When Did Jesus Rise From the Dead

By Paul King •  Updated: 09/27/23 •  13 min read

Throughout history, the resurrection of Jesus has been a subject of great contemplation and debate. Scholars and theologians have sought to unravel the mysteries surrounding the timing of this event, relying on historical accounts and biblical evidence. The significance of the empty tomb and its relation to Passover have been explored, shedding light on early Christian beliefs about Jesus’ resurrection. In this article, we will delve into these multifaceted aspects, aiming to provide a comprehensive understanding of when Jesus rose from the dead.

According to the Holy Bible, Jesus was crucified and buried on a Friday, known as Good Friday. After his death, his body was laid in a tomb, sealed with a large stone. The following day, which is Saturday, was the Sabbath, a day of rest and observance for the Jews. On the third day, which is Sunday, something remarkable happened.

The Gospel of Matthew describes the events surrounding Jesus’ resurrection in great detail. It tells us that early in the morning, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to visit the tomb. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the stone, and sat on it. The guards who were stationed there were filled with fear and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead.’

With both fear and great joy, the women hurried away from the tomb to carry out the angel’s instructions. As they were going, Jesus himself met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ They fell down at his feet and worshiped him.

The resurrection of Jesus is a fundamental belief in Christianity, as it signifies his victory over sin and death. The empty tomb serves as evidence of this miraculous event. It is important to note that the exact time of Jesus’ resurrection is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, but it is widely believed to have occurred early on Sunday morning.

The timing of Jesus’ resurrection holds significant symbolism as well. It aligns with the Jewish festival of Passover, which commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Just as the lamb’s blood spared the Israelites from death, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross spares humanity from the eternal consequences of sin.

In conclusion, while the precise timing of Jesus’ resurrection may remain a mystery, the biblical accounts and the significance of the empty tomb provide us with a profound understanding of this transformative event. The resurrection of Jesus is a central tenet of the Christian faith, demonstrating God’s power and love for humanity.

Key Takeaways

Historical Accounts of Jesus’ Resurrection

The historical accounts of Jesus’ resurrection provide concrete evidence and diverse perspectives on this monumental event. As we delve into the skeptical perspectives and historical debates surrounding the resurrection, it is crucial to consider the biblical evidence and the profound impact it has had on human history.

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence comes from the Gospel of Matthew, where it is written, ‘He is not here; he has risen, just as he said’ (Matthew 28:6). This verse, spoken by an angel at the empty tomb, emphasizes the undeniable truth of Jesus’ resurrection. It serves as a powerful testament to the fulfillment of Jesus’ own prophecies and the ultimate victory over death.

Furthermore, the Gospel of Luke provides additional substantiation for the resurrection. In Luke 24:34, we read, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ This verse not only confirms the resurrection but also highlights the personal encounters that various individuals had with the risen Jesus. These encounters served as a catalyst for their unwavering belief in his resurrection and the transformation of their lives.

In addition to the disciples’ accounts, we find references to Jesus’ resurrection in the writings of non-Christian historians. The Jewish historian Josephus, in his work Antiquities of the Jews, mentions Jesus and describes how he appeared to his disciples three days after his crucifixion. This external corroboration further strengthens the historical validity of the resurrection.

While critics may question the authenticity of these accounts, it is important to note that the early Christian disciples faced persecution and even death for their steadfast belief in the resurrection. Their unwavering commitment to this truth is a powerful testimony to its reality.

The timing of Jesus’ resurrection is also significant, as it aligns with the biblical prophecies and symbolism. Jesus was crucified during the Jewish Passover, a time when lambs were sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins. Just as the Passover lamb was slain, Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for the redemption of humanity. His resurrection, occurring on the third day, further parallels the biblical accounts of Jonah being in the belly of the fish for three days and nights before being released.

Biblical Evidence for the Timing of Jesus’ Resurrection

One line of biblical evidence strongly supports the specific timing of Jesus’ resurrection. According to the Gospel of Mark, it is stated that Jesus rose from the dead ‘early on the first day of the week’ (Mark 16:2). This clearly indicates that the resurrection took place on a Sunday, which is the first day of the Jewish week.

The timing of Jesus’ resurrection is further reinforced by other passages in the New Testament. For instance, the accounts of the women visiting the tomb at dawn on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1) and the appearances of Jesus to his disciples on that same day (Luke 24:13-35; John 20:19-29) all point to a Sunday morning resurrection.

In order to fully grasp the significance of this pivotal event in Christian history, it is crucial to explore the profound implications of the empty tomb. The empty tomb serves as a powerful testament to the resurrection of Jesus. It is a physical proof that Jesus conquered death and rose from the dead, fulfilling the prophecies and promises of the Scriptures.

The story of the empty tomb is found in all four Gospels, providing multiple eyewitness accounts of this extraordinary event. When the women arrived at the tomb, they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. An angel appeared to them and said, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay’ (Matthew 28:5-6).

This angelic proclamation confirms the resurrection of Jesus, validating his divine nature and the fulfillment of his teachings. The empty tomb serves as a powerful symbol of hope, demonstrating that death is not the end, but rather the gateway to eternal life.

Furthermore, the significance of the empty tomb is deeply rooted in the Old Testament prophecies. The prophet Isaiah foretold of a suffering servant who would be ‘pierced for our transgressions’ and ‘crushed for our iniquities’ (Isaiah 53:5). This servant would also see ‘the light of life’ and prolong his days (Isaiah 53:10-11). The resurrection of Jesus fulfills these prophecies, proving him to be the long-awaited Messiah.

