THE LADIES TELL THE ELEVEN
THAT JESUS APPEARED TO THEM
The group of ladies that had come out that early Sunday
morning were close to being back in Jerusalem. In the meantime,
the soldiers that had been struck unconscious by the angel who
came to roll back the great stone over the entrance to the tomb
that Jesus had been put in, were now awake. A few other soldiers
had arrived to take their shift of guarding the tomb. They were
all looking into the empty tomb, and realizing Jesus was gone.
They of course had no idea what had taken place. They hurried off
and made it back into Jerusalem before the ladies did. Straight
to the chief priest they went, telling them the tomb that Jesus
was in, was empty, and the stone had been rolled away from
covering the entrance.
The chief priests were in shock, the worse possible thing as
far as they were concerning had actual come to pass. They
immediately called for the members of the great Jewish Sanhedrin
to assemble. After some debate on what now to do in this
situation, they decided to give money to the soldiers and have
them say, "Go, tell people, 'His disciples came by night and
stole him away while we were sleeping.' And if all what has taken
place comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him with some
story that will keep you out of trouble."
And so the soldiers took the money and did as they were
directed. The Gospel writer Matthew says that, that story has
been spread among the Jews to this very day (Mat.28: 11-15).
The ladies finally arrived back in the city of Jerusalem.
Straight-a-way they found where the eleven apostles were
"We have seen Jesus," they excitedly and loudly proclaimed.
"He is alive! He has been resurrected to glorious immortality,"
The apostles looked at each other, then back at the ladies,
saying nothing. The women could sense they did not believe them.
"Jesus appeared to us out of the blue, and we worshipped
before His feet, actually holding and touching His feet," the
women shouted back at the apostles. "It is true, He is ALIVE, He
is ALIVE," some of the women proclaimed.
Some of the eleven men finally said, "No, it cannot be, you
have imagined it all. You have been so emotional since Jesus was
crucified, that you just think you have seem Jesus. If He has
been resurrected, why would He appear to you first, and not to
us, His chosen eleven apostles? You are all just dreaming!" (Luke
Mary Magdalene looked over at Peter and John, and said, "I
was there standing and weeping as I looked into the tomb, and it
was empty, then two angels were there and they told me Jesus had
risen from the dead. Then I saw, who at first I thought was the
gardener, and I ask him that if he had taken Jesus, to tell me
where he was. He then spoke, and I knew it was Jesus. And it was!
I'm telling you Jesus has been resurrected, and is ALIVE. Go and
see, the tomb is EMPTY!"
Peter looked at John and said, "Alright John, tell's go to
the tomb and see if what happened to the women and Mary Magdalene
happens to us."
Both men were pretty good runners, but John was the better.
He out ran Peter to the tomb. Looking in he saw the linen cloths
lying there but no body of Jesus. John did not go into the tomb.
Simon Peter arrived, and he did go inside the tomb. He saw also
the linen cloths lying there. The cloth that had been wrapped
around Jesus' head was there but neatly rolled up and lying in
another place in the tomb. Jesus' body certainly was NOT there.
John, finally decided he needed to go inside the tomb also,
and he did. For John it was all proved as the women said. He knew
within himself, that Jesus indeed had been resurrected to life.
None of the apostles yet understood the Scriptures that
Jesus would rise from the dead. But John knew in his heart that
Jesus was indeed alive.
Peter on the other hand, though having to admit Jesus was
not in the tomb, still could not believe Jesus had been
resurrected to immortal life.
They both returned to the other nine apostles. John kept his
inner belief to himself. Peter was not convinced that Jesus was
alive and had appeared to the women. The other nine could not be
convinced either no matter how the women insisted it was true.
The apostles went to their homes or places they were staying in
Jerusalem (John 20: 3-10). And Simon Peter was alone for a while,
to think upon all he had see and heard from the women who had
been to the tomb earlier that morning.
JESUS APPEARS ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
Later in that day two disciples were going to the village
named Emmaus, about seven miles west of Jerusalem. They were
talking to each other about all the things that had happened,
from Jesus' betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane, during the
night of the 14th of Nisan, to the crucifixion on the afternoon
of the 14th, to the guard watch being set in front of the tomb in
the early hours of the 15th of Nisan. While they were talking and
discussing, Jesus drew near to them and started to walk along the
road with them. But their eyes, we are told, were kept from
Jesus said to them, "What is this conversation about, that
you are having with each other."
