3:30-5:30 SET-UP: (or night before?)
Prepare each station and corresponding boxes. Prep game stations and decorate party space.
5:30-6:00 VOLUNTEER MEETING:
Meet with your team and cover all the details for the evening.
At check-in, each kid will receive their passport, and then head to game stations in the gym with their family. Kids can decorate their passport or play various games / crafts while waiting to be dismissed.
Station Volunteer #1 begins dismissing families to begin Escapade. Remind volunteers that they should only keep families at each station for 6-7 minutes.
1 (2-4 families)
1) 6:15 2) 6:23 3) 6:31 4) 6:39 5) 6:47 6) 6:55 7) 7:03
2 (2-4 families)
1) 6:23 2) 6:31 3) 6:39 4) 6:47 5) 6:55 6) 7:03 7) 7:10
3 (2-4 families)
1) 6:31 2) 6:39 3) 6:47 4) 6:55 5) 7:03 6) 7:11 7) 7:18
4 (2-4 families)
1) 6:39 2) 6:47 3) 6:55 4) 7:03 5) 7:11 6) 7:19 7) 7:27
5 (2-4 families)
1) 6:47 2) 6:55 3) 7:03 4) 7:11 5) 7:19 6) 7:27 7) 7:35
6 (2-4 families)
1) 6:55 2) 7:03 3) 7:11 4) 7:19 5) 7:27 6) 7:35 7) 7:43
7:30-7:45 WELCOME HOME PARTY:
Groups should all end in the same location for celebration for party time!
Clean up game stations, Escapade stations, and party space.
For many kids, Easter goes hand-in-hand with chocolate farm animals and plastic eggs. It can be a real challenge to provide age-appropriate opportunities for them to engage with the story of Easter. We’ve got something that speaks more deeply to the adventure found in Jesus’ journey to the cross. Cue Easter Escapade! This event is for families with kids of all ages, as they travel from station to station and experience key events leading to the resurrection of Jesus.
The goal of this Escapade is to send kids and their families on a journey that will allow them to experience the story of Easter in a new, hands-on way. Through a series of interactive stations and team activities, they will meet familiar characters, hear stories, and discuss questions— all to help them understand that Easter is about more than just candy and bunnies.
How it Works:
Upon arrival, families check-in first! Each kid will get a passport when they check-in. Then, they will be directed to the game area. Game Volunteers will be ready and available to engage kids and assist with the game stations. There should also be a station for them to add their name and decorate their passport, if they want to do so. When the event officially begins, Escapade Volunteer #1 will begin dismissing families from game stations to start traveling through the Escapade route, 2-3 families at a time. If enough volunteers are available, a volunteer will serve as a tour guide to go with the group through each station and direct them through the correct route. As families move to station #2, Escapade Volunteer #1 will continue to bring additional families back to begin their own Escapade journey! When completed, Escapade Volunteer #7 should direct families to the Welcome Home Party, where they can celebrate with other families and volunteers!
Welcome Home Party:
FOOD: When families return from an Escapade, they deserve a Welcome Home party! So, we will have some celebratory foods available for a post-Escapade celebration. Think cake, cupcakes, ice cream, Easter candy — anything super chocolatey and super sweet! A true celebration always deserves treats. DECOR: We will also decorate for the Welcome Home Party, too! Balloons, streamers, and music feel like an appropriate way to celebrate the return from a long journey!
Help facilitate game stations and engage kids as they wait to begin Escapade. Then head up to the celebration and play same games there [During Event]
As families arrive, provide game stations for them to interact with as they wait to begin their Escapade. Consider open gym or organized sports, 9 square, basketball, gaga ball, etc., but also keep some activities in mind for kids and parents who might some less active options (e.g., coloring, puzzles, etc.).
This would also be a great time to integrate global party game stations, especially as a tie-in to the travel families will be doing on their Escapade.
A couple ideas:
Balero, a popular game from Latin America that involves a simple ball on a string inside of a cup.
