Jesus was alive on this earth for thirty-eight days after His resurrection. During that time I’m sure hundreds of people saw Him. Here are thirteen of His appearances that are recorded for us in the Bible in chronological order.
1. He appeared to Mary Magdalene as a gardener (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18). How fitting that this woman was chosen as the first to see Jesus. For she was one of the most grateful to Him for what He had done for her—He delivered seven demons out of her; and from that time on she became one of those who stayed close to Him and ministered to Him of her substance (Lu. 8:2). The third day after Jesus’ death, early Sunday morning she and two other women came to the tomb where He was lying to put spices on His body. But they found that the tomb was empty!
So Mary and the other women ran to tell the disciples. When Peter and John heard the news they ran to the tomb to see for themselves. Sure enough, the body of Jesus was gone! I’m sure they were confused and wondered what happened to it. They went home.
Meanwhile, Mary stood outside the tomb and was crying. And two white robed men asked her what was wrong. “Someone has taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where He is.”
Just then she glanced over her shoulder and saw someone she thought was a gardener. “Why are you crying?” He asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
“Sir,” Mary said, “Do you know where Jesus is? Have you taken Him away?”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
Mary then recognized Him, and she ran and told the other disciples the good news that He was alive!
2. He appeared to the other two women who were with Mary Magdalene—Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matthew 28:9-10). At first all three women were together, but apparently Mary Magdalene broke off from the other two. I suppose she was younger and a faster runner. Anyway, as these two women were going to tell the disciples that the body of Jesus was missing, Jesus suddenly appeared to them and greeted them. Unlike Mary Magdalene, they knew Him right away—I suppose by His usual greeting. They ran to Him, held His feet and worshiped Him!
3. He appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). We don’t know the details of this appearance, only that when the two on the road to Emmaus came back to Jerusalem the disciples gave them the news that Jesus appeared to Peter. So I am guessing that Peter is the third on the list to see Him.
4. He appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32). Since Jesus resurrection at sunrise, about four or five hours had passed by when He appeared to two men traveling eastward to the village of Emmaus. We are not told how He appeared to them, but I suppose He just suddenly appeared out of thin air. The scripture doesn’t say that the men were startled, so I suppose they thought He just sort of snuck up on them as they were talking. Anyway, Jesus joined into their conversation, but the men didn’t recognize Him. God kept it from them. They were talking about how sad and disappointed they were in Jesus death and how they thought for sure He was their Messiah.
Well, still being unrecognized, Jesus reminded them from the scriptures about how Jesus would have to suffer before entering into His time of glory. And He explained to them from Moses and the prophets about who Jesus was. When they sat down to eat, as soon as Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God’s blessing on it, suddenly they recognized Him! And at that moment He disappeared!
Within the hour they returned to Jerusalem and were happily greeted with the repot that Jesus had risen and appeared to Peter. But they had similar news to tell of their own!
5. He appeared to the apostles, except for Thomas (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25). When the two men from Emmaus arrived in Jerusalem where the apostles were staying, it was Sunday evening. They probably immediately began to tell their story. But just as they were getting into it, Jesus appeared and said to them, “Peace be with you.” As you can imagine, they were terrified and thought He was a ghost. But Jesus tried to convince them that He was not. He said to them, “Look at my hands and feet and side and touch me.” And He asked them to give Him something to eat, and He ate a piece of fish in front of them. (This indicates to me that in our resurrected bodies we will be able to eat food and enjoy it.)
6. He appeared to the apostles with Thomas (John 20:26-29). Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus appeared to them on Sunday evening, and when he heard that Jesus had appeared to them, he didn’t believe it. He told them that he wouldn’t believe it unless he saw the nail wounds in His hands and wound in His side. Well, eight days later, on a Monday, Jesus appeared to them again, this time with Thomas present. Jesus again greeted them with, “Peace be with you.” And He gave Thomas a great opportunity to believe. He said to him, “Put your fingers here on the wounds in my hands and touch the wound here in my side.” Then Thomas believed and said, “My Lord and my God!”
7. He appeared to seven of His disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-25). Sometime after Jesus appeared to His disciples in Jerusalem, a few days later Jesus appeared to seven of His disciples beside the Sea of Galilee—Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, the two sons of Zebedee, and two others. As it happened, they were fishing in a boat not far from shore, and they fished all night without a catch. The next morning Jesus appeared on the shore. They saw Him but they didn’t recognize that it was Him.
He said to them, “Have you caught any fish?”
They said no.
Then Jesus said, “Throw your nets on the other side of the boat and you will catch plenty.”
