Post Resurrection Appearances: Matthew 28:16-17; Acts 1:3
“16) But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17) When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.” Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭16‬-‭17
“3) To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭3‬
According to Matthew 28:7, the angel that appeared at the empty tomb said that Jesus was going to proceed His disciples into Galilee. The post resurrection scene in John 21 between Jesus and His disciples after a long night of fishing transpired on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus made numerous post resurrection appearance. During five separate occasions He gave aspects of the Great Commission. Spreading the Gospel to all people was foremost on His heart.
This occasion in Matthew 28:16-17 was most likely not His ascension as recorded in Acts 1:9-11. Instead, this was likely one of His many post resurrection teaching sessions in which He taught about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) Prior to His ascension, He sent them back to Jerusalem and commanded them to wait for the Promise of the Father.
So what can we learn from these three verses in Matthew 28:16-17 and Acts 1:3? Let’s dive into the text.
First, Jesus had providential meeting times and places for His disciples. In this case, it was on a mountain in Galilee. He called the eleven aside to meet with Him.
I am a firm believer is setting aside time daily to meet with God. But in this case, Jesus called them aside for a longer time with Him on a mountain. It lasted over a period of forty days. Be willing to clear your schedule to meet with God!
Second, this was a time for teaching and learning. (See Acts 1:3). His first sermon was given on a mountain. (Matthew 5-7) His final teachings to the eleven also took place on a mountain. I believe the place is secondary to the event of abiding in the presence of God.
Third, He spoke to them of things concerning the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) When God calls you aside to meet with Him, humble yourself and let the Holy Spirit teach you! Spend time in His presence with your Bible open. Don’t be in a rush. Abide in His presence until all other voices, distractions and worries grow silent. It may take hours… or days… or even longer. Jesus wants to reveal kingdom truth and kingdom ways to you. (Read Isaiah 55:6-12) This was Paul’s prayer for every new believer as recorded in Ephesians 1:18-23. Invite the Holy Spirit to be your teacher.
Forth, this was a time of worship. (Matthew 1:17a) Corporate worship is important, but personal worship is transformational. This moves way beyond being a spectator to becoming a participant. Worship is an action verb. It is something you must actively enter into! It is intimate communion with God! If you cannot enter into meaningful worship and communion with God, you might be religious but lost! Jesus wants us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
Finally, this was a time to resolve personal doubts. (Matthew 28:17b) “… but some were doubtful.” This phrase is significant. Some of the disciples had doubts and questions. Jesus was not offended that they were real and honest in His presence. Don’t let your hurts or hangups cause you to run from God! Instead, run to Him! Carve out time to meet with Him for an honest heart to heart conversation. Resolving doubts and overcoming personal hangups seemed to be part of what motivated these post resurrection appearances. There are both answers and healing in the presence of Jesus.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global