“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
The disciples’ world had been turned upside down by the terrible events of the previous four days. Their Master, Jesus Christ, had been arrested, beaten and crucified on Passover day, which (careful analysis of the events shows) was a Wednesday that year. His body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea before sunset Wednesday, just before the beginning of the annual holy day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
As the large stone was rolled into place against the door of the tomb, “Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb” (Matthew 27:61).
After the holy day, the women bought spices to be used for His burial (Mark 16:1). Luke points out that they had to prepare the “spices and fragrant oils,” which apparently filled their day Friday, since after that “they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). This weekly Sabbath is from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.
So when both Marys came to the tomb on the first day of the week, it was past the three days and three nights Jesus gave as a sign that He was the Messiah. He called this the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-40).
Jesus had spoken several times of His death and resurrection, but His disciples had not really understood.
When the women arrived at the tomb, they saw an angel who had rolled back the stone and was sitting on it waiting for them! “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:5-6).
Jesus Christ rose from the dead exactly as He had said. He had conquered death! He had fulfilled the sign of Jonah by being three full days and three full nights in the tomb. And He had opened the way for His followers to also be in a future resurrection from the dead.
Read more about the events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, including a helpful timeline chart, in the article “Sign of Jonah: Did Jesus Die Good Friday, Rise on Easter?”