One of them, by the name of Cleopas, answered, "Are you the
only visitor to Jerusalem this Passover feast time, who does not
know the things that have happened in the last number of days?"
And Jesus said, "What things?" And answering him they
replied, "Why, concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet
mighty in deeds and words before God and all the people, and how
our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to
death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one,
the Messiah, the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this,
it is now the third day since all this happened, since he was
crucified, placed in a tomb, and a watch of soldiers, set guard
over it, to keep people from taking Jesus' body. Moreover, some
women of our company, have amazed us today. They were at the tomb
early this morning and did not find his body in the tomb; and
they said they had seen angels that told them that Jesus was
alive again. Some of those with us in Jerusalem went to the tomb,
and found it just as the women had said, empty, but Jesus did not
appear to them. So we doubt their story is true that the women
told us in saying he had appeared them."
Jesus now looked at them with pity and amazement at the same
time, and said, "O foolish men and so slow of heart to believe
ALL that the prophets have spoken! Was it not written, and was it
not God's plan, that the Christ should SUFFER these things and
then enter into GLORY?"
Then Jesus, beginning with the books of Moses (first five
books of the Bible), and all the prophets, interpreted to them
ALL the Scriptures concerning Himself. It was a lesson in Bible
study like they had never heard before, their hearts beating
faster and faster with every explanation of all that was written
about the Messiah Christ that was to come.
They walked on and got closer to the village of Emmaus.
Jesus made out that He was going to walk further, but they
constrained Him, saying, "Please stay with us, for it is towards
evening and the day is far spent." So He went in to stay with
The two men prepared a meal. When Jesus sat down to eat with
them, He took the large loaf of bread and blessed it and broke it
in pieces, and gave some to each man (remember in those days they
did not have "sliced" bread, so people at meal times literally
had to break the bread into pieces).
Immediately their eyes were opened and they KNEW it was
JESUS! Then He just VANISHED out of their sight!
Oh they were ecstatic with joy and praise. They said to each
other, "Did not our hearts BURN within us when he talked to us
and opened to us the Scriptures? Yes indeed! Praise be to God, we
have SEEN Jesus. He is ALIVE!"
Those two men forgot about eating, they were not hungry any
more, eating a meal was now the furthest thing from their minds.
They put their sandals back on and headed as fast as they could
go back to Jerusalem. They knew they had to tell the eleven
apostles that Jesus had appeared to them.
When they got back to Jerusalem they found the ten of them
in one place again. Much had happened they were not aware of. The
soldiers had been telling people that some of Jesus' disciples
had stolen away His body to make it look like He had been
resurrected. Of course what the women that morning had witnessed
had not just kept with themselves or the eleven, it was now
pretty common knowledge as to what they said they had seen and
heard, so to the people hearing the soldier's story, they thought
that Jesus' disciples were indeed up to trickery. Many Jews were
very angry and ready to do harm to the eleven apostles. They
thought it would be safer for them to all be together in one
room, with the doors and windows barred shut.
Then, what the two men coming back to Jerusalem did not know
was that before they arrived and before the apostles were
together as one group again, Jesus had appeared to Simon Peter.
We are NOT told anywhere in the New Testament exactly when
and how and what was said between Jesus and Peter. We are only
told that Peter had seen Jesus. Peter was still in doubt about
everything, though he saw for himself that the tomb was empty,
he still was not convinced by the women that Jesus had been
resurrected to eternal immortal life. Sometime before the two men
arrived back in Jerusalem from Emmaus, it would seem Jesus
appeared to Peter, and so ended Peter's doubts about all the
events that had taken place that Sunday during the feast of
The two men from Emmaus came running into where the apostles
were gathered, and before they could get a word out about Jesus
appearing and talking with them, the aposles, with loud excited
voices said, "The Lord HAS RISEN indeed, and has appeared to
Then the two men told the ten apostles (Thomas was not with
them for some reason) the fascinating episode that they had been
part of, and how their eyes had been opened to recognize Jesus
when He had blessed and broke the bread.
