Three of the four Gospels give us accounts of more than half a dozen appearances of Jesus after his resurrection. Mark's Gospel ends with the women fleeing the empty tomb and telling no one because they were afraid. Two separate endings were added to Mark's Gospel later, however, that do contain appearances of Jesus. All the Gospels but Luke tell about Jesus appearing to the women on Easter morning. Luke, on the other hand, tells about Jesus' appearance with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. John describes two appearances, one to the disciples when Thomas was absent, and another when Thomas was present. Mark tells about Jesus appearing to the Eleven as they sat at table, and John describes the appearance of Jesus to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. Jesus' final appearance includes the commissioning of the disciples in Matthew and the ascension in Mark and Luke. The cumulative effect of these accounts is the presentation of a truly resurrected and glorified Jesus and a community of disciples struggling to come to grips with the new reality of a Jesus who "has been raised" but "is not here."
Explore John 20:19-31: Thomas believes because he sees Jesus.
Explore Luke 24:13-35: Jesus appears to two disciples who are walking to Emmaus.
Explore Luke 24:35-48: Jesus appears again to his disciples and shares a meal with them.
Explore Matthew 28:16-20: Jesus charges his disciples to make disciples of all nations and promises to be with them forever.
Pray with a 3-Minute Retreat: In the Breaking of Bread.
Pray with a 3-Minute Retreat: Feast of the Ascension.
Pray with imaginative prayer: A Meeting on the Road to Emmaus
Celebrate the Easter season with your class with free lesson plans.
Easter Lesson Plan Grades 1–3
Easter Lesson Plan Grades 4–6
Easter Lesson Plan Grades 7–8
Image: Matthias Stom, Supper at Emmaus, 17th century, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Luke wrote not only a Gospel but also a second volume, the Acts of the Apostles, which developed the story of Jesus’ Ascension. Luke’s Gospel presents Jesus’ ministry as a journey to Jerusalem, where he would once more face the power of evil that he had faced in his temptation in the desert. Through his suffering and Death he overcame evil and was raised in glory. For 40 days he then taught his disciples so that they could carry on his mission. When these days of instruction were over, as described at the end of Luke's Gospel and repeated at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, he ascended to heaven to be with God. When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit 10 days later, they were ready to carry on Jesus' mission from Jerusalem to Rome and to the very ends of the empire. This mission of the early Church, having received the instruction of Jesus, is described in the Acts of the Apostles.