Text 1: Luke 24:1 1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
Background information: Jesus´ body had already been anointed once on Friday and the tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers. Combining the information in the Gospel accounts, we can conclude that the women who went to the tomb were Mary Magdalene, “the other Mary”, Salome, the mother of James and John, sons of Zebedee, and Joanna. All of the women except Mary Magdalene were wives and mothers (the other Mary and Salome were even mothers of disciples). All four women were from Galilee.
Why did the women go to Jesus´ tomb on Sunday morning although they knew they couldn´t possibly get in; the tomb was guraded by Roman soldiers and the entrance blocked by a stone.
Why were the women already on the move before sunrise?
Why did Jesus´ male disciples not go to the tomb together with the women?
How do you think the disciples spent the Friday night and Saturday morning after Jesus had died?
Text 2: Matthew 28:1-4 1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
Why didn´t God let anyone see the resurrection of Jesus? Why did it take place unseen by anyone?
If the women had believed Jesus´ prophecies about his resurrection, how would they have acted at the tomb on Easter morning?
The women had already seen Jesus´ abused body and how it was anointed on Friday evening. Why would they want to anoint it one more time on Sunday morning?
Do you think you would like to see and touch the body of a beloved person in a similar situation?
Why did the men (the disciples) not want to touch Jesus´ body? Would men and women react differently in this kind of situation?
Mary´s name appears first in all the lists of names that are given in the accounts of Easter morning. Why is this so?
Text 3: John 20:1-10 1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" 3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10Then the disciples went back to their homes,... Background information: By comparing the Gospel accounts we can conclude that the women started for the tomb together but that Mary Magdalene reached it first (apparently she was the youngest of the them). She rushed to the disciples before the rest of the women came to the tomb. It had probably crossed their minds that Jesus´ enemies might have stolen his body. In Jewish culture, desecration of a dead body was a punishment worse than death. “The other disciple, the one Jesus loved” is John himself, the writer of the Gospel.
Imagine what Mary must have thought and felt when she saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
Why did she go away without looking inside the tomb?
Why did Mary still not realize that Jesus had risen from the dead?
What does verse 2 tell us about the relationship between Mary and the disciples?
Verse 2 contains Mary´s first utterance in the Bible. What does it reveal about her? (What kind of person was she? What were her feelings when she said it?)
Who does Mary mean by “we” in verse 2?
The shroud, verses 3-9
The shroud was a large piece of linen wrapped around the body with 75 pounds (about 30 kg) of ointment in the folds. There was a separate cloth for the head. Imagine what the shroud would have looked like if someone had stolen the body from within it.
What was it about the shroud that made John believe?
What was it that John believed (verse 8) when he saw the shroud? What still remained unclear?
Why is the shroud valid evidence of Jesus´ bodily resurrection?
The resurrection of the body
What is the difference between the ressurection of the body, which Christians believe in, and the immortality of the soul, which many other religions too believe in?
If there was no resurrection of the body, what would Christianity have to give to humankind?
Picture a person who believes in every other tenet of Christianity except the resurrection of the body. Can such a person be called a Christian?
Questions related to The Da Vinci Code:
In the light of these texts, what do you think of Dan Brown´s claim that Jesus was declared to be God by a decree of a Council some 300 years after the events?
Which source do you find more plausible: the Gospel texts or the basic idea of Dan Brown´s novel?