Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:
Matthew 28:1–15; Luke 24:1–12; John 20:1–10. Mary Magdalene and other women come to Jesus’ tomb and find it empty. Angels announce that Jesus has been resurrected. Peter and John come to see the empty tomb. The risen Lord appears to the women.
Luke 24:13–35. Jesus walks and talks with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They do not recognize him until he breaks bread for them.
Matthew 28:16–20; Luke 24:33–53; John 20:19–31. Jesus appears to his Apostles, shows them that he has been resurrected, and commands them to teach the gospel to all nations. Thomas feels the wounds in Jesus’ hands, feet, and side.
John 21. Jesus appears again to some of the Apostles at the Sea of Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee). He commands Peter, “Feed my sheep.”
Ask a class member to prepare to summarize the account of Jesus and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–32).
If the following pictures are available, use them during the lesson: Burial of Jesus (62180; Gospel Art Picture Kit 231); Jesus’ Tomb (62111; Gospel Art Picture Kit 232) or The Empty Tomb (Gospel Art Picture Kit 245); Mary and the Resurrected Lord (62186; Gospel Art Picture Kit 233); Jesus Shows His Wounds (62503; Gospel Art Picture Kit 234); and The Resurrected Jesus Christ (62187; Gospel Art Picture Kit 239).
Suggestion for teaching: The Lord’s commandment to Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:16–17), applies to all teachers. Prayerfully seek ways to make the spiritual food of the scriptures appealing to class members so they will want to feast on it. (See Teaching, No Greater Call , pages 5–7.)
Suggested Lesson Development
As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Relate the following story told by Elder James M. Paramore:
“Many years ago … a writer for a newspaper was asked an important question, ‘What would be the most important news the world could receive?’”
How would you answer this question?
Elder Paramore continued: “[The writer] thought and thought about the question, he talked to many people, and read all he could in an effort to find an answer for himself. And finally, he printed his answer, ‘To know that Jesus Christ lives today would be the most important news the world could receive. In fact, if He lives today, then we too will live eternally as He said’” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 80; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 64).
Display the pictures listed in the “Preparation” section. Explain that the disciples’ sorrow at Christ’s death was replaced with unspeakable joy at his Resurrection. We too can rejoice in the knowledge that Christ was resurrected.
Leave the pictures on display. Refer to them at appropriate points in the lesson.
Scripture Discussion and Application
As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss with class members how their knowledge of the Resurrection affects their daily lives. Rather than trying to determine the exact order of events surrounding the Resurrection (each Gospel writer gives a slightly different order), focus on the testimonies of the Resurrection given in each Gospel account.
1. Mary Magdalene and other women are witnesses of the resurrected Lord.
Discuss Matthew 28:1–15; Luke 24:1–12; and John 20:1–10. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Explain that after Jesus was crucified, his body was wrapped in clean linen cloths and placed in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, one of Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 27:57–60; Luke 23:50–53; John 19:38–42). This was done quickly because the Sabbath was about to begin. The morning after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and other women returned to the tomb with spices and ointments to more thoroughly anoint and embalm Jesus’ body.
What did Mary Magdalene and the other women find when they came to Jesus’ tomb? (See Matthew 28:1–4; Luke 24:1–4. Note that the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 28 states, as Luke does, that there were two angels. See Matthew 28:2, footnote 2a.) What did the angels tell the women? (See Matthew 28:5–7; Luke 24:5–8.)
What did the angels mean when they said, “He is risen”? (Jesus had been resurrected.) What does it mean to be resurrected? (See Alma 11:42–45; see also Bible Dictionary, “Resurrection,” 761.) What blessings will we receive because of Jesus’ Resurrection? (See 1 Corinthians 15:22, 50–58; Alma 11:42–45. We will all be resurrected and be given immortal bodies.)
President Howard W. Hunter said that the words “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6) “contain all the hope, assurance, and belief necessary to sustain us in our challenging and sometimes grief-filled lives” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 18; or Ensign, May 1986, 15–16). How has your testimony of the Atonement and the Resurrection helped you through difficult times?
Mary and the other women were the first of many people who saw Jesus Christ after he was resurrected (see also the second and third additional teaching ideas). Why do you think it was important that the resurrected Lord appear to earthly witnesses? (See 2 Corinthians 13:1.)
2. Two disciples on the road to Emmaus are witnesses of the resurrected Lord.
Discuss Luke 24:13–35. Have the assigned class member summarize the scripture passage.
How did the two disciples feel as Jesus taught them? (See Luke 24:32.) What gave them this feeling? (The influence of the Holy Ghost.) Invite class members to tell of experiences when they have received a witness from the Spirit while studying the gospel or hearing someone teach it.
3. The Apostles are witnesses of the resurrected Lord.
What did the Apostles think they were seeing when the Savior appeared to them on the evening of the day he was resurrected? (See Luke 24:36–37.) How did Jesus reassure them that he was a resurrected being, not a spirit? (See Luke 24:38–43.)
How did Thomas respond to the other Apostles’ testimonies that the Lord had been resurrected? (See John 20:24–25.) How did he come to believe that the Lord had been resurrected? (See John 20:26–29.) How do we sometimes show the same weakness as Thomas?
Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said:
“Have you not heard others speak as Thomas spoke? ‘Give us,’ they say, ‘the empirical evidence. Prove before our very eyes, and our ears, and our hands, else we will not believe.’ This is the language of the time in which we live. Thomas the Doubter has become the example of men in all ages who refuse to accept other than that which they can physically prove and explain—as if they could prove love, or faith, or even such physical phenomena as electricity. …
“To all within the sound of my voice who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: ‘Be not faithless, but believing’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1978, 90; or Ensign, May 1978, 59).
How can we more fully follow the Lord’s admonition to “be not faithless, but believing”? (John 20:27).
4. Some of the Apostles see Jesus again at the Sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee).
Read and discuss selected verses from John 21.
The resurrected Lord showed himself again to seven of his Apostles as they were fishing. How did they come to realize it was Jesus on the shore? (See John 21:4–7.) After they had eaten, what did Jesus ask Peter and the other Apostles to do? (See John 21:15–17.) How can we feed the Lord’s sheep?
What was John’s reason for writing down some of the things that the resurrected Jesus said and did? (See John 20:30–31.) How have you benefited from studying the scriptural accounts of Jesus’ Resurrection?
Testify that Jesus Christ was resurrected and that because of him we will also be resurrected. Bear testimony of the strength and comfort that your knowledge of the Resurrection has brought you.
Additional Teaching Ideas
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.
1. “He is risen” (Matthew 28:6)
Arrange for a small group to sing
2. “Woman, why weepest thou?” (John 20:15)
Point out that the Gospel of John is the only Gospel that contains an account of the Lord’s appearance to Mary Magdalene just after his Resurrection. Have a class member read aloud this account in John 20:11–18. Invite class members to share their thoughts and feelings about this event.
3. Other witnesses of the resurrected Lord
In addition to the many witnesses mentioned in the Gospels, who else has seen the resurrected Lord? (Some answers are listed below.)
4. Scriptures about the Resurrection
After Jesus Christ, those who receive a celestial glory will be resurrected first, followed by those who receive a terrestrial glory, those who receive a telestial glory, and finally the sons of perdition (D&C 88:96–102).
When we are resurrected, our spirits are reunited with our perfected bodies, never to be separated again (Alma 11:43, 45).
The knowledge and intelligence we gain on earth “will rise with us in the resurrection” (D&C 130:18–19).
The spirits of the dead look upon the separation from the body as bondage; resurrection enables us to experience a fulness of joy (D&C 138:12–17, 50).