Additional Appearances and Messages from Jesus (4/28/22)
Let’s pick up where we left off with last week’s blog by looking at five additional resurrection appearances from the book of John.
He repeats Jesus’ appearance to Mary with more details. At first, Mary thinks he is the gardener. Then Jesus speaks her name, “Mary”. She says “Teacher” and then clings to him. Jesus replies, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
John’s reference to Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples on resurrection Sunday. They are gathered in fear behind locked doors. He greets them with “Shalom,” then shows them his hands and side. “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me so send I you…Receive the Holy Spirit.” Then he tells them to offer forgiveness to people. John explains that Thomas was not present and that later that week he did not believe what the disciples told him. The skeptical side of Thomas leads to a dramatic confirmation from Jesus a week later. Thomas says, “unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
Jesus’s appearance to Thomas with the ten: A week later, Jesus appears to Thomas and the others with these words; “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out you hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” There is a time when Jesus confronts all our unbelief and says “stop doubting.” At that point Thomas has a full revelation and says, “My Lord and My God!” Jesus answers him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” That’s you and me!
So far we have nine appearances of Jesus. How many would it take for us to believe? John is not finished and recounts one more, indicating that the disciples did go to Galilee for a few weeks after the resurrection.
Seven of them were fishing on the Sea of Galilee one of those mornings. They have not caught anything all night. Jesus calls from the shore, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did their net was filled with fish. (Jesus was not in the boat with a fish finder.) At that point John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) says to Peter, “It is the Lord.” Peter swims to shore and the others follow in the boat with a full net. Once ashore, Jesus already had a fire going and they counted 153 large fish. Imagine their joy and laughter as they meet with Jesus and have breakfast. It looks like he is going to provide their needs in the future as well. Jesus now focuses on Peter.
With Peter by the Sea– But Peter is still hurting from his denials of Jesus. He is uncertain of his place. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” This gives Peter three chances to affirm what he had denied a couple weeks earlier. “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Each time Jesus says, “Feed my lambs (sheep)”. Thus, Jesus reinstates Peter to his primary position with the apostles.
Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief! Thank you for these flesh and blood appearances of Jesus after his resurrection. Taken together they help us overcome. May we “stop doubting and believe” in whatever challenge we have in our lives today. Thank you that he is with us now and until the end of the age. Lord help us receive the Holy Spirit in a fresh way and carry the gospel to those around us. Help us to be attuned to opportunities that you bring our way to witness and pray for people. Lord, we believe you can help us catch people just as you helped the disciples after they had fished all night and caught nothing. Show us where to cast our nets! We pray for a great harvest of souls in these last days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.