On the third day after Jesus died and was laid in the tomb, some women went to the tomb to anoint his body with spices. What they found was astounding: the tomb was empty! Jesus was not there! He had resurrected from the dead! Yet an empty tomb wasn’t the only evidence that Jesus resurrected. He didn’t just disappear into thin air, leaving everyone scratching their heads and wondering what happened to him. That would have been a very confusing end to the story, and if I might say this without sounding irreligious: seeing an empty tomb didn’t quite convince anyone of anything. So to dispel any doubt and any confusion, Jesus also appeared to the disciples in bodily form, in his resurrected body.
The Gospels give us several accounts of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It’s almost as if there’s an intentional progression with more and more detail provided in each Gospel. Matthew & Mark give us little to no information. Then Luke gives us more detailed stories and reactions of the disciples, and finally John with the most detailed accounts and conversations. Each appearance of Jesus was startling to the disciples. They always seemed frightened, sometimes thinking they were seeing a ghost or spirit. Some doubted. A fully alive Jesus appearing in a glorified body created dissonance in their heads. No matter how many times he told them he would rise again on the 3rd day, they didn’t really quite get it. They knew he was dead. They knew he was placed in a tomb. So to suddenly see him alive, standing in front of them, eating and drinking, was mind-blowing! Was this a vision? Were they sleeping? Was someone impersonating him? They had to find out for sure it was him. At each appearance Jesus showed convincing evidence it was him – that he was alive! He spoke to them. He let them touch him. They examined where he was pierced in his hands & feet and his side. He ate fish. He taught them. He wasn’t a ghost. He wasn’t a hologram. This wasn’t a vision. He was real.
When Jesus left heaven to be born of a virgin and become a human child, this was a permanent decision! He now always appears in his glorified body. Jesus is the eternally visible God-head. He wasn’t just visible and revealing the Father in a human body on earth before his death, but he continues to be visible and reveal the Father in a glorified body after his death and resurrection! He forever reveals the Father. One day we will see him face to face. Are you prepared for that day?