There was by now, little doubt in the minds of all those
disciples in that room in Jerusalem, that Jesus was alive once
more, and was alive in a glorified immortal sense (Luke 24:
JESUS APPEARS TO THEM IN THEIR CLOSED UP ROOM
John records that it was the same first day of the week, and
at evening, of that same first day. Now, you are thinking how can
this be possible, when God starts a day at evening (Genesis 1)?
Should John not have written it was the SECOND day of the
week and at evening?
There are two reasons why John wrote it the way he did.
First, it could well have been that John was using ROMAN time (12
midnight to 12 midnight for a day, as most of us in our countries
that we live in, do). Then that evening of the first day, would
indeed in Roman time language still be the first day of the week.
On the other hand if John was using Jewish or God's counting
time for a day, there are times when the Almighty Himself counts
the EVENING as PART OF the PRECEDING day. We find an example of
this in Exodus 12: 18, 19. God is talking about the feast of
Unleavened Bread (verse 17), and as this and many other
Scriptures prove and teach, the Israelites were to eat no leaven,
but only unleavened bread for 7 days, from the start of the 15th
(at evening time) to the end of the 21st (at evening time) of the
first month of Nisan or Abib. But in this verse in Exodus 12, God
puts it this way to them, "In the first month, on the fourteenth
day of the month at EVEN, you shall eat unleavened bread, until
the one and twentieth day of the month, at even. Seven days shall
no leaven be found in your houses....in all your habitations
shall you eat unleavened bread" (Ex.12: 18, 19).
We know from verses like Leviticus 23: 6, that the feast of
Unleavened Bread was for 7 days, from the 15th to the 21st
inclusive. During those days they were to eat unleavened bread
only, seven days of no leaven bread but only unleavened bread.
Yes, in this instant, the evening was PART OF the previous
day. God can do things like this you know, if He wishes. He can
throw a curve ball now and again among all the straight fast
balls, the basic true balls. Genesis 1 is the basic true ball of
how God counts days 99% OF THE TIME, but now and then He pulls a
curve ball, just to keep you on your toes.
It was the evening time of the first day of the week, and
the eleven, well actually only ten (because Thomas we are told
was not there with them, for whatever reason, which we are not
told) plus the two from Emmaus were all together in a room that
had the doors shut, bolted tight. They were there for fear of the
There they were talking over the great and wonderful events
that had taken place in the last 12 plus hours. Then....just
there.....no doors opened, Jesus STOOD IN THE MIDST of them! He
said, "Peace be with you." Immediately He showed them His hands
with the nail hole scars and the gash in His side where the
soldier's spear had been thrust. They knew it was Jesus and not
some demon playing tricks. They were delighted to see the Lord.
Jesus again said to them, "Peace be with you. As the Father has
sent me, even so I said you." And after saying this He breathed
on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you
forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the
sins of any, they are retained."
Maybe sounds a little strange to you. Jesus breathed on them
as typifying that the Holy Spirit had been with them in many ways
in the past, for that set them apart from those Jews who could
not understand because it was not given to them to understand.
Then the breathing on them for the Holy Spirit signified the Holy
Spirit would be continually with them, and even as a direct
begettal IN their mind on the coming day of Pentecost. And all of
that we shall soon find out about as we proceed through this
Bible Story in the book of Acts.
What about Jesus saying that what sins they retain shall be
retained and what they forgive shall be forgiven?
When is it that ministers or disciples of Jesus have the
power to retain or forgive sins. Probably in the main when they
are leading someone to baptism, or having to determine the
attitude of someone when they request to be baptized, for baptism
is the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ. People
who are going to baptize in the name of Jesus, must, with the
help of the Holy Spirit, determine the person or persons have
truly come to understand what being a disciple of Christ means,
and that they understand sin, and what they are requesting to be
forgiven from. Sometimes people are ready for baptism and
sometimes they are not. If they are, then sins will be forgiven.
If they are not ready, then sins will be retained, until they are
ready for baptism.
Jesus was telling those disciples that the Holy Spirit would
be guiding them as they worked with, served, helped, and led
others towards baptism and salvation.
Thomas, called the Twin, was not with them that evening when
Jesus came, so they had to tell him later that they had seen the
Lord. But Thomas said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the
print marks of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the
nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe!" (John
Would Thomas get his chance to do what he said was the only
way that he would believe that Jesus was alive from the dead? We
shall see in the next chapter.
Written February 2003