Growing up in a Christian home was exciting some days, such as Easter Sunday, meant engaging
in Easter egg hunts. Though my father, a pastor, tried to explain Easter Sunday when I was
young, I celebrated this day without understanding what it truly meant. Most Christians have
linked Easter Sunday to the day Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Since I am now a pastor
with an extensive background in biblical studies, I have learned more about Easter Sunday. I felt
the need to share my knowledge on this and answer the question, what happened to Jesus on
In this article, I will discuss what the bible says happened on Easter Sunday and who was the first to discover that Jesus had been resurrected on Easter Sunday. Join me on this exploration and learn how Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, to disciples on their way to Emmaus, and to his apostles. You will also discover why it was necessary that Jesus was resurrected on Easter Sunday and why it was important that women were the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. Read on to find out more!
What does the bible say happened on Easter Sunday?
According to John 20, the Easter Sunday event started on an early Sunday morning, and Mary Magdalene headed to the tomb where Jesus was buried to prepare Jesus’ body with the right spices and ointments as it was according to the Jewish custom. To take you back, Jesus had not been appropriately buried according to the Jewish custom, as his body had been taken in haste on Friday evening, and there was no time to prepare it as the sabbath was nearing.
When she reached the tomb, Mary Magdalene found that the stone for the tomb had been rolled away; she went back and told some of Jesus’ disciples, who in turn came to see what had happened. The disciples then went back home, but Mary Magdalene stood out of the tomb crying, as stated in John 24:9-11.
Who was the first to find out that Jesus had been resurrected on Easter Sunday?
Most of the gospel books record that Mary Magdalene was the first to find out that Jesus had resurrected on Easter Sunday, as he appeared to her before anyone else. The book of Luke does not record this narrative; it only shows Jesus appearing to two of his disciples for the first time after his resurrection, who were on their way to Emmaus. The Book of John 24:17, however, insists that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and even sent her to his disciples to announce his resurrection.
Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene
The appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene is recorded in the nook of John 20:11-18. Jesus appeared to her when she had been left alone outside the tomb weeping, as she was desperately looking for Jesus. While she bent in the tomb to look for him for the last time, she saw two angels sitting where Jesus had been lying, dressed in white.
They then proceeded to ask him why she was crying, in which she revealed to them that they had taken Jesus and did not know where he was. Immediately Jesus appeared to her and asked her the same question. Mary did not recognize him at once, even though he was the gardener. When Jesus called her by her name, she immediately knew who she was and even referred to him as “Rabboni’’.
Addressing her, Jesus told Mary Magdalene in John 20:17, “Do not hold onto me, “Jesus told her, “Because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God, and their God.”
With this, Jesus had told Mary Magdalene, a woman, the most vital testimony, and she was to go and convey it to his disciples.
Jesus appears to his disciples on their way to Emmaus
The second lot of people that Jesus appeared to were his two disciples, as recorded in Luke 24:13-35. The two disciples were on their way to a village called Emmaus and were talking about what had happened. Drawing near where they were, Jesus asked them what they were talking about, as they had yet to recognize who he was.
One of his disciples, Cleopas, told him the whole story of who Jesus was and how he had been crucified and killed. He then explained his resurrection to him, which showed that the two still doubted that Jesus had been resurrected.
As they made their way to Emmaus, Jesus pretended to be going further with the journey, but they invited him to stay with them as the day was almost over and getting darker. Jesus accepted their request and followed them, and stayed with them.
When it was time to eat, Jesus took the bread as he always did, broke it, and gave them to eat. That is when their eyes opened, and they recognized him. The Bible records that Jesus immediately vanished from their site. The two disciples immediately rose, returned to Jerusalem, and told the other disciples what had happened.
Jesus appears to his apostles
Jesus then appeared to all his disciples when the other two disciples were still narrating what had happened. They were terrified at first and thought they had seen a ghost. Calming them down, Jesus informed them he was indeed the one and even showed them his feet and hands as proof that he was then one.
He then requested something to eat, in which he was given a piece of cooked fish, which he ate in their presence. Jesus then reminded them of the prophecy written in the Law of Moses and Psalms about him, which had come to pass.
Opening their minds to understand the scriptures better, Jesus said to them, as Luke 24:46-49 says,
“This is what is written; The Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later, and in his name, the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are a witness to these things. And I will send upon you what my Father has promised. But you must wait in the city until the power from above comes down upon you.”
Why was it important that Jesus was resurrected on Easter Sunday?
Bible scholars from Got Question ministries suggest that the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday had several important impacts on Christians today. One, it showed that God fully accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, making us worthy before him. Before he came to earth, people died of sin, and no animal sacrifices were enough to make them clean again.
Second, the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday showed the power that God has to raise a human being from the dead. This encourages any Christian that dies in him that they will one day come back to life, just as Jesus had promised.
Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday also proved to his disciples and all Christians that he was indeed who he said he was, the Son of God.
Why was it important that women were the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday?
Religious scholars speculate that it was important that women were the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday to show that sin no longer bound a woman, that the first woman Eve had committed and was free from spreading the word of God just like any other man.
Jesus was also making sure that there was no difference between a man and a woman in his ministry, as they were equal under the power of the holy spirit. Galatians 3:28.
Mark D. Roberts, a theologian from the Depree organization, also suggests that it was important for women first to witness the resurrection of Jesus to change how women were perceived at the time. Women were never allowed to testify in court during those times, as they were seen as incompetent. By Jesus sending Mary Magdalene to convey his message to his disciples, he showed the world that women also had a more significant role in society than they were perceived to.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.