The Resurrection: What Really Happened to Jesus on That First Easter?

Discover the astounding truth behind Easter Sunday - the resurrection of Jesus. Uncover the mystery that changed the course of history forever.

Last Updated:
March 20, 2024
8 Minutes

Table of Contents

As you're flipping the pages of the Bible and immersing yourself in the ancient scripture, you might stumble upon a chapter that anchors the very crux of Christian faith - the story of what happened on Easter Sunday. It's not just another Pão de Açucar Sunday, it's a day that's fraught with monumental episodes and spiritual revelation, an eventure that spans betrayal, sacrifice, and resurrection.

"He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay." - Matthew 28:6

This day represents a turning point, a crucial moment in the paradigm of human faith and hope. For many believers, the events of this day lay the very cornerstone for their devotion and reverence. Put on your historian's hat, pour yourself a warm drink and let's delve together into the stirring happenings of this day, as we unravel the sequence of events that took place on Easter Sunday in the Bible - what happened to Jesus, and why it's such a monumental day in Christian faith.

What happened to Jesus on Easter Sunday according to the Bible?

Reflecting on Easter Sunday, the dawn of a new day on the calendar of history, one cannot ignore the profound mystery it envelops. Imagine with me the magnitude of that morning: Jesus Christ, having been crucified, laid to rest in a tomb, secured by a stone and guarded by soldiers, is no more in His earthly grave. The Bible, our guidepost in recounting these monumental moments, communicates this as the Resurrection of Jesus.

It's a riveting reality, shared in the New Testament, that on this day, death was defeated. Jesus, in His victory over the grave, opened the way for us all to participate in His triumph over sin and death. As depicted in Matthew 28:5-6, when the women arrived at the tomb, an angel greeted them, saying, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said."

The Gospel of Luke, in its 24th chapter, presents a similar narrative of two men in shining clothing reminding the women about Jesus' prophecy of His resurrection. "Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again’” (Luke 24:6-7). The moment these words were spoken, the heavy fog of despair lifted, and the women hurried off to share the joyous news with the disciples.

In the book of Acts, Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit, boldly proclaims this resurrection event to the multitudes. Declaring in Acts 2:24, "But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him". This revelation becomes the cornerstone of Peter's evangelistic message, ushering in a wave of early Christian conversion.

Thus, Easter Sunday is a momentous occasion that celebrates the divine triumph over death, marking the rebirth of hope, faith and salvation. A glorious day when the seemingly impossible was made possible, and the prophecy was fulfilled.


  • Easter Sunday marks the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as communicated in the New Testament.
  • Upon visiting His tomb, women were greeted by an angel who informed them of Jesus' resurrection.
  • The Gospel of Luke recounts two men reminding the women of Jesus' prophecy of His own resurrection on the third day.
  • The book of Acts documents Peter's declaration of Jesus' resurrection, establishing it as a fundamental doctrine of early Christianity.
  • Easter Sunday is a celebration of Christ's victory over death, signifying the fulfilment of prophecy, and the promise of rebirth and salvation.

What are the biblical accounts of Easter Sunday?

According to the Bible, after Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial, the evening of Good Friday folded into a sabbath of mourning and reflection. However, with the breaking dawn of the first day of the week, Easter Sunday, the undertones of loss were transformed into triumph.

As per the Gospel of Matthew (28:1-10), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. There, they encountered an angel who announced that Jesus had risen. The women, filled with joy, hurried to share the news, only to meet Jesus Himself who told them, "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Similarly, the Gospel of Mark (16:1-13) discusses Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome's encounter with an angel at the empty tomb who instructed them to tell the disciples about Jesus' resurrection and His imminent appearance in Galilee. However, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene, who then shared this miraculous news with the disciples.

The Gospel of Luke (24:1-12) amplifies this account with the women, out of deep devotion, visiting the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with spices. They found the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, and angels who reminded them of Jesus' words predicting His resurrection. While the disciples initially had difficulty believing the women's account, Peter rushed to the tomb and was astonished at what he found.

In contrast, the Gospel of John (20:1-18) shares a more intimate account of Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus. Mary visited the tomb while it was still dark, found it open, and rushed to tell Peter and John. Later that morning, she encountered Jesus outside the tomb but didn't recognize Him until He spoke her name.


  • As recounted in the Gospels, Easter Sunday unfolds with the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • The followers of Jesus visited His tomb only to find it empty, with angels announcing His Resurrection.
  • Both the angels and Jesus instructed the women and disciples to meet Him in Galilee.
  • Jesus' resurrection occurred on the first day of the week, marking the beginning of a new era in the Christian faith.

What lessons can be learned from the Easter Sunday events in the Bible?

