Appearance Before Ten Apostles: A Chronological Harmony

Appearance Before Ten Apostles

Jesus Appears Before Ten of the Apostles (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)

            While the disciples discussed whether Jesus could have possibly appeared to disciples in Emmaus, Jesus was suddenly present with them. It wasn’t just the sudden appearance that disturbed them, they were in a closed room, yet they didn’t see Jesus enter. They were terrified, assuming that Jesus was a ghost – something that had crossed their minds before (Mark 6:49). Jesus told them to be at peace, but peace was far from their minds.

            Jesus scolds them for their troubled thoughts and doubts. He had told them repeatedly that he would die and be raised again, yet despite the mounting evidence they refused to believe. He invites them to touch him and see that he is flesh and blood, and not a ghost. It is likely that his hands, feet, and side still showed the scars from his crucifixion, which they could see for themselves (I John 1:1-4).

            What is amazing is that they still could not bring themselves to believe that Jesus was actually alive and in their presence. Luke tells us that it was because of joy; that is, they were so overwhelmed with emotions that they could not get a rational thought through their heads. The news was too good to be true, so they still doubted that it really was true. Thus, Jesus gave them further evidence by asking for some food and eating some broiled fish and honeycomb in front of them.

            Finally convinced, Jesus explains that they would be sent on a mission, just as Jesus himself had been sent to earth by the Father. It is why we call these men “apostles” because the word means “one sent” in Greek. This was what Jesus said he would do before his death (John 17:18). In symbolism of the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus breaths on them – the word “spirit” literally means breath or wind (Acts 2:2). It didn’t happen right then, Jesus had said he would send the Spirit after he returned to heaven (John 16:7).

            Jesus again gives the apostles authority to bind what is right and wrong upon the world (Matthew 16:19; 18:18). This is not to say that they could decide on their own what was sinful and what was not, but rather they had the authority to declare Christ’s law and it would be binding on others. They would be acting as ambassadors of Christ and would be his full representative to the world. Thus, the apostles became the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20). You can see them acting with full authority on a number of occasions (Acts 8:20-23; 13:9-11; I Corinthians 14:37). While preachers today have the authority to teach and uphold God’s revealed word, the apostles had the authority to actually reveal what God wanted taught.

            One apostle, Thomas, was not there when Jesus came, which sets the scene for Jesus’ next appearance.