Bible Truth Examiner


Questions Page


Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

Question: How many times, to whom, where, and what was the nature of our Lord’s appearances to His disciples between His resurrection and His ascension?

Answer: Even though our Lord was with His disciples for forty days between His resurrection and His ascension, according to the Scriptural record He revealed Himself to them not more than eleven times in all, and some of these instances are probably duplications. Furthermore, His interviews with them were short, in fact, the total time He manifested Himself to them was probably around three hours. We list these manifestations below:

(1.) Sunday morning early – to Mary Magdalene – near the sepulcher (Mark 16: 9) (John 20: 11-18).

(2.) Sunday morning – to the women returning from the sepulcher – near Jerusalem (Matthew 28: 9, 10).

(3.) Sunday – to Simon Peter alone – near Jerusalem (Luke 24: 34).

(4.) Sunday afternoon – to the two disciples going to Emmaus – between Jerusalem and Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-21).

(5.) Sunday evening – to the apostles, except for Thomas – at Jerusalem (John 20: 19-25).

All five of these appearances were on the first day, the resurrection day, the remaining six appearances being scattered throughout the remaining thirty-nine days of our Lord’s presence:  

(6.) Sunday evening, a week after the resurrection – to the apostles, Thomas being present – at Jerusalem (John 20: 26-29).

Following this there was a long interval, in which there was apparently no appearance whatever. The disciples became discouraged, perplexed, and resolved to go back to their homes in Galilee and there re-engage in the fishing business, considering that the Lord and His mission had been a failure. Our Lord evidently expected just such a process of reasoning on their part, and His delay was undoubtedly to help them over the difficulty and to start them afresh as servants of the Kingdom of God on a higher and still grander plane than their previous ministry had been.

Perhaps three weeks intervened without the slightest communication. Meantime the apostles had re-engaged in the fishing business, when our Lord appeared to them on the shores of Galilee.

(7.) As a stranger on the shore Jesus called to seven of His disciples who were fishing (John 21: 1-13).

(8.) Shortly after the manifestation on the shores of Galilee, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28: 16-20).

(9.) Very shortly after this He again appeared to a general company of His followers, gathered together by previous appointment, “above five hundred brethren at once” – in Galilee (1 Corinthians 15: 6).

(10.) Toward the close of the forty days our Lord appeared to the Apostle James only, probably at Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 15: 7).

(11.) At the end of the forty days our Lord appeared to all the apostles at the time of His ascension. This was at the Mount of Olives (Luke 24: 50, 51) (Acts 1: 6-9).

Years later Paul wrote, “Last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15: 8). He was seen of the other disciples as a gardener, as a stranger, as the Crucified One, etc., but when Paul, the last of the Apostles, saw Him, it was as the Church sees Him in the glory of their resurrection bodies, which is why Paul said that he saw Him as one who is of premature birth. The reason why Paul was given a special revelation of the Lord was because it was necessary that the apostles should be “witnesses” that Christ had risen from the dead. In order that Paul as an Apostle might thus testify, he was granted the vision of the glorified One. He was given a glimpse of the great glory light shining from the brightness of His spirit body, and not as the others, veiled in the flesh.