Relive the Resurrection Story of Jesus Christ

Bible Story Study Guide

Resurrection Cross
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The resurrection story is the account of Jesus Christ rising from the dead after being crucified on the cross and buried in the tomb. It is the cornerstone of Christian doctrine and the foundation of Christian hope. By rising from the dead, Jesus Christ fulfilled his own promise to do so and solidified the pledge he made to his followers that they too would be raised from the dead to experience eternal life (John 14:19).

Question for Reflection

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, but they didn't recognize him (Luke 24:13-33). They even talked in great length about Jesus, yet they didn't know they were in his very presence. Is it possible that the resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ, has visited you but you didn't recognize him?

Scripture References

The resurrection story unfold in Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-49; and John 20:1-21:25.

Resurrection Story Summary

After Jesus Christ was crucified, Joseph of Arimathea had Christ's body placed in his own tomb. A large stone covered the entrance and soldiers guarded the sealed tomb. On the third day, a Sunday, several women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna and Salome are all mentioned in the gospel accounts) went to the tomb at dawn to anoint the body of Jesus.

A violent earthquake took place as an angel from heaven rolled back the stone. The guards shook in fear as the angel, dressed in bright white, sat upon the stone. The angel announced to the women that Jesus who was crucified was no longer in the tomb, "He is risen, just as he said." Then he instructed the women to inspect the tomb and see for themselves.

Next, he told them to go inform the disciples. With a mixture of fear and joy, they ran to obey the angel's command, but suddenly Jesus met them on their way. They fell at his feet and worshiped him.

Jesus then said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee. There they will see me."

When the guards reported what had happened to the chief priests, they bribed the soldiers with a large sum of money, telling them to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body in the night.

Two disciples walk with the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus
Two disciples walk with the risen Jesus on the road to Emmaus, unaware who he is. Illustration by William Hole 1846-1917. Culture Club / Getty Images

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to the women near the tomb and later at least twice to the disciples while they were gathered at a house in prayer. He visited two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus and he also appeared at the Sea of Galilee while several of the disciples were fishing.

Why the Resurrection Is Important

The foundation of all Christian doctrine hinges on the truth of the resurrection. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25-26, NKJV)

Without the resurrection, Jesus could have been thought of as simply a great teacher and a good man. But after he rose from the dead, his followers knew for certain that he was who he had claimed to be—the resurrection and the life, the Savior of the world.

The resurrection made it possible for Christians to receive the power of Christ's life living inside of them (Romans 6:1–10; Philippians 1:21; Galatians 2:20). Likewise, the resurrection sealed the Lord's promise that all those who believe in him will experience resurrection life and share in eternity (John 3:15; 4:14; 17:3; 1 Corinthians 15:20).

Points of Interest from the Resurrection Story

  • There are at least 12 different appearances of Christ in the resurrection accounts, beginning with Mary and ending with the apostle Paul. They were physical, tangible experiences with Christ eating, speaking and allowing himself to be touched.
  • The apostles, who were eye-witnesses to the risen Christ, experienced dramatic changes in their lives after meeting him, ruling out the possibility that the resurrection story is an invented one. 
  • Jesus' resurrected body was different from his physical body. It was no longer subject to the same laws of nature. He could transcend locked doors, and yet he could still be touched and he could eat.
  • Before Jesus ascended into heaven he gave the Great Commission, telling his followers to go and make disciples of all nations.
  • The stone was not rolled away from the tomb so Jesus could get out. He was able to walk through walls (John 20:19) in his resurrected body. The stone was rolled away so that everyone could see that he had risen.

Sources

  • Introducing the New Testament (Completely rev. and updated., p. 108).
  • Dictionary of Theological Terms (p. 380-381).