Origami, a favorite activity for kids all over the world, requiring minimal supplies.
Station #1 – Find Your Travel Buddy (Mark 3:13-19)
Big Idea: Every journey needs a buddy.
Instructions: Help kids open the box and look inside. Say the following: Whenever you go an adventure, it’s important to travel with others. Jesus knew this and picked a group of 12 people to travel with.
Questions: If you were going on an adventure and could only take a few people with you, who would you take? Why? What is something special about you that makes you a great adventure buddy?
Activity: Let’s read Mark 3:13-19 together, and then see who can memorize the names of all of the disciples the fastest! (For younger kids, have them just recite the names with you.) Before families leave your station, have each kid take a travel sticker from the box and place it in their passport.
13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. 14 Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, 15 giving them authority to cast out demons. 16 These are the twelve he chose: Simon (whom he named Peter), 17 James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”),18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), 19 Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
What is an apostle?
The sense of ‘sent one, messenger’ may have survived in popular speech: at least, isolated occurrences in the LXX and Josephus suggest that this meaning was recognized in Jewish circles. Only with Christian literature, however, does it come into its own. In NT it is applied to Jesus as the Sent One of God (Heb. 3:1), to those sent by God to preach to Israel (Lk. 11:49) and to those sent by churches (2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25); but above all it is applied absolutely to the group of men who held the supreme dignity in the primitive church. Since apostellō seems frequently to mean ‘to send with a particular purpose’, as distinct from the neutral pempō (save in the Johannine writings, where the two are synonyms), the force of apostolos is probably ‘one commissioned’—it is implied, by Christ.
Sons of Thunder?
The title seems not to have been greatly used. It is variously seen to be appropriate in their fiery temper (Lk. 9:54–56), which may have caused James’ death (Acts 12:2), and in the heavenly resonance of the Johannine writings.
3:13–15 The mountain here is not identified. Jesus spent the night praying (Lk 6:12). Summoned those he wanted seems to indicate more than just the twelve disciples (cp. Lk 6:13). The number twelve recalls the twelve tribes of Israel (cp. Mt 19:28; Lk 22:30). The purpose clauses identify the apostles’ functions: They were to be with him and learn his message, to preach, and to have authority to drive out demons.
3:16–17 Verses 16–19 identify the Twelve men whom Jesus appointed as apostles. The NT contains three other such lists (Mt 10:2–4; Lk 6:14–16; Ac 1:13), and these contain variations in names and order. Peter is first in all lists. Only Mark says that Jesus nicknamed James and John the Sons of Thunder, possibly because of their temperament (Lk 9:54). Peter, James, and John made up Jesus’s inner circle (Mk 5:37; 9:2; 14:33).
3:18–19 On Andrew, Peter’s brother, see note at 1:16–18. Philip is not mentioned again in Mark. Bartholomew may be Nathaniel (Jn 1:45–46) otherwise he is not mentioned in the Gospels again. Matthew is mentioned only here in Mark, but he is the same person as Levi the tax collector (2:14; Mt 9:9; 10:3). Thomas appears in Jn 11:16; 20:24. James the son of Alphaeus is not mentioned again. He is distinguished from James who was the son of Zebedee. Thaddaeus is not mentioned again in the NT and is not in Luke’s lists (Lk 6:14–16; Ac 1:13). Possibly he is the same as “Judas the son of James” (Lk 6:16; Ac 1:13). Simon the Zealot (cp. Lk 6:15) is literally “Simon the Cananean,” an Aramean rendering of “zealous” and not an indication that he was a Canaanite. The term was used of religious and political zealots but here likely refers to Simon’s piety (cp. Ac 21:20; 22:3; Gl 1:14) and distinguishes him from Simon Peter. Nothing more is said about him in the NT. Judas Iscariot appears last in each list. “Judas” is the Greek form of “Judah.” “Iscariot” probably indicates that he hailed from Kerioth and thus may identify him as the only Judean among the group.
