Jesus' Appearances After The Resurrection


Did Jesus appear to Mary His Mother after the Resurrection? I don’t see it mentioned anywhere in the Bible, so that makes me wonder whether or not He did, since Jesus comforted her during the walk to Calvary. One would assume that the Lord would give even greater comfort to His mother after His resurrection, but this is never mentioned.

Any ideas?


Pope St. John Paul II talked about this in a general audience of 21 May 1997. One of the possible reasons for the Evangelists’ silence, he suggests, is that “such a witness would have been considered too biased by those who denied the Lord’s Resurrection, and therefore not worthy of belief.”

There’s also an interesting article on this over at the New Theological Movement.


Great article by Fr. Ryan. :thumbsup: It has also been speculated that Mary would have been sitting shiva for Jesus’ death and so not allowed by custom to go to the tomb. The other women would have gone for her to apply ointments, which is why she wasn’t there on the morning of the Resurrection. I happen to believe that somehow Mary knew Jesus had risen from the dead, either by faith or by his appearing to her in the small hours of the morning, before sunrise when the women came to the tomb. We really don’t know, but I can’t imagine Mary and Jesus not being in spiritual communion with each other except perhaps for the hours his spirit was among the dead. Just my thoughts on it. :twocents:


Hi Ad Orientum:

I remember reading that article quite some time ago. I appreciate the link, but the bottom line is that we don’t know. As for Pope John Paul’s explanation about Mary being a biased witness to the resurrection, I don’t see why the Lord’s mother would be any more or less biased than the apostles that Jesus was very close to throughout His ministry, or Mary Magdalene for that matter.

If Jesus wanted to reveal Himself to a truly unbiased source, then He easily could have revealed Himself to Herod, Pontius Pilate, Caiaphus, the Sanhedrin, or the Pharisees, much like He eventually did to St. Paul.


I see your point, and anthough I have no opinion about Mary’s witness being biased or not I would think that the people you cited would be biased, as well–against Jesus’ being raised from the dead. Like many an atheist in our own times, they might have said that it didn’t happen because they didn’t believe it could happen. Again, just my thoughts on the question. :slight_smile:


Hi Della:

You’re correct that the people i listed would be biased against the Lord’s resurrection, just as St. Paul was. Yes Pilate or Herod may have tried to deny it, OR they might have accepted it. My point was that if Jesus had appeared to any of the ones that i listed and made believers out of them, then i think that their testimony would have lent credibility to the doubters of the day.

Although it did not happen, I would love for people like Bill Maher, Sam Harris, George Clooney, Dr. Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, and (the late great Christopher Hitchens) to die and have that out of body encounter with the Lord (as ex-atheist Howard Storm did). Of course, i would want them to return to the earth to evangelize and tell others of their experience. It would be interesting to see what the reaction to them would be in the circles that they currently inhabit, ESPECIALLY if this divine revelation to them all occurred en masse.

Peace of the Risen Lord to you.


In the fourth week of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the first contemplation focuses on Jesus’ appearance to his mother after his resurrection. Before encountering this contemplation I had never thought about Jesus appearing to his mother, but it made perfect sense. See this:


Respectfully i disagree with you that the link makes perfect sense. It says that Ignatius asks us to contemplate the interaction between the Risen Lord and His Mother. I can contemplate this scenario all day long, just as I could contemplate what would happen if Bill Maher came face to face with Jesus during an out of body experience. That does not offer any evidence that the incident occurred.

Peace of the Risen Lord to you.


Yes, either scenario would be great–for the sake of their souls more than anything else. Why? Because as Our Lord said in the Parable of the Rich Man, that even if one should rise from the dead they would not believe. It is not that they want to believe, but can’t–it’s that they will not believe no matter what evidence is presented. That is a choice of their will, which God will not violate. In St. Paul’s case, God knew that he was overly zealous in his hatred (as are some others who persecute those they think are ruining their religion, etc.). St. Paul wasn’t unwilling to believe no matter what, rather he simply believed the followers of the Way were wrong and, as apostates, were doing damage to his beloved faith.

People vary in their motivations, but the people you mention have been quite vocal about the fact that nothing would/could make them believe, and I rather doubt those who have died have changed their minds about that, except now they reject him out of hatred and probably accuse him of not be fair, not providing proof positive, etc. C. S. Lewis wrote about this attitude in “The Last Battle” at the judgment in the story.


Jesus comforting his mother on the walk to Calvary is not in the Bible.

The event is pious tradition, marked on the Via Dolorosa when you visit Jerusalem but it is not recorded in the Bible. Pious tradition is more than “absolutely no evidence at all” as some claim but the fact remains that it is not recorded in scripture. .

John 20:19 and 20:26 records that Jesus appeared to “the disciples” twice after his resurrection but John does not use the word Apostle at all in his Gospel, instead using the term disciple or “the twelve.” It is possible that he meant only the 12 Apostles.



I love St. John Paul II, and I greatly respect all he had to say. He was a genius and very learned. However, I tend to agree with you in this matter. I don’t see that the Lord’s Mother would have been any more biased than the apostles or Mary Magdalene. The atheists and agnostics I know consider them too biased. It’s always seemed curious to me that Mary disappears from the Bible after the crucifixion. Presumably, she was living with John, to whom she was entrusted by Jesus when he was on the Cross.

