Easter is more than a day — it’s a season! During this time stretching from resurrection to ascension we’re reminded that Jesus didn’t just appear once to the disciples; he continued to appear. Scour the gospels and the rest of the New Testament and you’ll find numerous times when Jesus‘ first followers encountered him alive again!
A list of some of those appearances appears in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).
One of the most notable things about that list is that Paul appeals to the witness of people who were still alive at the time he wrote! Yes, some were gone, but not all! What Paul is saying is that if his readers didn’t believe him, there were hundreds of others they could talk to who would confirm what he had written. That’s powerful stuff!
It was the witness of that first generation that launched a chain reaction. Soon others could talk about their experience of Jesus, if not as someone they’d met “in the body” then at least as someone they knew by faith. That’s what gave birth to the Church.
It’s our hope that we might keep that going by sharing our own experiences of having “met” Jesus ourselves.