According to the Bible, over 500 people witnessed the resurrected body of Jesus.
When reading the New Testament, it may be surprising to some that after Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared on multiple occasions to large groups of people.
Do we know exactly how many people Jesus appeared to after his rising from the dead?
For starters, we know that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9) and “other women” who visited the tomb (Matthew 28:9). This could have been approximately 3-4 people.
After that, Jesus appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who are traditionally said to have been two people (Luke 24:12).
Jesus also appears in the midst of all of his apostles, which may have also included St. Matthias, who would eventually replace Judas as one of the twelve (Luke 24:36).
This brings our total up to around 20 people, but St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians relates even more appearances.
Up to 500 people
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
St. Paul’s claim makes Jesus’ resurrection a wide-reaching experience, not reserved for a small handful of disciples, but for a “multitude” of people. Furthermore, with an abundance of witnesses, the disciples of Jesus had a somewhat easier time convincing others of Jesus’ resurrection when so many saw him in the flesh. It would not have been easy proving that a man died and rose from the dead, but when over 500 people witnessed it, the task may have been a bit easier.