The Arrival at the Tomb

The Arrival at the Tomb John 20 :1 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

John only provides one verse for what we are going to study in this lesson, so we will be spending more time looking at the other three Gospels to supplement this singular verse. The supplemental verses are Luke 24:1-8, Mark 16:1-8, Matt. 28:1-8.

Beginning in Mark we see that the women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, are going to the sepulcher bearing spices to anoint the body of Jesus on Sunday morning, that being the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath.  It is important to note here that if you will study Exodus 12 and other passages dealing with the Feast of Unleavened Bread you will see that there are two special Sabbath days during that week with one of the additional Sabbaths occurring on Thursday during the week in which Jesus was crucified.  Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, the day before the special Thursday Sabbath and not on “Good Friday” before the regular weekly Sabbath.

All four of the Gospels pinpoint the women arriving at the sepulcher at the rising of the sun. As they approached the sepulcher these three women wondered among themselves, “Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?” (Mark 16:3). As they are discussing this among themselves a great earthquake occurred and an angel rolled back the stone from the door (Matt. 28:2). As they approached they discovered an angel of the Lord sitting upon the stone “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.” (Matt. 28:3). The keepers of the sepulcher were so overwhelmed by the sight of the angel that they fainted. The angel sitting on the rock reassured the women and invited them to observe the inside of the sepulcher where Jesus had lain (Matt. 28:6). The angel stated that Jesus had risen and gone before them to Galilee where they would see him and that they should go tell the disciples.

Now when the women arrived at the sepulcher the keepers who fainted had already awoken and departed, but to where did they go? They had gone to report to the chief priests what had happened (Matt. 28:11). Upon hearing their report the chief priests bribed them and gave them instructions to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus while they slept. This shows us how despicable these so-called priests were in that they knew that Jesus had lived up to His claims of being the Messiah. They refused to believe after Jesus had risen from the dead.

In Luke we learn that there were two angels, referred to as men, who appeared inside of the sepulcher in shining garments (Luke 24:3). The angels reminded the women of what Jesus had spoken while in Galilee concerning His death and resurrection (Matt. 17:22). In Mark we are told that upon entering the sepulcher there was a man  sitting on the right side in a long white garment (Mark 16:5). The angel in Mark appears to be the same one described in Matthew since the women are given the same instructions in both cases.

Each Gospel gives us pieces of information missing from the other three, so that the only way we can get a complete picture of what happened is by putting all of the pieces together like a puzzle.  Without putting all of the pieces together properly our view of the event can be distorted.