Printer-friendly version

[John:19:31-42]; [Matthew:27:62-66]; [John:20:1-31].

Lesson No.: 
Memory Verse: 

“Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me:  because I live, ye shall live also”  (John 14:19).

Cross References: 

I Death and Burial
1. The Jews obtained an order for the Roman soldiers to hasten the death of Jesus, [John:19:31-32].
2. Jesus was dead already, but one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side, [John:19:33-37]; [Zechariah:12:10].
3. Joseph and Nicodemus secured the body of Jesus, prepared it for the burial, and placed it in Joseph’s own tomb, [John:19:38-42]; [Matthew:27:60]; [Mark:15:43-46]; [Luke:23:50-53].

II The Tomb Watch
1. The words of Jesus were remembered, that He would rise again the third day, [Matthew:27:62-63]; [John:2:18-22].
2. The Pharisees and chief priests feared lest the disciples should come by night and steal Jesus’ body, [Matthew:27:64].
3. Pilate appointed a watch, and the entrance stone was sealed against intrusion, [Matthew:27:65-66].

III The Resurrection
1. On the third day, before dawn, an angel of the Lord descended from Heaven and rolled the stone away from the door of the sepulchre, [John:20:1]; [Matthew:28:1-2].
2. Jesus Christ arose from the grave to live evermore, [Matthew:28:6]; [Mark:16:6]; [Luke:24:5-7]; [1 Corinthians:15:4-6]; [Revelation:1:8], [Revelation:1:18].
3. Mary Magdalene, early at the sepulchre, ran to tell Peter and John, [John:20:1-2].
4. Peter and John ran swiftly to investigate, [John:20:3-10]; [Luke:24:12].
5. Mary remained at the sepulchre and was rewarded by a visit from Jesus, [John:20:11-18].

IV Appearances to the Disciples
1. The same day at evening, the Lord’s Day, Jesus appeared to the disciples to counsel them and gladden their hearts, [John:20:19-23]; [Mark:16:14-18].
2. Thomas, called Didymus, was not present at Jesus’ first appearance and could not believe that Jesus was truly risen, [John:20:24-25].
3. Eight days later, again on the Lord’s Day, Jesus appeared the second time, Thomas being present, [John:20:26].
4. Jesus removed Thomas’ doubts, [John:20:27-31].


Sad Hearts
The faithful band of Jesus’ followers, were up early on the first day of the week following the crucifixion. Theirs was not a joyous company -– on the contrary, their hearts were saddened almost to the breaking point. Jesus Christ, their beloved Leader and Master, had been taken from them and had been cruelly crucified; Jesus the One who had performed so many mighty deeds and miracles among them; the One who had taught them how to draw near to God; the One who had told them the beautiful things about Heaven and the terrors of hell; the One whom they trusted to become their earthly king and Messiah. The hopes and aspirations, plans and purposes, of Jesus’ followers had been built higher and higher through the years of His ministry, but in one day many of those hopes had been dashed to the ground.

The faithful band had watched with Jesus through the long day as He hung upon the cross. They witnessed the hours of darkness that covered the land during midday. They heard the blessed Son of God pray for the forgiveness of His persecutors; they heard Him promise eternal life to the dying thief who was crucified with Him; and they heard Jesus call out to the Father with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The small company had stayed with their Lord until He yielded up His spotless life; but little did they realize the tremendous importance, to the world of sinners, of the events to which they were witnesses.

Joseph and Nicodemus
Soon after Jesus had yielded up His life, Joseph of Arimathæa came to Pilate begging for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that Jesus could have died so soon, so he sent a messenger to ascertain the truth; then gave Joseph permission to take the body. Nicodemus came to help Joseph, and together they accomplished their mission quickly: taking Jesus down from the cross, wrapping His body in the linen clothes with the spices, and laying Him in Joseph’s own new tomb hewn out of the rock in a garden nearby. The disciples who had remained at the cross noted the place of the sepulchre, then went to their homes with hearts weighted down. As the next day was the Sabbath, nothing more could be done until the day following the Sabbath.

The True Passover
All the prophecies of the Scriptures concerning Jesus’ death and burial were fulfilled to the very letter. The Jews did not know that on this preparation day of their annual feast they were causing the true Passover to be slain -– not the type, not the shadow of things to come, but the true Passover. “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” [1 Corinthians:5:7]). Although Jesus Christ was ordained from the very foundation of the world willingly to give His life as a Sacrifice that sinners might live, God has pronounced a woe upon all who have contributed to His death. The Jews do not stand alone in this condemnation. Every sin committed, whether before the time of Christ or since, is a direct cause of Jesus’ death; and the only release from that condemning guilt is for the sin-guilty to flee to the crucified Christ for His atoning Blood and mercy. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” [Exodus:12:13]). The almighty God speaks these words.

The terrible wrath of the Jews against Jesus seemed to know no bounds. Their rage sent the Roman soldiers out to the crosses to break the legs of the crucified, and thus hasten their deaths; but God’s explicit command regarding the paschal lamb was, “Neither shall ye break a bone thereof.” And again, “They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it.” The Spirit of God spoke through the Psalmist, “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” [Psalms:34:20]). The soldiers broke the legs of the two men who were crucified with Jesus, but the power of God stayed their hands from performing the same act upon the body of Jesus. Indeed, it was not necessary to break His legs to hasten His death, for He was dead already. One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, “and forthwith came there out blood and water.” This gaping wound has since become an infallible proof to a gainsaying, unbelieving people that Jesus was undeniably dead.

