Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-7 In several places in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as…
RESURRECTION AND APPEARANCES OF JESUS
The Resurrection -Matthew 28:1- 8, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-11
As earlier stated, among the people who witnessed the death and burial of Jesus were three women- Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome. Very early Sunday morning, these women went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried, taking along some spices to anoint his body. They almost went back when they remembered that the tomb was blocked by a very huge stone. Being women they would not be able to roll it.
However, on getting there, they found it open. An angel had rolled away the stone during an earthquake and sat upon it. The soldiers guarding the tomb, fell down and lay like dead men because of the dazzling countenance of the angel.
The fearless women went inside the tomb but did not find Jesus there, hence, they stood confused. All of a sudden, an angel appeared and because of his dazzling white clothes, the women became terrified. The angel calmed them down, asking them why they were searching for someone alive among the dead. He also told them that Jesus had risen according to his earlier promise or statement. However, Luke reports that two men met the women, while Matthew and Mark mention one young man.
At this juncture, the women left the tomb, terrified, to announce Jesus’ resurrection to his disciples. The disciples did not believe the story. Below are the exact words of the angel who told the women to go and announce Jesus’ resurrection to the disciples:
“Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here: see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him as he told you” (Mark 16:6-7).
The Significance of Jesus’ Resurrection
- The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone and essence of the Christian faith. Without it, there would not have been any Christianity.
- His resurrection gave rise to the successful spread of christianity because it gave the disciples boldness in their bid to spread the gospel.
- Like these three women, christians should be ready to serve Jesus at all times. The women ministered to Jesus even unto . ‘his death.
- The resurrection of Jesus more than anything else gives christians hope of life after death.
- It gives us hope and courage that the Lord we are serving is alive today.
- God raised Jesus from the dead thereby confirming him as his ‘Son’.
The Appearances of Jesus -Matthew 28:9-20; Luke 24 :13-49
After his resurrection, Jesus stayed on earth for about forty days before he ascended into heaven. Within this period, he made several appearances to his disciples. Matthew reports that Jesus appeared to the three women who were on their way to announcing his resurrection to the disciples asking them to go ahead and brief others about the resurrection and to inform his disciples to meet him in Galilee (Matthew 28:9-11).
Again, Luke reports about Jesus walking and talking with two of his disciples on their way to Emmaus, without their knowing it was Jesus until they reached Emmaus where Jesus blessed and broke bread as they were about to eat (Luke 24:13-32). These two disciples later discussed their encounter with the risen Jesus with other disciples, when Jesus also appeared in their midst (Luke 24: 3343). Luke also recorded that Jesus also appeared to Simon Peter and the rest of the disciples in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, as the disciples were still discussing about his appearance, Jesus stood among them, they were afraid, they felt it was a spirit, Jesus said to them:
“Why are you troubled and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have”.
Other accounts of appearances of Jesus are recorded by John and Mark, but we will not discuss them here, as they are not within the scope of this chapter. Luke reports that Jesus later took his disciples to Galilee where he ascended into heaven after blessing them and commissioning them to go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel of salvation.
Significance of Jesus’ Appearances
- The appearances helped the disciples to be firmly convinced that Jesus really arose.
- The appearances strengthened their faith.
- On their way to Emmaus, Jesus’ appearance to the two disciples made the disciples to understand in the course of their discussion with Jesus, that Jesus’ death and resurrection is to be viewed against the background of God’s self revelation, in the Old Testament.
- It was during the appearance of Jesus that he told the disciples their responsibilities after his ascension.
- During this period also, Jesus promised to send power to his disciples that is the Holy Spirit. This promise came to fulfilment on the day of Pentecost when power came upon them and they preached with boldness.
- The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the bedrock of christianity. For if he had not risen, our faith and belief would have been vain.
- His resurrection marked the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- It also brought brilliant boldness in the spread of the gospel.
- As for his appearances, they went a long way in convincing his followers that true, their master arose. If they had not seen him physically and eaten and discussed with him, no amount of information would have convinced them, especially as the high priests had already begun to rumour that his disciples must have stolen his body.