Are there contradictions in the resurrection accounts ?

The events surrounding Jesus’ resurrection might be difficult to piece together. We must remember two things:

First, the news of Jesus’ resurrection produced much excitement in Jerusalem, and in the ensuing chaos many people were going many different directions. Groups were separated, and several different groups paid visits to the tomb, possibly more than once.

Second, the writers of the Gospels did not attempt an exhaustive narrative; in other words, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John had no intention of telling us every detail of the resurrection or every event in the order that it happened.

In the battle with critics regarding Jesus’ resurrection, Christians are in a “no-win” situation. If the resurrection accounts harmonize perfectly, critics will claim that the writers of the Gospels conspired together. If the resurrection accounts have some differences, they will still will claim that the Gospels contradict each other and therefore cannot be trusted.

Even if the resurrection accounts cannot be perfectly harmonized, that does not make them untrustworthy. By any reasonable evaluation, the resurrection accounts from the four Gospels are superbly consistent eyewitness testimonies. The central truths – that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and that the resurrected Jesus appeared to many people – are clearly taught in each of the four Gospels. The apparent inconsistencies are in “side issues.”

How many angels did they see in the tomb, one or two ? (Perhaps one person only saw one angel, while the other person saw two angels.) To how many women did Jesus appear, and to whom did He appear first ? (While each Gospel has a slightly different sequence to the appearances, none of them claims to be giving the precise chronological order.)

So, while the resurrection accounts may seem to be inconsistent, it cannot be proven that the accounts are contradictory.

Here is a possible harmony of the narratives of the resurrection of Christ and His post-resurrection appearances, in chronological order:

Jesus is buried, as several women watch (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).

The tomb is sealed and a guard is set (Matthew 27:62-66).

At least 3 women, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, prepare spices to go to the tomb (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1).

An angel descends from heaven, rolls the stone away, and sits on it. There is an earthquake, and the guards faint (Matthew 28:2-4).

The women arrive at the tomb and find it empty. Mary Magdalene leaves the other women there and runs to tell the disciples ( John 20:1-2).

The women still at the tomb see two angels who tell them that Jesus is risen and who instruct them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:2-8; Luke 24:1-8).

The women leave to bring the news to the disciples (Matthew 28:8).

The guards, having roused themselves, report the empty tomb to the authorities, who bribe the guards to say the body was stolen (Matthew 28:11-15).

Mary the mother of James and the other women, on their way to find the disciples, see Jesus (Matthew 28:9-10).

The women relate what they have seen and heard to the disciples (Luke 24:9-11).

Peter and John run to the tomb, see that it is empty, and find the grave clothes (Luke 24:12; John 20:2-10).

Mary Magdalene returns to the tomb. She sees the angels, and then she sees Jesus (John 20:11-18).

Later the same day, Jesus appears to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).

Still on the same day, Jesus appears to Cleopas and another disciple on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32).

That evening, the two disciples report the event to the Eleven in Jerusalem (Luke 24:32-35).

Jesus appears to ten disciples – Thomas is missing (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25).

Jesus appears to all eleven disciples – Thomas included (John 20:26-31).

Jesus appears to seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-25).

Jesus appears to about 500 disciples in Galilee (1Corinthians 15:6).

Jesus appears to His half-brother James (1Corinthians 15:7).

Jesus commissions His disciples (Matthew 28:16-20).

Jesus teaches His disciples the Scriptures and promises to send the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:4-5).

Jesus ascends into heaven (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:6-12).

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Resurrection: what is its significance ?


The Purpose and Promise
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies’” (John 11:25). The resurrection of Christ was foretold hundreds of years before His miracle birth. He also foretold this event to His disciples (though they didn’t initially understand). He is the Resurrection, as hundreds witnessed.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a gift from God and fulfillment of His promise. It is the very foundation of Christianity. Since the disobedience of Adam in the Garden of Eden, all mankind is born with a sin nature. The Lord tells us that there is a price to be paid for sin and that cost is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
A life without Christ can only offer eternal death, but the acceptance of Jesus as our risen Savior gives us eternal life. Because eternal death is not what God wants for us, He provided a way of atonement through the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus, and His resurrection.