Empty Worship
A feigned regard for the Sabbath caused the Jews to desire the removal of the crucified from the crosses, but was that the only reason? Was it not hard for them to kick against the sharp pricks of their conscience? The Jews had perpetrated the world’s greatest crime, and the inner voice accused them of it. They probably reasoned that with the bodies out of sight their conscience might be eased somewhat, and they could give more diligent observance to their religious duties. But wait! God is not mocked! He sees the intents of the heart long before He looks at the works of men’s hands. A simulated attitude of worship can never erase the sin of malice and the blood of murder from the heart. The Jews were still hot in their rage against Christ, yet they attempted to please the all-seeing One with letter-perfect observance of the Sabbath. The tragedy is, men have not changed. They are still trying to appease God once a week with outward works, acts, and observances, while their hearts are wicked, vile, and unrepenting.

Schemes of Men
The Jewish rulers were not sure of themselves at all. No doubt many of their number were among those who saw Nicodemus and Joseph roll the great stone to the door of the tomb where they had laid Jesus’ body. They well remembered the Lord’s teaching when they asked of Him a sign, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” [John:2:19]). During the mock trial the Jews wrested the meaning of Jesus’ words, accusing Him of trying to overthrow their literal Temple; but in their hearts they knew what Jesus meant. Now they came to Pilate saying that Jesus had promised the disciples that He would rise again the third day. They desired that the tomb might be sealed against intrusion, and that a guard of solders might keep the disciples from stealing Jesus’ body away. Once again we see the truth, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee” [Psalms:76:10]). The vain attempt of the Jewish rulers to secure themselves was turned by God into a witness against unbelieving hearts of the absolute truth of the resurrection.

Resurrection Power
No outside help was needed the morning that Christ arose. There was no hurried removal of Jesus’ body from the tomb, for the beloved Apostle noted the linen clothes lying in an orderly arrangement and the napkin that had been about Jesus’ head wrapped together in a place by itself. Jesus’ friends had not taken Him away, for no loving friend would have dishonoured the sacred dead by removing the clothing and taking the unclothed body away. Jesus took back the life that He had given for the world. Some time before the dawning of that first day of the week after the crucifixion, the Spirit of Christ returned to His body, and the resurrection of Jesus was accomplished: “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” [Acts:2:24]). The seal of the powerful Roman government was broken, the soldiers shook and became as dead men, the stone was rolled away from the mouth of the sepulchre. Jesus had come forth triumphant over death, hell, and the grave. “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” [1 Corinthians:15:20]).

The great and glad news of Jesus’ resurrection had not reached the women of the company of disciples as they left their homes early in the morning on their errand of further care for Jesus’ body. Their hearts were still burdened with grief as they walked through the dark dawn toward the sepulchre. As they neared the tomb, suddenly they were startled, for the stone -– too large for them to move -– was already rolled away from the door. They entered the sepulchre, but to their surprise the body of Jesus could not be found. Instead, they saw two men in shinning garments, who said to them: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” [Luke:24:5-7]).

Telling the Good News
The women believed the true report and returned with gladness and haste to tell the company of disciples, but their words seemed as idle tales to the disciples. Two of their number ran to the sepulchre to see for themselves. One disciple returned to the company believing, while the second returned wondering at that which had come to pass. Considering the many times that Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection, it seems incredible that the disciples should be so slow to believe the fact before them; but that very condition of heart shows the absolute absurdity of the Jews’ later charge that the disciples came and stole Jesus away. No anticipation or hallucination on their part invented the story of a resurrected Saviour. The greater part of their number did not believe Jesus had risen until they saw Him living. Thomas said that he could not believe until he saw Jesus and thrust his hand into the wound in Jesus’ side. Jesus condescended to Thomas’ wish, but at the same time He admonished him, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Great joy filled the heart of Thomas as he realized that the resurrection report was really true. That same joy can still be experienced by any soul who will reach out to the living Christ in simple faith and obedience to His commands. Jesus said to His disciples, “Because I live, ye shall live also” [John:14:19]). All true disciples of Christ claim that promise as their own.

World’s Greatest Events
The sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus rank in importance with His incarnation or birth into the world. These events are the greatest since the dawn of creation. Without His incarnation, the death and resurrection of Jesus could never have been possible, of course; but His death and resurrection show the true meaning of Jesus’ birth and life. The resurrection gives the Gospel its life, hope, and power. “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” [1 Corinthians:15:13-14]). But true faith is never in vain. The resurrected Christ has proved to every believing heart that He lives. Prove God for yourself, O heart, who knows not the power of the risen Christ.


1. Why did the Jews desire to remove the bodies of the crucified from the crosses?
2. How did the Jews propose to hasten the death of Jesus?
3. Name at least three Scripture passages that were fulfilled during Jesus’ death and burial.
4. Who was among the first to visit the sepulchre on the first day of the week?
5. What took place at the sepulchre?
6. What did Peter and John do when they heard the news?
7. How did Jesus reveal Himself to Mary Magdalene?
8. How did Jesus enter the room where the disciples were assembled?
9. What did Thomas say about Jesus’ appearance?
10. What did Jesus say to Thomas at His next appearance?