40 Interesting Facts about Jesus

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Time magazine calls Jesus the most influential figure in history. Jaroslav Pelikan, Yale University’s professor of history, agrees:

“Regardless what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost twenty centuries. If it were possible, with some sort of super-magnet, to pull up out of that history every scrap of metal bearing at least a trace of his name, how much would be left?”
Jesus through the Centuries; His Place in the History of Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985)

The only in-depth account we have of Jesus comes from the gospels, and John tells us that they only record a fraction of all Jesus did:

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25, New International Version).

Even if the gospels don’t offer a complete and unabridged biography of Christ’s earthly life, they’ve given the world enough information to keep poring over His story. And for the 2.3 billion Christians in the world, the gospels tell the remarkable story of God coming to earth to rescue humanity.

Between the well-known stories and parables are little details that illuminate points of interest about Jesus, his disciples, and first-century life in the near east. Here are 40 interesting facts about Jesus’ life.

Facts about the birth and childhood of Jesus

The gospels of Luke and Matthew offer the only pictures of Christ’s childhood. Here are some fascinating details they give us.

1. Jesus gets his name from an angel

“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end’” (Luke 1:28–33)

2. Jesus is a common first-century name

If God was going to become a human, you’d think that He’d choose a powerful and rare name. That’s just not the case. The name “Jesus” was the John Smith of the first-century. When Christ walked on the earth, He didn’t chase after prominence—and that’s even demonstrated in the name that He chose.

But that doesn’t mean that Jesus’ name is meaningless. Hidden in that common name is the truth that “Yahweh saves.”

3. Jesus last name wasn’t Christ

We hear “Jesus Christ” so often that it’s easy to think that Christ is Jesus’ surname. It’s not. In first-century Palestine, people didn’t have last names. People identified others by referencing their parents:

“They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I came down from heaven”’?” (John 6:42)

Christ comes from the Greek for Christos, which means “anointed one.”

4. Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25

The entire world celebrates Christ’s birth on December 25, but is that His actual birthday? Probably not. 

Early Christian leaders like Hippolytus and John Chrysostom began observing Christ’s birth on this date. Over time it became the accepted date for celebration, offering an alternative to many pagan festivals happening at this time.

Many scholars question the accuracy of this date, and doubt the shepherds would be out with the sheep at night during the coldest time of the year. Looking at the conception and birth of John the Baptist, many believe Jesus was probably born in the fall.

5. Jesus probably wasn’t born in 1 A.D.

Jesus’ significance is seen in how His presence divides history. Today we see history through the lens of B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini “in the year of the Lord”). The only problem is that Jesus was probably born before 4 B.C.

Herod is the main reason that many scholars believe Christ was born earlier. Most believe Herod died in 4 B.C. And since he played such a big part in Christ’s birth story (Matthew 2), Jesus had to have been born before this date.

6. Jesus was born of a virgin

Matthew’s gospel claims that Jesus’ conception was miraculous, and points to this miracle as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

Not only was Jesus born to a virgin, but Matthew saw this as a critical piece of evidence that Jesus was actually the Messiah.

7. Matthew and Luke focused on different aspects of Jesus’ identity

Luke compiled his gospel account from multiple eyewitness accounts for a man named Theophilus. Most assume Theophilus was a high-ranking or prominent Gentile himself—making Luke the only Gospel written by a Gentile for a Gentile audience.

Matthew was a Jew intent on proving to the Jews that Jesus was the promised Jewish Messiah.

8. Jesus’ family tree has some pretty shady characters

When entering the world, Jesus chose a pretty inauspicious family line. If purity was His main concern, He wouldn’t have entered into a lineage with such shady characters as:

Jacob: Habitual schemer
Judah: Collaborated with his brothers to sell the youngest sibling into slavery
Rahab: A prostitute
David: Had a man killed to cover up an adulterous affair
Solomon: Married 700 women and turned his heart away from the Lord
Rehoboam: “Did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord” (2 Chron. 12:14)
Abijah: “Committed all the sins his father had done before him” (1 Kings 15:3)

9. We don’t know how many magi visited Jesus

We’re used to seeing Christmas crèches with three wise men. That’s probably because they came bearing three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The truth is that Scripture doesn’t tell us how many Magi traveled from the east to visit the newborn king.

10. Jesus had several (half) siblings

The gospels tell us that Jesus had brothers (Matt. 12:46, Lk. 8:19, Mk. 3:31). Matthew even tells us the brother’s names, and mentions His sisters:

“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” (Matthew 13:55–56)

11. Bethlehem means “House of bread”

The name of the town where Jesus is born is called Bethlehem. In Hebrew, this is two words. Beth meaning “house,” and lehem which means “bread.” It’s hard not to see the significance here

Not only did the prophet Micah predict that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but Jesus frequently referred to himself as the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35, 48, 51).