The Rewards of Faith
Through the resurrection, God has offered us the following:
A New Life
*.Romans 6:2-3 – Sin’s power is broken.
*.Romans 6:4 – Sin-loving nature is buried.
*.Romans 6:6 – Sin can no longer control us and hold us in bondage.

A New Nature
*.Romans 6:5 – We can now share Life with Christ through resurrection.
*.Romans 6:11 – Our old sin nature is dead and we have new, changed life in God.

A New Freedom
*.Romans 6:13 – We are no longer bound by sin and can give ourselves freely to God.
*.Romans 6:16 – We are free to choose our Master, God or Satan – our only two choices.

Through Christ’s resurrection, it is possible for us to become joint heirs with Him. What an awesome gift ! This means we too can defeat eternal death and be resurrected with a new life and spiritual body when our physical body dies.

Aren’t you grateful that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ all these things are offered to you ? If so, tell the Lord you are and accept His free gift.

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What does the Bible say about Holy Saturday ?

Holy Saturday is the name given to the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Some Christians recognize Holy Saturday, the seventh day of Holy Week, as the day on which Jesus “rested” from His work of providing salvation. As Jesus died, He called out, “It is finished!” There was no further price to pay; sin had been atoned for.

After His crucifixion, Jesus was laid in a nearby tomb, and His body remained there the entirety of Holy Saturday ( Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53-54; John 19:39-42). Churches that celebrate Holy Saturday traditionally do so by observing a day of somber reflection as they contemplate the world of darkness that would exist without the hope of Christ’s resurrection.
Indeed, without the resurrection of Christ, we would be in dire straits. If Christ had never been raised, “your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1Corinthians 15:17). The disciples had scattered when Jesus was arrested ( Mark 14:50), and they spent the first Holy Saturday hiding for fear of also being arrested (John 20:19). The day between Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection would have been a time of grief and shock as the stunned disciples tried to understand the murder of Jesus, the betrayal of Judas, and the dashing of their hopes.

The only biblical reference to what happened on Holy Saturday is found in Matthew 27:62-66. After sundown on Friday—the day of Preparation—the chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate. This visit was on the Sabbath, since the Jews reckoned a day as starting at sundown. They asked Pilate for a guard for Jesus’ tomb. They remembered Jesus saying that He would rise again in three days ( John 2:19-21) and wanted to do everything they could to prevent that. As we know, the Roman guards were inadequate to prevent the resurrection, and the women who returned to the tomb Sunday morning found it empty. The Lord had risen.

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JESUS: what were His last words on the cross ?


Eli Eli, Lama Sabacthani
1. Matthew 27:46 tells us that about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani ?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me ?”. Here, Jesus was expressing His feelings of abandonment as God placed the sins of the world on Him – and because of that, God had to “turn away” from Jesus. As Jesus was feeling that weight of sin, He was experiencing a separation from God for the only time in all of eternity. This was also a fulfillment of the prophetic statement in Psalm 22:1.


Father, forgive them
2. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” ( Luke 23:34). Those who crucified Jesus were not aware of the full scope of what they were doing because they did not recognize Him as the Messiah. While their ignorance of divine truth did not mean they deserved forgiveness, Christ’s prayer in the midst of their mocking Him is an expression of the limitless compassion of divine grace.


You will be with me in paradise
3. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” ( Luke 23:43). In this passage, Jesus is assuring one of the criminals on the cross that when he died, he would be with Jesus in heaven. This was granted because even at the hour of his death, the criminal had expressed his faith in Jesus, recognizing Him for who He was (Luke 23:42).


Into your Hands I commit my Spirit
4. “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Here, Jesus is willingly giving up His soul into the Father’s hands, indicating that He was about to die – and that God had accepted His sacrifice. He “offered up Himself unblemished to God” ( Hebrews 9:14).


Behold, your son
5. “Dear Woman, here is your son!” and “Here is your mother !” When Jesus saw His mother standing near the cross with the Apostle John, whom He loved, He committed His mother’s care into John’s hands. And from that hour John took her unto his own home (John 19:26-27). In this verse Jesus, ever the compassionate Son, is making sure His earthly mother is cared for after His death.


