Harmonization of the Gospel Resurrection Texts
by Anne A. Kim

Resurrection Texts Harmonization

I first put this together a number of years ago. A skeptic had put forward what was supposed to be an unanswerable challenge: to take all the passages in the Bible beginning with the day of Jesus’ resurrection and continuing to the day of his ascension, and without omitting anything write a simple narrative that is chronological and leaves out nothing.

Anne A. Kim

Introduction

Here are the texts requested, every requested verse included and every account with the verses still in their original order, with the verses from each account placed with the corresponding verses from other accounts. What follows is the texts you specified with the verses grouped so as to reconstruct the events from the resurrection to the ascension from the existing accounts. On a few occasions when one account has an event recorded in a single verse while another account has the same event recorded in more detail over several verses, the more condensed version is shown half a verse at a time, followed by the detailed verses from the other account. I've added headings such as are common in modern narratives, and one or two comments in brackets. I've also made four introductory remarks separately, so that it doesn't interfere with the text below.

  1. The women's visits to the tomb.  Because of the way the names are listed and the comings and goings are presented, I suspect that the women came in more than one group.  They may have agreed to meet at the tomb around dawn.   If memory serves, Mary Magdalene lived in Bethany, while some of the other women lived in Jerusalem.  It's reasonable to think the women may have come in two or more groups.
  2. The timing of the earliest visits.  The text of John begins with Mary Magdalene setting out for the tomb "while it was still dark".  Since walking to the tomb, perhaps a couple of miles, would take some time, it's reasonable to think that the sun rose while the women were on their way to the tomb.  The events recorded for that morning would probably take at least half an hour, perhaps over an hour, to complete.
  3. The location of the ascension.  The original "challenge" presented the location of the ascensions as "variously given" being either in Bethany, near Jerusalem, or on the Mount of Olives.  A detailed map of the area shows that Bethany, which is near Jerusalem, is on the slope of the Mount of Olives.  If after reading this you're still interested in the other "challenges", go ahead and ask.
  4. Various things concerning the angels.   Since the events at the tomb that morning may have taken half an hour to an hour, I am not going to concern myself with where the angels were when Salome came versus where the angels were when Joanna came, or anything of that sort.  Even supposing all the women came together as a single group, if one woman reported to the disciples “we saw two angels, and they said such a thing” while another of the women reported “someone in gleaming clothes said such a thing”, those two statements are generally compatible.

[Introduction]

I Cor 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
I Cor 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Acts 1:3    After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

[Preparations]

Mark 16:1   When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body.

[The beginning of the day]

John 20:1 [first half]  Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb
Matt 28:1   After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Luke 24:1   On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
Mark 16:2   Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb
Mark 16:3   and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

[Meanwhile, at the tomb]

Matt 28:2   There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Matt 28:3   His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
Matt 28:4   The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

[The women arrive at the tomb; Mary Magdalen runs to get the disciples]

Mark 16:4   But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
Luke 24:2   They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
John 20:1 [second half] and [Mary M.] saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
John 20:2   So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"

[Meanwhile, the women are back at the tomb]

Luke 24:3   but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
Luke 24:4   While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
Luke 24:5 [first half]  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground,

Mark 16:5   As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
Mark 16:6   "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
Matt 28:5   The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
Matt 28:6   He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Luke 24:5 [second half] but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?
Luke 24:6   He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
Luke 24:7   'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'"
Luke 24:8   Then they remembered his words.
Matt 28:7   Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
Mark 16:7   But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'"
Mark 16:8   Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. [Hold your horses, Mark gets to the part where they tell the disciples in just a few verses.  See Mark 16:10-11]
Matt 28:8   So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Luke 24:9   When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
Luke 24:10  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
Luke 24:11  But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

[Peter goes to the tomb. The time overlaps in part with the time some women were still at the tomb or coming from the tomb]

John 20:3   So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
Luke 24:12  Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
John 20:4   Both [Peter and John] were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
John 20:5   He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
John 20:6   Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
John 20:7   as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head.The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
John 20:8   Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
John 20:9   (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
John 20:10  Then the disciples went back to their homes,

[Mary's second visit to the tomb; she meets Jesus]

