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Jesus appears to his disciples November 10 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Matthew 28:11-15; Luke 24:13-43; John 20:19-31; Matthew 28:16-20; John 21:1-25; Luke 24:44-53; Mark 16:9-20

Watch a dramatized version of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ

From Despair to Peace

When our world seems to be unraveling and all our hopes and dreams seem to vanish, where can we find peace? We might find comfort in the arms of loved ones, but ultimate peace is found in Jesus Christ. We can have a personal relationship with him by accepting his sacrifice as payment for our sins and trusting in him alone for salvation. “‘There is no peace,' says the LORD, ‘for the wicked'” (Isaiah 48:22, NIV). The wicked do not know God; they live by their own wits.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, a violent earthquake shook the ground, and an angel, as white as light, descended from heaven and rolled the stone away from the entrance of the tomb. The guards at the tomb were paralyzed with fear. In today's Bible reading, they recover and run to the chief priests and elders to report what happened. They confer together and then pay the soldiers a large sum of money to say the body was stolen (Matthew 28:2-4, 11-15). They make a decision based on fear. They live by their own wits; however, there is no peace for the wicked.

Death is disillusioning. Many times it comes unexpectedly, and people lose their faith. Jesus’ disciples are no different. In such circumstances what brings believers peace? Sometimes in times of grief and disillusionment, peace comes from a new understanding of God’s higher purposes. Jesus' appearance to two disciples on the road to Emmaus illustrates this.

Jesus’ disciples are on the road to Emmaus when he joins them. They are so filled with grief that they do not recognize him. Strange reports of some women and two of the Lord's apostles, Simon Peter and John, leave them confused. They claim Jesus’ tomb is empty, and they have seen a vision of angels saying Jesus is alive. The two disciples wonder what it all means.

After they explain to the strange companion their confusion over the recent events, he rebukes them for their unbelief and then explains the plan and purposes of God. He traces the Scriptures from the times of Moses to the present, showing them the need for the Messiah to suffer and then be raised to life. They do not recognize Jesus, however, until he has supper with them and breaks the bread, giving thanks. Their eyes are then opened as they see the scars from the nail prints in his hands (or more probably his wrists, which are considered part of his hands and would have better borne the weight of his body on the cross).

Immediately after Jesus leaves, they run and tell the other disciples, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34, NIV). The disciples received a wake-up call which brought them peace and great joy. But not for long.

Death and persecution bring fear. Not sure of the truthfulness of the reports about Jesus' resurrection, the disciples are hiding in fear of possible persecution from the Jews or the arrest from Roman soldiers. Jesus knows they need to see him to give them peace and courage; they are going to be the first generation of witnesses to his resurrection. Do we need peace and courage? Let’s draw near to God and ask him for a fresh sense of his presence in our lives.

How do we overcome doubts? Thomas, (“Doubting Thomas” as he is often referred to), is not with the rest of the disciples when Jesus appears to them. He says he will not believe the Lord is alive again unless he sees and touches him. There are many people like that. Jesus helps Thomas to believe by appearing to him, but he says, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29, NIV). We do not need to see Jesus for ourselves—we just need to believe the testimony of the Scriptures written about him and the testimony of those lives which are changed by him.

We Americans have never seen our first president, George Washington; and yet, we believe in him because of what was written about him. How is that any different than believing eyewitness accounts recorded in the Bible? Jesus is seen at several occasions and by over 500 people during the next forty days. Many believers have given their lives for the witness of Christ. People do not normally give their lives for a lie. Their witness testifies to the life changing power of Jesus Christ. Knowing Jesus has been present in the circumstances of so many Christians for 2,000 years gives us confidence that he will be present in our circumstances. His presence gives us confidence and peace.

After our confidence is renewed, if we come to understand at least part of the plans and purposes of God, it helps us to chart a new course or at least to take the next step. The Lord gives a Great Commission to his eleven disciples, and it has chartered the course of his disciples and the church for 2,000 years. True believers in Jesus Christ should follow these instructions until he returns:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).

Has Jesus Christ saved and changed us? God’s plan is for us to share our testimony of his grace with others so they might believe. We are his disciples, his witnesses.

Although soon Jesus leaves and goes back to heaven, he gives believers the Holy Spirit of God to be with them. He is our Comforter, and he guides us into understanding the will and ways of God from the Bible. If we read it, we will find the comfort and guidance we need in all situations.

Lessons to Live By

  • When our world seems to be unraveling and all our hopes and dreams seem to vanish, we can find peace in Jesus. (more...)
  • There is no peace for the wicked.
  • Sometimes in grief and disillusionment peace comes from a new understanding of the higher purposes of God.
  • Do we need peace and courage? Let’s draw near to God, and ask him for a fresh sense of his presence in our lives.
  • Knowing Jesus has been present in the circumstances of so many Christians for 2,000 years gives us confidence that he will be present in our circumstances.
  • God's plan for Christians is to share the gospel and to disciple them to become Christ followers.
  • The Holy Spirit is our comforter and guide. He guides us into understanding the will and ways of God from the Bible.

Note: if you are interested in more information on why the resurrection of Christ is important, you may go to our November 29 Bible study

Focus Verse

Matthew 28:20b (NIV) “And surely I [Jesus] am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Here is a song to encourage you.

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

A Look Ahead: Our next Bible study begins the Acts of the Apostles. It might be better termed The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the early church leaders. If you want to know more about the Holy Spirit's work, you will enjoy this book. We begin with the New Birth of the church.

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