Throughout the New Testament, we learn about the numerous appearances of Jesus to his disciples following his resurrection. These encounters were pivotal moments for the disciples as they solidified their faith and understanding of Jesus’ divinity.
So, just how many times did Jesus appear to his disciples? Let’s take a closer look.
Jesus’ First Appearance
Jesus’ first appearance was to Mary Magdalene at the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. Mary was devastated when she discovered that Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb. But soon after, Jesus appeared to her and reassured her that he had risen from the dead (John 20:11-18).
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus
Later that same day, two of Jesus’ disciples were walking along the road to Emmaus when they encountered a stranger who turned out to be Jesus himself. At first, they did not recognize him, but as they walked and talked with him, their eyes were opened, and they realized who he was (Luke 24:13-35).
Jesus Appears to His Disciples in a Locked Room
After appearing to Mary and the two disciples on the road, Jesus made a dramatic entrance into a locked room where his disciples were gathered in fear (John 20:19-23). Despite being locked inside, Jesus appeared among them and offered them peace. He also showed them his hands and side as proof that he had indeed risen from the dead.
Jesus Appears Again with Thomas Present
One of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas, was not present during his first appearance in the locked room. When told about it later by his fellow disciples, Thomas expressed doubt that it could be true. However, one week later, when Jesus appeared again in their midst with Thomas present this time (John 20:24-29), Thomas saw for himself that Jesus had risen and believed.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples on the Shore of the Sea of Galilee
After the disciples returned to Galilee, Jesus appeared to them again on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-14). They were fishing, and Jesus helped them catch an abundance of fish. This encounter was significant because it restored Peter’s relationship with Jesus after his denial of him.
Jesus Appears to Over 500 People
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus appeared not only to his disciples but also “to more than five hundred brethren at one time.” This appearance likely occurred in Galilee, where many people had gathered to see him after his resurrection.
In total, we know of at least six distinct appearances by Jesus to his disciples after his resurrection. Each encounter was a powerful reminder that he had indeed conquered death and fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah. These appearances gave the disciples hope, strength, and a renewed sense of purpose as they went out into the world to spread the good news about Jesus.