1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him."

14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'" 18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her.  Version: New American Standard.



  • It is Sunday morning, the third day.
    • None expect the resurrection, despite Jesus' frequent and emphatic prediction of this event:
      • John 2:19
      • Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 27:64
      • Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34
      • Luke 9:22; 18:33
    • Mary of Magdala is the first to find the open, empty tomb (v.1). Note that she says "We do not know where they have laid him" (v.2)—she was not alone. This verse points to the other women, named in the other Gospel accounts.
    • Immediately she runs to tell the news to the apostles, who receive her message as nonsense (Luke 24:11).
    • Peter and the Beloved Disciple run to the tomb (v.4).
      • The Beloved Disciple sees the graveclothes (v.5). The presence of the graveclothes shows there had been no robbery.
      • Though Peter arrives first, the Beloved Disciple allows him to enter first. Peter sees the graveclothes and the face cloth (v.7).
      • Neither yet understood the scriptural truth that Christ must rise from the dead (v.9), and so they simply go home.
  • Mary, on the other hand, remains at the gravesite (v.11).
    • She is distressed. It would have been very unsettling to think that the body of her Lord has been stolen, mistreated, or abused.
    • Looking again into the tomb, she sees angels sitting at either end of the place where the body of Jesus should have been (v.12). They ask her why she is weeping, and she tells them.
    • Turning around, she sees Jesus (v.14), though not recognizing him. He repeats the question: "Woman, why are you weeping?"
    • She thinks (hopes?) he is the gardener, and will be able to show her where the body has been placed (v.15).
    • Jesus reveals his identity (v.16), and Mary falls at his feet, desiring his presence and wanting him to remain. Since Mary is one of his sheep (10:3-4,14,16,27), she recognizes his voice when he calls her by name.
    • Jesus, however, cannot stay. He must return to heaven -- though not immediately (v.17).
    • For a second time Mary makes an announcement to the apostles, but this time it is not only about an empty tomb, but about a risen Lord.


  • A copy of a decree by the emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) was found at Nazareth. It orders execution for those destroying tombs, breaking seals, or removing bodies or closure stones.
  • It is clear from verse 17 that Jesus had not yet gone into heaven as of Sunday. And yet he told the penitent thief (Luke 23:43), "Today you will be with me in paradise." By far the simplest explanation is that paradise and heaven are not necessarily the same place. For more on this, click here.
  • The fact that the gospels report the testimony of women to Jesus' resurrection is remarkable, since such testimony was not normally accepted in a court of law. If the resurrection were a fabrication, it would not have been written this way! The truth is, it isn't a fabrication at all. It is historical fact.

Thought questions:

  • If you were the one visiting the tomb early on Easter morning, what would have been in your thoughts on seeing the stone rolled away?
  • If you are a man, how would you have reacted when Mary (and other women) announced that they had met he risen Lord?
  • If you are a woman, do you relate to the question of the angels and Jesus, "Woman, why are you weeping?"? Is there something in your life that is causing you great distress? Do you know and feel that God understands and cares?