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Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus is the Christian doctrine that Christ’s physical body rose from the dead following His Crucifixion.

The Resurrection fulfilled an essential step in God’s plan, and because of Jesus Christ, every one of God’s children will be resurrected and also has the opportunity to enjoy salvation and live with God again.

What are the events surrounding Jesus’s Resurrection?

Jesus was arrested and judged (Matthew 26–27, Mark 14–15, Luke 22–23, John 18-19)

The glory of the Resurrection is often prefaced with the dark story of cruelty and injustice that preceded Jesus’s ultimate miracle. Jewish leaders, threatened by Jesus’s popularity among common people and offended by His claim to be the Son of God, bribed one of Jesus’s followers to betray Him. Although these same leaders had been seen with Jesus publicly, they arrested Him privately, using armed guards to take Him by force. Jesus, however, went willingly to appear before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Prepared to release Jesus because he found “no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4), Pilate eventually gave in to an angry mob demanding His crucifixion and sentenced Jesus to death. The hours leading to Jesus’s Crucifixion were merciless: Jesus was slapped and spat upon by His accusers, scourged with a heavy whip to weaken his body, humiliated by passers by, and ridiculed by a band of Roman soldiers.

The Crucifixion of Jesus (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19)

A common form of capital punishment at the time, crucifixion involved binding or nailing a person to a wooden cross where the convicted would hang publicly, suffering a brutal death. As Jesus hung on the cross, the Roman soldiers bartered away His clothing insulted Him, and posted a sign above Jesus on the cross, mocking His position and the crown of thorns they had forced upon His head. The sign simply said, “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38).

Jesus, being divine and understanding the need for His physical death, voluntarily gave up His life while on the cross. Demonstrating one last act of mercy and love in mortality, He asked God to forgive the soldiers who had tortured Him, declaring that “they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Then with a loud voice He cried, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46). 

The burial of Jesus (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19)

Jesus died on a Friday, the day before the Jewish Sabbath. Anxious to bury His body before the Sabbath, as custom required, Joseph of Arimathea begged Pilate to release Jesus’s body to him for burial. This wealthy follower bought fine linen to wrap Christ’s body in and offered a private tomb for Him, both rare privileges intended to honor the Messiah. Jesus’s body was wrapped in cloth and anointed with spices and then placed in the tomb.

The empty tomb (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20)

After observing the Sabbath day, and even before the sunrise on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and other women returned to the tomb. To their distress, the chamber was open, the heavy stone at the entrance moved away. The tomb was empty.

The women who arrived with embalming spices found not the body of Jesus, but rather an angel whose countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. “Fear not ye,” he said, “for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen” (Matthew 28:5–6).

Still distraught, Mary wept, not knowing what had become of her Lord. But in the pre-dawn dimness she then heard a man: “Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?” Supposing it was the gardener, she implored him, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” But when He spoke again, saying simply “Mary,” she then recognized the voice. It was Jesus, risen from the dead. (See John 20:15–16.)

Peter and John also saw the empty tomb, the linens, and the neatly folded cloth that had covered Jesus’s face. Like the women who had come to tell them the news that Jesus’s body was gone, they too could not really comprehend at that time what had happened.

Witnesses of the Resurrected Lord (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20–21, Acts 1)

“He is risen.” These words heralded the outcome Jesus had promised. And yet it was a miracle so beyond imagination that even Jesus’s closest companions could hardly accept it. The Savior walked with two of His disciples for miles before they realized it had been Him (see Mark 16:12–13). He also ate with His followers, proving his physical body was alive and functioning, but it took Jesus’s insistence that they feel His hands and feet to convince them that the Resurrection had truly occurred—and that the same promise was real for them, that they too could one day be resurrected.

Why does the Resurrection matter?

Resurrection is part of God’s eternal plan of salvation.

Prophets throughout the scriptures have taught about the Resurrection of Jesus and foretold what it would mean for us. The ancient prophet Isaiah spoke poetically when he said, “He will swallow up death in victory” (Isaiah 25:8). Isaiah explained resurrection in straightforward terms, too: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise” (Isaiah 26:19). 

Christ’s Resurrection, and the subsequent resurrection of all humankind, was also prophesied by ancient American prophets in the Book of Mormon: “The death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death. The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form . . . even as we now are at this time” (Alma 11:42–43).

Christ Himself emphasized the significance of His Resurrection to His astonished disciples when He taught, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me" (Luke 24:44). The Resurrection of Jesus was a necessary part of God’s plan that allows us to live eternally.

Death is not the end for you—or anyone.

Death as we know it is inevitable, but it is not permanent. Though “after [our] skin worms destroy [our bodies], yet in [our] flesh shall [we] see God” (Job 19:26). You—and every one of God’s children—will be resurrected, so that you may stand before God again, a living and immortal being. Your body will be perfected, having overcome age, sickness, and physical imperfections. The resurrection fulfills in part the promise that “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

You can live again with God and the people you love.

Christ’s Resurrection allows you to physically live again. And Jesus Christ’s full Atonement, including when He suffered in Gethsemane for all of our sins, allows you to live with God again. God wants all of His children to be with Him and to be truly happy. Jesus explained how: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10).

This holds true for everyone—for our families, our friends, and people who came before us. Resurrection helps restore justice and fulfill promised salvation to the righteous. It is among the crowning principles of Christianity. For "if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Your eventual resurrection gives hope of even better things to come—of an eternal existence with God and your loved ones. And Jesus’s Resurrection gives assurance and proof of God’s glory, unending love, power, and promise to us all.

You can read four personal accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus and the events leading up to it in the New Testament (see Matthew 26–28, Mark 14–16, Luke 22–24, and John 18–21). The Book of Mormon recounts how these same events affected those on the American continent and tells of Christ’s post mortal visit to the people there (see 3 Nephi 8–11).

Request a Bible or Book of Mormon to read the events for yourself. 

Each year Christians honor the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter, a Sunday that marks the  anniversary of this miraculous event. When Mormons celebrate this holy day, rather than highlight the cross and Jesus’s suffering there, they choose to focus on the glory and saving power of the Resurrection.

Remember and commemorate the Resurrection and the promises of Jesus every day.