Secondly we have Jesus’ appearances to the disciples: Jesus appeared on several occasions to a number of the disciples after this death—on eleven different occasions over the period of 6 weeks. They are believable for a number of reasons:
First, because the first records of his appearance came from women – it’s recorded that way in the Bible. This is significant because in those days, women were not considered reliable witnesses, they could not testify in court. If you wanted to make up a story, and make it believable, you’d never say that women were the first eyewitnesses! And yet, the story of the resurrection records women were the first – a fact that was passed on despite its difficulties for their audience, because it was actually true, and people wanted to communicate what was true, not just convenient.
Second, it’s believable because of the number of people. Over 500 people are recorded as having seen the risen Jesus. Paul says this in a letter he wrote to the church in the city of Corinth, within 20-30 years of Jesus’ death, and adds that some of them are still alive when he wrote his letter. This meant the first readers could have gone and done some fact checking. The fact this letter survived, and was passed around and copied by so many churches, means that either no one was smart enough to check, or they did ask around, and the story checked out. This means they weren’t just dreaming, because 500 people can’t all dream or hallucinate the same thing. Was it a ghost? People can’t ouch, eat breakfast with, or have extended group conversations ghostly apparitions. Jesus was recorded as having done all this.
Question: Why do you think Jesus appeared to the kinds of people he did?
Read John 14-15 and reflect – Why did Jesus promise the Holy Spirit at this point? Why will his followers need help, and what will they be witnesses to?