Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on tumblr
Share on delicious
Share on digg
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp

*Reading Time: 15 minutes*

Introduction

After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to different people at different times in the next forty days, teaching them things of the kingdom of God. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a phenomenal event in human history, and still one that was prophesied by Christ Himself.

The list of people to whom Jesus appeared ranges from one or two persons on several occasions, to groups at different times and to 500 at the time of His ascension to heaven.

Let us look to scripture in this matter.

Mary Magdalene

Mark 16:9-11
Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.
She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

John 20:11-18
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.
And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”-and that he had said these things to her.

Peter in Jerusalem

Luke 24:33-34
And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!

1 Corinthians 15:5
and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Jesus’ brother James

1 Corinthians 15:7
Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

Some of the New Testament writers specifically declared to be eyewitnesses to Jesus’ transfiguration first and then the resurrection.

Peter declared

2 Peter 1:16
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

John declared

1 John 1:1-3
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us
that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

The other women heard of His resurrection first at His tomb

Matthew 28:8-10
So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.
And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”
And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back-it was very large.
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.
And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The two travellers on the road

Mark 16:12-13
After these things, he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country.
And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

Luke 24:13-34
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,
and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.
Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,
and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.
Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,
but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

Ten disciples behind closed doors

Mark 16:14
Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

Luke 24:35-43
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”
But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

John 20:19-25
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

All the disciples, including Thomas

John 20:26-31
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

1 Corinthians 15:5
and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Seven disciples while fishing

John 21:1-14
After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.
Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.”
He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.
That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.
This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Eleven disciples on the mountain

Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

A crowd of 500

1 Corinthians 15:6
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

Paul writes to the Church at Corinth that most of those to whom Jesus appeared as resurrected were still alive when he was writing the letter. This may have been the same group as in Matthew 28:16. The meeting according to the instructions of Jesus was to take place in Galilee, to a specific mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

Matthew 28:16
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

The other appearances which were surprising and sudden and in houses, this meeting was directly through the instruction of our Lord. This meeting was held outside so that a large number of people could be present.

In fact, the women were ordered to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee as well.

Matthew 28:9-10
And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

When the disciples saw Jesus, some still doubted.

Matthew 28:16-17
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

This may be a reference to those present were more than eleven in number, around 500 of them. Paul had met many of them and knew them. Therefore, to Paul, the resurrection of Christ was not a fable or myth.

He knew a few of the people were dead by then, but most were still alive. He is saying in effect they are still around to be questioned. You can talk to some of the witnesses. He never could have made this challenge if this event had not occurred.

Then to all the apostles

1 Corinthians 15:7
Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

Last, of all, He appeared to Paul

1 Corinthians 15:8-9
Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Peter declared that he was a witness of the resurrected Christ

After Peter and John healed the lame man at the temple gate, ‘Beautiful,’ he said,

Acts 3:15
And killed the Prince of life, whom God has raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Again, Peter said, in his sermon to Cornelius and his family,

Acts 10:40-41
Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly;
Not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

This verse does not say He showed Himself only to those who he ate and drank with before He died, but He ate and drank with those He appeared to after He was resurrected.

Paul saw Jesus resurrected and His life was transformed. Paul began a life of unimaginable grief as a Christian when he did not need to. He had a flourishing vocation in Judaism as a Pharisee.

Paul’s death not in Luke’s writings

Paul died at the hands of Nero in 64-65 AD. Luke wrote the Acts of the apostles but makes no mention of Paul’s death, but only his missional activities. This is because, at the end of the Acts of the apostles, Paul had not yet died. Had he died, Luke would have stated it mainly because Paul almost died seven times, as recorded in the Scriptures. The mention of death is essential information in a biography and that places Acts around 55 A.D.

Luke opens his writing in the book of Acts,

Acts 1:1-5
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen:
To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

The former paper by Luke to Theophilus was the gospel of Luke,

Luke 1:1-4
For as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
Even as they delivered them to us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you in order, most excellent Theophilus,
That you might know the certainty of those things, wherein you have been instructed.

Timeline of writings

Since the Acts of the Apostles was written about 55 A.D., the gospel of Luke would be even earlier around 45 A.D. Even more, Luke took in part from Mark and that sets Mark around 35 A.D., which is just a few years after the cross.

And as Mark worked closely with Peter so that puts Peter’s two books quite early as well. These initial references are all within a decade or two after the cross exactly what historians like to see.

The following excerpt is taken from my study article, “The Apostles Doctrine – Part 2”

Excerpt Begins

The Twelve Witnesses

Acts 1:22
“From the baptism of John at the outset until the day when He was taken up from among us—one of these men must join with us and become a witness to testify to His resurrection.”

