The Resurrection of Lord Jesus
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw
that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the
other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t
know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were
running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at
the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went
straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been
wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the
other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did
not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to
where they were staying. (John 20:1-10)
Christianity is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Although the word "Christianity" is
not an appropriate word, since it is a convention, we might as well borrow it here: Without the
resurrection of Christ, there is no Christianity.
“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”（1 Cor 15:14）
Significance of the Resurrection of Christ:
1. Fulfillment of Bible prophecy
The resurrection of Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament and of the Lord Jesus
himself, so we can be sure that all the promises of the Lord Jesus will be fulfilled.
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through Him the
"Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.”（2 Cor 1:20）
2. Becoming the firstfruits
The resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the firstfruits, ensuring the bodily resurrection of all believers one
day, becomes the hope of glory for all believers.
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep….For
as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”（1 Cor 15:20-22）
3. Defeating the power of death
The resurrection of Jesus Christ destroys the devil who has the power of death, defeats the power of
sin and death once and for all, frees those who are enslaved by death, and gives eternal life to people
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”（Rom 6:23）
4. Fundamental message of the gospel
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basic content of the gospel, that is, according to the Bible,
Christ died for the sins of the world, was buried, and was resurrected on the third day.
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to
the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”（1
5. Compositionof Christ's Salvation
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the core constituent of Christ's Salvation.
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”（Rom 4:25）
6. Power of Life Renewing
The resurrection of Jesus Christ shows the power of infinite life, the power that brought Jesus Christ
back from the dead, reviving the dead spirit and becoming a new man.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”（2 Cor
7. Glorious Testimony of Church
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the glorious testimony of the church to the world, the core message
of the sermons of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts, and the driving force for the rise of the Christian
“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much
grace was upon them all.”（Acts 4:33）
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is real. The apostles who witnessed the resurrected Christ went to
every corner of the world to preach the resurrection of Jesus and witness the resurrected Christ, thus
turning the whole world upside down.
Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important historical event affecting the course
of human history. Most of the early disciples of Jesus Christ were Jews. They changed the traditional
custom of keeping the Sabbath on Saturday, and gathered on Sunday, the day of the resurrection of
the Lord Jesus, and worshiped the resurrected Savior. This is the best proof of this historical event. .
The apostle John was an eyewitness, and John 20 is his first-hand record of the resurrection of the
Lord Jesus. We will look at the attitudes and testimonies of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the
perspective of three witnesses at the scene, based on what is written in John 20:1-10.
1. Mary saw -- The body was gone
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw
that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the
other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't
know where they have put Him!"”（John 20:1-2）
Jesus was crucified around 3:00 pm on Friday, and the Sabbath began at 6:00 pm on Friday and
lasted until 6:00 pm on Saturday. Early Sunday morning Mary Magdalene and several other women
came to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body.
“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought
spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body.”（Mark 16:1）
There was only a short time between Jesus' crucifixion and Jesus' burial, and the women had no time
to anoint Jesus' body. It is speculated that after the Sabbath, several women went to buy balm
immediately, preparing to anoint the body of Jesus early the next morning.
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.”（Luke 24:1）
“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they
asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"”（Mark 16:2-3）
The Gospel of Matthew records that after Joseph of Arimathea buried the Lord Jesus, “He rolled a big
stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.”（Matt 27:60）
On the second day of the burial of the Lord Jesus, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered to meet
Pilate, and asked Pilate to order the tomb to be securely guarded, as they were afraid that Jesus’
disciples would come and steal the body, then claim that Jesus was raised from the dead. With
Pilate’s nodding, they ordered soldiers to guard the tomb.
“So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”（Matt
This is why the women were asking to each other: “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of
the tomb?"”（Mark 16:3）
However, their worries are unnecessary. When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, she saw that the
stone had been removed from the tomb.
Who is Mary Magdalene?
According to the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus traveled around the villages preaching, in addition to the
twelve disciples, several women who were healed by the Lord Jesus followed Him and provided for
Jesus and the disciples with their own property. Among them was Mary Magdalene, seven demons
were cast out of her, so Jesus healed her and released her from the bondage of the devil.
“And also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene)
from whom seven demons had come out.”（Luke 8:2）
Therefore, she is grateful to the Lord Jesus, and her love for the Lord can be seen from some small
details: she came to the tomb when it was still dark, and (in the several following passages) she was
weeping when she could not see the body of Jesus, she was even willing to go alone to take the body
of Jesus from what she thought was the gardener.
Therefore, Mary followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. When the Lord Jesus was crucified, she
stood with other women at the foot of the cross. When the Lord Jesus was buried, she followed him to
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary
“Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.”（Matt 27:61）
Now, early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, she and the other women
were carrying perfume to anoint Jesus.
