“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Monday, April 25, 2011

Two Thoughts on Jesus' Post-Resurrection Appearances

After reading through John's resurrection account this weekend, two thoughts struck me regarding Christ's post-resurrection appearances.

Resurrection of Christ by Noel Coypel, 1700
The first thought I had regarding the post-resurrection appearances was that the Lord intentionally blinded the eyes of those who saw Him. Jesus' first post-resurrection appearance was to Mary Magdalene at the tomb. She had spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus before he had died. She known Him well, but yet she did not recognize Him. Also, when Jesus walked on the road with His disciples, they did not recognize Him, neither did anyone whom they may have passed on the road. Furthermore, Jesus appeared at the edge of the shore while His disciples were in the boat fishing. Only after they had pulled in a miraculous catch did they realize that the man on the shore was their savior.

Why would His followers, who had spent so much time with Jesus ministering day in and day out, be unable to recognize their friend? One explanation is that they could have been skeptical about His resurrection. John writes that the discples were grieved to the point that they had forgotten Jesus' promise to rise from the dead. They also may not have believed Him. Secondly, the disciples may have been supernaturally hindered from recognizing their Lord (Luke 24:16). The Holy Spirit did not allow the disciples to recognize the Lord right away. Also, the resurrection had caused a change in Jesus' appearance (I Cor 15:35-49). Jesus' body had been glorified. It was no longer material, but had undergone a process of glorification, one that we too will experience in heaven.

Jesus appears to Mary, by Rembrandt
The second thought I had regarding Jesus' post-resurrection appearances was the lack of faith that Thomas had exhibited. Thomas had not been present when Jesus appeared to His disciples in the upper room. When the disciples told Thomas about Jesus' appearance, he said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). Thomas sought a sign, instead of trusting in faith. Faith, and the testimony of reliable witnesses, was not enough for him. He had to see Jesus to believe that He was alive. Fortunately for Thomas, the Lord appeared to him eight days later, proving that He was in fact alive. May we never be a doubting Thomas. We should be those who rely entirely on faith, not on signs and wonders. The Lord's people are marked by faith in the unseen (Hebrews 11:1-3).

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