After announcing that one of them would betray Him and instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. On the way He shared with them that according to the prophetic word, they would all fall away from Him that evening as He, their Shepherd, would be struck causing them as His sheep to be scattered. What does He say in Mat 26:32 in anticipation of His resurrection and them being gathered together to Him again? Cf. Mar 14:28. What is the significance that He would meet them in Galilee? Recall that much of Jesus’ ministry had taken place in Galilee, and they were from Galilee, and would be returning to their homes in Galilee after the Passover. What is the significance to the Jews to whom Matthew was writing that the place where Jesus prearranged to meet His disciples after His resurrection was not in Jerusalem? See Act 1:6 and think: where did the Jews, including His disciples, expect the Messiah to manifest the nature of His kingdom? Cf. Joh 1:46, Mat 21:43. Although the disciples were not comprehending it at the time, where in particular did Jesus prearrange with His disciples to meet them in Galilee after His resurrection? See Mat 28:16.
What else does Matthew relate about Jesus’ resurrection appearances? See Mat 28:1,5-7,8-9,10,16-17. How is what Matthew relates about Jesus’ resurrection different from what is related by Luke? See Luk 24:1-12,13-35,36-49. How is it different from what is related by John? See Joh 20:1-10,11-18, 19-23,24-29, 21:1-12. How does Paul summarize Jesus’ resurrection appearances? See 1Co 15:3-8. What does Paul mean in 1Co 15:5 that Jesus appeared to the twelve, since Judas was clearly no longer among them? See Mar 3:16, 4:10, 6:7, 10:32, 14:20, Joh 6:67,70,71 and notice that “the twelve” is not just a number, but the designation of an office within the establishing church, which although lacking one at the time, was soon to filled again by Matthias, who may himself have also been present when Jesus appeared to the other apostles; see Act 1:21-26 and consider how in English a two-by-four is called by its original dimensions even though it only measures 1 ½ by 3 ½ inches after planing.
Consider that Jesus had prearranged to meet the disciples at a mountain in Galilee, and Matthew relates how the angel at the tomb reminded the first witnesses that He would go before them into Galilee and then how Jesus Himself instructed them to tell the disciples to leave for Galilee (see also Mar 16:7); where is it therefore most likely that Jesus appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time (1Co 15:6)? Considering the nature of Jesus’ resurrection appearances to both Mary and the two on the road to Emmaus where they didn’t immediately recognize Him, why does Matthew’s statement that “some were doubtful” (Mat 28:17) make sense in this context? Would it have been any of the eleven apostles, to whom the Lord had already appeared, who were doubtful? Or does it make more sense that it would have been some from among the more than five hundred who likely accompanied them to the mountain Jesus had designated to see for themselves that it was true and Jesus really had been raised from the dead? Considering that all of those five hundred plus witnesses to the resurrected Jesus would have been Jews, and Matthew was writing at a time when the gospel was going forth to the Gentiles so that many of the Jews were rejecting Jesus as their Messiah with Peter and the other apostles embroiled in the controversy (cf. Act 11:1-18, 15:1-21), why is it not surprising that Matthew would make Jesus’ appearance in Galilee to five hundred Jews the focus of his resurrection account rather than the more personal, but narrow appearances of Jesus to the apostles related in the other gospels? Recall that the gospel had gone forth orally throughout Israel for more than a decade before Matthew wrote his gospel, and the Jews to whom Matthew was writing his apologia would for the most part have already been familiar with all of the resurrection accounts.
While in Galilee, where else did Jesus appear to the disciples? See Joh 21:1ff; notice too that it is likely that it was in Galilee where Jesus appeared to Thomas (Joh 20:26ff; cf. Mat 28:10,16). Considering that Jesus had appeared to Mary (as John himself reports, Joh 20:13ff), and to Peter and to the two on the road to Emmaus, and perhaps most likely to the more than five hundred on the designated mountain in Galilee, what does John mean about His appearance at the Sea of Galilee that “this is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead” (Joh 21:14)? Notice that as with the first two appearances John related, it must relate to Jesus’ group appearances to those disciples who were closest to Him, i.e., to those who were apostles, including John himself who was among them on all three occasions. As John’s statement was clearly not to say there was a sum total of three resurrection appearances altogether, (even to himself, since he was also on the mountain where Jesus appeared to the more than five hundred, Mat 28:16), what is its significance? See 2Co 13:1. Although the disciples were absolutely convinced about Jesus’ resurrection appearances, how does the spiritual nature of perceiving the resurrected Jesus reported in the account of Mary and to the two on the road to Emmaus and to the disciples on the sea of Galilee help us to understand how some could doubt, as Matthew reports, and how necessary faith was even to those who beheld Him with their eyes and touched Him with their hands (1Jo 1:1)? Cf. Joh 20:29.