I thirst
6. “I am thirsty” (John 19:28). Jesus was here fulfilling the Messianic prophecy from Psalm 69:21: “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” By saying He was thirsty, He prompted the Roman guards to give Him vinegar, which was customary at a crucifixion, thereby fulfilling the prophecy.


It is finished
7. “It is finished !” (John 19:30). Jesus’ last words meant that His suffering was over and the whole work His Father had given Him to do, which was to preach the Gospel, work miracles, and obtain eternal salvation for His people, was done, accomplished, fulfilled. The debt of sin was paid.

What LOVE can be greater than this ?

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Good Friday – What is it ?

Good Friday is observed on the Friday that proceeds Easter Sunday (also called Resurrection Sunday). It is a day when people remember Jesus’ death on the cross. Many people, mostly Christians, celebrate this day by attending a Good Friday service where they read the biblical accounts of Jesus’ death on the cross. (Read Luke 19.)

What Happened on Good Friday ?
Although the term “Good Friday” is not mentioned in the Bible, we can study the events that took place on the day Jesus was crucified.

After Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was taken through several trials before the chief priests, Pontius Pilate, and Herod (Luke 22:54–23:25). Three of the trials were by Jewish leaders and three by the Romans (John 18:12-14, Mark 14:53-65, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:6-12, Mark 15:6-15). These events led up to Good Friday.
Pilate tried to compromise with the religious leaders by having Jesus beaten, but this act didn’t satisfy them, so Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified (Mark 15:6-15). Jesus was mocked by the soldiers as they dressed Him in a purple robe and a crown of thorns (John 19:1-3). The sentence was written “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
Jesus, assisted by Simon of Cyrene, as then forced to carry His cross to the place of His death. It was at Golgotha that Jesus was crucified along with two criminals (John 19:17-22).

Later in the day, the Bible tells us that Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and was granted permission. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb. He then rolled a big stone in front of the entrance.

Why is Good Friday “Good” ?
Is good Friday really “good”? It may seem odd that people celebrate the day Jesus’ was crucified as “good.” Obviously, the suffering Jesus went through on Good Friday was not good. He was whipped, beaten, mocked, and killed in a very violent way. How can that be good?
The results of Jesus’ death are very good! This is explained in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Then in 1 Peter 3:18, it is reiterated again: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”

Do you see Good Friday as a “good” day? Has Jesus washed away your sins and forgiven you? Will you spend eternity with Him?

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THE CROSS: changing me, changing you, changing the world

Walk through the gates of Jerusalem, look up to Calvary, and see the work of the cross. Remember the day our Savior, who bore His own cross, died for the sins of mankind upon the cross set upon that hill. See the cross beside it that bore the body of the thief, who in his dying breath recognized Jesus as Lord, and cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
Even as Jesus suffered the pain and agony of crucifixion, He set Himself aside. He assured this man, “Today you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
The cross reminds each of us that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

THE CROSS: once-for-All
Jesus set the ultimate example of sacrifice in His once-for-all work on the cross. After completing His years of ministry, leading His disciples, and showing us His example for living a life pleasing to the Father, Jesus willingly offered up His life to pay the debt we could not pay—our sin debt. He died for all mankind. It is now our individual choice to accept or reject His gift.
Jesus completed His work and said, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Jesus, the sinless one (2 Corinthians 5:21), took the sin of the world and allowed Himself to be hung upon the cross. His blood became the ultimate sacrifice. The Bible describes Jesus as a “lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). His sacrifice provided the sacrifice and atonement for our sins. Sinful man was redeemed (made righteous) and reconciled to their Creator God.

Upon completion of God’s once-for-all act of love, the Lord God established a New Covenant (Hebrews 10:16-17) with His children. The veil of the temple that had separated man from God was torn so that we may enter the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-23).