12. Jesus grew up as a carpenter

Joseph was known as a carpenter (Matt. 13:55), and Jesus must have learned the trade because He’s identified by the crowd in his hometown as a carpenter, too:

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” (Mark 6:3)

The Greek word tektōn means artisan or craftsman. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Joseph would have crafted things out of wood (which would have been very expensive). He could have been a stonemason.

13. Jesus talked theology with the Pharisees as a child

Luke gives us our only view of Jesus in His adolescence. Joseph and Mary get separated from Jesus in the return caravan back from celebrating Passover in Jerusalem. When they figure out Jesus is missing, they rush back to the ancient city in a panic. They don’t find him for three days (Luke 2:46). And when they do find him, He’s not scared or distraught like the typical child would be. What they discover is astounding:

“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’

‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’(Luke 2:46–49)

14. Jesus was likely very ordinary looking

We don’t have a lot of information about Jesus’ physical appearance, but Isaiah prophesies about it:

“He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
      and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
      nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).

We also know that when Judas betrayed Jesus, he had to kiss him (Mt. 26:48) to help the authorities identify him. It was evident that Jesus didn’t physically stand out among the other disciples. In fact, after he rose from the dead, Mary Magdalene mistakes Him for the gardener:

“At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him’” (John 20:14–15).

Facts about Jesus’ ministry

After childhood, there’s a gap in Jesus’ story until He kicks off His ministry. Let’s look at some compelling details from this period of His life.

15. Jesus started his ministry when he was about 30 years old

Numbers 4:3 tells us that a man must be at least 30 years old to hold the office of priest. Interestingly, this is about the age Jesus was when he kicked off His ministry:

“Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry” (Luke 3:23).

16. Jesus first miracle was in Cana

When Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana, He performed His first miracle. In this miraculous event, He demonstrated His supernatural control over physical elements. This miracle kicked off His public ministry (John 2:1–11)

17. Jesus spoke multiple languages

Aramaic was the primary language spoken by Jews in first-century Palestine. And like most Jews, He would have learned to study the Torah in Hebrew.

Did He speak Greek? It’s likely that when he talked to the Centurion (Mt. 8:5–13) and Pilate (Mt. 27:11–14), they were speaking Greek. The Romans spoke in Latin, but Greek would have been how they interacted with Hellenistic Jews.

18. Jesus needed solitude to pray and recharge

Jesus had a very public ministry. The gospels talk about Jesus going through villages healing all their diseases and sickness (Mt. 9:35). He taught publicly (Mat. 5–7), frequently argued with the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 7:1–23), and never turned down an invitation to someone’s home (Lk. 7:36).

He built his public ministry on the very deliberate practice of spending time in solitude and prayer (Mt. 14:23; Mk. 1:12, 35, 14:32; Lk. 6:12–13, 9:18).

19.  Jesus was not a vegetarian

The diet in Palestine for observant Jews was fairly universal. The gospels all show Jesus eating animal products, like most other Jews did. He would have eaten a regular diet of fish (Mt. 14:19) and would have enjoyed Lamb which was customary during Passover (Luke 22:15).

20. Jesus taught in parables

To teach messages that would have a direct and lasting impact, Jesus often used stories called parables. Sometimes the point of Jesus’ stories were obvious, but there were occasions where His parables were unclear and vague. The disciples were troubled by this:

“The disciples came to him and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’

He replied, ‘Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:

‘Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand’” (Matthew 13:10–13).

21. Jesus frequently showed emotion

Many modern representations of Jesus portrayed Him as an emotionless zen-like figure. But the gospel writers give us a glimpse of a passionate Savior. Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus:

  • Flip over tables (Mt. 21:12–13)
  • Cry (Lk. 19:41–44, Jn. 11:35)
  • Show compassion (Mt. 9:36–38, 21:12; Mk. 1:41).

22. Jesus fasted for 40 days

Only three people in the Bible fasted for 40 days: Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. Depending on how well one’s hydrated, severe starvation begins between 35–40 days. It was during Christ’s fast that the devil tempted Him in the desert (Mt. 4:1–11).

23. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy to the devil

Imagine if your entire spiritual welfare depended on how well you knew the book of Deuteronomy! When Satan tempts Jesus in the desert, He answers every enticement with a passage from this one book from the Pentateuch.

Jesus had fasted for 40 days and was nearing starvation. When the devil lures Him to use his power to make stones into bread, Jesus responds with a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

Next, Satan tempts Jesus to prove His uniqueness by throwing Himself off the temple. The devil reminds Jesus that God won’t allow Him to fall. This time, Jesus pulls a quote from Deuteronomy 6:16: “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7)

Finally, Satan offers Jesus the world and all its splendors if only Jesus will worship him. And Jesus answers him from Deuteronomy 6:13: Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4:10)

24. Jesus refers to God as “father” in his prayers

All of Jesus’ prayers demonstrate a deep and abiding relationship with God. When He spoke to God, He used the word Abba—the most familiar word for father.