Well, I think you know the rest of the story. They indeed caught fish—153 of them; big ones! Peter was the first to recognize Jesus, and he was so excited to see Him that he jumped out of the boat and swam to shore to meet Him. There on the shore they all had fish for breakfast. And Jesus was the cook!
8. He appeared to the apostles on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18). This appearance was not unexpected like the others. It was a pre-arranged meeting, and a very important one. I think it was the meeting that was spoken about by the angels and by Jesus on the very first day of His resurrection (Matt. 28:10); He also told them about this meeting at the last supper (Matt. 26:32). We call the contents of this meeting the Great Commission. There on the mountain, overlooking miles of country, Jesus commissioned them to go out into all nations and make disciples.
9. He appeared to over 500 brethren (1 Corinthians 15:6). Paul tells us that Jesus was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve, then by over 500 brethren at once. Thus it seems logical that this group would have seen Him sometime after the meeting on the mountain with the eleven (I don’t know why Paul refers to the apostles as the twelve, because at this time there were eleven).
10. He appeared to His brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7). We don’t know where this appearance was, but if James still lived in Nazareth perhaps it was there. I wonder if Jesus popped in to visit His entire family!
11. He appeared to the apostles and ate a meal with them (Acts 1:3-8; Luke 245:44-49). Acts 1:3 tells us that during the forty days after His crucifixion Jesus appeared to the apostles from time to time to prove to them in many ways that He was alive. On this particular day—I think it was the very day of His ascension—He was eating a meal with them in Jerusalem. And He opened their minds to understand the scriptures about Him. He told them that after He left He would send to them the Holy Spirit and that they should stay in Jerusalem and wait until He came to them and filled them.
12. His ascension (Acts 1:9-12; Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53). After the meal He had with His apostles in Jerusalem, he led them to the place where He would ascend—which was in Bethany, on the Mount of Olives. As far as I can tell from looking at a map, it was about a two mile walk. I wonder what they discussed as they were walking. I wonder if they were aware of what was actually going to happen. When they arrived at the place it seems from the text that very little was said, except a final blessing. He lifted His hands and blessed them. And while He did this He was taken up to heaven. Wow! I’m thinking that the Father was saying to Himself and to Jesus, “The time has come; come on Home!”
13. He appeared to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8; Acts 9:1-6; 18:9-10; 23:11). As far as I can understand from the text, Jesus appeared to Paul three different times: 1) On the road to Damascus he saw His presence as a very bright light that temporarily blinded Him, and he heard His voice; 2) he saw Him in a vision; and 3) the night before he was taken to Rome, Jesus stood by him and encouraged him.
Really enjoyed your work. It was the easy to read & well laid out
Thanks. That’s encouraging.
Hi Bro. Stephen
Thank you for following my blog. I was extremely blessed reading your 13 Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus. It was so well done. Before reading it, I tried to guess what they were from memory, & I came up with only 9! It was fun! Anyway, I want to share a little tidbit… that Jesus ascended into heaven twice. It is found in my post
‘A little known Bible fact is that after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven TWICE! Jesus told Mary Magdalene ‘Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God’ Jn20:17. This was the 1st time Jesus went to heaven and came back. Then eight days later, Jesus told Thomas ‘Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side..’ Jn20:27. After His resurrection, Jesus remained on earth for 40 more days, teaching of things pertaining to the kingdom of God Ac1:3 and was even seen by over 500 people at once 1Co15:6. Jesus finally ascended into heaven the 2nd time Ac1:11, and sat on the right hand of God Mk16:19’…
Also, Jesus remained on earth another 40 days because He was not finished speaking of the kingdom of God, a message very important to Him & for us!
Thank you & God bless you,
Reblogged this on Studying Bible Prophecy.
Well Done!! Love the work!
In which work of ancient literature do we first find this expression: “…kick against the goads”? If you said the Bible, in which Jesus appears to Paul on the Damascus Road, you would be wrong.
This expression was first used in a book of Greek mythology, “The Bacchae”, written by Euripides in circa 475 BC. The expression occurred in a fictional conversation between the god/man, Dionysus, and the king of Thebes, his persecutor.
Isn’t it odd that Jesus would borrow an expression from Greek mythology in his appearance to the self-proclaimed “Thirteenth Apostle”?
Very interesting. Maybe Jesus knew that Paul would be familiar with that expression.
Euripides?! No, I fix-a dees!