Judas had fallen out. He was the son of perdition. There had to be the full number of apostles to bear the witness. This is where Matthias was included by casting lots. Twelve is the number of “a foundation” and of “government.” Matthias and Justus were with Jesus and the apostles from the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, from among which one needed to be chosen in Judas’ place. Not only this, but they were witnesses of the resurrected Christ.

Acts 1:26
“And they drew lots [between the two], and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to and counted with the eleven apostles (special messengers).”

The distinctiveness of the Twelve is also borne out by John’s vision of the New Jerusalem that comes down from God out of heaven—a picture of God’s redeemed and triumphant people in the book of Revelation, chapter 21. John describes this city in glorious detail and says that the wall of the city has twelve foundations. This city is the Church of Jesus Christ which is built on the foundations—the apostles and Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone.

Revelation 21:14
“Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

Testify to What?

The testimony or witness was to the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. This is why Matthias was added to the twelve.

Acts 1:22
“From the baptism of John at the outset until the day when He was taken up from among us—one of these men must join with us and become a witness to testify to His resurrection.”

David’s Prophetic Declaration

Not only were the apostle’s witnesses to Christ’s resurrection, but also was King David, a prophet of the Lord who foresaw the resurrection.

Acts 2:31
“He, foreseeing this, spoke [by foreknowledge] of the resurrection of the Christ (the Messiah) that He was not deserted [in death] and left in Hades (the state of departed spirits), nor did His body know decay or see destruction.”

David declared that the Messiah’s body was not left to corrupt nor was His soul left in Hades but, He was resurrected from the dead by the power of God.

Resurrection Message

Acts 2:32
“This Jesus God raised up, and of that all we [His disciples] are witnesses.”

Their witnessing was His resurrection. This is what separates us from any other religion. We believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and He is alive forever more. The scripture does not say you would be a witness of the knowledge of His resurrection, but a witness of His resurrection. The apostles were giving eye witness accounts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Only?

Acts 2:33
Being therefore lifted high by and to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promised [blessing which is the] Holy Spirit, He has made this outpouring which you yourselves both see and hear.”

Jesus was resurrected and was lifted high to the right hand of God our Father. The Church needs to begin to witness His resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ separates us from others. I was watching an interview of a Muslim teacher who said, “Jesus was a prophet, but Muhammad a greater prophet.”

The difference between Jesus and Muhammad is that Jesus rose from the dead, and is now reigning as King, and a high priest and is alive forever more. The knowledge of His resurrection is not enough. It must move from knowledge to an eye witness (experiencing) testimony. When that happens, we will see the Holy Spirit come upon the Church and bear His testimony because He was sent to bear a testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Acts 3:14-15
“But you denied and rejected and disowned the Pure and Holy, the Just and Blameless One, and demanded [the pardon of] a murderer to be granted to you. But you killed the very Source (the Author) of life, Whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.”

Believing without Seeing

Not only did the apostles see the resurrected Christ. The seventy saw Him. The five hundred saw Him. We are not looking to see the resurrected Jesus Christ to believe, or to increase in faith. We already believe in Him and His resurrection. The Church does not need convincing to believe, however, it needs a completion of testimony. The first demand of scripture is that we believe without seeing.

John 20:29
“Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, Thomas, do you now believe (trust, have faith)? Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.”

The incident of Thomas was written so that we do not ask for proof to be convinced of His resurrection. Let us be cautious to not become a modern Thomas, especially if we have read or heard the scriptures. When we believe, there will be a completion of the testimony. The Church has received the Spirit to gain the testimony of the resurrection.

Excerpt Finished

Changed – Metamorphose

Lastly, Acts was written after Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These gospels describe the physical resurrection of Jesus very clearly. So, if any progression in the appearances mentioned before, it is going in the reverse order; bodily to vision as Paul saw Christ.

And as the initial remarks on Jesus’ resurrection was by Paul, this is clear evidence at His physical resurrection. The early beliefs indicate a physical resurrection,

1 Corinthians 15:3-5
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

When Christ returns, we will be resurrected and receive a body like His.

Philippians 3:21
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.

It is our human mortal body that will be changed. Paul did not declare that we would be like Jesus’ glorious spirit, rather, he uses the word body, referring to a physical human one.

Romans 8:11
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.

1 Corinthians 15:52
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

This speaks of a transformation of our old human bodies. “Changed” indicates metamorphosis.

The next verse says,

1 Corinthians 15:53
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

The body of Jesus is immortal, never to corrupt or die again. His present body contains all the fullness of God. Paul writes it to the Colossians in the present tense.

Colossians 2:9
For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Because Christ is risen, we have a hope of the resurrection at His coming.

May you have a Blessed Resurrection Sunday!

Blessings,

Godwin.


All content © Godwin Sequeira, 2019.

error: *Blessings*