What was Mary's first reaction when she found that Jesus' body was gone? --- Someone stole the
body of the Lord Jesus!
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put Him!”（John 20:2）
Ironically, the chief priests and Pharisees remembered the words of the Lord Jesus, "After three days I
will rise again." (Matthew 27:63b) However, Jesus' disciples and those closest to Him not only did not
expect the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, instead, they were shocked and terrified that "Jesus' body
disappeared". This was the reaction of Mary Magdalene, and so was the reaction of the disciples
Peter and John.
2. Peter gazed - perplexed in heart
“So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.”（John 20:3）
As soon as Peter and John heard that Jesus' body was stolen, they immediately got up and wanted to
find out for themselves, so they ran to the tomb at the same time.
“Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and
looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.”（John 20:4-5）
It is generally believed that John was younger than Peter, so he ran faster. John got to the tomb first,
but he didn't go in. He just saw from a distance the linen cloth lying there.
“Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen
lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by
itself, separate from the linen.”（John 20:6-7）
Peter immediately rushed into the tomb when he.arrived at the tomb after John.
Therefore, the removal of the stone from the entrance of the tomb was not to allow Jesus to come out,
but to allow Peter and John to go in and see what God wanted them to see.
This is exactly Peter's character, enthusiasm and impulsiveness. Although Peter's emotionality often
made him say wrong words and do wrong things, his love for the Lord is unquestionable, and his
impulsiveness often made him do things indecisive people often won’t do.
What is amazing is that this character of Peter has never changed, and it is precisely his passionate
character that the Lord Jesus used him to do great things for the Lord. This is for another time.
Peter saw that the linen cloth was still there, and the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head
was rolled up in another place.
In John 20:1-8, the word "saw" is very interesting. Three different Greek verbs of “seeing” were used
for Mary Magdalene, the disciple Peter, and the disciple John (In Chinese, all were translated as
"see," and in English all were translated as "saw." But they were originally three different words.
Mary's seeing, the original text uses "βλέπω", emphasizing the meaning of seeing with the naked eye,
such as seeing from a distance.
Peter's seeing, the original text uses "θεωρέω", emphasizing the meanings of seeing with heart, such
as gazing and so on.
Therefore, compared to Mary, who saw that the stone at the entrance of the tomb of Jesus had been
removed, Peter entered the tomb, carefully inspected the linen cloth that wrapped Jesus' body, and
carefully inspected the burial cloth that was around Jesus' head, which was neatly rolled up and put
What was Peter's first feeling when he witnessed such a scene?
Peter can generally conclude that it doesn’t look like the body of Jesus was stolen, because the linen
cloth that wrapped Jesus' body is still there, as if Jesus passed through the linen cloth. It doesn't look
like someone is robbing a tomb, because during robbery and theft, tomb robbers usually act in haste,
and probably would not keep the linen and cloth neatly there.
John arrived at the tomb first but didn’t go in. It seems like John hesitated, but God has a purpose in
doing things. Later generations don’t know what kind of thought was in John’s mind at that time that
kept him from running into the tomb immediately, but the objective result of John doing this was that
Peter went in first, and John followed, so that there were two different witnesses to the same event. If
John had entered the tomb earlier than Peter, then it is possible that he had moved the linen cloth or
the linen so that what Peter saw was not original evidence. God always does amazing things.
Therefore, Peter and John seeing at the same time basically ruled out the possibility of tomb robbery,
because thieves are usually not so calm, tidy, and organized.
Peter was probably puzzled and wondered by what he saw. What happened?
The Gospel of Luke roughly outlines Peter's psychological state at that time.
“Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by
themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”（Luke 24:12）
3. John pondered - saw and believed
“Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.”（
"The other disciple," that is, "the disciple whom Jesus loved," that is, the apostle John.
John, who reached the tomb first, followed Peter inside. The Bible records that he "saw and believed."
John ran faster than Peter, and he reached the tomb first, but didn't go in.
Why did the apostle John record this detail? To show off by beating Peter in a race?
Most likely not, you must know that John was already eighty or ninety years old when he wrote the
Gospel of John, and the blood of the young man had probably long since disappeared. Besides, Peter
had already been martyred for the Lord at this time. How could John compete with Peter again?
So why exactly did John add this detail?
John was trying to show that he was a witness on the spot, that his account was first-hand, that this
was the case, so that his words are entirely credible. Just as John saw the Roman soldiers piercing
the side of Jesus with a spear at the foot of the cross, and blood and water flew out immediately, that
was what he saw with his own eyes.
“Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and
water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the
truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.”（John 19:34-35）
What does the word "believe" refer to when John "saw and believed"? Did John believe "someone
took the Lord from the tomb?" or did he believe "the Lord Jesus has risen?"
