The women departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to tell the disciples what had happened. How are “fear” and “great joy” compatible? (Mat. 28:28). Jesus appeared at least ten times between his resurrection and ascension, five of which, the first five listed below, were on the day of the resurrection:
To Mary Magdalene (John and Mark).
To Other Women (Matthew).
To Peter: Luke 24:34,
To Ten Apostles, Thomas Absent: John 20:20
To Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:12-17).
To Eleven Apostles, Thomas Present: John 20:26
To Seven by the Sea: John 21:1-25
To Above Five Hundred: 1 Corinthians 15:6.
To James & the Apostles, including Matthias: 1 Corinthians 15:5-7, After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
To All the Disciples with the Great Commission in Different Words: Acts 1:3-8.
Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. Why did Jesus appear first to Mary instead of to one of the dedicated apostles such as Peter, James or John? Jesus had cast, driven seven demons out of Mary of Magdala. However, she did not know, realize the person she saw was Jesus. Why not? Why did she not recognize Jesus? Mary was not the only one who failed to recognize Jesus. Acts 13:26, 27, John 21:4, Many today would not recognize Jesus because of such things as:
1. Worldly distractions & prejudices,
2. Satan. IICorinthians 4:4, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
3. The lowliness of Jesus. Example: John 1:46, And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip said unto him, Come and see.
Jesus further said to Mary, “Do not hold on to me, don’t touch me; for I have not yet ascended, returned to the Father.” Mary must have impulsively embraced Jesus, fallen at his feet and held them. The meaning is, “Don’t hold on to me.” I have a job for you. Several instances of people who touched the resurrected Christ are given in Scripture:
1. Matthew 28:9, And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
2. John 20:27, Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
3. Luke 24:39, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.“Go instead unto my brethren, brothers and tell them, I am returning, ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary’s job was to tell the apostles that Jesus had been resurrected, that she had seen Jesus and that he was soon to ascend to glory. What is our job?