Station #2 – Pack Your Bags (Mark 14:1-9)
Big Idea: Even before the priests and teachers knew how they were going to capture Jesus, Jesus was preparing for his death through the kindness of a woman and an alabaster jar.
Instructions: Help kids open the box and look inside. Say the following: In Jesus’ time, if a guest entered someone’s home, they would get their feet washed in a bowl of water, since they would have just walked through the dusty, dirty roads of Israel. They would add drops of perfume to make the water smell good. The law said to only use a little, because it was important not to be wasteful. Read Mark 14:1-9. We see in the story that the woman was so generous in the amount that she poured on Jesus’ feet. While others scolded her for being wasteful, Jesus honored her for her generous heart.
Questions: When has someone been kind to you? How have you showed kindness to others? Has anyone ever made fun of you or been mean to you because you were showing kindness?
Activity: Choose a fragrance from one of the bottles and put a few drops on a page in your passport. Before families leave your station, have each kid take a travel sticker from the box and place it in their passport.
Jewish Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This means the Sanhedrin plotted to kill Jesus some time between sunset on Tuesday and sunset on Wednesday.
An alabaster jar was a long-necked perfume vase that was considered a luxury item. A woman (Mary of Bethany, according to Jn 12:2–3) poured expensive perfume of pure nard on Jesus’s head.
Expensive perfumed oils, like the one made from nard that the woman uses to anoint Jesus, were sealed in alabaster jars similar to the ones shown here. Jesus declares that the woman’s extravagant act is an anointing “in advance for burial” (Mk 14:8). Mark 14:3
14:4–5 Some people expressed indignation at the waste of expensive perfume, which was the equivalent of three hundred denarii.
14:7 Christ’s followers could always minister to the poor, but they would not always have the chance to serve Jesus in person. On concern for the poor, see Dt 15:1–11.
14:8 The phrase she has done what she could is almost identical to what Jesus said about the poor widow’s donation (see note at 12:42–44). The widow gave almost nothing of monetary value; this woman gave a wealthy gift, but Jesus commended both equally. Jesus interpreted the perfume as a makeshift anointing oil for his coming burial.
14:9 Jesus anticipated that the gospel would be proclaimed in the whole world (cp. 13:10). When this happened, this woman’s act would be told in memory of her (cp. Mt 26:13). Your reading of this verse fulfills this promise.
Station #3 – Overcoming Obstacles (Matthew 26:14-16)
Big Idea: Judas had an obstacle on his journey – his love of money, but Jesus overcame all obstacles.
Instructions: Help kids open the box and look inside. Say the following: The chief priests and other Jewish leaders wanted to capture Jesus and kill him, because they didn’t like how popular he was. They were afraid he might take some of their power away. They also didn’t believe that he was the son of God. One of Jesus’s friends named Judas went to the chief priests and asked for money to help them capture Jesus. So, they gave him 30 silver coins. And from then on, Judas watched for his chance to help them in secret. Read Matthew 26:14-16
Questions: What made Judas turn his back on his friend Jesus? Were you ever tempted to do something that you later regretted?
Activity: Choose one volunteer. They will momentarily close their eyes. Choose one person to be “it,” and keep the coin from the box in their hand. The person who is “it” should be invited to open their eyes. Their job is to guess who has the coin. Everyone else should sit in a circle, or stand in a row with their hands out and try their hardest to keep the secret. Before families leave your station, have each kid take a travel sticker from the box and place it in their passport.
26:14–16 If the thirty pieces of silver are thirty shekels, the amount was equal to 120 days’ wages. Thus by his traitorous act Judas earned an amount of money that equaled only one-third of the value of Mary’s lavish gift (see note at v. 7). Matthew’s appeal to the OT blends themes from Zch 11:12–13 and Jr 32:6–9. The first text describes Israel’s rejection of its spiritual Shepherd, the low estimation they had of him (worth thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave; Ex 21:32), and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. The second text assures that Israel will be restored after its devastation by the Babylonians. The two prophecies do more than just foretell the events surrounding Judas’s actions. By merging these texts, Matthew shows that Jerusalem’s rejection of Messiah would result in its destruction, but that God would restore the city in due time.
