Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Thousands of years after Jesus' death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, some skeptics still think it is a myth that Jesus died and God raised Him from the dead. There is enough proof that Jesus did die on the cross and God raised Him from the dead three days later, according to scriptures in the Bible.
After His resurrection, people close to Jesus did not recognize Him by His physical appearance. It was only after only Jesus did something personal or said something familiar to them that they recognized and believed it was the same Jesus they had known for three and a half years.
Mary Magdalene, Close Friend of Jesus
Mary Magdalene was a close friend of Jesus. She supported Him financially because she was so thankful that he had delivered her from seven demons. She was the first person to see the resurrected Jesus.
Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb alone to put spices on Jesus' body. When she discovered He was no longer in the tomb, she wept because she thought His body had been stolen. When Jesus appeared before her, she did not recognize Him. Even though she had seen and talked to Him on many occasions before His crucifixion, she thought He was the gardener when she saw Him in a garden (John 20:11-18). It was only after Jesus called her name that she knew it was her friend Jesus who God has raised from the dead (John 20:16).
When Jesus appeared before His disciples in a locked room after His resurrection, they had a hard time recognizing who He was (John 20:26-29).
On another occasion, Jesus appeared before the disciples who had returned to their jobs as fishermen. At first, they thought He was just a stranger standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in the early morning. It was only after Jesus had called out to them that they realized it was really Jesus whom they had followed and had been taught by Him (John 21:1-13).
That morning, Jesus taught them how to catch fish after they had caught nothing all night. The fishermen caught 153 fish, more than they had ever caught before. Jesus made a fire and cooked the fish. All doubt was removed from the disciples when Jesus took bread and gave it to them and served them the fish they had caught.
Thomas was one of Jesus' twelve disciples who had followed Jesus for three and a half years. Thomas knew Jesus' voice and mannerisms. Jesus had taught Thomas just as He had taught all of His disciples. Thomas doubted that the man was the Jesus that he had known. He doubted that God had raised Jesus from the dead. In fact, Thomas thought Jesus was a ghost.
Thomas received proof that it was Jesus after he was instructed to put his finger in the nail prints in Jesus' hands and put his hand in the hole in Jesus' side. After doing what Jesus had instructed him to do, Thomas knew Jesus was not a ghost. He exclaimed, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:26-29).
Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus
Cleopas and an unnamed disciple were on the road to Emmaus when a stranger joined them. They were sad about what had just happened, and they could not understand why the stranger did not know about it.
Because of their sadness, they did not realize that the man they thought was a stranger was actually Jesus who had been crucified and God had raised Him from the dead. It was only after they invited the stranger into their house and Jesus broke bread at their table did they know it was Jesus (Luke 24:13-35).
Jesus is not going to appear before us in a garden as a gardener. He will not walk with us and have a conversation with us on the Emmaus Road. Even though He still has the nail prints in His hands and the hole in His side, He is not going to instruct us to touch them to believe He is who He says He is. He is not going to teach us to catch fish from a boat or to eat fish with Him on a beach.
Perhaps Jesus had done something for you or said something to you for you to believe that God really did raise Jesus from the dead. Today, Jesus is still present with us but not as the earthly Jesus. Therefore, we have to believe by faith that Jesus is with us as "a quickening spirit," according to 1 Corinthians 15:45.
- What the Resurrection of Jesus Teaches Us
All four gospels record the resurrection of Jesus. There are many lessons to be learned from that most sacred act.