This simple article: Jesus appears to the apostles from The Manila Bulletin, is basically a retelling of the Bible story found at John 20:19-31. The stories of Jesus' appearances to the apostles are some of the most poignant of all his appearances, so we have made a blog below with reference to the Urantia Book story of the same events. But first, this short snippet from the Bible, which comes after the story of Jesus' second appearance to apostle, including "doubting" Thomas; it feels like a clear invitation to share more Urantia Book truth with our readers:
"30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."
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Respect for the Bible
Far from trying to discredit, or somehow minimize the traditional Bible stories of Jesus' life, we here at TruthBook always respect and applaud the Bible. For over 20 centuries the New Testament, scanty though it is in detail, has been sufficient to bring countless souls to Jesus. In our blogs, we simply show the reader the new and expanded stories that have been given to us through The Urantia Book. The authors of these papers refer to the Life and Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book as being "restated." And the restatement comes from the detailed records that were kept by these authors; kept in safekeeping for this time in our history when we are ready to hear them in their fullness.
NOTE: In these stories, you will read a new term: "Morontia." Morontia refers to a state of being which is not fully material but not fully spiritual. Just as Jesus did, all of us human beings will resurrect in much the same kind of form as Jesus in these stories - but not on earth. Normally, a being in the morontia state is not visible to mortals, but in Jesus' case, he was able to appear and disappear at will and his changed state is one of the reasons that people who had long known him did not recognize him at first; but once he spoke, his personality became unmistakable.
Why did Jesus wait so long to appear to the apostles?
191:0.13 The Master put off the first morontia appearance to the apostles for a number of reasons. First, he wanted them to have time, after they heard of his resurrection, to think well over what he had told them about his death and resurrection when he was still with them in the flesh. The Master wanted Peter to wrestle through with some of his peculiar difficulties before he manifested himself to them all. In the second place, he desired that Thomas should be with them at the time of his first appearance. John Mark located Thomas at the home of Simon in Bethphage early this Sunday morning, bringing word to that effect to the apostles about eleven o'clock. Any time during this day Thomas would have gone back to them if Nathaniel or any two of the other apostles had gone for him. He really wanted to return, but having left as he did the evening before, he was too proud to go back of his own accord so soon. By the next day he was so depressed that it required almost a week for him to make up his mind to return. The apostles waited for him, and he waited for his brethren to seek him out and ask him to come back to them. Thomas thus remained away from his associates until the next Saturday evening, when, after darkness had come on, Peter and John went over to Bethphage and brought him back with them. And this is also the reason why they did not go at once to Galilee after Jesus first appeared to them; they would not go without Thomas.
Read more about the apostles in the upper room
Prior to the appearance of Jesus to the eleven as they gathered at the Mark home, he had appeared to Peter alone, and then to ten of the apostles (excepting Thomas), as they huddled in the upper room behind a bolted door. As mentioned above, Thomas was absent for the first appearance in the upper room. Here's more information about why:
191:5.1 Thomas spent a lonesome week alone with himself in the hills around about Olivet. During this time he saw only those at Simon's house and John Mark. It was about nine o'clock on Saturday, April 15, when the two apostles found him and took him back with them to their rendezvous at the Mark home. The next day Thomas listened to the telling of the stories of the Master's various appearances, but he steadfastly refused to believe. He maintained that Peter had enthused them into thinking they had seen the Master. Nathaniel reasoned with him, but it did no good. There was an emotional stubbornness associated with his customary doubtfulness, and this state of mind, coupled with his chagrin at having run away from them, conspired to create a situation of isolation which even Thomas himself did not fully understand. He had withdrawn from his fellows, he had gone his own way, and now, even when he was back among them, he unconsciously tended to assume an attitude of disagreement. He was slow to surrender; he disliked to give in. Without intending it, he really enjoyed the attention paid him; he derived unconscious satisfaction from the efforts of all his fellows to convince and convert him. He had missed them for a full week, and he obtained considerable pleasure from their persistent attentions.