26:14–16 Judas seeks out the chief priests, who were involved in Jewish religious government, in order to betray Jesus. In John’s Gospel, Judas seems to be motivated (at least in part) by his objection to the extravagant anointing that occurs in the previous scene (John 12:4–6).
We see in this mirror how great is the blindness of wicked desires, and how powerfully they fascinate the mind. Judas was inflamed with the desire to steal; long practice had hardened him in wickedness; and now when he meets with no other prey, he does not scruple to betray basely to death the Son of God, the Author of life, and, though restrained by a holy admonition, rushes violently forward.
26:14–16 The motive for Judas seeking to betray his master (“hand him over,” v. 16) probably goes beyond the desire for money, although “thirty pieces of silver” (v. 15) may have equaled 120 drachmas, i.e., more than four months’ minimum wages. Most likely, he could not accept the fact that Jesus was not going to lead a literal rebellion to help overthrow Rome.
Station #4 – Refuel (Matthew 26:17-29)
Big Idea: Jesus took an already special meal and made it even more special with his disciples.
Instructions: Help kids open the box and look inside. Read Matthew 26:17-29. Say the following: That evening as Jesus sat eating the Passover meal, a special meal that he ate every year with his disciples, he broke the bread, blessed it, and said, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body, which I am giving for you. He then took the cup of wine and gave thanks and said, “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood which is poured out for you.” Jesus was talking about the fact that he was soon going to die on the cross. Then he said, “One of you will turn your back on me.” The disciples asked each other who would do that. But Judas knew he was talking about him and slipped out as soon as he could.
Questions: Why do you think it was important for Jesus to have a final Passover meal with his friends? What are some important meals you’ve had in your life? How did the meaning of the Passover change after this particular meal for Jesus’ disciples?
Activity: Give families the opportunity to see, touch, and smell the components of the Passover Seder meal. Before families leave your station, have each kid take a travel sticker from the box and place it in their passport.
26:17 The feast of Unleavened Bread was a seven or eight-day feast associated with the one-day Passover. During this feast, the Jews refused to eat anything containing yeast in order to commemorate the speed with which God delivered them from Egypt (Ex 13:7–8; Dt 16:3–4). The feast began on the day before Passover, Thursday of Passion Week.
26:18–19 Mark’s account of this event more clearly implies that Jesus’s instructions to his disciples indicate that he had used supernatural knowledge (Mk 14:13–16).
26:20–24 Just as it is written indicates that Jesus’s sufferings were foretold in the OT. Jesus probably had in mind texts such as Is 53 and Ps 22.
26:25 Judas’s words betray his flagrantly deceptive and hypocritical heart.
26:26 The Passover meal was rich with symbolic meaning. Jews ate lamb to commemorate the lamb whose blood protected firstborn Israelites from the death plague before the exodus. Bitter herbs were reminiscent of their enslavement. Unleavened bread symbolized the haste of their departure from Egypt (Ex 12). Jesus invested the meal with new symbolism: the unleavened bread symbolized his own body, which would be torn by scourging and crucifixion. His sacrifice would begin a new exodus in which people were liberated from slavery to sin.
26:27–28 The making of a covenant was normally accompanied by an act of sacrifice. The slaughter of the animal signified the consequences that would befall anyone who broke the covenant. The old covenant was sealed by such a sacrifice (Ex 24:8). Now, Jesus’s sacrifice enacted the new covenant that had been promised in the OT (Jr 31:31–34). In this covenant God vowed to forgive and forget his people’s sins. He also promised to write his law on the hearts of his people so that they will fulfill his righteous demands.
