Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-48; John 20:19-23
14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.Mark 16:14 (NKJV)
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”Luke 24:36–48 (NKJV)
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence. 44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.
19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.John 20:19–23 (NKJV)
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
These passages describe the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to His disciples as they were gathered together in various settings. In the Marcan passage, Jesus rebukes their unbelief. In the Lukan text, He proves Himself alive, shows them His hands and feet and side for review and even eats in front of them so that they have myriad evidence of His resurrection in bodily form. He opens their spiritual eyes to see that this must have happened to fulfill prophetic Scriptures and the plan of God. In the Johannine account, He appears to them and they exhibit great joy, and He commissions them to go in His name, and breathed on them a promise of the Holy Spirit. He empowered them to forgive sins or retain one’s sins.
These passages show the many sides of human response to the great miracle of resurrection. In opposition to the many theories attempting to discredit the resurrection of Christ, these stories show Him alive, well, strong, and able to carry on normal human actions without hindrance. Jesus is fully alive! While some doubted (more on Thomas in my next blog), others rejoiced, and almost everyone marveled at His appearance, everyone eventually saw the miracle for what it was: the fulfillment of God’s plan to save humanity and raise up a force for evangelism and ministry. The people who saw Jesus alive were empowered and emboldened to take the great message of hope and good news to the world, and they did just that. We should follow their example and live out a life of witness wherever we go; and sometimes go far to do so. Jesus appears to us through His Spirit every day. Be in awe, marvel, ask questions, put your hand in His hands, feet, and side if necessary, but whatever you do, receive His Spirit and go in His name!