Read more about Thomas' personality traits
Jesus Appears to Peter
You'll recall that Peter's last experiences with Jesus had to do with Peter's denial of the Master. He was sad, full of guilt, and very worried that he was no longer an apostle. This poignant meeting of Jesus with Peter before appearing to the other apostles shows us the endless forgiveness of the Master:
191:1.1 It was near half past eight o'clock this Sunday evening when Jesus appeared to Simon Peter in the garden of the Mark home. This was his eighth morontia manifestation. Peter had lived under a heavy burden of doubt and guilt ever since his denial of the Master. All day Saturday and this Sunday he had fought the fear that, perhaps, he was no longer an apostle. He had shuddered at the fate of Judas and even thought that he, too, had betrayed his Master. All this afternoon he thought that it might be his presence with the apostles that prevented Jesus' appearing to them, provided, of course, he had really risen from the dead. And it was to Peter, in such a frame of mind and in such a state of soul, that Jesus appeared as the dejected apostle strolled among the flowers and shrubs.
When Peter thought of the loving look of the Master as he passed by on Annas's porch, and as he turned over in his mind that wonderful message brought him early that morning by the women who came from the empty tomb, "Go tell my apostles— and Peter" —as he contemplated these tokens of mercy, his faith began to surmount his doubts, and he stood still, clenching his fists, while he spoke aloud: "I believe he has risen from the dead; I will go and tell my brethren." And as he said this, there suddenly appeared in front of him the form of a man, who spoke to him in familiar tones, saying: "Peter, the enemy desired to have you, but I would not give you up. I knew it was not from the heart that you disowned me; therefore I forgave you even before you asked; but now must you cease to think about yourself and the troubles of the hour while you prepare to carry the good news of the gospel to those who sit in darkness. No longer should you be concerned with what you may obtain from the kingdom but rather be exercised about what you can give to those who live in dire spiritual poverty. Gird yourself, Simon, for the battle of a new day, the struggle with spiritual darkness and the evil doubtings of the natural minds of men."
Peter and the morontia Jesus walked through the garden and talked of things past, present, and future for almost five minutes. Then the Master vanished from his gaze, saying, "Farewell, Peter, until I see you with your brethren."
The First Appearance to the Ten Apostles (minus Thomas)
191:2.1 Shortly after nine o'clock that evening, after the departure of Cleopas and Jacob [the two brothers from Emmaus], while the Alpheus twins comforted Peter, and while Nathaniel remonstrated with Andrew, and as the ten apostles were there assembled in the upper chamber with all the doors bolted for fear of arrest, the Master, in morontia form, suddenly appeared in the midst of them, saying: " Peace be upon you. Why are you so frightened when I appear, as though you had seen a spirit? Did I not tell you about these things when I was present with you in the flesh? Did I not say to you that the chief priests and the rulers would deliver me up to be killed, that one of your own number would betray me, and that on the third day I would rise? Wherefore all your doubtings and all this discussion about the reports of the women, Cleopas and Jacob, and even Peter? How long will you doubt my words and refuse to believe my promises? And now that you actually see me, will you believe? Even now one of you is absent. When you are gathered together once more, and after all of you know of a certainty that the Son of Man has risen from the grave, go hence into Galilee. Have faith in God; have faith in one another; and so shall you enter into the new service of the kingdom of heaven. I will tarry in Jerusalem with you until you are ready to go into Galilee. My peace I leave with you."
When the morontia Jesus had spoken to them, he vanished in an instant from their sight. And they all fell on their faces, praising God and venerating their vanished Master. This was the Master's ninth morontia appearance.
