The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant events in Christianity. After his death on the cross, he rose from the dead three days later, according to the Bible. But who was the first person to believe in this miraculous event?
The Empty Tomb
After Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb, his followers were grief-stricken and fearful. However, when some of his female disciples went to the tomb early on the third day after his death, they found it empty. This discovery is recorded in all four Gospels: Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, and John 20:1-10.
According to John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene was one of the first people to visit Jesus’ tomb after his burial. She saw that the stone had been removed from its entrance and ran to tell Peter and another disciple what she had seen. When they arrived at the tomb, they found it empty as well.
But then something remarkable happened–Mary encountered Jesus himself! He spoke with her and revealed himself as the risen Lord.
This encounter is recorded in John 20:11-18:
“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them,’They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her,’Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ 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.’
Jesus said to her,’Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her,’Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them,I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’;and she told them that he had said these things to her. “
After Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus at the empty tomb, she went and told the other disciples what had happened. According to Luke’s Gospel, they didn’t believe her at first (Luke 24:10-11). However, later that same day Jesus appeared to two of his followers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).
When these two disciples returned and reported their encounter with the risen Lord, Jesus appeared again–this time in their midst. He showed them his hands and feet as proof that he was truly alive.
The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord (John 20:19-20):
“When it was evening on that day,the first day of the week,and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews,Jesus came and stood among them and said,’Peace be with you.’ After he said this,he showed them his hands and his side.Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”
In conclusion, Mary Magdalene was the first person to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. After discovering the empty tomb, she had a personal encounter with the risen Lord that transformed her life. She shared her experience with the other disciples, who eventually came to believe as well.
The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of Christian faith and provides hope for believers that death is not the end. As we celebrate Easter each year, let us remember and rejoice in this miraculous event that changed the course of history.