Christ's Resurrection: Four Accounts, One Reality

The Gospels can't keep their stories straight! How many women went to the tomb and when did they leave? How many angels visited the tomb? Did Jesus appear to all the women or just Mary Magdalene? Actual contradictions in the Resurrection reports would raise serious concerns for Christianity. If these discrepancies are legitimate, they would be a strike against the preservation of Scripture, but errors would not prove anything against the truth of the Lord’s Resurrection or the infallible original records. Nevertheless, Christians need not worry. These accounts can be reconciled. Indeed, when we put all the pieces together, the wonder of the Resurrection shines out in even greater glory.

Early Morning

When did the women go to the tomb, and how many went?

The Gospels refer to different times and name different women who arrived at the tomb. Matthew states that "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary" came to the tomb as it "began to dawn" (Matthew 28:1). Mark adds Salome to the group and claims that they came "very early in the morning" (Mark 16:1–2). Luke agrees that it was "very early in the morning" and names "Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women" as those who came to the tomb (Luke 24:1, 24:10). John wrote that "Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark" (John 20:1).

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