Mary Magdalene


John the Apostle

Three Gospels

The New Testament starts with the three Gospel books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. These three are known as the Synoptic Gospels. Gospel means “Good News”, and Synoptic refers to the fact that all three give an account of the same general events from the same point of view. The fourth book, John, is distinctly different from the three Synoptic Gospels, and includes much information not in the other three Gospels.

The four gospel books differ in what stories they include and how the stories are told. None of the four Gospels are meant to be a complete, detailed life of Jesus. Rather, as John wrote, “Jesus truly did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that by believing you might have life through his name.” “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they should all be written, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”

Together, the four Gospels comprise the vast majority of the direct information we have about the life and teachings of Jesus.


This episode covers approximately the week after Jesus was raised from the dead. When reading the relevant passages from the four Gospels, the exact order of events is a little unclear. One possible ordering of events is: the tomb is visited by women, the stone is rolled away, the tomb is found empty by the women, the tomb is found empty by Peter and John, Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, Jesus appears to other women, report of the soldiers, Jesus appears to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who report to the apostles, Jesus appears to the ten apostles, and Jesus appears to Thomas and the rest of the apostles.

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus buried Jesus on Friday afternoon. They did not have time nor expertise to bury the body properly. Perhaps it was the job of the women to prepare a dead body. In any event, the women were not involved and went home to prepare spices and perfumes. They rested on Saturday in accordance with the Law of Moses.

At first opportunity, dawn on Monday, Mary Magdalene and other women took spices and perfumes to anoint the body of Jesus. They arrived either as the angels were rolling away the stone in front of the tomb or just after they had done so. When the women looked into the tomb, they found it empty. While they were in a stupor, the angel(s) told them Jesus had come back to life, just as he said he would.

The women ran to tell the eleven apostles, who were in disbelief. However, Peter and John ran to the tomb and also found it empty. When Peter saw the headcloth was folded by itself, he ascertained that things were askew, but was not convinced Jesus had risen from the dead.

At some point, Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb and Jesus appeared to her. He instructed her to tell the apostles to meet him in Galilee. Jesus also appeared to the other women.

That same day, Jesus appeared to two of his disciples walking on the road to Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They could not recognize him in his resurrected body, but he eventually revealed himself. Importantly, he explained how the scriptures in the Old Testament testified about him. The two returned to Jerusalem and told the apostles.

Jesus appeared to ten of the apostles without Thomas, and later appeared to all eleven of them. So Jesus rose from the dead as he foretold. How would that change things?

Mary Magdalene
Primary Scriptures:
Matthew 28, Mark 16, John 20
Story Summary:
Jesus comes back to life after being dead; a week following
Kingdom of Judea (Israel)
Circa 30 AD