As mentioned earlier, in the passage of John 20:1-8, there are a total of three occurrence of "seeing,"
which are the "seeing" of Mary, Peter, and John. However, the original text of these three "seeing"
uses three different verbs, starting with Show that their respective "sees" differ.
The Greek word for John's "see" is "ὁράω", emphasizing the meanings of insight and perception.
The meaning of the word "see" (ὁράω) includes: I see, look upon, experience, discern, perceive,
Therefore, according to the special usage of the word, it should refer to John's belief in the
resurrection of Jesus. The reasons are as follows:
1. It is unlikely that “the body of the Lord has disappeared” is described by “saw and believed”
because there is no need to go through so much trouble;
2. The details described in the context, the linen is still there, and Jesus' cloth is rolled up in
another place. This is not what a body stealer should do;
3. The word "see" means "perceive" in English, which emphasizes "feeling, acknowledging, and
understanding" and contains the meaning of "trying to figure out, ponder." It is more suitable to
refer to the resurrection of the Lord.
Therefore, in a larger context, it is a more reasonable explanation for John to believe that the Lord
Jesus has resurrected.
Mary saw with her naked eyes that the stone at the entrance of the tomb had been rolled away; Peter
observed carefully and saw that the linen was placed there, and the cloth was rolled up in another
place; after some pondering, John finally understood that the Lord Jesus had truly been raised.
The apostle John was the first person to believe in the resurrection of Jesus without seeing the risen
Christ. John's "saw and believed" shows that he was a witness who recorded first-hand accounts, so
his words are credible.
However, although at this time he believed in the fact that Jesus was resurrected, John did not really
understand the meaning of Jesus' resurrection.
“They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”（John 20:9）
Regarding the resurrection of the dead, there is a clear record in the Book of Daniel in the Old
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and
everlasting contempt.”（Dan 12:2）
At the end of the book of Daniel, God specifically mentions the resurrection of Daniel himself as a
comfort to the prophet.
“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to
receive your allotted inheritance.”（Dan 12:13）
So, what passages in the Old Testament specifically speak of the resurrection of Christ?
“Because you will not abandon Me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”（Ps 16:10）
This verse is quoted in Peter's sermon in Acts 2, confirming the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his
descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that
He was not abandoned to the grave, nor did His body see decay.”（Acts 2:30-31）
“I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.”（Ps 22:22）
Psalm 22 is the messianic psalm. It describes the suffering of Jesus in the first half of the hymn, you
lay me in the dust of death (Psalm 22:15), whereas it mentions the resurrection of Jesus in the second
half, I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. (Psalm 22:22)
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin
has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”（Job 19:25-26）
In Job 19, verse 19 is about Jesus’ resurrection, and verse 26 is about Job himself’s resurrection.
“Yet it was the LORD'S will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His
life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will
prosper in His hand. After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied.”（Isa
In this passage of Isaiah 53, it is mentioned that Jehovah used Him as a sacrifice, that is, the death of
Christ; later in the passage, it is mentioned that He will see his descendants, and the fruit of his own
labor, which is the resurrection of Christ.
Especially in Isaiah 25, it is declared, “He will swallow up death forever.”（Isa 25:8）
In addition to the Old Testament, of course, there are the Lord Jesus' own prophecies about His death
Jesus Christ predicted his death and resurrection three times.
“The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn
Him to death and will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the
third day He will be raised to life!”（Matt 20:18-19）
However, even Jesus' enemies such as the chief priests and Pharisees remembered Jesus'
prophecies about his own death and resurrection, but his disciples seemed to have completely
forgotten about them, just as the Lord Jesus rebuked two words of the disciples.
“How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”（Luke 24:25）
Peter and John left the tomb, at least Peter returned to the timid and frightened group of disciples, full
“Then the disciples went back to their homes.”（John 20:10）
To summarize, according to the Gospel of John, the disciples obviously did not intentionally fabricate
the story of Christ’s resurrection. On the contrary, they were surprised and confused when they saw
the empty tomb of Jesus, because they did not understand the words of the Bible at that time.
It was not until they saw the empty tomb and the Lord Jesus appeared to them that they believed in
the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and remembered the words of the Lord Jesus, and then they
realized that God had already revealed His plan and will through the prophets.
“But the temple He had spoken of was His body. After He was raised from the dead, His disciples
recalled what He had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.”（
From then on, Jesus’ disciples completely changed from their cowardice. They began to preach the
word boldly and gave their lives one by one for the word they preached. This is the main content of
the book of Acts.
Therefore, the empty tomb of Jesus and the renewal and change of the lives of the disciples are
important evidence of the resurrection of Christ.
This is exactly the gospel that Paul gave his life to preach: “For what I received I passed on to you as
of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that
He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor 15: 3-4)
Rev. Yunsheng Ren
Translated by Dr. Jerry Cai