There are a number of appearances by Jesus recorded after his resurrection. What do these appearances tell us about his resurrection? Are there clues as to whether his resurrection was physical or spiritual? Let’s examine the Bible to find out.
Mt 28:8-9 – “They hurried away from the tomb… and ran… suddenly Jesus was there in their path, greeting them.” (REB)
Jn 20:14-17 – “She turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognize him.” (REB) … “Thinking he was the gardener.” (NIV)
Lk 24:15-16 – “As they talked and argued, Jesus himself came up and walked with them; but something prevented them from recognizing him.” (REB)
Lk 24:30-31 – “Broke it into pieces… suddenly they saw! And they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight.”
Lk 24:35 – “Told how he had made himself known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (REB)
Jesus obviously did not have the same fleshly body in these resurrection appearances, since he was not recognized physically. His mannerisms in the breaking of the bread in Luke 24 gave him away.
Jn 20:26 – “The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them.” (NLT)
Jn 21:4 – “Morning came, and Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.” (REB)
Jn 20:26 – “A week later his disciples were in the house again… Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them.” (NIV) Jesus goes through walls and doors again in this verse.
Jn 21:4 – “Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.” (NIV)
Lk 24:35 – “How they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread.” – NLT
Lk 24:36-37 – “And just as they were telling about it; Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened.” (NLT)
Lk 24:37 – “In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost.” (NJB)
Jn 20:26 – Appears suddenly in a locked room, eight days after resurrection.
Lk 24:13-16, 31 – Suddenly appears as two disciples walk to Emmaus. Later, after he is recognized by them, he disappears.
Lk 24:36 – Suddenly appears in Jerusalem.
Jn 20:19 – To his disciples behind locked doors.
Mt 28:9 – Appears to women running from his tomb.
Jn 21:4 – Appears on beach at Sea of Galilee.
Acts 1:9-11 – Lifted up and vanishes into heaven from Mt. of Olives.
Acts 7:55-56 – Stephen sees vision of Jesus in heaven standing at God’s right hand.
Rev 1:12-16 – Seen in vision to John. Jesus is obviously in heaven as a spirit.
Rev 1:17-18 – Was dead, living forever now.
1 Pt 3:18 – “Was physically put to death, but he was made alive in the spirit.” (AAT) Put to death in the body, but made alive in the spirit. (NIV)
Lk 23:53 – Placed in a tomb… in which no one had yet been laid.
Lk 24:3 – When they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (NIV)
Jn 20:14-15 – She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus… Thinking he was the gardener… (NIV) See ftn. 20:15 in CSB.
Mt 28:8-9 – The women hurried away from the tomb… ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. (NIV)
Lk 24:15-16 – Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing him. (NIV)
Lk 24:30-31 – He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight… (vs. 35) how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke bread. (NIV)
Jn 20:19 – When the disciples were together, with the doors locked… Jesus came and stood among them. – How could a fleshly body go through walls and doors?
As we can see from the scriptures, Jesus’ appearances after his resurrection prove he was a spirit.