meanwhile, as the women (except Mary Magdalene) were going, Jesus appeared to them and he said “Greetings; do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

4. Two Travelers walking.

That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.  As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.

 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

 “What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.  But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.  We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.

 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report.  They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive!  Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”

 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.  Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”  

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

By this time, they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them.  As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them.  Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.”

5. The disciples doubting.

Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. And just as they were telling about it, that evening, Jesus came and stood among them and said “Peace be with you.” 

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 

And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish,  and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 


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