After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many people have been curious about how long he stayed on earth before he ascended to heaven. The Bible provides some information about this, but there are also different interpretations and opinions among scholars and theologians.
What the Bible says
The New Testament provides some accounts of Jesus’ appearances after his resurrection. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus appeared to his disciples in Galilee, where he had earlier instructed them to go (Matthew 28:16-20). This appearance is not dated, so it is unclear how long after the resurrection it happened.
In the Gospel of Mark, it is said that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, then to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and finally to the eleven remaining apostles (Mark 16:9-14). Again, there is no specific time frame given for these appearances.
The Gospel of Luke provides more detail about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. It says that he appeared first to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, then to Peter alone, and later that same day to a group of disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:13-49). The text suggests that all these events took place on Easter Sunday.
Finally, the Gospel of John describes several post-resurrection appearances by Jesus. He first appears to Mary Magdalene near his tomb (John 20:11-18), then later that day he appears to his disciples who were hiding in a room (John 20:19-23). A week later he appears again to his disciples when Thomas was present (John 20:26-29), and later still he appears at the Sea of Galilee where he performs a miraculous catch of fish and has breakfast with his disciples (John 21).
Based on these accounts, there are different opinions about how long Jesus stayed on earth after his resurrection. Some scholars believe that he appeared only a few times and then ascended to heaven within a few days or weeks. Others think that he may have stayed on earth for several weeks or even months, appearing to different groups of people at different times.
One argument in favor of a longer period on earth is that some of the events described in the Gospels seem to require more time than just a few days or weeks. For example, the account in John 21 suggests that Jesus spent at least one night with his disciples after the miraculous catch of fish and before his final departure.
On the other hand, some scholars point out that the Gospels do not provide a continuous narrative of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, but rather a series of disconnected events. They argue that it is possible for all these events to have taken place within a short period of time, perhaps just a few days.
In conclusion, while the Bible provides some information about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, there is no clear answer to how long he stayed on earth before ascending to heaven. Scholars and theologians have different opinions based on their interpretation of the biblical texts. Ultimately, what matters most is not how long Jesus was on earth after his resurrection, but what his resurrection means for our faith and salvation.