The Resurrection of Jesus in the New Testament
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Rudolf Koch: Christian SymbolsA) Terms and Definitions:
B) Biblical Background of Belief in the Resurrection:
C) Four Types of Literary Materials related to the Resurrection in the New Testament:

D) Overview of the Resurrection Accounts in the Four Gospels:

Event Mark Matthew Luke John
On Sunday morning, some Women Find Jesus' Tomb Empty 16:1-8 28:1-8 24:1-11 20:1-2, 11-13
Peter and the Beloved Disciple Run to the Tomb (in Luke: only Peter) -- -- 24:12 20:2-10
Jesus Appears to the Women (in John: only to Mary Magdalene) [16:9-11] 28:9-10 -- 20:14-18
The Guards Report back to the Authorities -- 28:11-15 -- --
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples on the Way to Emmaus [16:12-13] -- 24:13-35 --
Jesus Appears to the Disciples on Sunday Evening in Jerusalem -- -- 24:36-43 20:19-23
Jesus Appears again to the Disciples a Week Later (with Thomas) -- -- -- 20:24-29
Jesus Appears to the Eleven as They Sat at Table [16:14-18] -- -- --
Jesus Appears to the Eleven on a Mountain in Galilee (The Great Commission) -- 28:16-20 -- --
Jesus' Last Words and His Ascension to Heaven, from Bethany [16:19-20] -- 24:44-53 --
The Original Ending of John -- -- -- 20:30-31
Jesus Appears again to the Disciples at the Sea of Tiberias -- -- -- 21:1-23
The Second Ending of John -- -- -- 21:24-25


E) Comparison of the "Empty Tomb" Narratives in the Gospels:
(also the initial appearance of Jesus to the Women, recorded only in Matthew and John)
Gospel Passage Messengers Recipients Message
Mark 16:1-8 a young man dressed in a white robe 3: "Mary Magdalene,
Mary mother of James,
"Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you."
Matt 28:1-8 an angel of the Lord;
his appearance was like lightning, and his clothes white as snow
2: "Mary Magdalene
and the other Mary"
"Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you."
Matt 28:9-10 Jesus himself (the same two women) "Greetings!" ... "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
Luke 24:1-11 two men in dazzling clothes 3+: "Mary Magdalene,
Mary mother of James,
and the other women with them"
"Why do you look for the living among dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."
John 20:11-13 two angels in white 1: Mary Magdalene alone "Woman, why are you weeping?"
John 20:14-18 Jesus himself Mary Magdalene,
again alone
"Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?"
"Do not hold onto me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ "


F) Comparison of the Ascension Narratives of Luke 24 and Acts 1 (and the "Anti-Ascension" of Matt 28):

Matt 28:16-20 Luke 24:44-53 Acts 1:1-14

16 The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

44 He [the risen Jesus] said to them [his disciples], "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 And he said to them, "Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day 47 and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And (behold) I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."

50 Then he led them (out) as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. 51 As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.

52 They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and they were continually in the temple praising God.

1 In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught 2 until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; 5 for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit."

6 When they had gathered together they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

9 When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. 10 While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. 11 They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. 13 When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.


G) Questions for Reflection and Discussion:


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