They Saw the Risen Jesus!

By Royce Frederick

How many witnesses do we need before we will believe a fact? Sometimes we quickly believe the word of one person. At other times, we must hear the testimony of many witnesses. Concerning the resurrection of Jesus, we do not depend on the word of only one witness. Instead, we have the written record of many appearances of Jesus in the sight of many witnesses who saw Him during the forty days after He arose from death and  before He returned to heaven (Acts 1:3).

Most of the New Testament was written by people who had seen Jesus after He arose, and the New Testament records of the appearances of the risen Jesus were widely circulated while most of the other witnesses were still alive (see 1 Cor. 15:6).

Mary Magdalene saw Jesus near the tomb and talked with Him (Jn. 20:11-18; Mk. 16:9). While returning from the empty tomb, another Mary (mother of James), SalomeJoanna, and other women were met by Jesus (Matt. 28:9; Mk. 16:1; Lk. 24:10). These women came to Jesus, took hold of His feet, and worshipped Him.

Later that same day, Jesus joined Cleopas and his companion as they were walking on the road from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-31; Mk. 16:12). Near that time, Jesus also appeared to Simon Peter (Lk. 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5).

That evening, and again after eight days, Jesus suddenly appeared in a room where the apostles and others had assembled (Lk. 24:36-43; Jn. 20:19-28). At first, they thought He was a spirit, but He showed them that He had flesh and bones. He also showed them the prints of the nails in His hands by which He had been nailed to the cross, and the wound in His side where the spear of the Roman soldier had pierced Him. Then they gave Him a piece of broiled fish and a piece of honeycomb, which He ate in their presence.

Later, Jesus appeared by the Sea of Galilee and even prepared a meal of fish and bread for PeterThomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two other disciples (Jn. 21:1-24).

Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias were among the many people who saw the risen Christ (Acts 1:21-23).

Also, Paul wrote that “...He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:6). So, when 1 Corinthians was written, most of the people were still alive who had seen Jesus on earth after His death and resurrection. They were eye-witnesses and were able to verify the fact that Jesus had truly risen from death.

After Jesus had ascended into heaven, He also appeared to Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:3-6, 17; 22:6-8, 14), who was later called Paul, the apostle.

At first, His disciples were slow to believe that Jesus had actually risen from death (Mk. 16:10-11; Lk. 24:11, 36-43). But after He had appeared to many of them on many different occasions, they became totally convinced that He had truly risen from death. Many of the witnesses endured painful persecution and death because they refused to keep silent about what they had seen. “So they [the religious leaders in Jerusalem] called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’ ” (Acts 4:18-20). On another occasion, “...when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple [the Jewish temple], and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:40-42).

Jesus arose from death! You can too! He offers eternal life to all who believe and obey Him (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-38; Jn. 5:28-29).