Jesus’ Resurrection and Appearances to Disciples

John 20

Outline

1-10 | The Empty Tomb
11-18 | Jesus and Mary Magdalene
19-23 | Jesus appears to ten of the eleven disciples
24-25 | Thomas doubts
26-29 | Jesus appears to all eleven disciples
30-31 | John’s purpose for writing the gospel

Reflections

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is an essential and necessary component to the Christian faith.  Each of the Gospels and Acts contain different accounts of Jesus appearing to different groups of disciples in the 40 days after His resurrection from the dead until the time of His ascension into heaven.

Jesus’ Post-Resurrection Appearances1

The first six all took place in or around Jerusalem within the first week, of which the first five happened on resurrection Sunday.

  1. Mary Magdalene: Mark 16:9; John 20:14
  2. Women return from the tomb: Matthew 28:9-10
  3. Peter later in the day: Luke 24:34; I Corinthians 15:5
  4. Disciples on the road to Emmaus: Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-33
  5. Apostles without Thomas: Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-24
  6. Apostles with Thomas: John 20:26-29
  7. 7 disciples by the Sea of Galilee: Matthew 28:16; John 21:1-23
  8. 500+ disciples on a Galilean mountain: Matthew 28:16-20; I Corinthians 15:6
  9. James (Jesus’ brother): Acts 1:3-8; I Corinthians 15:7
  10. 11 Disciples: Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:36-52; Acts 1:3-12
  11. The Ascension: Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:3-12
  12. Stephen: Acts 7:55
  13. Paul on the Damascus Road: Acts 9:3-6; I Corinthians 15:8
  14. Paul in the temple: Acts 22:17-21; 23:11
  15. John on Patmos: Revelation 1:10-19

As Paul stated I Corinthians 15, if the resurrection isn’t true then all of Christianity is a lie.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19 NASB Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

There is much that has been written on this and I won’t reiterate the responses to the different theories that have been proposed through the centuries as to what “really” happened other Jesus actually raising from the dead, as was prophesied.  If you have difficulty believing this, you will have trouble with other aspects of the Christian faith as well.  I would encourage you to do the necessary research, asking God to help you understand what you learn, and decide for yourself if you can place your faith in Jesus as the Savior of the world.

Lord God, so many have tried over the years to discredit Your apostles and all who have placed their faith in You and the truth of Your Son’s resurrection from the dead.  I pray that all who seek to understand the facts about Jesus death and resurrection will discover the certainty of its happening and that without it happening, Christianity would be just another religion, which You never meant it to be.  Thank You for Your word so that we can know the truth and the truth can set us free.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


1 – McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999. Print. (see pages 203-284)

Nave, Orville J. “Jesus, The Christ.” Nave’s Topical Bible, A Digest of the Holy Scriptures. e-Sword, 1900s.

John 20 - Jesus' Resurrection and Appearances to Disciples
John 20 - Jesus' Resurrection and Appearances to Disciples
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