The 11 appearances of the Risen Christ
The Eleven Appearances of Our Risen Lord after His Resurrection and before His Ascension and Paul’s unique encounter with Our Lord…the only one Christ appeared to after His Ascension
1) To Mary Magdalene at the Sepulcher alone.
Mark 16:9-11 “When He had risen, early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons. She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.”
John 20:11-18 “But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where thy laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? She thought it was the gardener and said to him, ‘Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni,’ which means teacher. Jesus said to her, ‘Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’ Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and what he told her.“
2) To certain women, “the other Mary,” Salome, Joanna, and others, as they returned from the sepulcher.
Matthew 28:1-10 “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and His clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of Him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, ‘Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him.’ ‘Behold, I have told you.’ Then they went away quickly from the tomb fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced His feet, and did Him homage. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do no be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’ ”
Mark 16:1-8 “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint Him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. He said to them, ‘ Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised: He is not here.’ Behold the place where they laid Him. But go and tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him, as He told you.’ Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
Luke 24:1-11 “But at daybreak on the first day fo the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but He has been raised. Remember what He said to you while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.’ And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The woman were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them.”
3) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection.
Luke 24:34 “who were saying, ‘The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!’ ”
1 Cor. 15:3-5 “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve.”
4) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of the resurrection, recorded fully only by…
Mark 16:12-13 “After this He appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.”
Luke 24:13-35 “Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, ‘What are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?’ And He replied to them, ‘What sort of things?’ They said to Him, ‘The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed Him over to a sentence of death and crucified Him. But we were hoping that He would be He one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that He was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but Him they did not see.’ And He said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into His glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, He gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged Him, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.’ So He went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while He was with them at table, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that, their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but He vanished from their sight.’ Then they said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning [within us] while He spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, ‘The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!’ Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
5) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others “with them,” at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance
Luke 24:36-53 “While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as He said this, He showed them His hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, He asked the, ‘Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of baked fish; He took it and ate it in front of them. He said to them. ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, ‘Thus it its written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And [behold] I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’ Then He led them [out] as far as Bethany, raided his hands, and blessed them. As He blessed them He parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.”
(They believed it was Him…recognized Him as He showed them His hands, ate baked bread and preached…then ascended.)
John 20:19-24 “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [Jesus] said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.”
(Descent of the Holy Spirit)…
6) To the eleven disciples again (Thomas being present) at Jerusalem
Mark 16:14-18 “[But] later, as the eleven were at table, He appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had been raised. He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe; in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Luke 24:33-40 “So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, ‘Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!’ Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as He said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
John 20:26-31 “Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.’ Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and My God!’ “
1 Cor. 15:5 “that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve.”
7) To the seven disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee.
John 21:1-25 “After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed Himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of His disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am gong fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We also will come with you.’ So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ So He said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.’ So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘bring some of the fish you just caught.’ So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come, have breakfast.’ And none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time [according to John] Jesus was revealed to His disciples after being raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ He said to Him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ He then said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me’ and he said to Him, ”Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ [Jesus] said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’ He said this signifying by what kind of death He would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, ‘Master, who is the one who will betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘What if I want him to remain until I come?’ What concern is it of yours? You follow me.’ So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just ‘What if I want him to remain until I come? [What concern is it of yours?] It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.’ There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.”
(John only makes reference to Jesus’ 1st-3rd time or 1st-3rd appearances…in his writings).
8) To the eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee
Matt 28:16-20 “The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them. ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.’
Mark 16:15-20 “He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe; in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. So then the Lord Jesus, after He spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.]”
(Luke notes the ascension in 24:36-53 and is recorded as the 5th appearance while Mark notes the ascension in 16:15-20 as the 8th and again in 11th appearance).
9) To more than 500 at a place not disclosed place in Galilee in Paul’s Letter
1 Cor. 15:6 “After that, He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”
(Paul does not give us much detail)
10) To James, but under what circumstances we are not informed
1 Cor. 15:7 ”After that He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”
(Paul again does not provide much detail…just that it happened)
11) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they saw Him ascend “til a cloud received him out of their sight”
Mark 16:19 “So then the Lord Jesus, after He spoke to the, was taken up to heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God.”
Luke 24:44-50 “He said to them. ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. And he said to them, ‘Thus it its written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And [behold] I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
Acts 1:1-14 “In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day He was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. He presented Himself alive to them by many proofs after He had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, He enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for ‘the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.’ When they had gathered together they asked Him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He answered them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by His own authority. But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return to the same way as you have seen Him going into heaven.’ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. “
(Luke 24:44-50 repeat of 8th appearance; in Acts 1:1-14 reference to the ascension. The eleven Apostles are listed…Simon [to whom Jesus gave the name Peter]; John [to whom Jesus gave the name Boanerges]; James (brother of John); Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew; James [the younger or lesser] son of Alphaeus; Simon [the Zealot]; and Judas [Thaddaeus son of James]. Keep in mind there were 12 and one added; Judas [Iscariot the one who betrayed Jesus and later hung himself before Christ’s resurrection] and Matthias [the remaining apostles elected him as the ‘replacement’ and twelfth apostle by casting lots a traditional Israelite way to determine the Will of God sometime between the ascension of Christ and the day of Pentecost. (See Proverbs 16:33. The lot fell upon Matthias.
In addition to the above, mention might be made of Christ’s manifestation of Himself to Paul at Damascus, who speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Savior
Acts 9:3-9 “On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ He said, ‘Who are you, sir?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do. The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.”
Acts 9:17 “So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, ‘Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ ”
Acts 22:3-21 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison. Even the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify on my behalf. For from them I even received letters to the brothers and set out for Damascus to bring back to Jerusalem in chains for punishment those there as well. ‘On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? I replied, ‘Who are you, sir? And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene whom you are persecuting.’ My companions saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. I asked, ‘What shall I do, sir?’ The Lord answered me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do.’ Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus. ‘A certain Ananias, a devout observer of the law, and highly spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me and stood there and said, ‘Saul, my brother, regain your sight.’ And at that very moment I regained my sight and saw Him. Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors designated you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of His voice; for you will be His witness before all to what you have seen and heard. Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away, calling upon His name.’ ‘After I had returned to Jerusalem and while I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw the Lord saying to me, ‘Hurry, leave Jerusalem at once, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ But I replied, ‘Lord, they themselves know that from synagogue to synagogue I used to imprison and beat those who believed in you. And when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I myself stood by giving my approval and keeping guard over the cloaks of his murderers.’ Then He said to Me, ‘Go, I shall send you far away to the Gentiles.’ “
1 Cor. 15:8 “Last of all, as to one born abnormally, He appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
1 Cor. 9:1 “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?