Several of the post-resurrection appearances were to specific individuals instead of groups. Jesus met Mary as I wrote about in the blog of May 3, 2019, but today I want to look at Jesus’ appearance to Peter and James. The appearance to Peter is mentioned in passing in Luke 24:34 “saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” and in 1 Corinthians 15:5 by Paul “and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve”. The Luke message was delivered to the disciples by the two men who Jesus met on the Road to Emmaus (blog of 4/23/2019). Here the men referred to Peter as Simon using his old name. Jesus also referred to Peter by his old name when He told him he would deny Him three time before the rooster crowed. The prediction of the denial is recorded in both Matthew 26 and Mark 14. The actual denial event is recorded in all 4 gospels, Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 18. Peter was not acting with his new believing nature, clinging to the rock of faith which is Jesus, but with the old, impetuous, doubting nature of unbelieving Simon. It shows great compassion from our Lord to singularly appear to Peter to forgive and restore him. Jesus would have known the anguish and guilt Peter was feeling after his denial of Jesus the night before the Crucifixion. The forgiven Peter went onward, never doubting nor denying his Lord and Savior again. Jesus personally knows what we need and seeks to be there for each one of us. What a wonderful, compassionate and loving Savior we serve.
The other post-resurrection appearance that was mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:7 was to James. Scholars believe this was James the half-brother of Jesus and not one of the other followers named James. His brother did not believe in Christ before the resurrection, but afterward became a prominent member of the church in Jerusalem, wrote the book of James and died a martyr’s death in 62 A.D. “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” This appearance speaks to me of Jesus’ compassion and love for his earthly family and for those who are lost. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”. He knew James needed to see Him personally to be confronted with his unbelief. Jesus does that for each one of us as we seek to come to faith and trust in Him. He is a personal God that loves and cares for each of us.
Is Jesus personal to you today? Do you claim Him as your God and Savior? Mary did in Luke 1:47 “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” Thomas did in John 20:28 “Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” and Paul in Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Let Him hear your words of declaration today as you thank Him for being your God and Savior.
One of the most touching post-resurrection appearances of Jesus was when He appeared to Mary in the garden. It is recounted in John 20:14-18. She was at the tomb, had seen the angels and heard them say that Jesus was not there but risen. However, she was so overcome with grief it had yet to truly register with her brain. They (the angels) said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
This scene touches me as it only took Jesus saying her name for her to recognize Him. In John 10:27 Jesus told the disciples that the ones who know Him will recognize His voice and follow Him ” My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Mary knew immediately that it was her Lord saying her name. She was instantly comforted and wanted to touch Him. He cautioned her not to touch him, but to go and tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord! Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
Mary needed to have the Savior’s touch. He touched her with His voice and He gave her the reassurance that all would be well. He confirmed he was risen, was the Messiah and that He was alive. He showed her that there was eternal Hope in Him! She got all of that from Jesus saying her name. What do you need Jesus to say to you today? Do you need Him to call you by name, give you a word of encouragement, a word of guidance, or simply a word of Hope? He can say and do it all- if you just ask Him. Seek Him and He will be found, today!
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a Savior. A savior is by definition is one who saves. Jesus saved me from sin. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Jesus saved me so I could know God personally. Psalm 91:14-16describes this relationship with God and what God will do because I love and trust in Jesus. “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. 15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
One of my favorite passages that explains how and why Jesus is my Savior is Titus 3:4-7. Titus was a young convert of Paul and did missionary work with him after his imprisonment in Rome. They went to Crete together to spread the word about Jesus. In his letter to Titus, Paul explains the truth about Jesus, His gracious mercy in coming, His cleansing and renewing of our lives with His Holy Spirit and His marvelous grace.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Truly, there is no Savior other than our Lord Jesus. Let us join Mary today in saying, “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” Luke 1:47
Suggestion: We know Jesus saved us from sin but what did He save you to? Think of at least 5 things that you can do now because you are saved by Jesus and have a relationship with God. (Hint- I can pray and know He will answer, I can ….) When you finish your list- offer it up to God with Praise and Thanksgiving in Jesus’ Name.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose again, I have received mercy. What mercy have I received? By definition, mercy is kindness or compassionate treatment; relief from suffering. Before I knew Jesus as my Savior, I was a condemned person. Romans 3:23 tells us that we are all sinners before a holy God. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 6:23 tells us that sin has to be atoned or paid for and Jesus paid the price for my sin and treated me mercifully. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I did nothing to deserve His act of mercy towards me. Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 Peter 1:9-10explains this state of mercy I received because of Jesus in a beautiful way. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. How glorious it is to be the recipient of God’s mercy. He treats me with His loving kindness and rescued me from eternal condemnation.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for giving and treating me with your eternal mercy and loving kindness. Open my eyes today to receive your marvelous light and treat others as you have treated me. Amen.
Suggestion: Try to grab hold of God’s mercy today in a new way. Pray for an opportunity to do a random act of kindness or mercy towards someone. That means look for ways to act with kindness/mercy when it would be unexpected, like going out of your way to help someone without them even asking for help. Be open to giving out mercy in God’s name today.
The words of the Messiah now begin to focus on Jesus’ time here on earth and what he accomplished. Isaiah 35:5-6a gives us a glimpse of the future of the babe that came that Christmas night.
“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.”
This prophecy appears in a chapter subtitled Joy of the Redeemed. These actions prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth speak of the people who encountered Jesus. They would see, hear, jump and shout for joy after their meeting with Jesus. This was fulfilled and recorded in the gospels. Matthew 15:31 “The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” The direct fulfillment was in Matthew 12:22 “Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.”
This prophecy of visible change either mentally or physically or both can also apply to us. When we have an encounter with Jesus our eyes are opened to His truth and we can hear and believe the gospel message. Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” When we hear and believe, we are transformed and our reaction is like those who saw Jesus. We shout His praises, leap for joy and see the reality of His truth. Ephesians 1:13-14 describes our transformation. “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” His indwelling Holy Spirit brings joy, peace, knowledge, wisdom, hope, and so much more into our lives when we accept Jesus as our Savior. I have a needle point on my wall reminding me of the truth of what I have in Christ. Psalm 107:1-2 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.”
May your day reflect His joy and may you shout out His praises. Let others know of your joy in the Savior that redeemed you.
Sorry no audio of these verses in the Messiah was available on the Internet.
Luke 2:10-14 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men!” NKJV
This glorious portion of scripture is very poetic and eloquent in the New King James version. The angel proclaimed that good news for all mankind had come in the form of a babe sent from God. He would save us from our sins and it will mean good will towards all men. His coming would bring peace. Does Jesus bring those things to you today? Are you assured of His love and salvation? Remember Ephesians 1:13-14 “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” The Holy Spirit living inside us is the guarantee that we belong to Jesus. We are sealed eternally and are His. Be assured today of the hope that is within you and praise Him for coming to save us.
Listen to this glorious chorus and revel in the majesty of that night and the wonder of the shepherds.