Doubting Disciples
"Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen" (Mark 16:14). Jesus appeared to the apostles that Sunday evening (cf. John 20:19) while the disciples who came from Emmaus were still present. He rebuked their stubborn doubting and continued unbelief. They were slow to accept the testimony of others even though they could not deny such.

John records that the doors were shut where they were assembled, "for fear of the Jews." Thus, the fact that Jesus suddenly "stood in the midst of them, and said to them, 'Peace to you'" (Luke 24:36), implies a miraculous entrance. This is the fifth and final recorded appearance of Jesus on the day of His resurrection. It had only been three days since Jesus' execution and some still had very intense feelings of hatred toward the cause that Christ had led. Thus, the disciples are keeping a low profile at this time.

"But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit" (Luke 24:37). His miraculous appearing before them caused them to think that they were seeing a spirit with no physical body. This caused them to be fearful. "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?" (Luke 24:38). They had received the testimony of at least three men and four women. Hence, they were not lacking for evidence! However, He would give them more anyway.

"Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have" (Luke 24:39). Jesus clearly demonstrated that He was not some disembodied spirit (since He had a physical body). He was the Jesus who had been crucified--the One whom they loved and thought they had lost. After showing them His hands and feet, He asked if they had any food. He knows that there are still some lingering doubts in the minds of some of them. He took the piece of broiled fish and the honeycomb that they gave Him "and ate it in their presence" (Luke 24:43). This action should have finally satisfied them that Jesus was not a ghost!

After showing them His hands, side, and feet, and eating in their presence, then "the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord" (John 20:20). Their terror dissolved and was replaced with joy once they were convinced of Jesus' identity. The holes in His flesh would have been especially convincing proof both of His reality and resurrection.

"Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21). Jesus repeats the blessing and then begins to commission the apostles for their worldwide mission. Although He had fulfilled His duty, their work was just beginning.