Post-Resurrection Appearances


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

The Ascension

Mark?s Gospel originally ends with the empty tomb. Stories of Jesus? appearances were added later. Matthew and John contain stories of Jesus? Resurrection and of his continued appearances to his disciples. Luke, however, introduces the story of Jesus? Ascension. In his Gospel, after Jesus is raised in glory, he teaches his disciples for 40 days so they can carry on his mission. When these days of instruction are over, he ascends to heaven to be with God the Father.

When the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit 10 days later, they are ready to carry on Jesus? mission from Jerusalem to Rome and the very ends of the empire. This mission of the early Church is described in the Acts of the Apostles.

Story of Emmaus

The story of Emmaus beautifully shows the disciples’ journey into faith after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The disciples are walking away from Jerusalem, discouraged by the events that led to Jesus’ Death. Jesus joins them on the walk and explains the scriptures to them. They are interested but not convinced. Finally they arrive at an inn. The disciples offer hospitality and Jesus accepts. They realize who he is when he breaks bread with them.

The exact distance of Emmaus from the city of Jerusalem is disputed. The distance is estimated to have been from one to seven miles.