WORK ON THE CROSS CONTINUES
The work of the cross is ongoing—

Jesus lives and sits at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 1:3; 12:2, Romans 8:34). The broken body of Jesus was lifted from the cross at the end of the day of His execution and placed in a borrowed tomb. The doorway was covered with a stone and our Lord was sealed within. But death had no hold on Him. When they returned to complete the burial, He had risen from the dead and after forty days of completing His work here on earth He was “lifted up” into heaven (Acts 1:1-11).

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled…I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; where I am there you may be also….I am the Way, the Truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:1, 3, 6)

Jesus’ free gift of salvation is available to all of mankind. God is “faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Sinful man becomes “new creation” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Jesus breathed upon them and said, “receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I (Jesus) have said to you” (John 14:26).

Jesus calls and strengthens us to follow Him so that we might fulfill the commandment to carry this gospel to the world (Acts 1:8).

Death has no hold on those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. When the earthly bodies of God’s children die, they will go to live with the Father and “dwell in the House of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).

If we choose to accept the free gift of salvation and truly believe that:

We are sinners and are separated from God (Romans 3:23). The penalty for that sin is death (Romans 6:23). Because of our sin, we can’t know and experience God’s love and we are spiritually separated from Him.

To remedy our situation, God sent His only Son to die in our place – to take the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8). After Jesus’ death, He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

Jesus is our only way to God. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

We can receive God’s gift through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and experience new birth (John 3:1-8).

We can live life eternally with the Father (John 11:25-26).

The work of the cross carries on – changing me, and changing you; changing the world

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Jesus Christ: His Crucifixion

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ and His resurrection are the two most important events in human history. Why is this so?
Because of Jesus’ death, the human race has the opportunity for eternal salvation.

All four of the New Testament Gospels talk of the crucifixion of Christ. These authors give us graphic accounts of the crucifixion

*Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:43-52).

*Jesus endured six trials – three by Jewish leaders and three by the Romans (John 18:12-14, Mark 14:53-65, Mark 15:1a, Mark 15: 1b-5, Luke 23:6-12, Mark 15:6-15).

*Jesus survived painful beating, whipping, and mocking (Mark 15:16-20).

*.Pilate tried to compromise with the religious leaders by having Jesus beaten, but this act didn’t satisfy them. Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified (Mark 15:6-15).

*.Jesus was mocked by the soldiers as they dressed Him in a purple robe and a crown of thorns (John 19:1-3).

*.Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, which means the Place of the Skull (Mark 15:22). The sky turned dark for three hours (Mark 15:33).

*.Jesus cried, “Father! Into your hands I commit my spirit!” and He died (Luke 23:46).

An Author describes it this way, “With bleeding back, carrying His cross under the heat of the now almost midday sun, He [Jesus] journeyed up the rugged heights of Golgotha. Reaching the appointed place of execution, His hands and feet were nailed to the tree. For three hours He hung there with the pitiless rays of the sun beating down [on] His thorn-crowned head. This was followed by the three hours of darkness, now over. That night and that day were hours into which an eternity was compressed.”

The Savior of the world had emerged from three hours of darkness, during which He was separated from God the Father. Why did the Father turned away from Him? It is against the character of God to face sin, so God withdrew Himself from communication with His Son while Jesus bore the guilt of the world’s sin.

His Burial
Following the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Joseph was given permission to bury Jesus, so he brought fine linen, wrapped the body, laid Jesus in a tomb and rolled a large stone across the entrance. Jesus was in the grave for three days.

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ – His Eternal Gift
What does the crucifixion of Jesus Christ have to do with you? God, who knows what you’re are made of, knew you could not live the sinless life necessary for heaven. So He decided to offer Himself in your place. He did that by becoming a man in the person of Jesus Christ, His own Son. Jesus lived a sinless life on earth.
God had said the punishment for sin is death. Since we all have sinned (Romans 3:23; 6:23), we needed someone sinless to die in our place. Jesus, being sinless, died in our place and became the saving grace of the world. He died for you! Romans 5:10 says, “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
The Bible says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. . .” (Acts 16:31).

Attending church or performing good works will not contribute to your salvation. God saves you by His grace.

Jesus is offering you the gift of eternal life. Will you accept it by faith ?

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