With Easter coming early this year, revisiting the four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection now is imperative.
Some people believe the four versions are “hopelessly contradictory”. Others believe they were written by four different men describing the same event from four different viewpoints. They claim the differences underscore the truth of the story. Pointing to the description of a car wreck as an illustration, if four people’s stories were exactly the same, they would appear to have colluded about the narrative, thus making it suspicious.
The problem with this theory is the Bible is the inspired Word of God. There is no way He would allow only one of the accounts to be true while the others were false. There are no errors in the Bible.
Because of this, I am writing a three part Blog that will end with the complete harmonization of the four accounts.
This first article will set the stage for the controversy. The second will provide key aspects of the records which must be understood in order to grasp all four. The last Blog will provide the complete harmonization.
Let’s review key elements of the four Gospel statements to make sense of the basic differences from one to another.
Matt 28: 1-10
- Mary of Magdala and the other Mary visited the tomb..
- An angel removed the stone from the opening.
- The guards fainted.
- The angel told the women to not be afraid, Jesus had risen. The angel told them to look where He had been laid and to tell the disciples to go to Galilee.
- The women left with fear and great joy, met Jesus on way, and clasped His feet.
- Jesus instructed them to tell the brethren to go to Galilee and He would see them there.
Mark 16: 1-11
- After the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary (James’ mother), and Salome bought spices to anoint Jesus’ body.
- Some women went to the tomb and wondered how they would be able to open it.
- Upon arrival, they saw the stone (sealing the tomb) had been rolled back opening it.
- They went into the tomb and found a single man. He told them Jesus had risen and told them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee.
- They ran from the tomb terrified and said nothing of the encounter to anyone.
Luke 24: 1-12
- Women with spices found the tomb open, went in, and were perplexed that Jesus’ body was gone.
- Two men suddenly appeared frightening the women.
- The men said Jesus had risen and reminded them He had instructed about what would happen.
- The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, James’ mother and some other women.
- They went to where the disciples were staying and reported their experience to the apostles.
- Peter ran to the tomb alone, looked in, and saw the linens.
John 20: 1-18
- Mary Magdalene went alone to the tomb and saw it was open.
- Without looking in she ran to where Peter and John were staying.
- All three return to the tomb; John (the fastest) arrived first. Peter quickly followed and Mary was far behind.
- John looked in and saw the burial cloth.
- Peter went into the tomb and saw the linens.
- John entered and believed Jesus had been resurrected.
- Both went back to their lodging.
- Mary finally arrived again at the tomb, looked in, and saw two angels.
- She turned from the tomb, saw Jesus, but didn’t recognize Him until He said her name.
- Mary then knew Him by sight, and He told her to not cling to Him, for He had not yet ascended to the Father.
- She ran again to the disciples and told them she had seen Jesus.
My next Blog will lay the foundation for the complete harmonization of the four Gospel accounts.