The Bible records the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ to the believers. Here are the appearances in a chronological order:
- Mary Magdalene early Easter morning (John 20:11-18).
- The women at Christ’s tomb early Easter morning (Matthew 28:8-10).
- Peter early to mid-day Easter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).
- The Emmaus Disciples late Easter afternoon (Luke 24:13-32).
- The Eleven disciples without Thomas on Easter evening (Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23).
- The Eleven disciples with Thomas the following Sunday after Easter (John 20:24-29).
- The 500 believers at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6). Most of the 500 were still alive when Paul wrote his epistle.
- James and the 72 apostles (1 Corinthians 15:7). There is a distinction between Jesus’s appearance to “the twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:5) and his appearance to “all the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:7). Beside the twelve disciples, Jesus also had a larger group of disciples – “seventy-two” in number (Luke 10:10).
- The recalling of Peter in the meeting with the seven disciples near the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-23).
- The Great Commission Gathering (Matthew 28:16-20). It is possible that this meeting is the same as the one with the 500 believers.
- The Ascension (Acts 1:1-11). This event took place in the town of Jerusalem on a prominent mount in the area.
- The appearance to Paul (Acts 9:1-9). Saul (Paul’s name before conversion) persecuted the Christians. However, the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus transformed him into a great evangelist in the Christian church.
The significance of Christ’s appearances
The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus testify and prove that He is alive and did indeed gain victory over death. The believers are not called to have blind faith. They can accept the resurrection of Christ, the most significant event in history, as truth.
The resurrection of Christ is the hope of all believers and the surety that they too will be resurrected after death at the Second Coming of Christ. Paul wrote, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we (the alive) shall be changed … then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15:52,54).
In His service,