JESUS’ POST-RESURRECTION APPEARANCES (CONT. #2)

JESUS’ POST-RESURRECTION APPEARANCES (CONTINUATION #2)

Jesus’ appearance to His disciples at the Sea of Galilee contains many prophetic elements in addition to illustrating His love toward mankind. This event is described in John 21:1-25.

“After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias; and in this manner showed he himself. There were together Simon Peter; and Thomas, called Didymus; and Nathanael, of Cana in Galilee; and the sons of Zebedee; and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a boat immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

“But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any food? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and ye shall find. They cast, therefore, and now they wer not able to draw it for the multitude of fish. Therefore, that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him (for he was naked), and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little boat, (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. As soon, then, as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fish, an hundred and fifty and three; and although there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith to them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples dared ask him, Who art thou? knowing gthat it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead.

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me more than these? He sayeth unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst where thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee where thou wouldest not. This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken the, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved, following; who also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, lord, who is he that betrayeth thee? Peter, seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.

“Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. Yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple who testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

As presented above in John Chapter 21, Jesus appears to Peter and John, forgiving Peter for his denial of Him by asking him three times whether he loved Him, connected with His thrice-spoken command to feed His sheep. The Book of Acts presents this exchange as prophetic, and places Peter as a very intimate component of the Church: Peter indeed fed Jesus’ sheep with the Word of God three very significant times, as will be covered in more detail in a later posting. Jesus also prophesied in John 21 the crucifixion of Peter and the longevity of John. Peter was crucified in Rome by Nero around A.D. 64 about the same time that Paul was beheaded. But John, who was born in 6 A.D., didn’t die at the hand of others. Instead, he was exiled to the Island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea around 95 A.D. during the persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor Domitian, who had deified himself earlier. He was freed from exile upon Domitian’s death and returned to the Church at Ephesus, which he had founded decades earlier at around the same time as the deaths of Peter and Paul in Rome. He lived to around 100 A.D. and, unlike the other Apostles, died peacefully. John had mentored the Christian Father Polycarp, who later became Bishop of Smyrna, identified by Jesus in Revelation 2:8-11 as the persecuted Church.

Although the Church Fathers considered John the Revelator as the same John who wrote the Gospel under his name, some modern scholars have asserted that they were two different individuals. Given the abysmal track record of modern critical scholarship attached rather loosely to Christianity, their pronouncements in this regard should be considered highly suspect.

Acts 1:1-9 offers highlights of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances:

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after he, through the Holy Spirit, had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen; to whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen by them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God; and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard from me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

“When they, therefore, were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And, when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.”

Jesus appeared one more time to mankind shortly after His resurrection. This appearance was to a single individual who was not among His disciples, changing his life from a devout Jew to possibly the greatest Christian who ever lived. The man went on to strengthen Christianity in a unique and powerful way. The account is given in Acts 9:1-22:

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they Awere men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shone round about him a light from heaven; and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the goads. And he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth, and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man; but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquired in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus; for behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man, named Ananias, coming in and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, God thy way; for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel; for I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples who were at Damascus.”

Lest anybody think that Saul was a different individual than Paul, Acts 13:9 clarifies the identity:

“Then Saul (who also is called Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him,”

In1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Paul himself clarifies the life-changing effect of his encounter with the risen Jesus Christ:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and in which ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that he was seen of ]Peter], then of the twelve. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present time, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then, of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.”

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