7748 - Appearances

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Everyone who met Jesus personally after his resurrection had no doubts about his identity.

After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, some were perplexed by the happenings of the past week. Was Jesus really alive? If so, where is he? Was he really who he said he was? The religious leaders say that the apostles carried off his body, is that true?

Some wondered why Jesus had to die. Many had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel and get rid of the Romans.

God used a very effective means to turn doubt into living faith by the appearances of Jesus.

Romans 1:4 declares: “[Jesus Christ our Lord,] through the Spirit of Holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead...”

You see, if Jesus was really resurrected, and alive, then all his actions and teachings would be authenticated.

Jesus had said he would be raised on the third day. That would be supernatural. That would require the awesome power of God. If indeed he was resurrected then all the other claims he made were verified and authenticated. He really was the Son of God.

The mystery of an invisible, unseen God who loved his creatures would be forever linked to his Son, Jesus Christ, who had become flesh for the purpose of serving as the redeeming sacrifice. Jesus was a figure who had walked among us, lived with us, and demonstrated to us the eternal, perfect nature of his invisible Father in viewable terms. Mere man could begin to comprehend on a new level the infinite, all knowing, all powerful, God of heaven and earth; because Jesus had made him known (John 1:18).

Sinful man could comprehend that God loved us so much because he allowed his perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to bear our penalty for sin. His life and death demonstrated God’s steadfast love to us in understandable terms.

It was important for people to know beyond a doubt that Jesus was indeed alive, that everything he had spoken was true with no shade of error; that everything he did was done by the Father God working in and through his Son. And that Trinity God was soon to indwell every person who had faith in Jesus to accomplish his purpose through his adopted spiritual children.

Thus, Jesus appeared on five different occasions that very first day. There could be no doubt. Faith was born forever.

First: Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene near the tomb. This was a woman from whom Jesus had called forth seven demon spirits. She became allied to a number of other women who served Jesus. At first she thought Jesus was the gardener, but when Jesus spoke she knew he was the Master (John 20:14-18).

Second: Jesus appeared to the other women who had hurried from the tomb to tell the disciples about the empty tomb and the angels’ message. Jesus sent a message to the apostles by way of these women (Matt. 28:8-10).

He also appeared to two disciples and visited with them for an extended time as they walked the road to Emmaus together. Jesus pointed out two major errors of attitude within the disciples at this time. First: they did not know the Scriptures sufficiently; and second: they were slow to believe, to grasp truth.

The forth appearance was to a man who greatly needed forgiveness and restitution That was the apostle Peter who had denied Jesus three times. Little is known about that visit but Luke (24:34) tells us that Jesus did appear to Peter. We do not know at what time of day or the content of the conversation. But isn’t it a tender truth to grasp that Jesus wanted to heal the relationship with Peter.

And appearance number five that day was to the disciples behind closed doors because of fear of the Jews. All the apostles were there except Thomas. Luke tells us (24:36-37) when Jesus appeared they were terrified because they thought he was a ghost. Mark tells us (16:14) that Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe the reports from the others.

But after seeing his hands and feet their doubts were quenched.

So the appearance of Jesus authenticated his life and message. May faith reign over doubt in our lives.