To these He also (a)presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of (b)forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
"that He would manifest Himself to those that believe in Him", Jn 14:21.
Peter confirms this and gives us a better insight to these forty days when he explains to Cornelius that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day and was granted by the Father that He become visible; not to all people, but only to those that believe on Him, Acts 10:40-41. I find this fascinating because this explains why people did not recognize Him after the resurrection. He had the ability to only reveal Himself to those whom He wished to be revealed, to those who believed in Him. It is quite possible, and I believe it to be a fact, that no one saw the resurrected Jesus if they did not believe. Thomas may be the one exception to that, but still Thomas believed Jesus to be the Messiah, he just could not believe that He had risen from the dead unless he was to see it for himself. The story of Thomas is more than just a man that didn’t believe Jesus was raised from the dead; it was a foreshadowing to the end of this age when there will be us, the Church, who believed in Jesus without seeing Him, and there will be others who only believe because they saw Him coming out of the heavens and will be reigning as King over His kingdom here on the earth. Those people who only believed by seeing will still spend eternity with Jesus. But even better are those who believed without seeing, these are they that will be blessed, Jn 20:29.
The following is a list in order of the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection:
- Mary Magdalene, Mk 16:9
- Peter, 1Cor 15:5, Lk 24:34
- Two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Lk 24:13-15
- The eleven behind locked doors, Mk 16:14
- Eight days later He visits the disciples again, Jn 20:26
- He met Mary Magdalene and two other women and says to them, Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, Matt 28:9-10
- Jesus reveals Himself to seven of the eleven apostles on the sea of Galilee, Jn 21:1-2
- Jesus meets the apostles and above five hundred of the other disciples on the mountain in Galilee, Matt 28:16-17, 1Cor 15:6
- He was seen of His brother James, 1Cor 15:7
- Jesus led them to Bethany for the ascension, Lk 24:51
- He then appeared to Paul, then known as Saul on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:1-9,1Cor 15:8
- It rained on the earth for forty days and forty nights, Gen 7:12.
- Jacob was embalmed, forty days was required of it, Gen 50:3.
- Moses went on the mountain to receive the Law from God and he neither ate nor drank for forty days and forty nights, Ex 24:18, Deut 9:9.
- Moses went back up into the mountain for forty days for a second time after Israel had made a golden calf to worship, Deut 10:10.
- Moses sent 13 men to spy out the promised land and they were gone for forty days, Num 13:25.
- Elijah was strengthened by a single meal that sustained him for forty days and forty nights, 1Kings 19:8.
- God commanded Ezekiel to lie on his right side for forty days, Ezek 4:6.
- God gave Nineveh forty days to repent before He would destroy the city, Jonah 3:4.
- Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights with neither food nor drink, tempted by the Devil, Matt 4:2, Lk 4:2.
- Jesus was on the earth for forty days after His resurrection, Acts 1:3.
- After Paul’s conversion in Damascus, the Lord sent him to Arabia. During this time in Arabia, Paul is taught by Jesus personally. The bible doesn’t tell us how long he was in Arabia, but I can’t help make the assumption based on the previous examples, that Paul may have been in the wilderness in Arabia for forty days as well, maybe even without food or drink, Gal 1:17.