Resurrection & Ascension of Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

That Jesus rose from the dead is fact. The following sets out a summary of the events.

The tomb is visited 1 Mark 16:1-2, Matthew 28:1

When:  Very early on the day after Sabbath (Matthew 18), since Mark indicates when Sabbath was past; this means soon after 6pm on Saturday night (noting the Jewish day runs sundown to sundown).

Reason: The preparation of the body of Jesus had been completed due to the Passover

Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.  Mark 16:1-2, see also Matthew 28:1

Tomb is opened Matthew 28:2-3

When:  An earthquake heralded the exact time Jesus gave up his spirit (Matthew 27:54), and the exact time Jesus rose from the dead. This occurred after Sabbath, and hence on Sunday night (reckoned in the Jewish calendar as Sunday beginning at 6pm Saturday).

Event: The stone is rolled away, the seals are broken and Jesus resurrects through the embalming cloths.

And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. (Matthew 28:2-3)

The Guards become extreme frightened Matthew 28:4

When:  At the time the angel rolled way the stone

Reason: The extreme brightness of the angel – like lightning, and the fact there was a death penalty involved if the Roman seal on the grave was broken.

And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.  Matthew 28:4

Mary Magdalene arrives at the tomb at night time Matthew 28:1; John 20:1; Mark 16:1

When:  it was still dark on Sunday morning (Jewish time) – John 20:1

Event: Mary observes that the stone is rolled way then runs back to Simon Peter and John and tells them

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Other women arrive at the tomb Matthew 28:4-8; Mark 16:2-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1.

When:  Sunday morning

Event: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome travel to the tomb with spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Mark 16:1

Event: Women are the first to witness the empty tomb and an angel speaks to the women other than Mary Magdalene, who has returned to Peter and John. The angel says five things:

  1. Don’t be afraid (Mark 16:6; Matthew 28:5)
  2. Why do they seek Christ, who is living, in the tombs? (Luke 24:5)
  3. He is not in the tomb, but risen (Mark 16:7; Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:6)
  4. Remember, he told you that he would rise on the third day (Luke 24:7)
  5. He is going to Galilee as he said he would (Mark 16:7; Matthew 28:7)

Response: The women respond in four ways

  1. The women become frightened.
  2. They remember Jesus’s words, which included the command to go to Galilee: the [One] Angel answered (5)… go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you." Matthew 28:7
  3. The ran to tell the apostles
  4. They told no-one else

There were two angels (Luke 24:4-5); Mary Magdalene appears not to have seen either, the other women see one or two, as only one is in the tomb and speaks to them.

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Luke 24:1-2; also Matthew 28:5-8, Mark 16:2-8and John 2:1

The women report what they had seen Luke 24:10-11; John 20:2-10

When:  Immediately after they see the empty tomb, they run back to apostles to report

Event: On hearing the report from the women of the empty tomb the apostles do not believe them

It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. Luke 24:10-11

Peter and John respond by running to the tomb Luke 24:12; John 20:3-7;

When:  After the women tell the inner disciples (some of the 11) the tomb is empty

Event: Peter goes into the tomb sees the empty tomb and the linen embalming cloths laying in the tomb and in a different part of the tomb the head covering. This is different from when Lazarus was resurrected – he required the embalming cloths to be taken off him by someone else. Here we see Jesus overcoming death and resurrecting through the embalming cloths – nothing could keep him down.

  1. John returns understanding the resurrection had occurred John 20:8
  2. Peter return perplexed Luke 24:12

Jesus First appearance – Mary Magdalene Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18

When:  After Peter and John have left, Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb and sees the two angles sitting where Jesus’ body had laid.

Event: Jesus says three things:

  1. “Why are you weeping?” Mary does not recognize him.
  2. “Mary!” Mary does recognize him: She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). John 20:16
  3. Don’t touch me. Mary wants to hug him greatly, but is not allowed to.

Significance: this once demon possessed women, is the first to see Jesus, who under Jewish law could not provide a legal testimony to this fact.

Jesus could not let Mary touch his body as he had not yet returned to the Father (John 20:17) where he was required to cleans the heavenly sanctuary with his blood – defiled by Satan (Ezekiel 28:11-16). Hebrews gives the reason: blood of animals could not cleanse the heavenly sanctuary:

 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. Hebrews 9:23.

Here “better sacrifices” refers to: “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14. The word “better” is used 13 times in Hebrews in 12 verses. The high priest also could not be touched once washed and wearing the linen garment (he only wore once a year, at the Day of Atonement), until he had after he had carried out his duties in the Most Holies, else he would be polluted and would be unable to fulfil his duties.

Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.
Mark 16:9; also John 20:11-18

Jesus appears for the second time - other women Matthew 28:9-10

When:  After Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and after he had been to heaven to his Father.

Event: Jesus had clearly has clearly fulfilled the need spoken of to Mary Magdalene, as the other women were allowed to touch him.

Jesus says three things.

