The Ascension and Great Commission
Jesus made appearances among his disciples for forty days after the resurrection, the first day being celebrated by the church as Easter or Pascha (Greek for Passover) and the last, Ascension Day. According to St. Paul in his first epistle to the church in Corinth, probably written earlier than any of the Gospels, Jesus also appeared in his resurrection body to a congregation of “five hundred brethren” at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6).
John records a miracle he performed, bringing many large fish into the disciples' nets, and Jesus also “restored” Peter to leadership among the disciples by giving him three opportunities to rescind his three-times denial on the morning before the crucifixion. Peter's blessing came at a price; Jesus also predicted the persecution and violent death he would face years later.
Matthew's and Mark's Gospels record the “Great Commission” as the last instruction Jesus gave his followers. Matthew ends with this rendering: “Then the eleven disciples went away to Galilee, to a mountain Jesus had appointed to meet them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus spoke to them, saying, “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen” (See Matthew 28:16–20). Mark and Luke add that after that teaching he rose up out of their presence into heaven.