JESUS’ POST-RESURRECTION APPEARANCES (CONT. #1)

JESUS’ POST-RESURRECTION APPEARANCES (CONTINUATION #1)

Follow-on encounters with Jesus after the immediate discovery of His resurrection are more detailed than the earlier events that were described in the previous posting. With the exception of John’s account of Jesus’ encounter with Mary, which itself was quite poignant, these later connections with Jesus also were more intimate. Among the most moving of these is the account in Luke 24:13-32, where He speaks with two of His followers on the road to Emmaus:

“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not recognize him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one with another, as ye walk, and are sad?

And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering, said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we hoped that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel; and, besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company amazed us, who were early at the sepulcher; and when they found not his body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said hat he was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even as the women had said, but him they saw not.

Then he said unto them, O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them, in all the scriptures, the things concerning himself.

And they drew near unto the village, to which they went; and he made as though he would have gone farther. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and t he day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat eating with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished out of their signs. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us along the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

Some Christians, upon reading this account, have interpreted Jesus’ words regarding the followers’ foolishness as a rather harsh rebuke. It was nothing of the sort, being instead a very loving, comforting and intimate gesture, intended to instruct in a soothing manner, much like a parent would speak to a child who was bothered by incorrect thoughts.

Other Christians, thinking that the New Testament rendered the Old Testament obsolete, should take note of Jesus’ assertion in this exchange of Scripture’s speaking of Him. At the time that Jesus spoke to these two, the New Testament had not been written; his reference to Scripture was the Old Testament, and the Old Testament alone.

In Luke 24:33-53, Jesus specifically identifies the Scripture as the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms. In this passage, Jesus demonstrates His ability to materialize with all the characteristics of fleshly existence; he tells his disciples to handle Him, and He even eats.

“And [the followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus] rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and those who were with them, Saying, the Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done along the way, and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread. And as they thus spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here anything to eat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.

“And he said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

“And he led them out as far as to Bethany; and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”

The Gospel of John echoes Jesus’ ability to appear in the flesh, with the additional ability beyond our own dimensional limitations to pass through solid substances. In John 20:19-29, He appears to Mary, and His disciples, convincing Thomas of His resurrection.

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit; whosoever’s sins ye remit, that are remitted unto them, and whosoever’s sins ye retain, they are retained.

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, as not with them when Jesus came. The other Disciples, therefore, said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of his nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And, after eight days, again, his disciples were inside, and Thomas with them; then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach here thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach her thy hand, and thrust it into my sides; and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered, and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

[to be continued]

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