About Resurrection Day Mark and Matthew record that the angels reminded the women that the Disciples were to return to Galilee and that Jesus would see them there. Matthew also adds in 28:10 that Jesus Himself told the women to relay that message to His brothers (disciples) and then in verse 16 he records that they meet Jesus at the assigned mountain. WHY GALILEE?
The urgency with which Jesus and the angels told the women did not seem to be imparted to the disciples. Those reminders were seemingly ignored as they hid behind locked doors and had dinner. That has always puzzled me until I realized that they were celebrating the Feast of the Unleavened Bread which according to the Law is exactly what they were supposed to do. They had not understood that Jesus’ death had fulfilled the Law.
These reminders came with the idea that Jesus had not only predicted His death but had made plans for His resurrection. He even had named the exact location for this reunion – a particular mountain.
For the disciples Galilee was home, a familiar place where they would have felt safe. This is where it had all started the feeding of thousands, walking on water, and all of the healings. However it may represent a pattern of something that Jesus will sometimes do with His ministers before they are about to be sent out on their “Great Commission.” This pattern is clearly set in the Old Testament and is now being established in the New. It is going into the wilderness.
Jesus after His baptism went to the wilderness and Paul also spent time in one (Arabia) before he started his work for the Lord. Old Testament examples would have been the Exodus and Elijah traveling to the mountain. Another common factor here is the number 40 that is associated with a time of testing.
In the forty days from Easter to the Ascension Jesus met, taught, and fed His disciples. Even though we do not know the sequence of the events John 21 is at the Sea of Galilee. I will note here that the Ascension did take place near Bethany (House of Poverty) a short distance from Jerusalem so the disciples spent some of that time traveling out of the “wilderness.” I have come to think of this as a “restart” and not a redo for the disciples as they had been prepared for their work before the Resurrection had started.