Thursday, 7/9, we'll continue our Bible Study discussion topic is resurrection stories - Jesus' and ours(?)
 Join us, 7:30-8:30pm, on Zoom:  
What difference does it make that Jesus was resurrected?
Does the bodily resurrection of Jesus seem curious to you? 
The four different gospels have some interesting details below follows a summary of all of the resurrection stories/"accounts." 
How do these resurrection stories strike you?  What genre would you put them in, and what do you take away from them?
Which of the resurrection stories/"accounts" is most meaningful to you?  Least?  Weirdest?

  • This is the gospel where in (27:52-53) there is a mention that "The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.  After [Jesus'] resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many."  What happened to them??  There are no other mentions of these resurrections in scripture elsewhere, and no description further in this gospel.
  • Jesus does not appear at the tomb or garden, but the Mary's run into him as they leave from the tomb.  Jesus tells them to tell the others to go meet him in Galilee.
  • Counter-narrative by guards and chief priests that Jesus' body was stolen, not resurrected.
  • RJesus (Resurrected Jesus) meets the 11 on the appointed mountain in Galilee, and commissions them to go, make disciples, baptize.


  • The earliest version of Mark (which is the earliest gospel) ends with the women fleeing from the empty tomb afraid - with no appearance of RJesus and no further stories.  However, other stories were added or an alternate:
  • Jesus appears separately to Mary Magdalene (possibly alone, no mention of this being at the tomb, but it is on "Easter" morning).  She tells others, not all believe.
  • Jesus appears to "two of them" while walking in the country (possible summation of the Emmaus story), they tell others, not all believed.
  • Jesus appears to the 11 - and criticizes them for their disbelief (an interesting/unique detail) - and commissions them like in Matthew.
  • Ascension - Jesus ascends into heaven.


  • Women at the empty tomb, met by the angel, tell the guys, Peter goes to see for himself.
  • Emmaus story - Cleopas and someone else, meet Jesus on the road.  They do not recognize him at first - their eyes were kept from doing so.  They only recognize him when he breaks bread with them.  They tell the others.
  • Jesus shows up among the disciples while they are hearing the Emmaus story, Jesus "appears among them" - tells them to see his hands and feet - "that it is I myself."  He says this to point to that he is "flesh" and not "a ghost."  (No reference to wounds/scars.)  Jesus asks for something to eat - again to prove he is flesh?  He gives a bit of instruction, but not a commissioning - seems very short term, told to stay in the city.
  • Ascension - Jesus has them follow him out to Bethany, where he ascends.


  • Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene in the garden of the tomb - she doesn't recognize him at first, thinking he is the gardener, does when he says her name.
  • On Easter evening, Jesus "came and stood among [the disciples]" even though the doors are locked.  He shows them his hands and side (doesn't say they are wounded but feels implied?).  Jesus says "peace... receive the Holy Spirit." (Equivalent to the Pentecost giving of the HS in Luke/Acts.)
  • Thomas misses out, repeat appearance, again with the hands and side (but no actual mention of wounds).
  • (20:30) "Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book."  Ok - don't you wonder what they are?
  • Jesus appears to seven disciples (the fishermen), by the Sea of Tiberias.  They go fishing, catch nothing.  Jesus shows them where to fish, they catch a lot.  Simon Peter (who has already seen Jesus) naked (?) jumps into the sea realizing it's Jesus instructing them.  On the beach, Jesus has fish grilling (already) for breakfast, and the conversation with Simon Peter about "feed my sheep."  
  • Last vignette on the beach about the "beloved disciple" probably to reference current stories being circulated at the time of writing.  Again, reference to Jesus doing a lot of other stuff that wasn't written down - "if every one of them were written down, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."

Bill Schilling compiled this fascinating overview of other resurrection connections and stories:
Other Biblical examples of resurrection:

  • Widow of Zarephath’s son – brought back by Elijah (1 King 17:17-24)
  • Shunamite’s woman’s son – brought back by Elisha (2 Kings 4:18-31)
  • Dead Israelite – Brought back when tossed by Moabites into Elisha’s tomb (2 Kings 13:20-21)
  • Son of widow in Nain – Jesus Luke 7:11-17
  • Daughter of Synagogue leader at Capernaum – Jesus Luke 8:49-56
  • Lazarus – Jesus John 11:1-44
  • Dead Goodly people of Jerusalem – Upon Jesus death and the earthquake Matt 27:50-54
  • Tabitha (Dorcu) of Joppa – Paul Acts 9:36-42
  • Eutychus in Troas (fell asleep during sermon) – Paul Acts 20:7-12

Jesus' Statements and Commands about Resurrection:

  • And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Matthew 10:7-8
  • For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. John 5:31

Other Biblical references to resurrection:

  • And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people Ezekiel 37:13
  • And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2
  • Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Isaiah 26:19

Other Religions

  • Dionysus – born of Persephone and Zeus but torn apart and all parts but heart eaten by Titans at Hera’s request. Heart implanted in Zeus thigh from whence he was born again 
  • Persephone – Daughter of Demeter but taken by Hades. Zeus orders her return for one third of each year from death.
  • Osiris – part divine. Dies and reborn twice. First cast into Nile but recovered and returned to life by Isis (his wife/sister). Second time, torn to pieces and scattered across the world but gathered by Isis. Other gods resurrect him and make him god of the dead.
  • Odin – drove a spear into side and hanged himself to gain knowledge from beyond realm of the dead.
  • Ganesha (elephant headed Hindu god) Several traditions. One: Made by goddess Pavarti to guard her chamber. Shive cut off his head, but Pavarti restored him to life with the head of an elephant. 
  • Lemminkainen (Finnish) Tries to capture one of the black swans from the river of the underworld but dies in attempt. Body broken apart and scattered. His mother sews him back together and honey of the gods brings him back to life.
  • Tammuz (Sumerian) – Mortal king loved by goddess Inanna. Tammuz ends up in the kingdom of the dead but is rescued by Inanna (Ishtar) and turns him into a god. He dies and is resurrected each year.
  • Krishna – an incarnation of the god Vishnu
  • Quetzalcoatl – After four days in underworld, returns to heaven
  • Attus (Phrygian god) – A deity frenzy by Cybele. Killed himself (bled to death from self-castration) but each year resurrected by Cybele (probably as pine tree)