(John 11:25-26, Rom. 8:11 & 1Cor. 15:20-23) Jesus is the firstfruits of resurrection. (Matt. 28:6-16) The women go to the Lord’s grave but Jesus has risen from the dead, early in the morning, from that stinking, hateful hole in the earth and has left to go to Galilee (Matt. 28:16) where He has a prearranged meeting with the eleven disciples at a predetermined place.
(Matt. 28:6) An angel tells the women the Lord has risen. (Matt. 28:9-10) With vast excitement the women are on the way back to tell the disciples the Lord has risen but Jesus meets them. They are astonished! With weakness and trembling they are almost afraid to look at Him. They can feel the love radiating from Jesus and they know. They whisper to each other;
“It is Jesus! It is Jesus! He’s alive!” With that final assurance to each other they fall prostrate and worship Him. Jesus accepts their worship and with the sweetest of all smiles and in a tender voice He tells the women to remind the disciples of their meeting but (Mark 16:11) when they are told the disciples don’t believe the women. How could they?
(Isa. 52:14) The devastation wrought upon the Lord’s body had been too complete; no man could live with the wounds they had seen; (Matt. 6:22) they had seen the light of life die in Jesus’ eyes; and they knew His stiffening corpse had gone into the grave.
Later on that same day the disciples are eating supper, (Mark 16:14) Jesus visits the disciples the FIRST time and upbraids them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. (Luke 24:39-49) Jesus tells them to look at His hands and feet where He had been crucified (1John 1:1 keyword: handle) and to handle Him and see for themselves that He is flesh and bone.
(1John 1:1-4 keywords: and our hands have handled) And they do, oh how they do! They touch His skin and hair; and in awe they examine His hands and feet and tenderly touch His side. (John 11:25) With gladdened shouts, laughter and tears they hug and pat the Lord of Glory and kiss His cheeks and hands. (Luke 12:1-4) It is their Friend! It IS Jesus! “JESUS IS ALIVE!”
Simon Peter, even though he had denied Jesus three times, was still the bold one and he shyly, hesitantly touches his fingers to the throat of the Son of God; Simon feels the surge of life in the great vessel there and he bursts into great sobbing tears of wonderful joy while he searchingly looks into the smiling friendly eyes of Jesus.
At one time or another during the joyous interlude they each think in one fashion or another: (John 20:24) “Thomas has truly missed it all!” (Luke 24:41-43) Jesus eats supper with them and in that strange way of emotional uproar the food is tasteless as the disciples mechanically chew. “JESUS IS ALIVE!” They hang on every word the Lord of Glory speaks.
(John 20:24-25 esp. V.25) Thomas, when he returns, does not believe what the disciples tell him. That staunch, stubborn disciple juts out his chin; “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side I will not believe.”
Can you imagine the uproar and commotion of persuasion when Thomas stoutly refuses to believe what they are so excited about, (1John 1:1-4) about Who they have seen and touched? “”JESUS IS ALIVE!” Thomas knew what he had seen and he would not be persuaded! “Show me!”
(John 20:26-28) It is eight days later when Jesus visits the disciples the SECOND time, Thomas’ eyes almost pop out of his head! “Come here Thomas.” What would you do? Of course the Doubter is hesitant, almost bashful.
But when he looks into Jesus’ eyes, when he sees the tender humor there, the love, the kindness, when he feels the overwhelming love that can only be felt when Jesus is close; Thomas’ stubborn heart melts within him, with his arms outstretched he rushes faster and faster across the room toward Jesus.
Jesus shows Thomas the places where He had been so terribly and fatally wounded and tells Thomas to touch them. Thomas is weeping and somehow frozen by his swirling emotions. Jesus gently takes him by the hand and places his fingers into the prints of the nails, He draws Thomas closer, pulls His robe aside and plants Thomas’ hand in the awful spear mark.
Thomas, his heart pounding, is open mouthed with wonder. His lips won’t move but his thoughts are roaring; (Matt. 17:23) “JESUS IS ALIVE! Jesus has conquered death just like He said he would!” Thomas’ heart threatens to explode, his breath is caught in his chest and his skin is on fire.
