“After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.” (John 21:1).
How many times did Jesus appear after His resurrection? The following is a chronological and biblical list of His many post-resurrection appearances.
- Mary Magdalene crying by the tomb Jerusalem. This was in the early morning on the first resurrection Sunday. Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18.
- The other women returning from the tomb. This was early morning on the first resurrection Sunday. Matthew 28:8-10.
- Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus near Emmaus. This was on the afternoon on the first resurrection Sunday. Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32.
- Peter in Jerusalem. This was late afternoon on the first resurrection Sunday Luke 24:33-35; 1 Corinthians 15:5a.
- To the ten disciples and others, without Thomas, in Jerusalem. This was the evening on the first resurrection Sunday. Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-25.
- To the eleven disciples, with Thomas, in Jerusalem. This occurred eight days after the first resurrection Sunday. Mark 16:14; John 20:26-29.
- To the seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias). A few weeks later? John 21:1-25.
- To the eleven disciples on a Mountain (Great Commission). This was near the end of the 40 days. Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Corinthians 15:5b
- To 500 people at once. Perhaps this took place in Galilee. This was near the end of the 40 days. 1 Corinthians 15:6.
- To James. Perhaps this occurred in Jerusalem. This was near the end of the 40 days. 1 Corinthians 15:7a.
- To the eleven disciples at Jesus’ Ascension. Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-11; 1 Corinthians 15:7b.
- To Paul on the road to Damascus. Perhaps about two years after Jesus’ resurrection. Acts 9:3-5; 22:7-8; 26:14-16; 1 Corinthians 15:8.
Today’s text would recall the eighth appearance by Jesus following His resurrection. It occurred after an unspecified time after the first resurrection Sunday. The location was the Sea of Tiberius or Galilee.
We may conclude that Jesus’ many appearances following His crucifixion and burial attest to the validity of the resurrection. I Corinthians 15:1-8 says, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “This chapter (I Corinthians 15:1-8) is the most extensive treatment of resurrection in the Bible. Both the resurrection of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospels and the resurrection of believers as promised in the Gospels are here explained. The testimony of eyewitnesses, recorded in the NT, was added to support the reality of the resurrection. These included: 1) John and Peter together (John 20:19–20), but probably also separately before (Luke 24:34); 2) the Twelve (John 20:19–20; Luke 24:36; Acts 1:22); 3) the 500, only referred to here (see note on 2 Pet. 3:15–16), had all seen the risen Christ (cf. Matt. 28:9; Mark 16:9, 12, 14; Luke 24:31–39; John 21:1–23); 4) James, either one of the two so-named apostles (son of Zebedee or son of Alphaeus; cf. Mark 3:17–18) or even James the half-brother of the Lord, the author of the epistle by that name and the key leader in the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:13–21); and 5) the apostles (John 20:19–29). Such unspecified appearances occurred over a 40-day period (Acts 1:3) to all the apostles. Paul was saved too late to be one of the 12 apostles. Christ had ascended before he was converted. But through a miraculous appearance (Acts 9:1–8; cf. 18:9–10; 23:11; 2 Cor. 12:1–7), Christ revealed himself to Paul and, according to divine purpose, Paul was made an apostle. See note on 1 Cor. 1:1. He was “last of all” the apostles, and felt himself to be the “least” (15:9–10; 1 Tim. 1:12–17).”
The many post-resurrection appearances by Jesus Christ is one of many ample proofs that He indeed bodily rose from the dead. Take comfort in knowing that our resurrection from the dead is assured because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!