Who Did Jesus Appear to First?

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Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning the question, “Who did Jesus appear to first?” The argument is that Matthew 28:9 seems to say that Jesus first appeared to the group of women, but John 20:14 says that Jesus first appeared to Mary. However, there is a reasonable explanation that solves this alleged contradiction in the Bible

Scriptures

Jesus Appeared to the Group of Women First – Matthew 28:8-9

8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

Matthew 28:8-9

Jesus Appeared to Mary First – John 20:14

Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

John 20:14

The Answer

Order of Events

Here is a possible order of events:

  • The group of women, including Mary, arrive at the tomb
  • Mary separates from the other women. Mary goes to tell Peter and John, who were not staying in Bethany, and the women go to Bethany, where the other disciples were staying.
  • Mary, Peter, and John return to the tomb.
  • Peter and John left the tomb, but Mary stayed at the tomb.
  • Jesus appeared to Mary.
  • Jesus then appeared to the group of women while they were on their way to Bethany to tell the other disciples.

There is simply no contradiction concerning who Jesus appeared to first. It is also possible that perhaps Jesus first appeared to the group of women, and then to Mary.

More Answers to “Contradictions” in the Bible

To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.

These books are also excellent resources:

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