Harmony of the Gospels

HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

(10) Jesus Appears to Five Hundred

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:6


Tom Lowe

11/17/2008

 

We have a living Lord. Jesus is alive, and the gospel message is true! Witnesses who saw Him have passed along their testimony to us. When you trust Him, you receive resurrection life, eternal life--"Verily, verily, I say unto you,  He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24); death can hold you no more.


Date: During 40 days until Ascension
Location: Mountain in Galilee

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

More than five hundred Christians or followers of Jesus saw Him [Jesus in a body] at one time; the greater part of whom was alive when the apostle wrote this verse, and he might have been confronted by many of them if he had dared to assert a falsehood.

This encounter was probably in Galilee, where the Lord Jesus had spent the greater part of his public ministry, and where he had enlisted most of His disciples. The precise place where He met them however, is not designated in the Bible, and of course cannot be known for sure, but tradition holds that it was on Mount Tabor. This remote location was probably secret, so that believers might assemble there more freely and safely. It is remarkable that this final meeting between Jesus and His apostles is omitted by all the evangelists; but why they should have omitted so remarkable a proof of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is unknown. There is a slight circumstance hinted at in Matthew 28:10, which may throw some light on this passage. After his resurrection, Jesus said to the women who were at the sepulchre, "Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me." And in Matthew 28:16 it is said, "The eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them." Jesus had spent most of his public life in Galilee. He had found and trained most of his disciples there. It was appropriate; therefore, that those disciples who would of course hear of His death, should have some public confirmation of the fact that he had risen. It is very probable, also, that the eleven who went down into Galilee after he rose would apprize the brethren there of what had been said to them, that Jesus would meet them on a certain mountain; and it is almost certain that they who had followed him in great numbers in Galilee would be drawn together by the report that the Lord Jesus, who had been put to death, was about to be seen there--ALIVE. That's how it is with human nature, and that is how attached these disciples were to the Lord Jesus: It is highly probable that a large gathering would assemble on the slightest rumor that such an occurrence was about to happen. Nothing more would be necessary anywhere to draw a crowd of people than a rumor that one who was dead would appear again; and in this instance, where they passionately loved him, and when, perhaps, many believed that he would rise, they would naturally assemble in great numbers to see him once more. One thing is proved by this; that the Lord Jesus had many more disciples than is generally supposed. If there were five hundred who could be assembled at once in just one part of the land where he had preached, there is every reason to suppose that there were many more in other parts of Judea.

I believe, as do many others, that this meeting, on a mountain in Galilee is the same meeting mentioned in Matthew 28:16,17: "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted" (Matthew 28:16-17). Verse seventeen gives the indication that others were also present, though the assignment (see below: The Great Commission) was given to the eleven only. The event provided an indisputable proof of the Resurrection.
Here we have perhaps the greatest proof of the resurrection, when John states that "The greater part remain unto this present." They are still alive [as of the spring of A.D. 57, when Paul wrote his epistle], and can be interviewed and give their testimony that they saw Him. What more conclusive argument for the truth of his resurrection could there be than that five hundred persons had seen him, who had been intimately acquainted with him in his life, and who had become his followers? If the testimony of five hundred could not be enough to prove his resurrection, no number of witnesses could. And if five hundred men could be deceived, any number could; and it would be impossible to substantiate any simple matter of fact by the testimony of eye-witnesses.

"But some are fallen asleep" is the usual expression employed in the Scriptures to describe the death of saints. It denotes:
1. the calmness and peace with which they die, like sinking into a gentle sleep;
2. the hope of a resurrection, as we sink into sleep with the expectation of awaking again.

At the time Paul wrote, most of these brethren were still living, although some had gone home to be with the Lord. Death to the believer is a sleep for his body; a period of rest to be followed by a glorious day (The Resurrection of the Dead).

 

The Great Commission

The 500 who formed this audience may have received the commission recorded in Matthew 28:18-20: "AND JESUS CAME AND SPAKE UNTO THEM, SAYING, ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH. GO YE THEREFORE, AND TEACH ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST: TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: AND, LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD. AMEN."

Do you have any questions or comments?

 The abortion advocates suffered a setback when Norma McCorvey accepted Christ and recanted her beliefs on abortion. McCorvey was “Jane Roe” in the 1973 landmark decision of Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion. “I think abortion’s wrong. I think what I did with Roe vs. Wade was wrong and I just have to take a pro-life choice.” She was baptized on August 8, 1995, in the Dallas, Texas suburb of Garland. Reverend Flip Benham baptized McCorvey not long after leading her to Christ. His strategy should be followed, lead abortionist to Christ.

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