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I wonder if you could give me a brief account of what happened on the day that Jesus rose from the dead.

The Narrated Bible is the Bible in chronological order, for reading over a one year period of time. F. LaGard Smith has ordered the events for the entire Bible, and thus he does so for the resurrection account. He gives the following order of events:

The stone rolled away by the earthquake and angel (Matthew 28:2-4)

Women come to the Tomb, worried about who will move the stone, and find it already rolled away (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1-4; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1)

Resurrection announced by the angel dressed in white (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7)

Women are reminded of our Lord's prophecy of His resurrection (Luke 24:4-8)

The women go away fearful (Mark 16:8)

Peter and John told of Jesus' resurrection by Mary of Magdala (John 20:2)

Peter and John go to the tomb, and both look in; John believes (Luke 24:12; John 20:3-10)

Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-17)

Jesus appears to the women (Matthew 28:8-10)

Chief priests attempt to cover up the resurrection (Matthew 28:11-15)

The women tell the 11 of the Lord's appearance, but they refuse to believe (Mark 16:10-11; Luke 24:9-11; John 20:18)

Jesus appears to the two men on the way to Emmaus (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-32)

The two who saw Jesus on the road report this to the disciples (Mark 16:13; Luke 24:33-35; John 20:19)

Jesus appears to the disciples (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-44; John 20:20)

Jesus gives authority to the disciples (John 20:21-23)

Thomas doubts (John 20:24-25)

Jesus appears to Thomas (John 20:26-29)

Jesus appears to disciples who go fishing with Peter (John 21:1-14)

Jesus reinstates Peter (John 21:15-17)

As to how many people went to the tomb. We know Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-4; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1)

Peter and John also visited the tomb (Luke 24:12; John 20:3-10)

So far as I can tell, none of these folks saw the stone rolled away. This seems to have happened before they arrived (see Mark 16:14; Luke 24:2). Whether or not those guarding the tomb actually saw the stone removed is not said, but they certainly saw the angel (Matthew 28:2-4).

I think it is apparent that people went to the tomb at different times. The women all seemed to come together the first time, and they came upon the angel, who told them Jesus had risen. It would look as though all the women went to town, to tell the others, but Mary may well have stayed behind (perhaps just trying to gather her wits upon seeing and hearing such an amazing thing). Jesus met the women on their way back to town (Matthew 28:9). The women told Peter and John, who rushed out to the tomb. Mary may have still been there. When Peter and John left, Mary remained, and it was then that Jesus appeared to her.

The Gospels are clear that the disciples were not quick to believe this incredible story that Jesus had risen, but the evidence was compelling, especially when our Lord Himself appeared to them.

Our Lord first appeared to eleven (Thomas was not with them at the time) on the afternoon or evening of His resurrection, just as the two men from the road to Emmaus were telling the others that they had seen Jesus (Mark 16:13-14; Luke 24:33-44; John 20:19-20)

I think it is important to note that none of the Gospel writers intended to tell us everything that happened. Neither was there a concern to arrange all of these events in one chronological account. While we may not know exactly how to fit the pieces of this time puzzle together, it is not difficult for me to believe that these events happened just as they are described.

I have dealt with the resurrection of our Lord on several occasions. You may wish to take a look at these lessons:

From Invisibility to Invincibility

On Seeing and Believing

The Burial and Resurrection of Christ

The Significance of the Resurrection

Related Topics: Resurrection