John 20:11  but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
John 20:12  and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
John 20:13  They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him."
Mark 16:9   When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.
John 20:14  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
John 20:15  "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
John 20:16  Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
John 20:17  Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
John 20:18  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Mark 16:10  She [Mary M.] went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping.
Mark 16:11  When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

[Jesus shows himself to the women near the tomb]

Matt 28:9   Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Matt 28:10  Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

[The guards]

Matt 28:11  While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.
Matt 28:12  When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money,
Matt 28:13  telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.'
Matt 28:14  If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."
Matt 28:15  So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

[Jesus meets two on the road to Emmaus]

Mark 16:12  Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.
Luke 24:13  Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.
Luke 24:14  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.
Luke 24:15  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
Luke 24:16  but they were kept from recognizing him.
Luke 24:17  He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast.
Luke 24:18  One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalemand do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
Luke 24:19  "What things?" he asked. "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.
Luke 24:20  The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;
Luke 24:21  but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.
Luke 24:22  In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning
Luke 24:23  but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.
Luke 24:24  Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."
Luke 24:25  He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Luke 24:26  Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?"
Luke 24:27  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:28  As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther.
Luke 24:29  But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
Luke 24:30  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.
Luke 24:31  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
Luke 24:32  They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

[Jesus meets his disciples that evening]

Mark 16:13  These [the two walking in the country] returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
Luke 24:33  They [the two in the country who had been on the road to Emmaus] got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together
Luke 24:34  and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon."
I Cor 15:5 [first half] and that he [Jesus] appeared to Peter,
Luke 24:35  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
I Cor 15:5 [second half] and then [Jesus appeared] to the Twelve.
Luke 24:36  While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
John 20:19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
Luke 24:37  They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
Mark 16:14  Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
Luke 24:38  He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
Luke 24:39  Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Luke 24:40  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
John 20:20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
John 20:21  Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
John 20:22  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
John 20:23  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Mark 16:15  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Mark 16:16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mark 16:17  And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
Mark 16:18  they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Luke 24:41  And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
Luke 24:42  They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
Luke 24:43  and he took it and ate it in their presence.
Luke 24:44  He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Luke 24:45  Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Luke 24:46  He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,
Luke 24:47  and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:48  You are witnesses of these things.”

[Jesus’ other appearances after that dinner, exact timeframe for these is not given]

I Cor 15:6  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
I Cor 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,

[The first time Thomas sees the risen Jesus]

John 20:24  Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
John 20:25  So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
John 20:26  A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
John 20:27  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
John 20:28  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
John 20:29  Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:30  Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
John 20:31  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

[Jesus meets the disciples again in Galilee]

Matt 28:16 [first half] Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee,
John 21:1   Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:
John 21:2   Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
John 21:3   “I'm going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We'll go with you.”  So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
John 21:4   Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
John 21:5   He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered.
John 21:6   He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
John 21:7   Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
John 21:8   The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
John 21:9   When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
John 21:10  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
John 21:11  Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
John 21:12  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”  None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?”  They knew it was the Lord.
John 21:13  Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
John 21:14  This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
John 21:15  When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
John 21:16  Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
John 21:17  The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.
John 21:18  I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
John 21:19  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
John 21:20  Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?")
John 21:21  When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"
John 21:22  Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."
John 21:23  Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"
John 21:24  This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
Matt 28:16 [second half] to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.
Matt 28:17  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Matt 28:18  Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Matt 28:19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matt 28:20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

[Jesus’ ascension]

Luke 24:49  "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
Acts 1:4    On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
Acts 1:5    For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Acts 1:6    So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
Acts 1:7    He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
Acts 1:8    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Luke 24:50  When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
Luke 24:51  While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.
Mark 16:19  After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
Acts 1:9    After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Acts 1:10   They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
Acts 1:11   "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
Acts 1:12   Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city.
Luke 24:52  Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.
Luke 24:53  And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.  [until Pentecost anyway, but that is outside the scope of the request]

[Conclusion]

Mark 16:20  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
I Cor 15:8 and last of all he appeared to me [Paul] also, as to one abnormally born.
John 21:25  Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.



http://godandscience.org/apologetics/resurrection_harmonization.html
Last updated March 22, 2007

 

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