26:29 Many Jews expected Messiah to begin his reign by sharing a great banquet with his subjects. The final cup of the meal anticipated that great messianic feast and encouraged Jesus’s disciples to eagerly wait “until he comes” (1Co 11:26)
Station #5 – Trusting God through the Pain (Matthew 26:36-46)
Big Idea: Jesus knew sorrow was about to come for him, and He asked God for his rescue plan to be carried out any other way, but God told him through praying that the pain and sorrow was the only option, and Jesus obeyed.
Instructions: Help kids open the box and look inside. Read Matthew 26:36-46. Say the following: From the very beginning, Jesus knew that one of his close friends was going to turn his back on him. After he left the meal, Judas went to the high priests and told them how to find Jesus. And so when Judas took them to Jesus in a place called Gethsemane, the soldiers arrested Jesus.
Questions: What was a time when you were on an adventure and experienced something hard? What did you do to push through it?
Activity: Have everyone sit or stand in a circle and close their eyes. Quietly tap one person on the shoulder–they are it. The person that is “it” has to discreetly wink at people in the group without getting discovered. If a person gets winked at, that person needs to “go to sleep,” by resting their head on their hands. Before families leave your station, have each kid take a travel sticker from the box and place it in their passport.
26:36-38 Jesus’s sorrow resulted from his anticipation of his physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering, especially his alienation from his Father as he bore the sins of the world on the cross.
26:39 In the OT, the “cup” is often an image of divine wrath and judgment (Ps 75:7–8; Is 51:17). The cup that Jesus faced was God’s wrath against sin. With the words if it is possible, let this cup pass, Jesus asked his Father to provide forgiveness by some means other than his sacrificial death. Jesus knew that God’s power made it possible for him to evade the power of Jewish and Roman executioners (see note at vv. 52–53), but he did not want to reject the Father’s plan to provide salvation to his people.
26:40–41 Luke 22:45 explains that the disciples were “exhausted from their grief.” Peter’s boast in v. 35 is quickly proving empty.
26:42–46 Jesus’s second and third petitions in Gethsemane assumed that his sacrificial death was necessary. Matthew 26:54 shows that God had predicted Jesus’s death in the OT. The Scriptures, being God’s Word, had to be fulfilled. This second petition closely parallels Jesus’s model prayer in 6:9–13. Both prayers address God as Father and contain the petition your will be done.
26:36–46 Gethsemane is a garden at the base of the Mount of Olives. The name means “oil press.” Olive trees flourished there. No other passage in the Gospels so clearly and poignantly expresses Jesus’ humanity. Even having repeatedly predicted the events to come, he longs to avoid such agony. His “soul is overwhelmed with sorrow” (v. 38). But he also surrenders entirely to God’s will (v. 39). This pattern of praying is repeated twice more (vv. 42, 44).
26:37 Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. These three disciples—Peter, James, and John—form Christ’s inner circle (cf. 17:1).
26:39 cup. A metaphor for God’s wrath (see note on 20:22). If there were any way possible, the completely human Jesus would avert the horrible suffering ahead. Here is the classic example of one not getting what they ask for in prayer, but through no fault of the one praying!
26:41 The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. The truth of this principle is illustrated by the disciples, who, with far less at stake than Jesus, cannot stay awake and pray. Even Christ’s closest followers may want to obey him, but they find their bodies and/or sinful human natures unable to cooperate.
26:46 my betrayer. At last Judas comes with the authorities. There will be no more time for sleep or prayer.
Station #6 – Finish Strong (Matthew 27:27-37; 45-50)
Big Idea: Jesus knew it he was to be killed in order to save his people from their sins. It would have been easy to give up, but Jesus knew that this wasn’t going to be the end of the story.