The second appearance to the apostles - this time to the Eleven
191:5.2 They were having their evening meal a little after six o'clock, with Peter sitting on one side of Thomas and Nathaniel on the other, when the doubting apostle said: "I will not believe unless I see the Master with my own eyes and put my finger in the mark of the nails." As they thus sat at supper, and while the doors were securely shut and barred, the morontia Master suddenly appeared inside the curvature of the table and, standing directly in front of Thomas, said:
"Peace be upon you. For a full week have I tarried that I might appear again when you were all present to hear once more the commission to go into all the world and preach this gospel of the kingdom. Again I tell you: As the Father sent me into the world, so send I you. As I have revealed the Father, so shall you reveal the divine love, not merely with words, but in your daily living. I send you forth, not to love the souls of men, but rather to love men. You are not merely to proclaim the joys of heaven but also to exhibit in your daily experience these spirit realities of the divine life since you already have eternal life, as the gift of God, through faith. When you have faith, when power from on high, the Spirit of Truth, has come upon you, you will not hide your light here behind closed doors; you will make known the love and the mercy of God to all mankind. Through fear you now flee from the facts of a disagreeable experience, but when you shall have been baptized with the Spirit of Truth, you will bravely and joyously go forth to meet the new experiences of proclaiming the good news of eternal life in the kingdom of God. You may tarry here and in Galilee for a short season while you recover from the shock of the transition from the false security of the authority of traditionalism to the new order of the authority of facts, truth, and faith in the supreme realities of living experience. Your mission to the world is founded on the fact that I lived a God-revealing life among you; on the truth that you and all other men are the sons of God; and it shall consist in the life which you will live among men—the actual and living experience of loving men and serving them, even as I have loved and served you. Let faith reveal your light to the world; let the revelation of truth open the eyes blinded by tradition; let your loving service effectually destroy the prejudice engendered by ignorance. By so drawing close to your fellow men in understanding sympathy and with unselfish devotion, you will lead them into a saving knowledge of the Father's love. The Jews have extolled goodness; the Greeks have exalted beauty; the Hindus preach devotion; the faraway ascetics teach reverence; the Romans demand loyalty; but I require of my disciples life, even a life of loving service for your brothers in the flesh."
When the Master had so spoken, he looked down into the face of Thomas and said: "And you, Thomas, who said you would not believe unless you could see me and put your finger in the nail marks of my hands, have now beheld me and heard my words; and though you see no nail marks on my hands, since I am raised in the form that you also shall have when you depart from this world, what will you say to your brethren? You will acknowledge the truth, for already in your heart you had begun to believe even when you so stoutly asserted your unbelief. Your doubts, Thomas, always most stubbornly assert themselves just as they are about to crumble. Thomas, I bid you be not faithless but believing—and I know you will believe, even with a whole heart."
When Thomas heard these words, he fell on his knees before the morontia Master and exclaimed, "I believe! My Lord and my Master!" Then said Jesus to Thomas: "You have believed, Thomas, because you have really seen and heard me. Blessed are those in the ages to come who will believe even though they have not seen with the eye of flesh nor heard with the mortal ear."
And then, as the Master's form moved over near the head of the table, he addressed them all, saying: "And now go all of you to Galilee, where I will presently appear to you." After he said this, he vanished from their sight.
What about the wounds in Jesus' hands and side?
Those who have been taught that Jesus rose in physical form on Easter Sunday may not be able to easily reconcile this revelation of what really happened regarding this neeting of Jesus and Thomas. The fact is, there were no wounds on Jesus' resurrected body; he had risen in a more spiritual form - and it is just this type of form in which all the dead will resurrect - just as Jesus did.
The mortal body of Jesus was left in the tomb, just as our bodies will remain in the tomb, or in the earth. As explained above, this is why, when the Master appeared to many, they did not readily recognize him - he was changed. But when he spoke, all doubt was removed, as the essence of the personality of Jesus was easily discerned. And as the story relates, Jesus explains the absence of the wounds to Thomas.
But what happened to Jesus' physical body? Was it allowed to decay and dissolve in Joseph's tomb? Not at all. Even though decay and dissolution is the fate of all human bodies after death ("dust to dust"), the celestial hosts of heaven, having just witnessed the horror of Jesus crucifixion, implored Gabriel to release the Master's physical body for a more instantaneous disposal. To discover what happened to the physical body of Jesus, please see THIS LINK to the Urantia Book story.
Did Jesus Bestow the Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) during this appearance?
Finally, despite what this Bible passage indicates, Jesus did not give his Spirit of Truth to all mankind until the day of Pentecost - the day that he ascended into heaven, no more to walk our world. Remember, the Comforter was promised to take Jesus' place after he should return to the Father - not before.
Again, as we do frequently in this blog, we encourage all readers to discover for themselves the full life and teachings of Jesus as presented in The Urantia Book. These stories of Jesus' appearances to the apostles are but a fracion of the detailed stories of the Master's life that will thrill, inspire, and amaze you.