In addition to the biblical evidence, the empty tomb holds immense significance in the establishment of the Christian faith. The resurrection of Jesus provided the ultimate validation of his teachings and his claim to be the Son of God. It is through his resurrection that the promise of salvation and eternal life is made available to all who believe in him.

The Significance of the Empty Tomb

The significance of the empty tomb is deeply rooted in biblical prophecy and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As it is written in the Old Testament, in Psalm 16:10, ‘For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.’ This verse foreshadows the resurrection of Jesus, indicating that His body would not decay but rise again.

The empty tomb serves as a powerful symbol of the fulfillment of this prophecy, confirming the core belief of Christian faith. It is a testament to the miraculous resurrection of Jesus and His victory over death. As we reflect on the empty tomb, we are invited to contemplate the mysteries of life, death, and resurrection.

One story from the Bible that exemplifies the significance of the empty tomb is the account of Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to the tomb on the first day of the week, as described in Matthew 28:1-10. They witnessed an angel who proclaimed, ‘He is not here, for he has risen!’ (Matthew 28:6). This encounter with the angel at the empty tomb validated the resurrection of Jesus and brought immense joy and awe to the women.

Furthermore, the empty tomb challenges us to delve deeper into our faith and grapple with the profound implications of the resurrection. It calls us to trust in the unseen and embrace the spiritual significance of this pivotal event in human history. As it is written in John 20:29, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

While some may seek physical evidence to support the empty tomb, it ultimately requires faith to fully comprehend its significance. As the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7, ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’ The empty tomb is not merely a matter of physical proof but a testament to the power of God’s redemption and the hope of eternal life.

The Timing of Jesus’ Resurrection in Relation to Passover

The timing of Jesus’ resurrection in relation to Passover is not merely a coincidence but holds profound theological significance. It is through this connection that we can understand the early Christian beliefs about the resurrection of Jesus.

In the Gospel accounts, we find that Jesus was crucified during the time of Passover. This is in line with the Jewish festival, where a sacrificial lamb was offered to atone for the sins of the people. As John the Baptist proclaimed when he saw Jesus, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). This statement foreshadows Jesus’ role as the ultimate sacrificial lamb.

The Passover connection highlights the parallelism between the Passover lamb and Jesus. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb protected the Israelites from God’s judgment and brought about their liberation from slavery in Egypt, Jesus’ death and resurrection bring about redemption and liberation from sin. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:7, ‘For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.’

This connection between Jesus’ resurrection and the Passover festival is not a mere coincidence but a deliberate theological emphasis. It serves to demonstrate the profound and compassionate nature of the Christian faith, inspiring believers to find hope and salvation in the resurrection of Jesus.

To illustrate the significance of this connection, let us turn to the story of the Last Supper. During this Passover meal, Jesus took bread and wine and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19). By linking his body and blood to the Passover meal, Jesus foreshadows his impending sacrifice and the establishment of the new covenant.

Furthermore, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus’ crucifixion coincided with the moment when the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the temple (Matthew 27:46-50). This synchronization emphasizes the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ death and the fulfillment of the Passover symbolism.

Early Christian Beliefs About the Resurrection of Jesus

Early Christian beliefs about the resurrection of Jesus were deeply rooted in the theological significance of the timing of his resurrection in relation to Passover. As stated in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said, ‘For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ (Matthew 12:40). This foreshadowed his resurrection on the third day after his crucifixion, aligning with the Passover narrative.

The Passover story holds great importance in Jewish tradition, as it commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. In the book of Exodus, God commanded the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb and spread its blood on their doorposts, so that the Angel of Death would pass over their homes and spare their firstborn sons. This act of sacrifice and redemption became a central theme in the interpretation of Jesus’ resurrection by early Christians.

The Apostle Paul further emphasized this connection in his letter to the Corinthians, stating, ‘For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed’ (1 Corinthians 5:7). This powerful imagery portrays Jesus as the ultimate sacrificial lamb, whose blood brings salvation and deliverance from spiritual death.

The resurrection of Jesus not only affirmed the beliefs of the Jewish community but also offered a new understanding of redemption for Gentile converts. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, ‘For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!’ (Romans 5:10). This highlights the transformative power of Jesus’ resurrection, bringing hope and assurance of eternal life to all who believe in him.

One of the most profound stories from the Bible that exemplifies the significance of Jesus’ resurrection is the account of Lazarus. In the Gospel of John, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead after he had been in the tomb for four days. Jesus said to Martha, Lazarus’ sister, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die’ (John 11:25). This miraculous event foreshadows Jesus’ own resurrection and serves as a powerful testament to his divine power over death.

The belief in the resurrection of Jesus continues to inspire and comfort believers today. It reveals the unwavering faith in God’s power to overcome even the darkest of circumstances. As the Apostle Peter proclaimed, ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ (1 Peter 1:3). This living hope assures believers of the eternal life that awaits them through faith in Jesus’ resurrection.

Paul King

I post written versions of my powerful sermons exploring topics like prayer, praise, biblical truths, and more expressions of faith. My church has a deeply spiritual culture, which I try to convey through vivid storytelling and applications in our everyday life. I spread the Good Word with lots of conviction and passion.