Who Was the First to See Jesus After the Resurrection?

After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, there were many questions surrounding his resurrection. One of the most significant questions was, who was the first to see Jesus after the resurrection? In this article, we will explore the different accounts in the Bible and try to answer this pressing question.

The Empty Tomb

The first account of Jesus’ resurrection is found in all four Gospels (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18). According to these accounts, on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where he was buried.

She found it empty and ran to tell Peter and John. The two disciples then went to see for themselves and also found an empty tomb.

Mary Magdalene Sees Jesus

After Peter and John left the tomb, Mary Magdalene remained weeping outside. It was at that moment that she saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been laid (John 20:11-13).

They asked her why she was crying, and she replied that they had taken away her Lord. Then she turned around and saw a man standing there who she thought was a gardener. It was only when he said her name that she realized it was actually Jesus.

“Do not hold on to me”

Mary Magdalene’s account is significant because it is the first recorded instance of someone seeing Jesus after his resurrection. However, some scholars argue that Mary wasn’t technically “the first” since she didn’t recognize him initially.

Another notable detail from this account is when Jesus told Mary not to hold onto him because he had not yet ascended to his Father (John 20:17). This statement has been interpreted in various ways but could suggest that Jesus had more work to do before his ascension.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

In Luke 24:36-49, we see an account of Jesus appearing to the disciples. In this instance, they were gathered together discussing the reports of his resurrection when he suddenly appeared among them.

At first, they were frightened and thought they were seeing a ghost. However, Jesus reassured them and even ate with them to prove that he was not a spirit.

Thomas Needs Proof

One disciple who was not present during this encounter was Thomas. When the others told him what had happened, he famously declared that he would not believe unless he could see and touch Jesus’ wounds for himself (John 20:24-29).

A week later when the disciples were gathered together again, Jesus appeared to them once more, and this time Thomas was present. Jesus invited him to touch his wounds, and Thomas immediately believed.


So who was the first to see Jesus after his resurrection? It’s difficult to say for sure since each account has its own unique perspective.

Some argue that it was Mary Magdalene while others point to the disciples as a group being the first witnesses. However, one thing is certain – each encounter with Jesus after his resurrection served as proof of his victory over death and provided hope for all who believe in him.

As we reflect on these accounts, let us remember that our faith is not based on blind belief but rather on the historical truth of Jesus’ resurrection. May these stories continue to inspire us today as we seek to live out our faith in a world that desperately needs hope and love.