The resurrection of Jesus Christ has puzzled us for centuries. This is one of the most important occurrences in the Bible, but only a few know its significance. In this article, we’ll explore how long was Jesus on Earth after his resurrection and the deeper meaning behind it.
According to the Bible, Jesus ascended to heaven after some time from his death and resurrection. Luke is the only writer that ever refers to the number of days Jesus remained on Earth. However, all Gospels and Acts mention this time and include stories about his stay.
Continue reading this article to discover how long Jesus stayed with us after his resurrection.
How Long Was Jesus on Earth After His Resurrection
Understanding why this occurrence is essential for the Christian faith will lead you onto the right path. The details about Jesus’ time on Earth are vital factors for believers. This only proves God’s divinity and plan while also giving hope for eternal life.
The verses of Acts 1:1-3 first addressed Jesus’ time on Earth after his resurrection. In its summary, evangelist Luke mentioned that Jesus spent a total of 40 days after resurrecting.
In these verses, we see that there’s an undefined individual by the name of Theophilus. The obvious conclusion is that this represents the actual name of the individual. However, many would suggest otherwise.
The literal translation of the name is friend of God, beloved of God, or loving God. This concludes that it may represent a person’s honorific title. It may even mean that Luke was addressing anyone fit for that description.
Regardless, Jesus stayed on Earth and did miracles after he arose from the dead. This event is one of the most significant occurrences for Christian believers and has given hope, faith, and love to all of them.
The significance of forty days
In the Bible, the number 40 appears several times and is exceptionally significant to Christian believers. Many events are linked to this number in both the Old and New Testament.
The first and most important event is the 40-day period where Jesus walked among us after his death. In the Bible, this number is linked with purification, reparation, testing, and repentance.
The number 40 can appear as a symbol of hours, days, or even years. It can also signify the timeframe for one’s spiritual enlightenment. This can mean that you may need a 40-day time frame to accomplish challenges that will lead you to the righteous path.
For example, in the verses of Matthew 12:41, Jonah made his way to Nineveh and announced that judgment would come in 40 days. Another example hides in the verses of Mathew 4:1-11, where Jesus fasted for precisely 40 days before Satan tried to tempt him.
However, 40 may also refer to years, not days. Between the verses of Numbers 14:34, Israel is described as wandering in the desert for 40 years after leaving Egypt.
These are just some of the events linked to this number. As we can see, the number 40 is extremely important to Christian believers and their religion. But why forty?
The Bible doesn’t exactly state why Jesus stayed for 40 days after his resurrection. However, many people have their own speculations and beliefs.
Some believe that God determined that 40 days were sufficient, according to the Gospels and Acts. On the other hand, some suggest that Jesus needed 40 days in order to demonstrate convincing evidence.
Jesus’s Appearances After His Resurrection
After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, many stories kept flying around. Some say they have seen, touched, and eaten with him. Many even say that they had seen him in one place and the next second miles away.
The truth is that he appeared a number of times after his resurrection.
In Luke 24:45-48, Jesus told the two disciples that they would see this prophecy fulfilled. For a total of 40 days, he showed the world that he lived once again.
According to the Bible, during these 40 days, Jesus appeared at least ten times to his followers. Only understanding why he appeared to certain people will show us his miracles and perfection.
Who did Jesus appear to and why
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most significant event ever known to believers and humanity.
The Gospel of these events is meant to reignite our faith and put our trust in God. The countless eyewitnesses and significant figures he chose to appear to are there to enhance our trust and faith even further.
Here is the timeline of Jesus’ appearances and who he appeared to first.
Appearance to Mary Magdalene
The first person Jesus appeared to after his death was Mary Magdalene. In the verses of John 20:11-18, Mary was the first to lay eyes on him. She is stated to be by his tombstone, weeping because she didn’t know where his body was.
During her mourning, behind her appeared a figure that spoke with her. Thinking it was the gardener, she wept to him. However, she didn’t recognize that that figure was Jesus Christ.
He had asked her who she was looking for, to which she replied, “her lord”. Jesus then said her name, at which point Mary recognized him. He sent her off to tell his brethren that he still lives and will assent to God, as will all of us.
In Mark 16:9-11, we see that Mary was the first person Jesus ever appeared to after his resurrection. It’s recorded that she obeyed his command and ran weeping, telling the story. However, many people were skeptical, and no one believed her.
Appearance to two people
After his encounter with Mary Magdalene, Jesus appeared to two people, one named Cleopas, on the way to Emmaus. In the verses of Luke 24:13-35, the two individuals are stated to be walking and conversing about Jesus’ death.
Then Jesus started walking with them and spoke to them. They were skeptical at first when Jesus told them of his resurrection. Nonetheless, they invited him to their house to eat with him. Only when Jesus broke and blessed their bread they recognized him for who he truly was as he vanished from their sight.
Appearance to Peter
He is the first person mentioned in Paul’s list of eyewitnesses. Peter is the first among the apostles to see him rise from the dead. The Gospels don’t say much about this event other than that Jesus visited him to reassure Peter since he had just denied him.
Appearance to ten disciples in the upper room with Tomas absent
This event is the last appearance of Jesus on Easter Sunday. During the evening, in the upper room where Jesus had instituted the Lord’s Supper, he appeared to his ten disciples.
