The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the singular event that the disciples sought to testify of and with careful first hand witness
integrity (Acts 1:21-26; 2:29-32;
26:19-23). While careful integration of the gospel accounts
(Matt 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20;
Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1-31;
21:1-25; Acts 1:1-12) may help you
observe all of the pertinent details and gain a more complete understanding of the resurrection and ascension, there are gaps in the
timeline which raises the risk of some error in combining the accounts. For example the apostle Paul adds additional information that is
not mentioned in the gospels:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to
the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to
Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but
some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me
also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of
God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God
with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. (1 Cor 15:3-11)
A Series on
Harmonizing the Gospel Accounts
And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away
the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and
became like dead men. (Matt 28:2-4)
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might
come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week (at early dawn – Luke 24:1;
while it was still dark – John 20:1a), they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
(Mark 16:1; Matt 28:1;
Luke 24:1; John 20:1a)
They were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?"
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing (a young man sitting
at the right, wearing a white robe – Mark 16:5b); and as the women were terrified and
bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead?
(Luke 24:4-5; Mark 16:5b)
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus (the Nazarene –
Mark 16:6) who has been crucified. "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.
Come, see the place where He was lying. (Matt 28:5-6;
"He is not here, but He has risen Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man
must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." And they remembered His words,
"Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee,
there you will see Him; behold, I have told you." (Matt 28:7;
So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved (with fear great joy –
Matt 28:8, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to
anyone, for they were afraid – Mark 16:8), and said to them, "They have taken away the
Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." (John 20:2;
Matt 28:8; Mark 16:8;
Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these
things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.
So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other
disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but
he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there (marveling
at what happened – Luke 24:12), and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying
with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and
he saw and believed. (John 20:3-8; Luke 24:12)
For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again
to their own homes. (John 20:9-10)
But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; and she saw
two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. And they said to her, "Woman, why
are you weeping?"
She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." When she
had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman,
why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?"
Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him
away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." (John 20:11-15)
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher).
Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me (they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him –
Matt 28:9), for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to
them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" (John 20:16-17;
Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will
see Me." (Matt 28:10)
Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had
happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said,
"You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.' And if this should come to the governor's ears,
we will win him over and keep you out of trouble." And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely
spread among the Jews, and is to this day. (Matt 28:11-15)
Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her.
Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast
out seven demons. She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. When they heard that He was
alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. (Mark 16:9-11)
And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.
And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself
approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. (Luke 24:13-16)
And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood
still, looking sad.
One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware
of the things which have happened here in these days?"
And He said to them, "What things?"
And they said to Him,
"The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief
priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem
Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. But also some women among us amazed us. When they were
at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He
was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see."
And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not
necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He
explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:25-27)
And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. But they urged Him,
saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over." So He went in to stay with them. When He had
reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened
and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was
speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:28-32;
And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with
them, saying, "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon." They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was
recognized by them in the breaking of the bread (but they did not believe them – Mark 16:13).
(Luke 24:33-35; Mark 16:13)
While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be to you."
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for
fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." (John 20:19)
But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you
troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not
have flesh and bones as you see that I have." (Luke 24:37-39)
And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
(John 20:20; Luke 24:40)
And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of
their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and
ate it before them. (Luke 24:40-43)
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this,
He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if
you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." (John 20:21-23)
But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to
him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into
the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." (John 20:24-25)
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and
stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here
your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing."
Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my
Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
(John 20:26-29; Mark 16:14)
Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His
name. (John 20:30-31)
But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.
After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in
this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His
disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing."
They said to him, "We will also come with you." They
went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. (John 21:1-3)
But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus
said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish, do you?"
They answered Him, "No."
And He said to them, "Cast the
net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the
great number of fish. (John 21:4-6)
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little
boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.
So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to
them, "Bring some of the fish which you have now caught." Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and
fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. (John 21:9-11)
Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing
that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was
manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. (John 21:12-14;
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Tend My lambs." He said to him again a
second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to
him, "Shepherd My sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?"
Peter was grieved because He said
to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You."
to him, "Tend My sheep. (John 21:15-17)
"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when
you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." Now this He
said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me!"
Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom
at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"
Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" Therefore this saying went out
among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, "If I want him to
remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:20-23)
This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not
contain the books that would be written. (John 21:24-25)
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up
to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after
His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom
of God. (Acts 1:1-3)
Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which,"
He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are
written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then He opened their minds to understand the
Scriptures, and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that
repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of
these things." (Luke 24:44-48)
"And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed
with power from on high." And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom
He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but
you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:6-8)
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been
baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16;
"These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new
tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and
they will recover." (Mark 16:17-18)
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
And after He had said these things (while He was blessing them – Luke 24:51),
He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight (He was received up into heaven and sat down at
the right hand of God – Mark 16:19). (Acts 1:9;
Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51)
And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.
They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come
in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:10-11)
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet (with great joy – Luke 24:52,
and were continually in the temple praising God – Luke 24:53), which is near Jerusalem,
a Sabbath day's journey away. (Acts 1:12; Luke 24:52-53)
And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that
followed.] [And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through
them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.] (Mark 16:20)