Question on the Resurrection: why didn't the disciples recognize Jesus

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by luke, May 12, 2013.

  1. luke

    luke Member

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    Been having a discussion today with my wife about the resurrection, she was of the understanding that the Soul goes up to heaven and the body was not needed. I made a few points about why Jesus's body would vanish if that was true and quoted Article IV from the Article of Faith and John 20:26-29.

    What i don't have is a good understanding of is WHY so many of the disciples did not recognise him at first, it must of been his physical body since he still had the wounds so why would he look so different?

    So my question is, what are the leading thoughts on this?

    I am hoping it there is something more going on here than Jesus returned with some of the spiffy White cloths the angles wear and that is the reason why no one recognised him straight away.;)
     
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  2. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    I think only two of the Gospels mention anyone having problems recognising the risen Jesus. It doesn't surprise me that some didn't recognise him given the events that had just occurred. A few weeks ago a friend asked me if she'd done something to upset me. I had no clue what she she meant. She then told me that earlier in the day we'd walked past each other in the street, she'd said 'Hello' and I'd just walked past seemingly blanking her. I hadn't recognised her - my mind was preoccupied with other things.

    When Mary Magdalene went to the tomb where Jesus had lain she would have expected to find a corpse. She witnessed his horrendous death, she had seen his vicious wounds - she may have held his broken body when he was taken down from the cross. Her mind may have been occupied by the prospect of having to anoint a smelly, decaying corpse which religious law had prevented being done immediately after death on that occasion. She may have had cause to worry about the body being stolen. All in all, death probably filled her mind at that time. She would've been mourning and with tearful eyes she may not have recognised the risen Jesus at first, particularly if he was some distance away from her. What I find remarkable is that God chose Mary Magdalene as the first witness to the Resurrection, the Apostle to the Apostles - that in the day when women were not allowed to be witnesses in courts of law. it is when the risen Jesus calls Mary Magdalene name that she recognises and trusts in him, as we should do today.

    The Apostles fishing from the boat may not have recognised Jesus immediately simply because they were some distance from the shore. Jesus appeared to them early in the morning so perhaps it was in the dawning light.

    The disciples on the road to Emmaus would have been walking westward from Jerusalem. We are told that it was towards evening so they'd have been walking into the sunset and possibly dazzled by the setting sun. However, we're also told that they were kept from recognizing him. As Christians, we should be walking to the sunrise rather than the sunset - we go not to a night which falls, but to a dawn which breaks. The pair on the road to Emmaus in their sorrow and perhaps disbelief did not realise this and the risen Jesus had to expound to them how the Old Testament prophesies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled by him. It was after this in the breaking of bread that their eyes were opened and they recognised him.

    Thomas Didymus didn't seem to have any problem recognising the risen Jesus despite his doubt.
     
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  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I think we should remember that Christ's resurrected body was a glorified body with amazing powers, like walking through walls, appearing and disappearing at will, ans apparently being able to change appearance. His body was very different from what it had been. We can look forward to the same on the last day when Christ will resurrect us all and, as St. Paul teaches, we will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye. We will have new, everlasting bodies that will not see decay. I am sure they will be real, physical bodies. But I doubt our present flesh will even compare to the new model waiting for us on the other side of glory.
     
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  4. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Actually her mind was probably more concerned with how she was going to get into the tomb, remember she went first thing in the morning. Christians to my mind have never addressed the problem of how Mary with two or three female companions was going to roll back the stone. All the synoptics seem to agree that Mary had seen the tomb the previous day when Jesus was put in it.

    I beg to differ: I think the first person to witness the resurrection was the young man at the tomb in Mark 16. I think it's a leap of faith to equate this young man to the one or two angels of the other Gospells. Mark's young man has no hint of a devine or even supernatural nature. I am more suspect of the later stories of who was at the tomb.
     
  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I believe on the road to Emmaus the downcast Christians didn't recognize him because he clouded their minds, on purpose in order to hear their true complaints. That is when he revealed himself and taught them about how Moses taught about him.
     
  6. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Are you sure you don't mean the Empty Tomb of which Mary Magdalene really was among the first witnesses? Nobody witnessed the actual resurrection insofar as I know.
     
  7. luke

    luke Member

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    i am most likely just splitting hairs with this , but Doesn't God already know our complaints before we even say them, same as he understands our needs without us asking????

    I remember reading something like this at some point ( most likely in a book about Prayer).
     
  8. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What helps me to understand it is remembering that Jesus was not just God but both God and Man. The way I understand it, he had two complete natures within him and thereby could honestly profess that he didn't know when he was going to return in Second Coming, and simultaneously as the Word uphold the universe. Every word and saying we read uttered by him we can see in a two-fold way of spoken by a mortal limited man and by an omnipotent infinite God.