What Jesus Did After His Resurrection

By Alice Bassett
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published February 28, 2022.

3 crosses as seen from the opening of a cave/tomb

After Jesus died on the cross, he was resurrected from his tomb by the miracle of God. As incredible as the resurrection of Christ was, the events that occurred afterward were equally as important. It is vital to explore this period of 40 days, as it gives us insight into the final days of Christ on Earth, before His ascension.

Who Discovered the Empty Tomb of Jesus?

There are conflicting accounts within the Bible of who discovered the empty tomb and what they did afterward. This is because many of the accounts did not come from eyewitnesses but rather from word of mouth. The Gospel of Mark provided the first account and is supported by those of Matthew and Luke, potentially because Mark's account was the benchmark for others.

The Gospel of Mark accounts for three women fleeing the tomb of Jesus: Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome. They traveled there to anoint the body of Christ and found the large bolder moved away from the entrance of the tomb, and the body gone. He accounts that the women interacted with a man dressed in a long white robe, though it is unclear if this man was an angel or not. He proclaimed to them:

Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! —Mark 16:6 NKJV

He implores that the women spread the word to the disciples; however, they fled and said nothing because they feared the situation.

The Gospel of Matthew and Luke tell much the same story, however, with varying details and a few embellishments. For example, in the Book of Matthew, there was an earthquake that preceded an angel coming down from heaven to present the news to the women. Matthew's account only lists two women as having visited the tomb; Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary," referring to the mother of James.

The Gospel of Luke states that multiple women, including Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary mother of James, and various others. In this account, there were two men in the tomb instead of one man or one angel. They delivered the same message to the women as in the other accounts, but this time, the women did relay the message to the disciples.

Who Does Jesus First Appear to After His Resurrection?

Jesus made several appearances following His resurrection, the first of which was to Mary Magdalene. We see the account of Jesus showing himself to Mary in "John 20". Mary stands weeping outside the tomb, as she does not know where the body of Christ had been taken. Behind her appears a figure she does not immediately recognize as being Jesus. The figure asks who she is looking for, and she replies that she is looking for her Lord. Jesus responds with her name, whereupon she recognizes him.

Jesus then says to Mary:

Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.' —John 20:17 NKJV

Appearances After His Resurrection

Jesus Appears on the Road to Emmaus

After Mary relayed God's information, no one believed her, so Jesus showed Himself on the road Emmaus to two individuals who were conversing about Jesus' death. They were skeptical at first when Jesus told them of His resurrection. They invited Him in to have dinner with them, and only recognized Him as Jesus Christ when he broke and blessed their bread.

He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. 
Luke 24:30 NKJV

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

When Jesus appeared before His disciples, they were uncertain and fearful. However, they were put at ease by his words and deeds.

Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have. —Luke 24:39 NKJV

Jesus explains to the disciples that all which had been written was happening and that he had indeed risen on the third day. He explains to the disciples that they must come to Jerusalem to witness his ascension to heaven.

The Ascension

Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus led his disciples to Bethany, just outside Jerusalem. It was there that he blessed them and ascended to heaven.

Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. —Luke 24:51 NKJV

Reignited Faith Through Resurrection

Many miracles occurred in the 40 days after Jesus' resurrection, marking pivotal points in his life. The story of His resurrection is more than just the Easter story; instead teaching us to trust in the miracle of God and the written word of scripture. In his final words, Jesus implores his disciples to behold the promise of God and to have faith that what has been promised will be provided.

This message lives on today, and it is important as Christians to remember to trust in the word and promise of God.