The Resurrection (John 20:1-29)

Mary Magdalene went to Jesus' tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week, and found that the stone over its entrance had been rolled away. She ran to tell Simon Peter, and the disciple whom Jesus loved most, and they ran back to the tomb with her in order to investigate. The other disciple arrived first but didn't go in; he bent over and looked in, and saw the strips of linen lying there. Simon Peter then went into the tomb and saw the linen, and also the burial cloth that had been folded neatly. The other disciple then also went inside, and believed. However, they still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. The disciples went back to their homes leaving Mary weeping outside the tomb. When she looked in, she saw two angels in white, sitting where Jesus' body had been laid. They asked her why she was crying. She replied that Jesus' body had been taken away, and she didn't know where it had been put. Mary then turned around to see Jesus himself (whom at first she believed to be the gardener). Mary asked him if he had taken the body, but Jesus called her by name - "Mary" - and she suddenly recognised his true identity. Then Jesus sent her to tell the disciples "I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God".

On the evening of the first day of the week, the disciples were together in a room and the door was locked (because they were afraid of the Jews). Jesus appeared to them, saying "Peace be with you". He showed them his hands and his side, breathed on them and said "Receive the Holy Spirit" - giving them power to forgive sins. Thomas was not with them, and he refused to believe until he had seen Jesus' wounds with his own eyes, and touched them with his own hands. A week later, Jesus appeared to the disciples again - and this time Thomas was present. Thomas was able to touch Jesus' wounds and he believed. Jesus said "Because you have seen me you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed".


  • Resurrection - as he had predicted, Jesus rose from the dead.
  • Power - Jesus appeared first to a woman - Mary - and then made himself known to his disciples. He had shown power over all human constraints - even death.
  • Proof - the disciples saw the risen Jesus with their own eyes, and believed.
  • Doubt - it's human to doubt (like Thomas); central to the Christian faith is the fact that you might not be able to see visual proof, but you believe anyway.

Contemporary Issues

  • Life after death and attitudes to death.
  • Do you think that Jesus really did rise from the dead?
  • Was this "the most important event of all time"?
  • How important is the resurrection story for Christians, and why?



What did Mary Magdalene discover when she got to the tomb?

At first, what did Mary think had happened?

Describe the meeting between Mary and Jesus.  How did she realise who he was?

What was the name of the apostle who did not believe that Jesus had come back to life?

Why is the resurrection of great significance for Christians today?