After Jesus’ resurrection, he spent 40 days on earth before ascending to heaven. What did he do during those 40 days? Let’s take a closer look.
The Resurrected Jesus
First, let’s understand what happened to Jesus after his crucifixion. According to the Bible, on the third day after his death, Jesus rose from the dead. He appeared to his disciples and many others over a period of 40 days.
Appearances of Jesus
During those 40 days, Jesus made several appearances to his disciples and others. Some of these appearances are recorded in the Bible:
Appearance to Mary Magdalene
On the day of his resurrection, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. She found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance and that Jesus’ body was gone.
While she was weeping outside the tomb, she saw a man whom she thought was a gardener but was actually Jesus. He spoke to her and she recognized him.
Appearance to Cleopas and another disciple
On the same day as Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus, two disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus when a stranger joined them. The stranger turned out to be Jesus himself. They did not recognize him until he broke bread with them.
Appearance to Peter
After his appearance to Cleopas and the other disciple, Jesus appeared to Peter alone. This appearance is not described in detail in the Bible.
Appearance to ten disciples (without Thomas)
Jesus also appeared to ten of his disciples (excluding Thomas) while they were gathered together in a room. He showed them his wounds and ate with them.
Appearance to eleven disciples (with Thomas)
A week after his appearance to the ten disciples, Jesus appeared to all eleven of his disciples. This time, Thomas was present and he saw Jesus’ wounds and believed that he had risen from the dead.
Appearance to more than 500 people
The Bible also records that Jesus appeared to more than 500 people at one time. The details of this appearance are not given.
Teaching and Commissioning
During the 40 days after his resurrection, Jesus also spent time teaching his disciples and commissioning them for their future work. Here are some examples:
The Great Commission
Jesus commissioned his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel. This is known as the Great Commission.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The Promise of Power
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus promised his disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. This power would enable them to be witnesses for him throughout the world.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
Ascension into Heaven
After spending 40 days on earth following his resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven. This event is recorded in Acts:
“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
The Significance of Jesus’ 40 Days on Earth
Jesus’ 40 days on earth after his resurrection were significant for several reasons. First, they provided proof that he had truly risen from the dead.
Second, they allowed him to spend time with his disciples and teach them. Finally, they culminated in his ascension into heaven.
Overall, Jesus’ 40 days on earth after his resurrection were a time of great significance and importance for the early Christian church.