Firstly, Jesus' triumph over death encapsulates the overarching promise of redemption - a cornerstone of Christianity. His resurrection is a testament to the notion of eternal life and serves as a beacon of hope for billions across the globe. This certainly prompts us to ask ourselves - are we living lives worthy of this grand redemption? Are we embodying the teachings of Christ in our day-to-day actions?

Furthermore, the Easter events underscore the profound concept of sacrifice. The crucifixion of Christ was a profound sacrifice made for the salvation of humanity from sin. This selfless act imparts a significant lesson on the importance of sacrifice in our lives. How often do we put others' needs before our own? What sacrifices are we willing to make to better the lives of those around us?

Ultimately, the joyous triumph of Easter Sunday can't be separated from the chilling horrors of Good Friday. This juxtaposition serves as a poignant reminder that moments of hardship often pave the way for moments of great joy and victory. We, therefore, find solace in the knowledge that our trials and tribulations, our personal 'Good Fridays', can lead to our very own 'Easter Sunday' moments of breakthrough.


  • Victory Over Death: Easter Sunday heralds Jesus' victory over death, promising eternal life and providing hope for humanity.
  • Lifesaving Sacrifice:The crucifixion and resurrection narrative emphasizes the importance of sacrifice in achieving a greater purpose, such as the salvation of humanity.
  • Hope Amid Adversity: The transition from the sorrow of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday teaches us that times of struggle often precede periods of celebration and breakthrough.

How did Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday impact early Christianity?

You know, whenever I contemplate about the initial days of Christianity, one thing becomes clear - the resurrection of Jesus on that blessed Easter Sunday had a profound and inescapable effect on the fledgling faith. Today, as we sift through ancient documents and records, we find one enduring truth: Easter, and specifically Christ's resurrection, is the very crux of Christianity.

Let’s imagine the scene for a moment... Jesus's early followers, those who had stood by him through his teachings, miracles, and then his crucifixion, suddenly find their leader alive, three days after his death. This wouldn't merely have been shocking - it would have been revolutionary. Would their perceptions of Jesus have stayed the same after this supernatural event? It's hard to believe so.

The resurrection essentially implies that Jesus was truly divine, and the one who had died on the Cross was not just an ordinary man, but God Himself, manifest in human form. The followers, through their unshakeable belief in Jesus's resurrection, came to conclude that he was indeed exalted to heaven by God.

The resurrection seemed to parallel certain traditional beliefs held previously by the followers, and this correlation served to fortify their faith. The first ekklesia (assembly) founded by these followers became a place where this resurrection story was shared, believed, and cherished, hence promoting the acceptance and growth of the Christian faith.

A stirring thought, isn't it? And one can't help but feel that this transformative event, this resurrection, became the cornerstone of Christianity. It's an enthralling story that has echoed down the ages, a moving testament to the Christian faith and its roots in miracles, faith, and a profound trust in the divine.

The power of the resurrection message had such an intense impact on early Christianity, shaping and defining its course, that it raises a question we should all ponder for a moment: Where would Christianity be without the resurrection of Jesus Christ on that monumental Easter Sunday? Perhaps we can't say for certain, but it’s safe to posit that it surely wouldn't be as it is today.


  • Jesus Christ's resurrection is the core of the Christian gospel.
  • His resurrection confirmed his divinity to his early followers.
  • The belief in Jesus' resurrection fortified the faith of his followers, leading to the formation of the first Christian assembly.
  • The correlation between the resurrection and traditional beliefs solidified acceptance of Christianity.
  • The narrative of the resurrection became the cornerstone of Christianity, shaping and defining the course of the religion.

What miracles occurred on Easter Sunday in the Bible?

Imagine, for a moment, the impossible becoming possible. Imagine the finality of death undone - not just for a fleeting moment, but victoriously conquered once and for all. This, dear reader, is exactly what occurred on that fateful Easter Sunday morning. The Gospel tells us of a miracle so profound, so awe-inspiring, that it reshapes the entire paradigm of life and death. This miracle was Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. The very essence of Easter lies in this great miracle to which the empty tomb stands testament.

On Easter Sunday, the Gospel of Matthew (28: 1-10) describes how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb of Jesus, only to experience a powerful earthquake. An angel of the Lord descended, rolling back the stone from the tomb’s entrance and sat upon it, his appearance brilliant like lightning and his clothing as white as snow. The guards, stricken with fear, became like dead men. The angel announced to the women that Jesus, who they sought, was not there for He has risen, as he said.

The divine miracle did not only end with the resurrection. The shockwave of this event extended further. In Luke (24:13-35), we read about Jesus appearing to His followers on the road to Emmaus. His disciples, failing to recognize Him at first, were given the revelation of His true identity when He broke bread with them at supper.

