Matthew 28:9—To whom did Christ appear first, the women or His disciples?

Problem: Both Matthew and Mark list women as the first ones to see the resurrected Christ. Mark says, “He appeared first to Mary Magdalene” (16:9). But Paul lists Peter (Cephas) as the first one to see Christ after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:5).

Solution: Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, then to the other women, and then to Peter. The order of the twelve appearances of Christ goes as follows:


Paul was not giving a complete list, but only the important one for his purpose. Since only men’s testimony was considered legal or official in the 1st century, it is understandable that the apostle would not list the women in his defense of the resurrection here.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.