After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many people wonder how long he stayed on earth. Although the Bible does not provide a clear answer to this question, scholars and theologians have come up with various theories based on different biblical accounts. Let’s explore some of these theories in detail.
Theories about the Time Jesus Stayed on Earth After Resurrection
The 40-Day Theory
One of the most popular theories is that Jesus stayed on earth for 40 days after his resurrection. This theory is based on multiple accounts in the Bible, including:
- Acts 1:3 – “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. “
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 – “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
- Luke 24:50-53 – “When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. “
These accounts suggest that Jesus spent time with his disciples after the resurrection, teaching them about the kingdom of God and proving his identity as the Son of God. The final account in Luke suggests that Jesus ascended into heaven after blessing his disciples, which could indicate that 40 days had passed since his resurrection.
The Same-Day Theory
Another theory is that Jesus stayed on earth for only one day after his resurrection. This theory is based on a specific account in John 20:17:
- John 20:17 – “Jesus said, ‘Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”‘”
This account suggests that Jesus did not want Mary Magdalene to touch him because he had not yet ascended to the Father. Some scholars interpret this as evidence that Jesus only stayed on earth for one day after his resurrection, while others argue that this statement could be symbolic or metaphorical.
The No-Time Theory
Finally, some theologians argue that it is impossible to determine how long Jesus stayed on earth after his resurrection because time may have functioned differently in the spiritual realm. This theory is based on various accounts in the Bible that suggest a blurring of boundaries between physical and spiritual reality:
- John 20:19 – “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them. “
- Luke 24:31 – “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
- Acts 8:39-40 – “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. “
These accounts suggest that physical reality may not apply to spiritual beings like Jesus and his followers after his resurrection. Therefore, it may not be possible to determine how long Jesus stayed on earth based on physical time.
In conclusion, there are various theories about how long Jesus stayed on earth after his resurrection. The 40-day theory is one of the most popular based on biblical accounts in Acts, Corinthians, and Luke.
However, other scholars argue for a same-day theory based on a specific account in John or a no-time theory based on a blurring of boundaries between physical and spiritual reality in various biblical accounts. Ultimately, we may never know for sure how long Jesus stayed on earth after his resurrection, but these theories provide interesting insights into this mysterious event.