Instructions: Help kids open the box and look inside. Read Matthew 27:27-37; 45-50. Say the following: The soldiers took Jesus to the palace and gathered around him. They took off his clothes and put a robe and a crown of thorns on him. They knelt in front of him and mocked him. They spit on him, hit him on the head again and again. After they had beaten him up, they led him away to crucify him. When they had nailed Jesus up on to the Cross, the crowd began to bully Jesus. For the disciples, this was the perfect time to lose hope, but Jesus trusted God’s plan, and knew that this wasn’t going to be the end of the story.
Questions: Put yourself in the disciples’ shoes. How would you react as you were watching your friend and leader Jesus suffer like this? Have you ever seen a friend (or anyone) experience something mean and unfair? How did it make you feel? What did you do?
Activity: Let’s say a quick prayer of thanks to Jesus for enduring all this unimaginable suffering so that we can all be saved. (Have each person in the group take turns saying, “Thank you, Jesus.”) Before families leave your station, have each kid take a travel sticker from the box and place it in their passport.
27:27–31 With their mock royal robe … crown, and scepter, the soldiers ridiculed Jesus’s messianic claims.
27:32 Crucifixion victims normally carried the cross’s (Gk) patibulum (crossbeam) to the execution site. Having lost much blood, Jesus was too weak to carry it beyond the city walls. The soldiers impressed (see note at 5:41) Simon, a Cyrenian, to carry the beam the rest of the way. Simon’s sons were later known in the early church (Mk 15:21). This suggests that Simon became a disciple of Jesus. Cyrene was situated near the Mediterranean coast in northern Africa. Simon was probably an ethnic Jew visiting Jerusalem for the Passover (Ac 6:9).
27:33–34 This wine was probably intended to dull the pain of crucifixion or hasten death. Jesus’s refusal to drink it expressed his determination to suffer the full agony of the cross.
Crucifixion was a horrifying and torturous means of execution. Naked victims were tied or nailed (Jn 20:25) to a cross. The victim might remain alive for days, and after death they were often consumed by dogs, carrion birds, or insects. Josephus described crucifixion as “the most wretched of all ways of dying” (War 7.5.4). Cicero (106–43 BC) said that crucifixion so frightened Roman citizens that they refused to speak the word cross.
27:37 A wooden placard called a titulus was often tied around the criminal’s neck as he marched to death. This sign announced the reason for his crucifixion. When Jesus arrived at Golgotha, the placard was nailed over his head. Although Roman crosses were sometimes shaped like X or T, the placement of the titulus on Jesus’s cross shows that it was shaped like a lowercase letter “t.”
27:45 The bystanders naturally interpreted the darkness as God’s judgment (Am 8:9). While they likely thought the judgment was against Jesus (as if he were a heretic), in light of his later resurrection they came to see the darkness as judgment against the sin that Jesus became on our behalf (2Co 5:21).
27:46–49 Jesus’s lament quotes Ps 22:1. The psalm reads as if it were written by someone standing near the cross (see esp. Ps 22:7–8, 14–18). Jesus’s cry expressed the alienation from God that he endured as he bore the Father’s wrath against sin. Although Jesus elsewhere addressed God as “Father,” he addressed him merely as my God in this verse.
27:50–51 Jesus’s death at 3:00 p.m. coincided with the afternoon sacrifice. Thus the priests were present in the temple to observe the rending of the curtain. The curtain of the sanctuary separated the holy of holies from the rest of the temple. According to the Mishnah, it was sixty feet long, thirty feet wide, and as thick as a man’s palm. It was so heavy that it took three hundred men to lift it when it was wet (m. Shek. 8:5). That it was torn in two from top to bottom shows that it was torn by God. This signified that Jesus’s death granted sinners new access to God (Heb 6:19–20; 10:19–20).
Station 7: Celebrate the Journey (John 20:1-18)
Big Idea: Jesus defeated death and rose from the dead; everything he taught is coming true and we can trust Him today too.
