The Appearances of Jesus

(Matthew 28:9-10; Mark 16:9-20; Luke 24:12-53; John 20:11-21:25)

(Acts 1:3-12; I Corinthians 15:5-7)

The first person Jesus appeared to on the Sunday He rose from the dead was Mary Magdalene. After she had followed Peter and John back to the empty tomb, she stood there crying, even after they had gone home. She turned around and saw a man standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?" She thought that maybe He was the gardener, so she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Then Jesus said, "Mary." When she heard him call her name, she turned back to Him and said, "Teacher!" She took hold of Him and He said, "Do not keep holding on to Me, for I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go tell My brothers, 'I am going back up to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.'" So Mary went to the disciples and told them that she had seen the Lord alive, but they did not believe her.

Next Jesus appeared to the other women. He met them and said, "Hello." They took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus told them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brothers to go to Galilee, and they will see Me there." So they went to tell His disciples.

Before they got there, two disciples had already left Jerusalem to go to the small town of Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along and talked, Jesus came up and started walking with them, but they didn't recognize Him. He asked them what they were talking about. They told Him about the empty tomb of Jesus and how some women had seen angels who said Jesus was alive. Then He explained to them the Old Testament scriptures about how the Christ had to suffer and rise again. When they got to Emmaus they asked Him to spend the night with them. At supper, when he blessed the bread, they suddenly recognized Him and he disappeared. They hurried back to Jerusalem and told the other disciples what had happened. There they learned that Jesus had also appeared to Peter.

That evening the disciples were together in a room behind locked doors. Suddenly Jesus stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." They were afraid and thought they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you troubled? Look at My hands and My feed. See that it is really Me. Touch Me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones like you see that I have." Then He asked, "Do you have anything here to eat?" They gave Him a piece of broiled fish and He ate it in front of them. Then He said, "As the Father has sent Me, so I send you."

Now one of the disciples named Thomas had not been with them that evening. When they told him that they had seen the Lord alive, he said, "Unless I see the nail holes in His hands, and put my finger in them, and put my hand in the spear hold in His side, I will not believe." The next Sunday the disciples were again together and Thomas was with them. Suddenly Jesus again stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see My hands. And put your hand in My side. Do not keep unbelieving, but believe!" Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen Me and yet believe." Then He said to all of them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to every person. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned."

Later the disciples went to Galilee like Jesus had told them to. There He appeared to seven of them by the Sea of Galilee after they had been fishing all night. Then He appeared to His disciples on a mountain where He had told them to go. There He said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. So go and make disciples from all nations. Baptize them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teach them to do everything I have commanded you. I am always with you until the end of the world." He also appeared to five hundred people at once and then later to His younger brother James.

Jesus appeared to His disciples for forty days after His resurrection. They returned to Jerusalem and He met them there. He told them not to leave the city but to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which the Father had promised. He said, "John baptized in water, but soon you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit." Then He led them outside Jerusalem to the hill called the Mount of Olives. There He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He was lifted up in the air and carried up into heaven. His disciples watched Him go up until a cloud hid Him from their sight. Then two men dressed in white stood by them and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was taken up in heaven will come again in the same you saw Him go." So the disciples returned to Jerusalem, full of joy, to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus had said.

The Holy Spirit came on them ten days later and the apostles began to tell others the Good News about Jesus. We believe what they have said and written, and so we too tell others about Him. He is not dead but alive, and is coming again just like He promised. At that time He will judge the world. Now is the time to believe in Him and be baptized into Him. If you put it off forever, He has said you will be condemned. Don't wait too long; believe in Him today!

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