  1. Rejoice
  2. Don’t be afraid
  3. Go to Galilee – but the disciples do not (five times that are commanded to do so).

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me." Matthew 28:9-10

The Guards report Matthew 28:11-15

When:  While the women and disciples were visiting the tomb (Matthew 28:11)

Event: The Jews, realizing what had happened, provide the most persuasive lie that has existed from the day of resurrection until today; that Jesus’ body was taken by the disciples. This conspiracy was perpetrated by the most senior officials – the Pharisees being the chief priests.

If this had occurred, only one of two groups would have motive to do so:

  1. The enemies of Jesus who would have had ample evidence to destroy the teachings of the church, that Jesus had risen and returned to heaven, yet they did not, because they could not produce the body of Jesus. This refutes the argument that Jesus body was stolen by the Jews.
  2. The disciples all suffered death by martyrdom, believing Jesus had risen. They were either mentally insane or knew the truth. The writing of these men prove there were not insane, therefore the truth is that they did not steal the body, proving that Jesus did leave the tomb alive!

Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure." So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Matthew 28:11-15

Jesus appears the third time - two disciples on the Emmaus Road Mark 16:12,13; Luke 24:13-32

When:  Sometime Sunday afternoon, on the road to Emmaus, walking from Jerusalem towards Emmaus.

Event: Jesus appears to Cleopas (Luke 24:18) and another disciple (one of the 70 or 500).

The men believed four things:

  1. Jesus was a prophet of God (Luke 24:19)
  2. Jesus had proved he was a prophet by his words and works (Luke 24:19
  3. Jesus was the Redeemer of Israel (Luke 24:21)
  4. Jesus had been killed by crucifixion (Luke 24:20)

The men did not believe that the women who had witnessed him resurrected, to which Jesus scolds them and proves from the Old Testament the events that had happened to Jesus had been recorded for their understanding.

The men invite Jesus to a meal, and instead of the host giving the blessing Jesus (as the more learned man) breaks bread (Luke 24:30).

Jesus disappears, and they then the men realize it was the Messiah who had been speaking to them, so the men returned to Jerusalem immediately and tell the 11 and others (Luke 24:33)

Jesus appears the fourth time - Simon Peter Luke 24:33-35

When:  Sunday afternoon

Event: Jesus appears to Simon Peter, privately. This is reported to the disciples by the two who spoke to Jesus on the Emmaus road. The event is also reported in 1 Corinthians 15:5 where Jesus affirms Peter’s faith after his devastating three denials of the Messiah three days previously (Luke 22).

Jesus appears the fifth time - The Ten Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25

When:  Sunday before sundown, mealtime (John 20:19)

Event: Jesus suddenly appears to the eleven and begins “Peace be with you” a typical Jewish greeting. He then showed them his hands and side and realizing he was indeed the Messiah they were glad (John 20:20), because there were very frightened (Luke 24:37), thinking he was a ghost. This he proved otherwise by:

  1. Jesus showed he had flesh and bones – therefore not a ghost
  2. Jesus showed he could eat – therefore not a ghost

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Mark 16:14

Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." John 20:19

Jesus Gives the first final commission John 20:21-25

When:  To the ten at their meal time on the late afternoon of the third day, after he appeared to them suddenly Luke 24:36-43 (i.e. the fifth appearance).

Event: Jesus does three things;

  1. States he has the authority from the Father and commands them to go “so send I you”.
  2. Breaths on them so they receive the Holy Spirit of illumination so they would understand all that had taken place, which gave the knowledge in order to carry out the task of beginning the spread of the gospel as described in Acts 2. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit does not occur until baptized by Him in Acts 2.
  3. Gives them apostolic authority: If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." John 20:23. The sense here of forgiving or retaining sins has to do with church discipline NOT salvation. The power of this is evident in Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphire lie to Peter and hence the Holy Spirit – both die.

Jesus appears the sixth time - The Eleven John 20:26-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5

When:  Eight days after the resurrection (John 20:26)

Event: Jesus appears to the 11 disciples

They did not go to Galilee as asked

Thomas affirms the Resurrection – John 20:24 – 29

When:  Eight days after the resurrection (John 20:26), when here appeared to the 11.

Event: Thomas had indicated he would not believe unless he saw Jesus and had touched the wounds. When Jesus does appear, and offers Thomas the chance to touch his wounds, he realizes he is facing the Messiah and responds accordingly. Jesus points out that those who believe and not see (i.e. saints ever since) have a greater blessing.

And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" John 20:28

Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29

Thomas utters the gospel as John preaches in his book

Jesus appears the seventh time – The Seven John 21

When:  After eight days, on the morning after fishing all night at the Sea of Tiberius.

Event: The disciples, led by Simon Peter (John 21:3) returned to fish but fail to catch anything. Jesus observes this, and suggests the useless action of casting the net on the other side of the boat (John 21:6). This succeeds in catching 153 fish, which they haul ashore, only to find Jesus already had fish cooking on a BBQ along with bread (John 21:10).