Greetings! Thank you for this wonderful study. I am in the process of doing this as well, so this confirmed many things for me. Just would like to mention for point #2 – Luke 24:10 tells us that there was also a woman named Joanna (see Luke 8:2-3 for who she is) who went to the tomb. So, because Matthew’s Gospel says Jesus appeared to “them” (the women), I guessing she saw Him also.
Additionally, for point #9, you mentioned that you weren’t sure why Paul mentions 12 disciples when there were only 11 at that time. I believe he is referring to Matthias, who was appointed in the Book of Acts to replace Judas. Remember, they were looking for someone who had been there from the beginning and who also was a witness to the resurrection. They had to choose between Matthias and Justus (Joseph Barsabas). Just my thoughts on the matter.
From what I can gather, there are at least 20 people named that saw the risen Christ. The remaining 500 brethren, we can only speculate who they might be. The 20 that I have found would be the 11 disciples + Matthias, Justus Barsabas (see Acts 2:14-32), Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the less, Salome, Joanna, Cleopas (guy on the road to Emmaus), James (1 Cor. 15) and Paul.
I’d be interested to know if you came up with any others that are named specifically. I haven’t found any. But naturally, I’m sure that within the 500 brethren would include his mother and siblings, and many of the people who were healed.
Anyways – hope you found that encouraging! Thanks again for doing this!
Acts 1:3 — To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
I wish I could have been there as He was speaking about God’s kingdom.
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In the study of Embryology – we learn that the embryo –
the unborn child in the womb –
has a body of three layers:
The ectoderm will give us our skin.
The mesoderm will give us our muscles.
The endoderm will become the inner lining of our body –
from mouth to anus.
The ectoderm is the visible – mortal – body.
The mesoderm is the interim body:
the body that we have after death –
before we receive our eternal body
at the Rapture.
Believers die – and leave this mortal body.
Believers go to heaven – and receive
a temporary interim spiritual body.
The interim body is changed
into an eternal body at the Rapture –
when all believers of the Church
will be together – with Christ in heaven.
Jesus lived for 33 years in a mortal body.
He died – was raised from the dead –
and showed himself to people.
He was in his interim body.
He still had nail-prints in his hands.
He ate physical food.
Jesus ascended into heaven.
His interim body became his
perfect – everlasting – ascension – heavenly body.
The ectoderm of the embryo becomes the mortal body.
The mesoderm of the embryo becomes the interim body –
the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus – a body
that is still not perfect.
The endoderm of the embryo becomes the
eternal – unscarred – heavenly body of Christ and you.
“endoderm” tells us that the heavenly body is
within the believer now.
We do not receive our heavenly body
from somewhere else.
I look within – and behold!
I am carrying the body that
I will wear in heaven.
I – a male – am pregnant –
with my heavenly body.
I have within me my interim heavenly body.
This is like the embryonic stage –
When I am a new citizen of heaven.
I have within me my everlasting heavenly body.
This is like the fetal stage –
When I am used to seeing the wonders of heaven.
When I say that we will receive our spiritual bodies –
I mean that we will receive the knowledge
that our heavenly body has been in the believer
all the time.
When you look at yourself –
Use your third eye –
an eye of supernaturally deep perception –
called “the sixth chakra” –
and say one word:
“And again I say:
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I am so happy to learn so much about Jesus’s time after the resurrection. No one in my circle ever has talked about this and you would think after all the moves in my life that someone would have talked about it. Thank you so much for your wisdom. I am very moved.
Also like to add that Jesus ascended to heaven twice.. 1st He told Mary don’t touch Him because he had ‘..not yet ascended to my Father..’ Jn20:17, but about a week later Jesus told doubting Thomas to touch my Him Jn20:27. Then in Ac1:9,10, Jesus was finally taken up into heaven! Praise the Lord!
I don’t see anyplace in Scripture that He ascended twice. He was raised and had a resurrected body, but didn’t ascend to His Father until 40 days later.
Stephen: The implication is in the verses I sent you: First, Jesus told Mary. Don’t touch me. He had ‘..not yet ascended to my Father..’. Then 8 days later, Jesus told Thomas to feel his wounds. So by then Jesus had already ascended to the Father then. After that He went back to heaven Ac1:9,10.
I think you are reading too much into it. I don’t think whether or not He touched Mary or Thomas had anything to do with His ascension. With Mary, He didn’t want her to cling or to believe that he was going to remain there physically with her. But in Thomas’ case, He wanted him to believe that He was real.
Thank you. This was an enjoyable and inspiring study for me. Jesus is alive.
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Thankyou..this really helpful and readable.
You are welcome. Anytime.