After the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, He remained on earth for forty days. His friends got to see Him again.
We can only begin to imagine what it was like for the disciples to see Christ after He rose from the dead. When we get to heaven, please God, we will see Him, too.
In the meantime, we can consider some of the things that ran through the minds and hearts of the disciples when they saw their Master risen from the dead…
When they saw the Lord, the disciples became perfectly clear on some important invisible facts.
One: The death of the body does not mean that the soul is destroyed. The soul lives on. When we die, we meet the justice of God, and He vindicates all truth.
Two: The separation of the soul from the body which occurs at death is not permanent. The power of God united our souls and bodies in the first place. He can re-unite soul and body after death.
Three: The disciples clearly saw that death is not the ultimate destiny of man. God did not make us to die; He made us to live. Our hearts long for undying love, for a fullness of life that is stronger than death. We can have such a life, such a love.
There is more. Seeing Christ changed the way the disciples understood their own lives on earth. Christ rose from the dead in His wounded Body. He proceeded to visit the places where He had lived and done His work. In other words, His glorious, undying life filled the familiar places—Jerusalem, Galilee.
For the disciples, to see Christ in the world was to see the world redeemed. The world is a place of more than sin and death. It is the place where Christ, the conqueror of sin and death, has walked, talked, and eaten.
There is even more. Above all else, when the disciples saw Christ risen from the dead, they experienced profound comfort in their souls. They were with their beloved teacher and friend again. Just to be with Him was the greatest comfort of all. But along with it came other comforts, too.
One: When the Lord died, evil seemed to triumph over truth and goodness. But in fact the opposite happened. Good proved to be infinitely stronger than evil. God proved to be infinitely stronger than the devil. Satan had his day, but that day passed. God won.
Two: Christ had given His disciples many hopeful teachings about the loving care of the heavenly Father, about the sweetness of the kingdom of God, about the rewards that await everyone who strives to serve God faithfully.
When the Lord was killed, the disciples naturally began to wonder if all these hopeful teachings were really true. Their hearts broke with the thought that their Teacher could have been wrong about all the wonderful things He said.
When He came back from the dead, all doubt was completely cleared up. Christ was right. The Father above is kind and merciful. His Kingdom does come, with all its peace and happiness. Faithfulness will be rewarded.
Three: Christ had always been very good at showing His friends how much He loved them. But now He showed them in an altogether more wonderful way. To come back to them from the dead! What greater sign of love could there be?
A fourth consolation for the disciples had to do with the human body.
As it is for us now, the human body is magnificent, but it bears many marks of sin. Such signs of mortality include: bad smells emanating from our bodies, rickety-ness of our bones and joints, getting tired, getting crabby, bleary eyes, bad hair (or no hair), illnesses, corns, acne, bad teeth, earwax buildup, athlete’s foot, etc.
When the disciples saw Christ’s glorious resurrected body, they realized that all the marks of sin in the body are temporary. When we rise again in the resurrection on the last day, we will have no blisters, no post-nasal drip, no food allergies, no cataracts—no bodily problems of any kind.
Last but not least, after He came back from the dead, the Lord Jesus gave His friends additional assurances about His love and care for them. He forgave them for abandoning Him. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to remain with them always. He gave the Apostles the power to forgive sins. He promised to prepare a place for them in heaven.
Some day, please God, we will see Christ like the disciples did and share in their clarity and their joy. In the meantime, we can share in the joy of the Resurrection by believing in it.