After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to His disciples several times. The Bible records at least 10 appearances of Jesus to His disciples and other individuals. In this article, we will take a closer look at these appearances and what they meant for the early Church.
Appearance #1 – Mary Magdalene
The first person to see Jesus after His resurrection was Mary Magdalene, one of His loyal followers. She was devastated by His crucifixion and went to visit His tomb on the third day.
When she arrived, she found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance and the tomb was empty. She was weeping when Jesus appeared to her, but she did not recognize Him until He called her by name (John 20:16). This encounter is significant because it shows that Jesus’ resurrection was a physical event and not just a spiritual one.
Appearance #2 – The Disciples (Without Thomas)
Later on the same day that He appeared to Mary Magdalene, Jesus appeared to His disciples who were gathered together in a locked room for fear of the Jews. He showed them His wounds and breathed on them, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). However, Thomas was not present during this encounter.
Appearance #3 – The Disciples (With Thomas)
A week later, Jesus appeared again to His disciples while Thomas was present. This time, Thomas had the opportunity to touch Jesus’ wounds and believe that He had truly risen from the dead (John 20:26-28).
Appearance #4 – Peter
In Luke 24:34 and 1 Corinthians 15:5, it is mentioned that Jesus appeared to Peter after His resurrection. However, there are no details given about this encounter in any of the Gospels.
Appearance #5 – Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus
In Luke 24:13-35, it is recorded that Jesus appeared to two disciples who were walking on the road to Emmaus. They did not recognize Him at first, but He explained the Scriptures to them and then revealed Himself when He broke bread with them.
Appearance #6 – The Disciples Fishing
In John 21:1-14, Jesus appeared to seven of His disciples while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. He cooked breakfast for them and then gave Peter a command to “feed my sheep” (John 21:17).
Appearance #7 – The Great Commission
In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus appeared to His disciples on a mountain in Galilee and gave them the Great Commission, telling them to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.
Appearance #8 – 500 Brethren
1 Corinthians 15:6 records that Jesus appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time.
Appearance #9 – James
In 1 Corinthians 15:7, it is mentioned that Jesus appeared to James after His resurrection.
Appearance #10 – The Ascension
Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus led His disciples out as far as Bethany and was taken up into heaven before their eyes (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11).
Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection were essential for establishing the truth of His resurrection. They provided evidence that He had indeed risen from the dead and were a source of great encouragement to His followers.
These appearances also served to prepare His disciples for their mission of spreading the Gospel to all nations. Through these encounters, Jesus demonstrated His power over death and gave hope to all who believe in Him.