I believe Jesus revealed himself post-Resurrection to the ones he did because it was the best way to build up his Church. No one was going to know he was the resurrected Lord unless they had known him per-crucifixion. I don’t believe he revealed himself to Pilate, et al. because it would not have been the best way to build up his Church. NT Wright, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey, goes into this in detail. Granted, he’s Anglican, not Catholic, but he’s very, very conservative, and his views are so close to Catholicism that he and we only disagree on one or two things, the infallibility of the pope, for one. He’s still a good writer and very enlightening to read.

JMO, of course. I don’t believe anyone really knows why there is no post-Resurrection interaction between Jesus and Mary in sacred scripture.


I remember reading how one saint suggested Jesus appeared first to the people who had contemplated his death the most. So, according Biblical accounts, he first he appeared to Mary Magdalene, who had stayed behind after the encounter with the angel to weep at the tomb. And secondly, he appeared to Cleopas and his companion (who is thought by some to be Luke), who were actively discussing his passion and death. Luke 24:34 says that Jesus had appeared to Peter already by the time they got back to tell the Disciples they had met him in the breaking of the bread, although we don’t know any other details from the Bible-- he and John had found the empty tomb earlier that morning. And then Jesus appeared to the Ten (the Eleven minus Thomas). By the time you get to 1 Corinthians a few weeks later, he’s appearing to over 500 people at once.

So-- as we can tell from Luke 24:34, not all of the details of those first post-resurrection appearances are recorded. But if we take that “contemplating his death the most” approach, there’s a good case for Mary to have been his first visit— whether recorded or not— as she was the one who had been with him for his entire ministry, and his entire life, and was probably mentally and spiritually the most capable of understanding exactly what he was to do, and had done.



I have many ideas, here are a few:
There are four cases of cases of men returning to life in the OT, all support Jesus’ resurrection and two support Mary being there.
The first two of the four resurrections stories in the OT, one to a Zarephath widow, the second to a Shunammite soon to be a widow, who each, lost their only child, a son, who was raised to life out of sight, in an upper room, on a great prophet’s bed, by a great prophet, with the mother keeping watch outside, in one case at harvest time. (1Ki 17:8-24; 2Ki 4:8-37) So Mary is the mother outside while a great prophet raised a widow’s only son.
Jesus’ tomb was on (and in) a hill and twenty meters higher than the Temple mount so a room on a hill which is an “upper room”. Mary kept watch outside the upper room, while her Son lay on a bed, with a great prophet at harvest time, and He too was raised.
The third resurrection was the body of a man thrown on the bones of the prophet Elisha in his tomb coming to life (2Ki 13:20-21). The fourth was the prophet Jonah returning to life after being consumed by a great fish (his tomb) after three days and three nights. Matt 12:40-41
The resurrection of the man thrown on Elisha bones is similar except it is in a tomb again matching Jesus. Jesus represents both the dead prophet and the dead man.
The resurrection of Jonah is similar in that it occurred on the third day which would mean corruption, but Jonah was in the belly of the ship for a day and Jesus was imprisoned below ground for one day by the chief priests and Pilate.
It is also interesting that the two prophets who raised someone were Elijah and Elisha if you take the last parts of their names and combine them you get Joshua Jesus’ name in Hebrew.
Second insight
Abraham believed that God was able to raise Isaac even from the dead (and since he was to be offered up as a holocaust that implies that Abraham believed that God would restore his only beloved son even if all that remained of him was the spreading smoke of his remains (Heb 11:19). If Abraham believed and this event prefigures Jesus, who is it that believed that Jesus would be restored to life? This is necessary because an Old Testament type cannot be greater than the New Testament antitype that it points to. Jesus’ “words indicate what is intrinsic to all typology, namely that the antitype resembles the types that foreshadow them, yet they also surpass them because they are something greater than the original.” Hahn Dictionary Typology p. 930. It is clear from the gospels that none of the apostles expected Jesus to be raised from the dead, nor did any of the women who came to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection. All expected that Jesus’ body would remain dead. Since it was Abraham’s only beloved son then there is only one person living on earth at the time who could call Jesus an only beloved son and that was His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Therefore one can safely recognize from typology that Mary believed that God would raise Jesus from the dead. If she believed He would return then she was the one virgin bride waiting for the return of her Lord with lit lamp and the one faithful servant watching at the door for her master’s return. The gospels do not give complete details, but enough details to gain many insights.

Grace and peace,


There is a tradition in the Syrian Church that Jesus appeared to his mother. This goes back until at least the 2nd century. Also Tatian made the same claim but this has been ignored because he was considered a heretic. Also the Franciscans * believe that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and his mother. Personally, I believe he only appeared to his mother. Part of the problem is that Maria and Miriam both translate as Mary.*



I published a paper in 1998 which postulated that the appearances of Jesus followed a pattern of increasing number of witnesses. As you correctly pointed out, women had no standing as witnesses. Thus he appeared to them first.


Congratulation on your paper! :thumbsup:


If you would like a copy, contact me at

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