“So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’” (John 11:41–43, NIV)

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matthew 26:39)

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)

25. Jesus claimed to be God

Since the beginning, the Christian church has considered Jesus to be God in the flesh. Did Jesus claim to be God? Yes!

In one instance, Jesus called himself by the very name God used when he spoke to Moses from the burning bush (Ex. 3:14):

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)

The Pharisees clearly understood Jesus’ claims:

“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18, NIV).

26. Jesus was worshipped as God

Not only did Jesus claim to be God, but the disciples worshipped Jesus as God:

“Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:33)

“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him” (Matthew 28:8–9).

Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’

Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:27–28)

27. Jesus raised three people from the dead

It’s hard to think of a more dramatic miracle than raising someone from the dead. The gospels record three times that Jesus performed this feat:

The widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11–17)

This is the first resurrection Jesus performed. As He approached the town of Nain, He met a funeral procession coming out. In the coffin was a young man, and Jesus’ heart went out to man’s mother. She was a widow, and this was her only son. Jesus spoke to the man in the coffin, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” He turned the whole town’s mourning into dancing.

Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:52–56)

Jairus, a leader of the synagogue, pushes through a crown to get to Jesus. He wants the Lord to come to his home and heal his sick daughter. While they were on their way, a member of Jairus’ household came to tell them they were too late. Jairus’ daughter had died. Jesus encouraged Jairus to have faith, and they continued to the synagogue leader’s home. When they arrived, Jesus raised the young girl.

Lazarus (John 11)

Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus that their brother was ill. Instead of rushing to Bethany to be with His friend, Jesus and the disciples stayed where they were for a couple of days. When Jesus finally decided to head to Bethany, the disciples warn Him against it. The last time they were in Judea, the Jews had tried to have Him killed. Jesus tells them that Lazarus has died. Upon their arrival, both Mary and Martha express their grief. Jesus promises that He is the “resurrection and the life.” At Lazarus’ tomb, four days after Lazarus has died, Jesus calls, “Lazarus, come out.” And Lazarus walks from his grave.

28. Jesus’ ministry only lasted about 3.5 years

John’s gospel tells us that Jesus attended at least three Passover feasts during His ministry. There’s one mentioned in John 2:13, another in 6:4, and then the one occurring during the time of his crucifixion:

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, ‘What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?’ But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him” (John 11:55–57).

This means that His ministry lasted at least two years, but there may have been more Passover celebrations that go unmentioned. We do know that many time-consuming things would have happened before they got to their first Passover:

  • His ministry took him all over Judea.
  • He was baptized by John.
  • He fasted (40 days) and was tempted in the wilderness.
  • He called His disciples.
  • He started His preaching ministry.
  • He made a trip to Capernaum with His family and disciples.

All of these things would have added up to multiple months worth of ministry—and we can’t forget the 40 days between the time Christ was resurrected and when He ascended.

In the end, scholars believe Jesus’ ministry only lasted about 3.5 years—an unbelievably short amount of time to change the world.

29. God spoke to Jesus audibly three times

There are three moments in the gospels where God spoke out loud to Jesus:

At His baptism

“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16–17).

At the Transfiguration

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified” (Matthew 17:5–6).

Before the crucifixion

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘’ather, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’

Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The crowd that was there heard it said it had thundered, others said an angel had spoken to him” (John 12:27–29).

After the last occasion, Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine” (Jn 12:30), which is true of every incident.

30. Only one miracle is recorded in all four gospels

There are more than 40 miracles recorded in the gospels. And while most of them occur in more than one account, there’s only one miraculous event that makes it in every gospel: the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 6:31–44; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:1–14).  

Facts about Jesus’ death and resurrection

The Christian faith hangs on the crucifixion and resurrection. These two events reconcile us to God and promise us a new life. What interesting things can we learn about these two momentous events?

31. Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver

It’s impossible to understand Judas’ motives for betraying Jesus. But we do know that Satan was using him (Luke 22:3). Judas ultimately takes 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus. Was that enough of a motivating factor for betrayal?

In Zechariah, thirty pieces of silver is used to describe a shepherd’s wages for the day (Zechariah 11:12–14), as well as the compensation for a slave who is killed (Exodus 21:32).

Was it enough to motivate Christ’s betrayal? We can’t be sure. We do know that after Jesus’ crucifixion, Judas realized it was inadequate compensation for his decision:

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’

‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3–5).

32. Jesus was under extreme stress before the crucifixion

As Jesus prays in the garden before the crucifixion, we’re given a glimpse of the agony that He’s going through:

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44).