Instructions: Help kids open the box and look inside. Say the following: The next day, Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross and wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a tomb. The Romans put their best guards at the tomb and the Jewish Leaders had a massive stone rolled in front of it to make sure that Jesus’ body was safe. Early on Sunday, Mary Magdalene and some other women went to the tomb and noticed that the stone was rolled away from the entrance. She ran and got two of Jesus’ disciples and told them that Jesus was gone. Peter and John came back to the tomb and found Jesus missing! Mary began to cry, until a man appeared and asked her why she was crying. She turned to look at the man properly and saw that it was Jesus. Jesus told her to go and tell the disciples that he was going back to heaven. So Mary went back and told the disciples all about what had happened and that she had seen Jesus alive! Read John 20:1-18.
Though our Easter Escapade has come to a close, our adventures with Jesus continue! And just like any adventure we are on— in the celebration, the setbacks, the disappointment, and confusing times— we know we can trust God on our journey, just like Jesus did!
Questions: Share a time where you had a great celebration. What did it feel like? Who was there? How did you celebrate?
Activity: Jesus taught us about trusting God through this Easter Escapade. Let’s learn how to write “teacher” in Hebrew (” ה רֶוֹמ “) (they can write this in the last empty space in their passports). Before families leave your station, have each kid take a travel sticker from the box and place it in their passport.
20:1 The first day of the week was Sunday. Mary Magdalene (and several other women) decided to attend to some matters that had been left undone because of the beginning of the Sabbath (see note at 19:42). The need to complete the care for the dead may have overridden the customary seven-day mourning period (see note at 11:20). On while it was still dark, compare the slightly different time frame depicted in Mt 28:1 (cp. Mk 16:2; and Lk 24:1).
20:2 At this point Mary had no thought of Jesus’s resurrection. The Jewish charge that his disciples stole his body (Mt 27:62–66; 28:11–15) shows that grave robbery was not uncommon. The plural we suggests the presence of other women besides Mary. On the other disciple, see note at 18:15–16.
20:5–6 Apparently by now there was enough daylight to see inside the burial chamber through the small, low opening in the cave tomb. The other disciple did not go in, presumably in deference to Simon Peter, a leader among the Twelve.
20:7 Jesus’s resurrection body apparently passed through the linen wrappings similar to the way in which he later appeared to his disciples in a locked room (vv. 19, 26). The reference to the head wrapping being folded up in a separate place by itself counters the notion of grave robbers, who in their haste would not have taken the time to fold up this cloth.
20:8–9 The presence of two witnesses rendered the evidence admissible under Jewish law (Dt 17:6; 19:15). The other disciple believed based on what he saw, not on an understanding from Scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. This lack of expectation of a resurrection shows that the disciples did not fabricate the resurrection story to fit their preconceived expectations. Rather, the resurrection shocked them and did not fit with what they understood from Scripture. Only later, aided by the Spirit’s teaching (see notes at 14:25–26; 16:12–13), did they come to see that Jesus’s resurrection was foretold in the OT.
20:10 When the disciples returned to the place where they were staying, “the disciple Jesus loved” in all likelihood told the Lord’s mother, whom he had taken “into his home” (19:27), that he was risen.
20:11 Mary was crying, not because Jesus had died, but because his body had vanished.
20:12 She saw two angels in white. Angels often appeared in pairs (Ac 1:10) and are often depicted as dressed in white (Ezk 9:2; Dn 10:5–6; Rv 15:6). The angels were sitting … one at the head and the other at the feet of the burial shelf.
20:13–14 The resurrected Jesus is often not recognized immediately. His appearance since Mary saw him last must have changed dramatically. See 1Co 15:35–38.
20:15 Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener, which suggests that Jesus was indistinguishable from an ordinary person. Gardeners often tend to their grounds in the early morning.
20:16 Jesus had already spoken to her. It was when she heard her own name from his lips that she knew who it was.
20:17 My Father and your Father maintains a distinction between how Jesus and the disciples relate to God. Even so, Jesus called believers his brothers.
20:18 In view of the disregard for women in the culture, it is remarkable that Jesus appeared first to a woman and gave her the job of reporting his presence.