As we approach the commemoration of Jesus' return to heaven, also known as his ascension, there are some final appearances to consider. Strangely enough, they come from Paul's letter to the Christians living in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is summarizing his basic teaching on the good news. He says, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born."
We have not heard in the gospel accounts that Jesus appeared to the crowd of 500 people or that he appeared separately to James. Certainly we did not hear in the gospels that he appeared to Paul because those accounts end, at the latest, with the ascension, and Jesus appeared to Paul sometime after that. Besides, Paul was not a disciple or follower of Jesus during Jesus' lifetime. Paul was not even a believer when Jesus appeared to him.
I think there is a conclusion we can draw from these appearances to his apostles and to others. If Jesus can appear to his closest apostles and followers, if Jesus can appear to a group of 500 people who cannot all be his closest disciples, and if Jesus can appear to someone who is not his disciple at all (Paul), he can appear to us. Jesus' appearances were not limited to the 11 remaining apostles. They were not limited to men. They were not even limited to those who knew him in his earthly body. Jesus can and will appear to whomever he wants whenever he wants.
This is a bold conclusion, is it not? Most of us think the appearances stopped when Jesus ascended to heaven. Obviously not, for he appeared to Paul after that. Also the prayer journals of many saints through the ages record that they saw Jesus. Why not us?
For reflection: Am I open to seeing Jesus? Am I ready to see Jesus?
Let us pray. Jesus, you are the best thing in my life. I want to know you better. I want to see you clearly. Come, Lord Jesus.
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I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.