Q&A: Was the Stone Rolled Away? Matthew 28:1-2 and Mark 16:2-5

Was the Stone Rolled Away? Matthew 28:1-2 and Mark 16:2-5

Question

An atheist pointed out to me the discrepancy of the stone at the grave of Jesus. How do we explain this? Matthew 28:1-2 and Mark 16:2-5

Answer

Matthew 28:1-2 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

Mark 16:2-5 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

The texts are consistent with one another. Both mention the grave and the angel who was sitting. The earthquake (which Mark does not mention) signified the arrival of the angel and the moving of the stone just as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary arrived.

Hendriksen & Kistemaker state: "On the way toward the tomb the women became worried about the huge stone in front of the tomb's entrance. They asked each other, "Who will roll it away for us?" But suddenly they saw - probably at a turn in the path - that the heavy stone had already been removed. What had taken place? Matthew, by divine inspiration, supplies the answer: "Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, stepped forward, rolled away the stone and was sitting on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his garment white as snow." (28:2, 3)

Reference:

Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953-2001). Vol. 10: New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).