The Empty Tomb (16:1-8)
Women go to anoint Jesus’ body
Young man in the tomb tells the
woman that Jesus had risen (4-6)
Woman commanded to tell the
Disciples do not believe that
Jesus is alive (9-13)
Jesus appears to the eleven
Jesus commands the disciples to
preach the good news (15-18)
Jesus ascends to heaven (19)
Disciples preach everywhere (20)
Anoint, Jesus of Nazareth,
crucified, risen, alive, believe, preach, baptized, saved, condemned, signs,
heaven, right hand of God
Mary Magdalene (9; Jn 20:16), two of the
disciples (12; Lk 24:15,18), the apostles as a group (Jn 20:19-20), Thomas (Jn
20:26-27), Peter, Nathanael, James, John (Jn 21:1-7), about 500 believers, Paul
The large number of witnesses is more proof of
the certainty of Jesus’ resurrection. It also explains why the believers were
willing to give up everything, even their own lives, to preach the gospel.
If Jesus’ resurrection never happened, then the
Christian faith would collapse. If Jesus were dead, then He would be no better
than other religious leaders. Worse, if Jesus had not risen from the dead, then
He had lied about Himself (Mk 9:31; 10:34); there would be no reason to believe
any of His words. If Jesus did not overcome death, then Christians are putting
their hopes in a lie (1Cor 15:14, 19). There would be no proof that Jesus is
the Son of God, that our sins are forgiven (1Cor 15:17-18), or that Jesus will
come again to take us to heaven.
The fact of Jesus’ resurrection assures us a
living hope of inheriting the heavenly kingdom (1Pet 1:3-5; Jn 11:25-26). His
resurrection gives power to wash away our sins through water baptism (1Pet
3:21). Because He is alive, we can live a new life without sins (Rom 6:6-11;
Eph 2:5-6). Because Jesus has risen, we are no longer condemned (Rom 8:34). In
the last days, those who belong to Christ will also be resurrected into heaven
(1Cor 15:20, 23, 51-54).
The Holy Spirit (Jn 16:7) lives in us. When we
pray in His name, He answers our prayers. When we preach in His name, the words
have life-transforming power. We can cast out demons and heal in His name. He
shows Himself in visions and dreams. He reveals His wisdom when we study the
It is inappropriate to celebrate Easter because:
While Jesus commands us to remember His
suffering and death through the Holy Communion (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Lesson 22,
Question 9b), He did not make similar commands regarding His resurrection.
Because Jesus did not say so, it is not necessary to create a special occasion
to celebrate His resurrection. Otherwise, we’d be honoring human traditions
above God’s commands (cf. Lesson 12, Question 5).
Like Christmas, Easter has its origins in pagan
rituals. Often, the pagan symbols (eggs, bunny) overshadow the meaning of
Christ’s resurrection. Therefore, it is inappropriate to connect this day to
our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, we should honor the resurrection of Christ by
submitting to His Holy Spirit (Rom 6:5-13).
1. In spite of Jesus’ prophecy of
His resurrection (cf. Mk 9:31; 10:34), they thought Jesus was dead for good.
They had lost their hope in Jesus to save them (cf. Lk 24:21). The women went
to the tomb to perform the last rites for Jesus (anointing His body). The
disciples were mourning and weeping (10). Some even went back to their previous
lives (cf. Jn 21:3).
2a. They went as soon as they could (just after sunrise after the
Sabbath ). They were not put off by the stench of the body. They went to
Jesus’ tomb and were not afraid to reveal their relation to Jesus (unlike the
disciples, who were in hiding [Jn 20:19]).
3. “Jesus of Nazareth”;
“crucified”; “risen”; “not here”
These words show us how Jesus’
resurrection has given new life and new meaning. Nazareth was an insignificant town, and
“Jesus the Nazarene” normally would be considered a slur (cf. Jn 1:46; 19:19).
However, because He has risen, today “Jesus of Nazareth” is a name of power and
glory (cf. Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 10:38). Similarly, crucifixion was a symbol of
disgrace. But because Jesus is no longer in the tomb, we can rejoice over our
victory over crucifixion and death (cf. Heb 12:2; 1Cor 15:55-57).
4. In spite of Peter’s past
failures (cf. Mk 8:32-33; 9:5-6; 14:31; Jn 13:6-9; 18:10), the news of Jesus’
resurrection was directed specifically at him because he was given the task of
strengthening the other disciples and sacrificing for the church (cf. Lk
22:31-32; Jn 21:18-19).
5. They were bewildered and afraid
(8). Perhaps they didn’t take the young man’s words literally. In spite of what
the young man had said about Jesus having risen from the dead, Mary Magdalene
told Peter and John, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do
not know where they have laid him” (Jn 20:2). It wasn’t until after Jesus had
appeared to her that she told the disciples what really happened (cf. Mk 16:9;
6. They heard many testimonies,
but still did not believe that Jesus had risen (cf. Mk 16:11, 13, 14; Lk
24:37-38). Jesus wants us to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2Cor 5:7).
7a. preach the good news to the world (cf. Mk 16:15; Rom 10:14-15).
Jesus’ command is similar to the young man’s command to the women (7). In both,
they were told to preach what they have seen and heard (cf. Acts 2:33; 4:20;
22:15; 1Jn 1:1-3).
7b. drive out demons, speak in new tongues, not be harmed if they pick
up snakes and drink poison, heal the sick
7c. Our job is to tell others what we have seen and heard. We testify
the power of Jesus’ forgiveness, and what He has done for us. At the same time,
we must pray to God to work with us and to confirm our words (20).
8. Believe in the Lord Jesus,
repent, and be baptized (cf. Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38). We must also live by the
Holy Spirit and not fall back to our sinful nature (Gal 5:16).
9a. “At the right hand of God” is an expression that means having the
power and authority of God (see Did You Know 4). The words “sat down” also
symbolizes the honor that Jesus received (Whereas angels stand in God’s
presence [Lk 1:19; Rev 8:2; Dan 7:10], the Jesus the Son of God sits down at
God’s right hand).
“Sat down at the right hand of
God” further signifies the finished work of Jesus Christ (where the earthly
priests stood to minister before God and offered sacrifices repeatedly, Christ
offered Himself as sacrifice for sins once for all and sat down at the right
hand of God [Heb 10:11-12]).
9b. His Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Rom 8:26-27, 32; Heb 9:15); He is
also preparing a place in heaven for us (Jn 14:2-3).