Q: #424. What did Jesus do during His 40 days on Earth after His resurrection?
A: The Bible tells us that Jesus appeared at least 10 times over 40 days (Acts 1:3) after He arose from the dead. It is during these encounters that we see what He did. We also learn some interesting things. So, first let’s look at who He appeared to, then we will see what He said and did.
***Note: We do not know where Jesus was during the times He wasn’t appearing. That is a matter of some debate.
The people Jesus appeared to after He arose:
#1. Mary Magdalene: (Mk 16:9-11)(Jn 20:11-18)
#2. Two people, one named Cleopas, on the way to Emmaus: (Mk 16:12-13)(Lk 24:13-35)
#3. Peter: (Lk 24:34)(1 Cor 15:5)
#4. The 10 disciples in the upper room (without Thomas): (Lk 24:36-49)(Jn 20:19-23)
#5. The 11 disciples in the upper room (with Thomas): (Mk 16:14-18)(Jn 20:26-29)(1 Cor 15:5)
#6. The 7 disciples while fishing in the Lake of Tiberias (Galilee): (Jn 21:1-23)
#7. The 11 disciples on a mountain in Galilee: (Mt 28:16-20)
#8. The disciples before His ascension at the Mount of Olives: (Mk 16:19-20)(Lk 24:50-52)(Acts 1:3-11)
#9. More than 500: (1 Cor 15:6)
#10. James (Jesus’ brother): (1 Cor 15:7)
(Acts 1:2-3) mentions three primary things Jesus did during His 40 days: #1. to give “commandments to the apostles (through the Holy Spirit),” #2. “to present Himself alive…. by many infallible proofs,” #3. “to speak(ing) of things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
The fact that Jesus appeared to all of the people listed above would certainly seem to fulfill #2.
As for the “commandments to the apostles,” I find three of these.
I think most would agree that the primary “commandment” He gave to the apostles was what we call “The Great Commission.” This is found in (Mt 28:18-20). In these verses, Jesus told them to do three things:
#1. To “make disciples of all the nations.”
#2. To “baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
#3. To “teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”
(*** These things also apply to us today.)
Secondly, in (Acts 1:4-5,8) and (Lk 24:49), we see that Jesus commanded them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come (the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit“). (This happened at Pentecost.)
Thirdly, we see in (Acts 10:42) that Jesus commanded the disciples “to preach… that He was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick (living) and dead.”
Now, let’s look at a few other key things Jesus said and did during His 40 days.
He “expounded” on how things in the Old Testament pointed to Him (Lk 24:27), and how His death and resurrection fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (Lk 24:44-48).
***Note: I love this verse (Lk 24:32) at the end of “The Road To Emmaus:” “And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
We learn that between His death and resurrection, Jesus had “Not yet ascended to the (My) Father.” (Jn 20:17) (More on this at the link below.)
Jesus gave the disciples a foretaste of the Holy Spirit in (Jn 20:22).
Jesus displayed His omniscience in (Jn 21:6), telling the disciples where to cast their net to catch fish (they caught 153: Jn 21:11).
Jesus restored Peter after his denial (Jn 21:15-17).
Jesus again displayed His omniscience, telling Peter how he would be martyred (Jn 21:18-19), and hinting that John would not be martyred (Jn 21:20-23).
Finally, Jesus ascended into Heaven (“The Ascension”) (Mk 16:19-20)(Lk 24:50-51)(Acts 1:2,9-11).
As I discuss in the next question, during the 40 days that Jesus was on the Earth after His resurrection, He was in a glorified body. This is the same body we will one day get (Phil 3:21)(1 Cor 15:48-49)(1 Jn 3:2). As such, it is interesting to see some of the things He did in His glorified body that we should be able to do in ours. He was able to instantly appear (Lk 24:36) and disappear (Lk 24:31) from sight. He could pass through closed doors (Jn 20:19,26). He ate food (Lk 24:42-43)(Jn 21:12-15).
***Note: It is also worth noting that His glorified body had the scars in His hands and side that He died with (Jn 20:20,27)(Lk 24:39-40).
It is also interesting to note that when Jesus began His ministry, He spent 40 days in the wilderness (Mt 4:1-11)(Mk 1:12-13)(Lk 4:1-13), and at the end of His ministry, during His resurrection, He was on Earth for 40 days.