These miracles, dear readers, are not just stories written in an ancient book. They are transformative truths that reaffirm the power of faith, the victory over death, and above all, the endless love of our Creator who, in His grace and mercy, redeemed humanity from sin. As followers of Christ, we are called to hold on to these truths, to draw strength from the miracle of Easter, and to live in the hope of our own resurrection.


  • On Easter Sunday, the greatest of all miracles occurred – Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, signifying God's defeat over sin and death.
  • The angel’s announcement of Jesus' resurrection to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, and their experiencing of a powerful earthquake is one of the first miracles noted in the Gospel of Matthew.
  • Another significant miracle was Jesus appearing to His followers on their journey to Emmaus, revealing His true identity when He broke bread with them, as narrated in the Gospel of Luke.
  • These Easter miracles are more than historical accounts, they are demonstrations of God's limitless power, His love, and His triumph over death, offering hope and assurance for believers today.

Prophecies Fulfilled: How Easter Sunday Ties Into Biblical Forecasts

Through the profound events of Easter Sunday, a number of Old Testament prophecies found their fulfillment. What miraculous tapestry could be woven together, you might wonder, from the threads of scriptures written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus? I invite you to dive deeper with me now, acquainting or reacquainting yourself with these divine proclamations and tracing their fulfillment in the monumental event that Easter Sunday commemorates.

Turning our eyes to the prophecy in Psalm 16:10, we see the promise that, "You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay." Recognize this? On Easter Sunday, Jesus Christ, God's faithful one, was raised from the dead, laying claim on this prophecy. Death could not hold Him and His body did not see decay.

Now, let us consider the prophecy tucked within the verses of Zechariah 12:10, where it is written, "They will look on me, the one they have pierced." Observed in the light of Easter, doesn't it stir you to realize that the crucified Jesus, when He was raised on Easter Sunday and appeared to His disciples, invited Thomas to touch His pierced hands and side? A powerful echo of this prophecy indeed!

And think upon this: Isaiah 53:5 concisely foretells the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus with the words "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities". How strikingly accurate this imagery aligns with the declaration of John 19:34, which documents Jesus' side being pierced during His crucifixion. And when He triumphantly rose on the third day, those sins and transgressions were ultimately defeated.

With such revelation, don't you feel moved, encouraged, bound by a renewed conviction? With every prophecy fulfilled, every foretold event finding manifestation in Jesus' resurrection on Easter, isn't it clear that God's words are trustworthy and true?


  • Psalm 16:10 prophesied Jesus' resurrection, declaring that God's "faithful one" would be saved from decay, a prophecy brought to fruition on Easter Sunday.
  • Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection fulfilled Zechariah 12:10, as the risen Savior displayed His pierced body to His followers.
  • Isaiah 53:5, foretelling of Jesus being "pierced for our transgressions", found clear realization in the narratives of the crucifixion and resurrection on Easter Sunday.
  • Every prophecy fulfilled on Easter Sunday bears testament to the truthfulness and reliability of God's words.

How is Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday interpreted in different Christian denominations?

In understanding the interpretations of Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday across various Christian denominations, it is paramount that we bear in mind the belief that unifies all Christians: the resurrection of Christ. However, the exact interpretation and practices associated with this belief do differ, underscoring the diversity present within the Christian faith.

Catholicism, for instance, holds the resurrection as the cornerstone of its belief system, symbolizing the promise of life after death. Adherents engage in the Holy Week's remembrance leading to Easter Sunday, including the Stations of the Cross and the Easter Vigil. The liturgical celebrations speak to the importance of Christ's victory over death.

In contrast, Orthodox Christians view the resurrection not only as an event of historical significance but as a constant eternal reality. Worshipers participate in the Holy Mysteries, known as sacraments in the West, as they too observe a period of Lent, Holy Week, and culminate with the Divine Liturgy on Pascha, their term for Easter.

Protestant denominations, such as Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals, also embrace the resurrection as a fundamental premise. Still, their Easter Sunday worship might look quite distinct, versus the more liturgically focused practices of Catholics and Orthodox Christians. They focus on the Scripture, sermons centered on resurrection and grace endowed through Christ's sacrifice.

Despite these differences, the shared acknowledgment of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday demonstrates the ability of this momentous event to bridge doctrinal divides and enrich the faith of millions around the world.


  • Catholics see the resurrection as the promise of life after death, celebrated through liturgical ceremonies during the Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday.
  • Orthodox Christians consider the resurrection an eternal reality, commemorated through the Holy Mysteries, Lent, Holy Week, and the Divine Liturgy on Pascha.
  • Protestant denominations celebrate Easter Sunday with a focus on scripture and sermons highlighting the resurrection and the grace offered through Christ's sacrifice.
  • Despite differences in interpretation and practice, all Christian denominations hold a shared belief in the fundamental event of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.