The clinical name for this condition is hematidrosis from the Greek: haîma/haímatos (blood) and hīdrṓs (sweat). A 2009 journal on dermatology described the condition this way: “Severe mental anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system to invoke the stress-fight or flight reaction to such a degree as to cause hemorrhage of the vessels supplying the sweat glands into the ducts of the sweat glands.”

It’s particularly interesting that only Luke—the physician—find this to be an interesting enough phenomenon to actually mention.

33. Mary was present at Christ’s birth and death

When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple, they met an older man named Simeon. The Holy Spirit promised Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died. Prompted by the Spirit, he recognized Jesus. Taking the child in his arms, he thanked God for allowing him to witness God’s salvation.

Then he spoke to Mary, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34–35).

The last sentence of his prophecy proved true as Mary watched her son be crucified. Even in His agony, Jesus was concerned for the care of His mother, instructing John to care for her (John 19:26–27).

34. A sign was placed on the cross explaining Jesus’ crime

In Matthew’s gospel, we’re told that a sign is made that explains the charges against Jesus (27:36). John tells us that since the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”  written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek (19:20).

In many works of art and crucifixes, the letters INRI appear on the sign. This comes from the first letters of the Latin inscription: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum.

35. Crucifixion was not rare in Rome

Romans maintained power through intimidation. If there were any whiff of dissent from a group or individual, Roman authorities would flog and crucify the culprits as a message to the populace. The estimates of people crucified in Rome run into the tens of thousands.

It’s important to remember that the impact of the gospel doesn’t come from the uniqueness or depth of Christ’s suffering on the cross. It comes from who was on the cross, and what happened after.

36. Where Jesus would be buried was prophesied

After Jesus died, Matthew tells us that a rich man offered up his burial plot:

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away (Matthew 27:57–60).

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ burial hundreds of years before:

“He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
          and with the rich in his death
though he had done no violence,
          nor was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9).

As the prophet had predicted, Jesus was executed as a criminal but ended up in the tomb of the wealthy.

36. Jesus’ tomb was triple protected

The Romans knew Jesus claimed he would return in three days, so they weren’t keen on the idea of any of His followers stealing his body. They did their best to ensure that it was completely safe from meddling. This included three different protections:

A large stone:
Art typically portrays a disk-shaped stone in front of Jesus’ tomb. But out of the 900 tombs from this period, only four have stones shaped like that. Most were more like corks. Either way, it would have been tough to move.

A guard:
We can’t be sure whether they used Roman guards or Jewish temple police, but we do know that Pilate demanded a guard to be placed in front of the tomb.  

A Roman seal:
A Roman seal was a sign that the contents belong to Rome, and it was also a warning. Anyone caught breaking such a seal would likely suffer crucifixion.

It would have been nearly impossible for anyone to get to the body. That’s probably why in the Book of Acts, the Romans never suggested that the body was stolen.

37. Jesus’ resurrection was physical

Some groups suggest that Jesus was raised in a spiritual and not a physical body. But Jesus’ actual body was raised from the dead. He tells the disciples:

“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (Luke 24:38–39)

To help hammer this truth home to them, Jesus ate in their presence:

And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence (Luke 24:42–43).

38. Jesus leaving His burial linen was significant

When Peter and (probably) John ran into the empty tomb, the linen and cloth used to wrap Jesus’ body were still there.

“Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed” (John 20:6–8).

This is another small detail that argues against Christ’s body being stolen. The time, risk, and effort it would have taken someone to steal Jesus’ body would have demanded that they take the linens and cloth as well. Needing to remove them would have required a lot of time and work. When Peter and John see those items in the tomb, it’s adds to the likelihood that Mary actually did see the risen Lord.  

39. The risen Jesus appears to His disciples and followers 12 times

The New Testament records 12 post-resurrection appearances Jesus makes to individuals or groups:

  • Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9–11)
  • The women at the tomb (Matthew 28:8–10)
  • Peter (Luke 24:34)
  • The travelers on the road (Mark 16:12–13)
  • The disciples without Thomas (Mark 16:14)
  • The disciples including Thomas (John 20:26–31)
  • The disciples while they fished (John 21:1–14)
  • The disciples on the mountain (Matthew 28:16–20)
  • The crowd of 500 (1 Corinthians 15:6)
  • James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
  • Those who were at His ascension (Acts 1:6–9)
  • Paul (Acts 9:1–6)

40. Jesus’ commands us to be his witnesses

The very last words in Matthew’s gospel are known as the “Great Commission.” This is where Jesus gave the church its assignment:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)

Jesus says something very similar to His disciples just before ascending into heaven:

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

If you’d like to learn more facts about Jesus check out the article “Jesus–Man, Myth or God?”

All verses unless otherwise noted come from the New International Version.