I am going to share about 4 accounts and I’d like to open it up to anyone who thinks they can determine a common thread between these four accounts.
HIGH LEVEL SUMMARY
First Post-Resurrection Saying – Why are you crying, Who are you looking for?
Appeared to: Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb (Mary, mother of James, mentioned in some accounts), angels only except for John 20
Second Post-Resurrection Saying – Greetings… Don’t be afraid.
Appeared to: Mary Magdalene (and Mary, the mother of James)
Third Post-Resurrection Saying – What are you so concerned about?
Appeared to: Cleopas and 1 other disciple on the road to Emmaus
Fourth Post-Resurrection Saying – Peace be with you
Appeared to: the Eleven + Thomas
Fifth Post-Resurrection Saying – Go into the world
Appeared to: the Eleven – obeyed and went to Galilee and they received the Great Commission
Sixth Post-Resurrection Saying – Have you caught any fish?
Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, sons of Zebedee, 2 other disciples – fishing off the shore of Galilee (spotlight clearly on Peter)
Seventh Word – Wait for the gift
Appeared to: the Eleven in Jerusalem
You will see that there are 7 post-resurrection sayings and each saying can be mapped to one of five appearances.
The first two sayings correspond to Mary Magdalene and possibly to Mary, the mother of James.
The third saying corresponds to Cleopas and the other unnamed disciple on the road to Emmaus.
The fourth saying corresponds to the first appearance to Eleven disciples followed by a conversation between the risen Christ and Thomas.
The fifth saying corresponds to an appearance to the Eleven when they were given the Great Commission.
The sixth saying corresponds to Peter’s reinstatement.
And the seventh saying corresponds to the Eleven as they are gathered in Jerusalem and waiting for the Holy Spirit.
[Here is a link to a powerpoint file used for this sermon.]
SLIDE 1 – What is the main common thread?
-The first account is Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, weeping at the empty tomb of Jesus.
– The second is the two disciples on their way to Emmaus.
– Third, the passage that gave Thomas the nickname, doubting Thomas.
– And fourth, Peter’s reinstatement after he had denied Jesus 3 times.
What is the common thread?
SLIDE 2 – 3 Common threads
– They were all post-resurrection appearances.
– Jesus pursued them all
– Upon seeing the resurrected Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit, they were all transformed and lived radically for Jesus
The last one, we’ll save for another message because I plan to continue to preach on this topic of the post-resurrection sayings for the remainder of this year whenever it is my turn to preach.
SLIDE 3 – Why is this study of the post-resurrection appearances important?
– Apostle Paul spoke on the centrality of the resurrection (1 Cor 15:12-19)
– 50 critical days after the crucifixion
– Critical period but oddly, not much has been written about this – quick survey
– 7 sayings on the cross vs. 7 post-resurrection sayings
**Read 1 Cor 15:12-19
12But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
For Paul, if there is no resurrection, then our faith is useless. If Jesus is still in the grave, then we are false witnesses about God because the main thing that these first century Christians were preaching was the fact that Jesus had risen from the grave. And if Jesus was still in the grave and Christians are falsely testifying to his resurrection, then we are to be pitied more than all men. Because we are just wasting our breath and wasting our lives for a lie.
The resurrection is this important. Because no resurrection means there is absolutely no basis for our faith in this man named Jesus.
To study the resurrection appearances, we have to look to the 50 days after the crucifixion — the first 40 days after the crucifixion during which time that Jesus appeared to the 4 people mentioned earlier, but he also appeared to the Eleven disciples and to random crowds here and there.
Then, these 40 days are followed by 10 days of waiting for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at Pentecost, an event which birthed the first century church. Pentecost in Greek is translated as “fiftieth.” It was 7 weeks and a day after the crucifixion.
Incidentally, did you know we are actually still in the 50 day Easter season? If this is such a critical period, why has so little been written about it?