The Galilee Appearances.
Only after this did the disciples gain sufficient confidence to make their way to Galilee, where Jesus had originally instructed the women to tell them to go on the morning of his resurrection. Matthew and Mark both record this instruction, though Mark does not describe what happened there. Luke does not refer directly to the Galilee appearances in his gospel: but, as he picks up the narrative in Acts, he notes that the resurrection appearances lasted for a period of forty days and gave ‘many convincing proofs’ of his resurrection. During this time he says that Jesus taught them and even ate with them (Acts 1:3-4).
- 1. A Miraculous Catch of Fish.
John provides a detailed description of what seems to have been Jesus’ next appearance. Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John and two others had spent an unsuccessful night fishing. As dawn broke, they saw someone on the shore who asked if they had caught anything. On hearing they hadn’t, he told them where to put the net; and they promptly caught such a huge shoal that they couldn’t even get the net back in the boat! The disciples (who had a very similar experience of Jesus once before) realised at this point who it was and Peter promptly jumped in the water and swam ashore.
- On reaching the shore, they found Jesus already cooking breakfast. John then describes an after-breakfast conversation between Jesus and Peter, when Jesus recommissions him and forewarns him of the price he will have to pay for his faith. John also explains how a misunderstanding of Jesus’ response to a question by Peter caused a rumour that John himself would not die.
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- 2. A Meeting on the Mountain.
- Matthew describes a meeting on a Galilean mountain (28:16-20). This appears to have been a prearranged rendezvous, and to have involved some who had not seen the risen Jesus before; for Matthew reports that they worshipped him, but that some were doubtful on first seeing him. Jesus then came closer and spoke to them, commanding them to go and make disciples of all nations and promising to always be with them.
- Because Matthew uses these words as the finale for his gospel, it is sometimes confused with the Ascension. However, that took place near Jerusalem: whereas Matthew clearly states that this was in Galilee and makes no mention of Jesus being taken up into heaven, or even of the manner of His departure.
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