What lessons can be learned from the Easter Sunday events in the Bible?

In the narrative of Easter Sunday, we find a tale replete with powerful lessons that resonate throughout history and can still impart wisdom in our modern context. These lessons offer spiritual guidance, moral clarity, and avenues for deep reflections on faith, sacrifice, redemption, and renewal.

One of the pivotal teachings from the event is the miraculous transformation the resurrection bestowed upon Jesus, from mortal man to divine entity. This captivating story is a testament to the overarching Christian belief - the triumph of love and spirit over physical death, showcasing that divine love is eternal and surpassing. We learn that life is more than just one's physical existence.

Another profound lesson embedded within the fabric of Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday is the idea of self-sacrifice and redemption. Jesus willingly accepted the ultimate sacrifice–His life–for the redemption of mankind from sin. This selfless act demonstrates the value and importance of self-sacrifice in the quest for righteousness and the collective good. In the same vein, His resurrection underscores the Christian belief in redemption and second chances.

Moreover, Easter Sunday teaches us about faith, belief, and hope – even when everything seems lost. Initially devastated by Jesus’ death, the disciples were rejuvenated in their faith upon His resurrection. Their experience reminds us that sometimes faith is tested in the grimmest of circumstances, yet hope and belief can rekindle light amidst despair and darkness.

In essence, the events of Easter Sunday in the Bible communicate profound teachings that inspire endurance in times of hardship, altruism for collective good, unyielding faith, and the notion of spiritual triumph over materialistic death. It is a timely reminder of how these values and principles consistently remain relevant, even in our contemporary world.


  • Life is more than just physical existence - the spirit can transcend the confines of physical death.
  • The importance of self-sacrifice and redemption - for the quest of righteousness and the collective good.
  • The power of faith, belief, and hope – especially during testing times of hardship and despair.
  • Spiritual triumph over materialistic death - a finer understanding and acceptance of the concept of eternity in the Christian deity.

Facts & Stats

Frequently asked questions

How did the resurrection of Jesus impact his disciples' beliefs and actions?

  • The resurrection of Jesus transformed the disciples from fearful followers into bold messengers.
  • Filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples spread Jesus' teachings far and wide.
  • The disciples' unwavering faith and dedication inspired countless others to embrace the message of salvation.
  • This ignited a movement that eventually became Christianity and forever changed the course of history.
  • The resurrection of Jesus had a profound impact on the beliefs and actions of his disciples.

What significance does Jesus' resurrection hold for Christians today?

  • The resurrection of Jesus is of immense significance for Christians today.
  • It is a testament to God's power and the promise of eternal life.
  • Through Jesus' resurrection, we are assured of our own resurrection and salvation.
  • The resurrection reminds us that no matter the challenges we face, there is always hope and victory.
  • It calls us to live with purpose, faith, and the assurance of God's love.

Are there any historical records or accounts outside of the Bible that support the resurrection of Jesus?

  • The resurrection of Jesus is documented in the Bible, as well as in some historical records.
  • Roman historian Tacitus mentions Jesus' execution by Pontius Pilate and the 'superstition' surrounding his followers.
  • Skepticism exists regarding the resurrection, with some scholars questioning the reliability of the biblical accounts.
  • For Christians, the resurrection of Jesus signifies hope, redemption, and the power of God's love.
  • Despite doubts, faith in the resurrection of Jesus can still bloom.

Did Jesus' resurrection have any implications for the future of humanity?

  • Jesus' resurrection offers spiritual transformation and renewal of faith.
  • It assures us that death is not the end, but a transition to a new and glorious existence.
  • Jesus' resurrection demonstrates that we too can experience new life and purpose in God's plan.
  • It is a testament to the power of God's love and the promise of a better future for all.
  • Through Jesus' resurrection, we can gain eternal hope and joy in the life to come.

How did the resurrection of Jesus challenge the prevailing religious and societal beliefs of the time?

  • The resurrection of Jesus challenged the prevailing religious and societal beliefs of the time by offering hope of eternal life.
  • It overturned the belief that only men could be trusted as witnesses, as women were the first to witness Jesus' resurrection.
  • Jesus demonstrated the power of God to raise a human from the dead, challenging the belief that power and authority come from earthly kingdoms.
  • Through his resurrection, Jesus invited all to embrace a new way of thinking and living.
  • His resurrection challenged and overturned deeply ingrained beliefs, ushering in a new era of hope and faith.

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