The tomb is opened, and people can’t find Jesus’ body.
Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18
After sundown, as soon as the Sabbath had ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought the sweet-smelling spices they needed to anoint Jesus’ body.
The next day, early on Sunday, the first day of the week, while it was still dark, the women headed to the tomb with the spices they had prepared. They asked one another, “Who will roll away the stone so we can enter?”
A great earthquake shook the ground. God’s angel came from heaven, rolled the stone away from the tomb entrance, and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. When the guards saw him, they trembled and became like dead men.
When the women arrived, they saw that the huge stone had already been rolled back. They walked inside the tomb, but Jesus’ body was not there.
While they stood there, wondering what had happened, two men appeared in dazzling white clothes. Terrified, the women bowed their faces to the ground.
The young man sitting on the right spoke to the women. “Do not be afraid. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, because he has risen as he said he would. Come and see where his body was. Do you remember what he told you while he was in Galilee? The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men to be crucified, and he will rise on the third day.”
Then the women remembered what Jesus had said.
“Hurry now! Go tell his disciples, including Peter, that he has risen from the dead. He will go before you, and you will see him in Galilee as I have told you.”
With fear and amazement, they ran from the tomb to tell the disciples. They spoke to no one along the way, because they were afraid. Mary Magdalene ran to find Simon Peter and John. “They have stolen Jesus from the tomb,” she said, “and we do not know where they have put him.”
As the women left, Jesus met and greeted them. Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom Jesus had cast out seven evil spirits, was the first to glimpse him, but she had already run to find the disciples. The other women fell at his feet, reached out, and worshiped him. “Do not be afraid,” Jesus said. “Tell my brothers to go to Galilee, where they will see me.”
While the women were on their way, the guards went into the city and told the chief priests what had happened. The priests met with other religious leaders to decide what to do. They gave a large amount of money to the guards and told them, “Tell everyone that his disciples came during the night and stole the body while you were asleep. If the governor hears that you have failed in your duty, we will speak to him and protect you from punishment.” The guards took the money and did as they were told, so that story spread among the Jews.
Peter and John left for the tomb. They ran together, but John ran faster and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked inside, saw the linen pieces lying there, but did not go in. When Peter arrived, he went in and saw the pieces of linen lying by themselves. The piece that had been around Jesus’ head was folded in place, separate from the other linen. John went in, saw the evidence, and knew his body had been stolen. As yet, they still did not understand from scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead, so the disciples went back home, wondering what had happened.
Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she cried, she stooped to look inside and saw two angels dressed in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head, the other at the feet.
“Woman, why are you crying?” they asked.
“Because they have stolen my master’s body, and I do not know where they have put him.” She turned and saw someone standing by her but did not know it was Jesus.
“Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked. “Who are you looking for?”
She assumed he was the gardener. “Sir, if you have taken his body, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him away.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni,” which means “Teacher.”
“You do not have to cling to me,” Jesus said, “because I am not going to my Father yet. But go to my brothers and tell them I will soon ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Mary Magdalene found the disciples, told them she had seen Jesus, and delivered the message. They did not believe her. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the women who were with them also told these things to the apostles. But their words seemed like a fairy tale, so the men did not believe them.