All was quiet at the tomb of Jesus until early Sunday morning while it was still dark. Suddenly there was an earthquake and an angel appeared at the gravesite. He rolled back the huge stone and sat on it! The guards were terrified and fainted. And then ... all was quiet once again.
As the sun came up, Mary Magdalene and some other women walked into the garden so they could put spices on the body of Jesus. They were wondering how they were going to get someone to roll back the stone from the tomb.
When they came to the tomb, they realized the soldiers were gone and the stone was rolled back. They looked, and saw that the tomb was empty!
Mary turned and ran to tell the disciples about the empty tomb. The other women stayed in the garden. Finally, they went inside the tomb. They saw two angels. One of the angels said, “Don’t be afraid! You’re looking for Jesus who was crucified. He’s not here, because he has risen. Go tell his disciples and Peter.” So the women went to do as they were told.
Meanwhile, Mary found the disciples and told them, “They’ve taken the body of Jesus and we don’t know where it is!”
When Peter and John heard this, they ran to the tomb. John got there first, but didn’t go in. Peter rushed in, and John followed. They saw the strips of cloth that had been wrapped around the body of Jesus, but the body was missing. They left the tomb and walked home, confused about what had happened.
After they were gone, Mary Magdalene arrived back at the garden, weeping as she walked.
When she got to the tomb, she saw the angels. One of them said, “Why are you crying?”
“Because they have taken away my Lord and I don’t know where he is.”
She turned and saw a man standing near her. She didn’t realize it was Jesus. She thought it was the gardener. “Sir, if you have taken him away, please tell me where he is so I can go get him.”
Jesus said, “Mary!”
Instantly, she knew who it was! She fell down and grabbed his feet, “My Master!”
He said, “Don’t hold me, but go tell my disciples that you have seen me.” Immediately she got up and ran to find the disciples.
Jesus then appeared to the other women as they were walking back into the city. They fell down and worshiped him. He said, “Go find my brothers and tell them that I’ll meet them in Galilee.”
All the women found the disciples and said, “Jesus is alive! We have seen him and talked to him. He’s alive!” The men were overcome, and could not believe it was really true.
The guards who were at the tomb were terrified by the events of that morning. They went and told the religious leaders exactly what happened. After some discussion, the high priest gave the guards a large amount of money and said, “Tell people that the disciples of Jesus came and stole his body while you were sleeping. We will make sure you don’t get in trouble with Pilate.” The guards took the money and did as they were told.