Thomas’ silent lips still won’t move and his throat is too tight to form words. “JESUS IS ALIVE!” Only Jesus could ever make Thomas feel like this!” (John 20:28) Then in gladdened humility and streaming tears Thomas worships Jesus and his mouth finally works as his voice, hoarse with emotion, rings out; “My Lord AND my God.” (Lev. 12:3 & Luke 2:21) Eight days! REMEMBER? The eighth day; the day of naming; and Thomas has said; “MY LORD AND MY GOD”! (John 20:29) Then Jesus speaks the words that are for you and me. “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE NOT SEEN, AND YET HAVE BELIEVED.”
(Acts 1:2-3) Jesus visits and teaches many disciples during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension. (1Cor. 15:2-8) He visits a lot of people during this time and on one occasion he visits more than five hundred believers at once. Of course, without it being said, Jesus is teaching the precepts about how the coming Church will function.
(John 21:1-12) On the 39th day some of the eleven disciples get bored and impatient and go fishing. They are a bit piqued because they are the special ones; they are the eleven, the inner circle. Jesus should spend more time with them. Ahhh, how soon pride besets us all. They fish all night and catch nothing. ON THE MORNING OF THE 40TH AND FINAL DAY Jesus visits them the THIRD time, three, the number of completion.
(Num. 3:13 & Luke 2:22-24) From the shore, separated from them, yet with them, Jesus tells them where to fish which is #1 symbolically prophetic (Rom. 8:14) that Jesus will spiritually lead them while He is in heaven (Matt. 4:19 key phrase “fishers of men”) in the catching of men (John 14:15-18, 20-21 & 23) when He indwells them as the Holy Spirit. Jesus prepares their breakfast over a bed of coals which is #2 symbolically prophetic (John 16:13-14) Jesus will spiritually feed them through His Holy Spirit.
They catch one hundred and fifty three fishes which is historically, at that time, one of every type of fish in the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 24:14) and that is physically prophetic that the end will not come until His Kingdom is preached to every nation. (Mark.1:17) The disciples finally understand that, as fishers of men, they must follow Jesus’ instructions through the Holy Spirit before they can catch men.
(John 21:13-17) Jesus gives them their breakfast and after they finish eating (Luke 24:44-49) He explains how the law, the prophets, and the psalms all spoke of Him. Then He opens their understanding so they can understand the scriptures. He tells them His suffering and death and His resurrection AND that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem; (Luke 24:49 & Acts 2:1-41) and they are to wait in Jerusalem until they are endued (to put on speedily) with power from on high.
(Luke 24:50-53) Jesus walks with them to Bethany which is #3 symbolically prophetic (Rom. 8:1-9 esp. V. 1 &4) He will spiritually walk with them after His ascension on this the fortieth day.
Forty days! (Lev. 12:2-4 esp. V.2 & 4 key: seven plus thirty-three = forty & Luke 2:22) The fortieth day; the day of showing and presentation. Jesus blesses them (Luke 24:51; Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 3:1-4; & Heb. 1:1-13) and ascends into Heaven on this fortieth day for HIS SHOWING AND PRESENTATION in Heaven where He will take His throne at the right hand of God (1John 2:1-2) where He will be every Christian’s advocate (intercessor, consoler, comforter) (1Thess. 4:13-18) until it is time to return and remove His people, the Church, from the earth. (Eph. 2:8-9 & Heb. 10:10-22 esp. v. 16) The new spiritual grace covenant is complete.
Filled with new certainty, new determination and new purpose the eleven turn away into their tomorrows. The fortieth Day: (Luke 24:49) They walk silently toward Jerusalem, each with his own thoughts; “until ye be endued with power from high?” Their sandals kick up small clouds of dust. They know some momentous thing is going to happen. Jesus said it will so, it will.
THEY WILL NEVER DOUBT JESUS AGAIN, too much had happened for them to ever doubt; even if they must die because of their preaching and teaching, they will never doubt! Ten tomorrows until the fiftieth day: (Acts 1:3-2:41) They don’t know it yet but it will be a day like no other day before or since; this coming fiftieth day; the Day of Pentecost; (Acts 1:1 thru 2:41) there in the upper room. (John 20:29) “BLESSED ARE THEY THAT HAVE NOT SEEN, AND YET HAVE BELIEVED.” Praise God! “
“The Holy Spirit and You” commentary starts where this commentary ends.