I know it sounds simple but unless Jesus had returned and showed Himself to people, Palm Sunday through Good Friday would have made no sense at all. According to Matthew Jesus had been preparing the disciples for His returning after His death by telling them to meet at a certain mountain in Galilee. Jesus however knew His disciples and without a little pushing they would not go to that mountain. They seem to hunker down in the upper room and probably would have stayed there confused instead of going back to Galilee. Mary’s encounter in the garden with the added instructions, “Go back to Galilee” was a faith and obedience builder. When they did not leave he met the disciples on the road to Emmaus and finally had to show Himself. I think He wanted them to leave Jerusalem and go to friendly territory to make them move. According to Matthew even with all of the visits there were still doubters when they did go to Galilee.
Easter saw several groups “returning” from various places. Mary Magdalene and the group of women seem to have gone to the tomb several times before she/they saw Jesus. The disciples even though it was dark returned from Emmaus to tell the Eleven (Ten – no Thomas) that they had seen Jesus.
Jesus’ concern for the disciples had Him return to them even before returning to the Father. John 20:17 is the phrase, “ I am returning to my Father and my God.” I have heard several explanations as to why this had to happen but I think our sin that Jesus took on Himself and separated Him from the Father and that had to be corrected.
I guess I wish someone would have chronicled all of the next forty days but some things are just not for us to know. The bits and pieces we have make them sound amazing and that the Disciples did move around quite a bit from Jerusalem to Galilee and back again.
Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16: 1-14, Luke 24:1-49, John 20:1-23