a

Appearance to the Disciples

Posted by Thaddaeus

John 20: 19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.  Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”  Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.  But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

 

Background:  Recall that Jewish calendar days run from sunset-to-sunset; rather than midnight-to-midnight on the Roman calendar.  In Jewish writings dawning can refer to the first appearance of the evening star; so, it can be confusing at times.  The point is, we have to be careful when reading passages of Scripture.  Words have different meanings in English separated by two thousand years.  The evening of the first day of the week is better understood to mean the evening following the morning of the Resurrection; otherwise, Jesus would not have fulfilled the prophecy of Jonah that the Son of Man must be in the ground for three days and three nights.  The Sabbath ends at sunset on Saturday and the Feast of Unleavened Bread officially begins.  Mary Magdalene and some other women go to the tomb with spices they have prepared just before the sun rises on Sunday morning of that first day of the week.    

The Appearance to the Disciples:  That evening following the Resurrection the disciples are hunkered down in the Upper Room behind locked doors for fear of the Jews.  The question is why are they still there?  The angel tells Magdalene that Jesus has been raised and is going before them to Galilee.  Peter and John race to the tomb.  Upon seeing the burial cloths, John believes.  Magdalene tells the disciples to go to Galilee.  Only two disciples go.  Jesus meets them on their journey and reveals Himself to them near Emmaus.  When they return to recount their story, Jesus has appeared to Peter.  Notice how Jesus seems to reveal Himself first to those with faith.  Faith comes first.  Faith comes through hearing.  We walk by faith and not by sight.  Faith is a Divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths God has revealed.  That the Son of Man was handed over to sinners and crucified and rose on the third day.