The Challenge of the Testimony by the Angel(s) to the Women at Jesus’ Tomb

by Rob Lundberg

Continuing with the fifth posting in this series, we have seen up to this point that the Garden Tomb accounts demonstrate very clearly that the gospel writers’ personalities were intact toward what the Spirit had inspired each of writers.  Each writer of the gospels chose what they wrote under the guise of the Holy Spirit.

For skeptics like the one who challenged me, this next posting is going to reinforce the points that I have presented up to this point.  And that is that the gospels reflect that which was what the Holy Spirit guided each writer to pen down. Each gospel writer is a direct eyewitness (Matthew and John) or an indirect eyewitness (Peter with Mark and Luke) receiving direct eyewitness testimony, everything they wrote was guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit.

As is the case has been throughout  this series, I will stay consistent in how I have approached each of these objections. Though objection is a bit layered, I will stay consistent by first summarizing the objection, and then providing the response. 

Setting up the “Problem”

As we will see from the counter points made by the skeptic, that there is a neglect of the context of the entire event.  Here is the list of challenges in this objection:

#1:  In speaking to Matthew’s gospel, we see that the angel invited the two women into the tomb and told them to inform the disciples that Jesus would be showing up in Galilee. (Matt 28:1-8)

#2:  In Mark’s gospel the text states that the “man in white tells them to inform the disciples that he’ll be showing up in Galilee.” (Mark 16:1-8)

#3:  In Luke’s gospel, we see that the two men in white don’t speak.” (Luke 24:1-12).  Here is where the objection gets interesting in the next point.

#4:  Our challenger lastly asserts that Mary Magdalene “finds Peter and tells him the stone is rolled away and that she also informs Peter that “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him” (John 20:1-13).

Are these passages in conflict with one another?  Is there an undesigned coincidence or a overlooked piece that puts the puzzle together?  In order to answer this, let’s look at what the passages in question say.

So, What Do the Passages Say?

So that there is no question about the texts that are being challenged, I want to quote the passages so that we can have them for them.

Matthews gospel:  5″The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6″He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7″Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

Mark’s gospel: 6″And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7″But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.‘”

Luke’s gospel: 5“and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  6″He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Please be reminded that the objection presents the angels/men in white not speaking).

John’s gospel: 13 “And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.

A Response to this Multi-leveled Objection.

The common message that was told the women here in these passages is that “He is not here (Matt. 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6).  John’s gospel gives us a totally different perspective of the empty tomb through the persons that he chose to record under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Mary gives us the impression that the grave is empty. She is the only one in the account that is questioning where Jesus is, but the fact does not change that she would receive news that Jesus was risen.

The challenger of these passages makes the statement that in Luke’s gospel, the angels (men) did not say anything (#3).  In all actuality, the words of the angels (men) are recorded for us in 24:6, “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee. . .”


Once again this objection shows us that the one making the objection is demonstrating the typical tactic of “cherry picking” and not looking at the entire context of the account before presenting their objection.  If our challenger honestly looked at the context and thought it through, chances are they would not see the problem they think is there in their spiritual blindness.

As it is with this objection and with the ones addressed thus far, it is very clear that there are no problems when it is understood that the writers wrote independently of one another. It is clear that the writers wrote to different audiences, and it still remains clear that these passages are not in contradiction to any of the other writers.

If You Like This Series & Would Like to Read the Other Posts in the Series Check Out

Do the Gospel Accounts Contradict Who Went to Jesus’ Grave?
Are there contradictions in the time the women went to the tomb?
Are the Reports of What Was Seen at Jesus’ Tomb in Conflict?
Angels or Angel, Men or Man? Who Announced His Resurrection?


robgoodgravatarRob is a blogger, writer and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and to communicate the message of the gospel to a confused culture in a confused, chaotic, “brave new world.”

He is available to come and speak to your church, college club, or group. Find out what people are sayingIf you would like to support this ministry with a one time or monthly gift, you can do that by clicking here

If you would like to book Rob for a speaking event, you can do so by emailing him at    If you have other questions about apologetics or doing apologetics, or if you are looking for apologetics resources, contact our ministry by email.



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