John 20:1-10 Easter at Christmas: Easter Sunday Morning

Early 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. So 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!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Easter Sunday Morning

After the darkness of Good Friday comes Easter Sunday.  When I used to get up in the morning in Plymouth, England, Easter morning would often be crisp and cold.  There might be a little frost on the ground.  Sometimes, especially when Easter was later in the year, it might be quite warm.  I have memories, though, of Easter morning as a positive time of joyful praise at Underwood Chapel.  We would sing songs of joy and pray with fervour, thanking God for all that he had achieved.

The empty tomb is the sign to the disciples that something remarkable has happened.  Mary sees the stone is removed and then Jesus’ two closest disciples run to the tomb.  The text is establishing eye witness accounts so that we may believe that Jesus did rise from the dead.  The wisdom in the construction of the events would have seen like foolishness at the time.  Mary Magdalene is a poor first witness in the culture of the time.  She is a woman and she has a past.  For ancient cultures an upstanding and important man would have seemed more credible.  However, mentioning a woman in such a prominent role has given the story more credibility as it has come through ages of reform and rights for women.

Secondly, what did the two disciples believe?  They believed the testimony of the woman.  They were incredulous and what is happening in this scene is dawning on them slowly. Again, this sounds like real life.  We know that Jesus comes to life in the story.  They had prophesies and teaching from Jesus that delighted in metaphor.  It is believable that they too were skeptical that Jesus really meant he would be buried and rise from the dead.

So, how do you respond to the empty tomb?


The tomb was empty, Jesus, and in a sense you were gone.  However, you are now in a glorified state.  I don’t know how to relate to this very well.  You were a man walking the earth and now you are a man who is present everywhere.  Help me to get a better grasp of the transformation that happened at the tomb.


  1. Who finds the stone rolled away?
  2. Why do the disciples run to the tomb?
  3. What did the disciples believe?
  4. How do you respond to the empty tomb?
  5. Who have you talked to about this miracle?  How did it go?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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2 Responses to John 20:1-10 Easter at Christmas: Easter Sunday Morning

  1. Ed says:

    Mary finding the empty tomb was odd because women were not consider a creditable witness back then. The disciples running because Jesus told them he would rise in three days. This might have stuck a cord from Jesus teachings and they needed to see for them self’s. Now the disciples understood the meaning resurrection. My response is by faith and all the facts of prophesy that have come true among all the wonderful things God has done in my and others life’s. The events in it self are fantastic but never the less true. Easter and Christmas is when this will be talked about unless in a small group we bring it up or I am answering questions planting seeds.

  2. Dylan says:

    1. Mary Magdalene
    2. The disciples did not understand Jesus’ teaching on his resurrection. Thus, when it happened, their first thought was that the body had been stolen. They wanted Jesus in the tomb but he would not be bound.
    3. Seeing the strips of linen and cloth lying in its place, the disciples believed that Jesus had been risen from the dead.
    4. Jesus is not on the cross as so many religious images suggest, he is risen!! This is a story of victory. If Jesus really rose from the dead, which I believe he did, then his claims must be true. He must really be the Son of God, worthy of our worship, whose death was not in vain.
    5. Sometimes I glide over the resurrection when sharing the gospel. However, in doing so I am not giving the full story and the listener probably feels they’ve missed something. I tend to get nervous when telling about miracles. I must remember that this was a unique event in history and it calls for the miraculous. Also, from an apologetic stand point, everyone must believe in events outside the laws of the universe since none of them were in place when the universe began. Regardless of their theory, everyone believes in miracles. I want to emphasize the resurrection more. It is the event the gospel hinges on and the only hope for humanity.

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