The event was recorded in Luke 24:36-49 and John 20:19-23, giving us two individual perspectives as to what happened. At first, his disciples were fearful and uncertain, but Jesus put them at ease with his words and deeds.
He said to them, “peace be with you,” and showed them his hands and feet. He pointed to his scars from the crucifixion as proof of his humanity in resurrected form. Jesus then sat down with them to eat, which was additional evidence that he was not merely a spirit but alive in human form.
Appearance to eleven disciples in the upper room with Tomas present
Just eight days later, Jesus returned to the upper room to visit his disciplines, now with Tomas present. In the verses of Mark 16:14-18, John 20:26-29, and 1 Corinthians 15:5, we see that he again proves himself to be what he says.
Jesus explained to his disciples that everything which was prophesied was happening. He tells them that he has indeed risen from the dead on the third day of his death and commands them to spread his word. Jesus explains to his disciples that they must witness his ascension to heaven in Jerusalem.
Appearance to seven disciples at Lake Tiberias
The event is recorded in the verses of John 21:1-23. John ends his Gospel by telling us the story of Jesus appearing to his disciples once again.
He came to seven of his disciples while they were fishing at Lake Tiberias. Jesus offers them encouragement and strength to continue having faith in God. He then puts Peter in charge to care for and guide his followers to the righteous path.
Appearance to eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee
In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus appeared to eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee. This is the same mountain where Jesus underwent his Transfiguration. When they saw him, some worshiped him, while some remained doubtful.
Appearance to over five hundred people
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, we have the highest number of eye-witnesses of Jesus’ resurrected body. Over five hundred people saw Jesus, giving us high confidence and faith in his divinity and power.
Christian believers’ whole faith resigns in this historical act. Even though there are countless witnesses, some still deny the truth and live in doubt. However, many books and evidence settled the issue that Christ is alive.
This is what makes Christianity different from any other religion.
What Did Jesus Do After His Resurrection
After Jesus was resurrected, he could’ve easily visited a few people and then ascended into heaven, but he didn’t. If you’re wondering why that is, there are a few reasons why he stayed with us for a total of 40 days.
His love for his disciples and the need to prepare, commission, and instruct them on their righteous path is the first reason why he stayed. Furthermore, his love for Peter, the one who denied him, and his love for us and the church compelled him to walk among us for 40 days.
You might also be wondering what he did during this period. Well, here is what Jesus did for 40 days after his resurrection.
Spread the word of God
Jesus appeared to his disciples and hundreds of people during his 40 days of ministry. He had proven God’s divinity, glory, and power through this miracle. The appearances of Jesus were evidenced in both the Old and New Testament.
One of his goals was to spread the word of this faith and prove and teach about the kingdom of God. In this period of 40 days, Jesus managed to show the righteous path to many people, although some still remained skeptical.
However, he had fulfilled Old Testament prophecies by arising from the dead and ascending into heaven. Jesus sought to teach, commission, and prepare his believers for the end times. He has successfully finished his ministry by:
- Establishing himself as the divine messiah.
- Reassuring believers and restoring faith in their hearts.
- Eliminated men’s greatest fear: death.
Teach, commission, and prepare his disciples for upcoming missions
During those 40 days, Jesus taught his disciples about the kingdom of God and everything surrounding it. He prepared them for their upcoming missions about spreading his word to the ends of the Earth. With the Holy Spirit in his disciples, they became his witnesses in Jerusalem and his true believers.
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus also told his disciples about the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20, it’s stated that Jesus’s disciples must spread his word and encourage people to have faith and follow the righteous path, which will give them eternal life.
Make miracles happen
Even after his death, Jesus continued making miracles happen before thousands of people. For example, in the verses of John 21:1-14, he made the miraculous catch of the fish. Here, he appeared to two of his disciples and helped them catch exactly 153 fish when they couldn’t catch any.
However, his resurrection was his final and the biggest miracle of them all. By doing this, he had proven all nonbelievers wrong, fulfilled his prophecy, and restored faith in God’s word among his believers.
Ascend into heaven
Jesus’s resurrection was recorded in both the Old and New Testament in the Bible. He had many eyewitnesses that saw and preached of his resurrection.
However, Jesus ascending into heaven was one of the most divine events in the Bible. Luke 24:5 states that his disciples witnessed his ascendance and saw him returning to his home after finishing his mission.
This event is the most significant evidence of his perfection and God’s divinity. Many Christian believers believe that Jesus is still with God in heaven. They believe that one day, he will return for the second coming for the final judgment day.
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Why did it take Jesus three days after his death to resurrect?
Jesus was resurrected three days after he died on the cross. He waited because resurrecting represents God’s divinity. It also showcases the pattern of creating new life and establishing a connection with humanity.
What do historians say about the resurrection of Jesus?
According to historians, Jesus’ resurrection was a real event in human history.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant miracles in the Christian religion. Even though he could’ve ascended and returned to heaven, Jesus decided to stay with us for 40 days and deliver hope and faith in our hearts.
During these 40 days, he appeared at least ten times to handpicked believers. This shows God’s perfect and divine plan for us all. His resurrection and ascension have proven that nothing is impossible for God, and that miracles happen.
Hopefully, this article provided enough information on how long was Jesus on Earth after his resurrection. Remember to have faith in God and follow your heart to the righteous path of eternal life.