What really did happen when Jesus rose from the dead? In reading each of the four Gospels I find each one having different events happening. There are omissions or additions in the each Gospels. Could it be that I need to read all four Gospels as one “complete story” and put the events in chronological order to find the Truth? A theologian named Ken Wallace [from Missions Door Ministries] did just that. His paper helped me have a greater understanding of the events surrounding Jesus’ Resurrection and the important role His women disciples played in proclaiming, “Jesus has risen just as He said” [Matthew 28:6], as the angels told them. Here is what Ken Wallace wrote [*my own 2 cents]:
HOW MANY ANGELS?
There were two angels but one of them must have had a dominant role so sometimes only he was mentioned.
HOW MANY WOMEN?
– At least five went to the tomb — Mary Magdalene was among them.
– At least two told Peter and John [in Jerusalem] — Mary Magdalene was among them.
– At least two went to Bethany to tell the other disciples.
– Mary Magdalene may have been alone at the tomb after Peter and John left.
Ken Wallace answers more questions by putting the events surrounding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in chronological order:
1. Five women arrive at the tomb [Mt. 28:1, Mk. 16:2-3, Luke 24:1, Jn.20:1]
Matthew 28:2-4 is a description of what the guards witnessed before the women arrived and introduces the angel: [v.2] There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. [v.3] His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. [v.4] The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. [v.4]
2. They see the stone has moved [Mk.16:4, Lk24:2, Jn.20:1-2]
3. They go inside and see that Jesus’ body is not there [Mk.16:5, Lk24:3]
4. The angels talk to them [Mt. 28:5, Mk. 16:6, Lk24:4-8]
Luke 24:9-12 combines the narrative of both groups of women [*disciples] and both groups of [*men] disciples into one story. It is not strictly chronological as the other narratives are.
5. They split into two groups to tell the disciples [Mt. 28:8, Mk. 16:8]
6. Mary Magdalene runs to tell Peter and John [Mt. 28:8, Lk.24:9-10, Jn.20:2]
7. Peter and John run to the tomb [Lk.24:12 and 24, Jn.20:3-4]
8. Mary Magdalene follows them to the tomb [*Otherwise John 20:11-18 wouldn’t have happened]
9. They go into the tomb [John 20:5-8]
10. They see and believe it’s empty [but not that Jesus rose] [Lk.24:24, Jn.20:9]
11. Peter and John go to Bethany [Lk.24:12, Jn.20:10]
12. Mary Magdalene weeps at the tomb [Jn.20:11]
13. The angels talk to her again [Jn.20:11]
14. Jesus appears to her [Mk.16:9, Jn.20:15-17]
15. She goes to Bethany to tell the [*men] disciples she saw Jesus [Mk.16:10]
16. Meanwhile, Jesus appears to the other women [Mt.28:9-10]
17. They arrive in Bethany and tell the [*men] disciples they saw Jesus [Lk.24:9-10]
18. The [*men] disciples don’t believe the women [Lk.24:11]
19. Mary Magdalene arrives in Bethany and tells them she saw Jesus [Lk.24:9-10, Jn.20:18]
20. They don’t believe her either [Lk.24:11]
[To be able to read Ken Wallace’ complete paper Google, “The women at the Empty Tomb,” then click “The Women at the Empty Tomb —– North Forest.]
The four Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, John] do not end with the men disciples disbelieving the women disciples’ testimony that Jesus rose from the dead. The men disciples eventually believed that Jesus did rise from the dead when Jesus appeared to them in the flesh [Mt.28:16-20; Mk.16:12-20; Lk.24:36-49; Jn.20:19-29 and 21:1-14]. In Mark [16:14] Jesus “rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart,” because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. They did not believe Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome, Mary the mother of James, Mary the mother of Joses and other women who witnessed that Jesus was alive again. They also didn’t believe two men disciples [Mk.16:12-13]. Out of the core disciples, Thomas was the last to believe, because he was not with the rest of the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. Thomas said, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will not believe” [Jn.20:25]. He did not believe his fellow disciples that Jesus was alive. But Thomas did not stay an unbeliever.
“Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the door was locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” [John 20:24-29].
Why did Jesus appear to His women disciples first? A woman’s testimony was not usually believed during Jesus time on earth. Women could not be witnesses in court. Even their brothers in the Faith did not believe what their sisters in the Faith told them about Jesus being alive. The women’s “words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them” [John 24:11]. Jesus knew these women more than anyone else
knew them. Jesus knew His women disciples as His self-sacrificing servants, His loyal students to His teachings, His compassionate caregivers, and the ones who would persevere to the end and beyond. The women disciples went to Jesus tomb, where He had been laid and Jesus valued their love for Him and their courage to be where His body was laid. Of course they would see their risen Lord first, because they went to see Him to serve Him one last time, only to be served by Him instead. On the other hand, the men were hiding in a locked room fearing what would happen to them. While the women went to Jesus, it was Jesus who went to the men.
Again, my purpose is not to belittle the men disciples and raise up the women disciples. My goal is to show that both the first men and women disciples were equally important in spreading the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ to the world. Most of the time the women disciples were in the background. But, when Jesus was dying on cross the women, mentioned throughout this blog series, were there and experience His heart-wrenching death and glorious Resurrection. Instead of being in the background, when they were most needed the women disciples were in the forefront. We should not forget about the women disciples. They encouraged their brother disciples to believe “JESUS HAS RISEN! HE HAS RISEN INDEED!” And they encourage us today, through their actions and testimonies in the Scriptures, to believe in Jesus and His Resurrection. Do you believe? “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” [John 20:29].
In this blog series, “The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection,” I have attempted to encourage my readers to look at a small group of Jesus’ women disciples and how important they were in serving Jesus, in encouraging His men disciples to believe He was alive, and in continuing to encourage us to believe without seeing, but by faith that JESUS IS ALIVE! I tried to answer some of the questions people may have concerning the four Gospel accounts of the Resurrection being so different from each other, by using a paper written by Ken Wallace. Some questions are answered and some were not. However, God has all the answers and I have faith in Him. I do not have to have all my questions answered to believe in Jesus and His Word. In fact, how can any mortal man or woman know and comprehend all that God knows?
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” [Hebrews 11:1].
THE END [for now]
I am taking a break from blogging. If you would like to read any of my previous blog post click on my blog address at the bottom of this page.