  1. Have you caught anything; "no" as they had yet to be fishers of men
  2. Their nets were full, when fished according to Jesus’s plan -> their ministry was to follow a pattern directed by God – see Acts 1.
  3. Jesus had food already for them -> the disciples were not to worry about their own needs, God would provide.

Peter is Commissioned John 21:15-23

Jesus asked the following three questions with Peter answering; here Jesus was dealing with the three times Peter had denied Christ and affirms Peter in the Lord. Peter responds such that he could not love more than the others using the less expansive word for love ra’eyk (phileo in Greek) as opposed to the love of the will – i.e. the love that loves the unlovable, as Christ did ‘ahab (or agapao in Greek) – noting that Jesus is speaking Aramaic here, not Greek.

First: John 21:15

Jesus: "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love [agapas] Me more than these?"
Peter: "Yes, Lord; You know that I love [phileo] You."
Jesus: "Feed My lambs." 

Second: John 21:16

Jesus: "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love [agapas] Me?"
Peter: "Yes, Lord; You know that I love [phileo] You."
Jesus: "Tend My sheep." 

Third: John 21:16

Jesus: "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love [phileis] Me?"
Peter: 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 [phileo] You."
Jesus: "Feed My sheep.”

Peter could not say apagei – he was like the others, not different. The best he could affirm was phileo. Jesus commissions Peter two times to feed the young believers (lambs) who need milk, and the final time “feed my sheep”. The sheep are the saints of the Church – the older believers, who need to be feed meat and in this Peter obeyed with two letters of Peter in the Cannon, and the teachings of his in Acts. Peter was to die young, a martyrs death.

Peter then wants to know about John, but Jesus essentially says to him “mind your own business – what happens to John is up to me, you just do as I have commanded”.

Jesus appears the eighth time – Mark 16:15-18; Matthew 28:16-20; 1 Corinthians 15:6

When:  sometime later

Event: Jesus appears to 500 all at once (see Corinthians verses). At this event, Jesus speaks to the 11 giving the second final commission

Jesus gives the second final commission Mark 16:15-18; Matthew 28:16-20

When:  when here appeared to the 500

  1. Jesus had delegated authority from the father (Matthew 28:18)
  • And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Matthew 28:18

  1. The commission (note the verbs carefully – these are participles – “–ing” words in English)
  • Going: means to preach the gospel to the whole world, which is all of creation
  • Baptising: the believer’s baptism, to differentiate from the baptism practiced by Jews in that day, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
  • Teaching: new baptized believers must be taught to observe the commands of Jesus

The imperative: “make disciples” – not it is not the “going” which is the “Great Commission” by the preaching, baptizing and teaching.

  1. Those who believe will be saved
  • Those who believe and baptized will be saved; those who disbelieve will be condemned (Mark 16:16). Note carefully that those that don’t believe are not saved, not those that are not baptized. Those that are not baptized are disobedience, but can be saved.
  1. Upon this command being obeyed there will be signs: as we see in Acts
  • And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." Mark 16:17-19
  • Note that these signs have gone – if not, every sign needs to be present – i.e. those that speak in tongues need to be able to “drink anything deadly” or survive a “snake bite” (including this here in Australia!).
  1. The Messiah will be present until the end of the Age – Matthew 28:20.

Jesus appears the ninth time – James 1 Corinthians 15:7

When:  sometime later

Event: James the half-brother of Jesus is converted, and fulfils the ministry asked of him.

Jesus appears the tenth time – The Eleven Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:3-8

When:  On the 40th day after the resurrection

Event: Pentecost where Jesus teaches:

  1. The messianic prophecy was all laid out in the Old Testament: due to the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the 11 understood (Luke 24:45)
  2. The Kingdom of God: they were not to know when Israel would be restored, noting that he did not say, Israel would not be restored, as some teach.
  3. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. Luke 24:51

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Acts 1:4-9

Jesus gives the third and final commission Luke 42:46 – 49; Acts 1:9-12

When:  On the 40th day after the resurrection

Event: Pentecost

Jesus commissions the Eleven to:

  1. Wait for the coming Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, and soon they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and would receive the power of the Holy Spirit
  2. They were to preach the gospel:
    1. In Jerusalem
    2. In all of Judaea
    3. In Samaria
    4. To the whole world

The Ascension Mark 16:19,20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-12

When:  Exactly 40 days after the resurrection

Event: Pentecost

  1. The Son of God, in human form could not be left dead, so the Father resurrected him
  2. The resurrection filled the Davidic Covenant, where there was to be an eternal house, an eternal throne, and eternal kingdom and an eternal descendent.
  3. He needed to be resurrected to become the resurrected life – without this, no person could hope to live after death (1 Corinthians 15 etc.)
  4. He needed to be resurrected to become the resurrection power. Only because the Christ rose again can we preach the gospel.

David L Simon April 2014; Revised 17 April 2022
Based on lectures by Arnold Fruchtenbaum, noting I have listed the events in nearly the same order, but have extracted additional headings, rather than running some events together under the same heading.
Apologetics\The Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ - a short synopsis

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