RESURRECTION: WHY DIDN’T THEY RECOGNIZE JESUS?

Fr. Dwight Longenecker | 4/24/2019 | Dwight Longenecker
bab_ohhbab_ohh (Posted by) Level 3
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You must have wondered why the disciples did not recognize Jesus after the resurrection. I think there are two basic reasons.

First, his resurrection body was different than ours. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the Lord, but we have to admit that while the stories portray his resurrection as being physical, he was not physical as we are physical.

Wounds - Physicality - Story - Road - Emmaus

He’s physical inasmuch as he eats and challenges them to examine his wounds, but his physicality is unusual. In the story of the Road to Emmaus he is mysteriously appears, they don’t recognize him, then he vanishes from their sight. In the Upper Room the doors are locked but he appears among them. The suggestion is that he is able to move through the doors or walls.

C.S.Lewis has an interesting take on this. In one of his science fiction stories he explains about the physicality of angels. They are not less real than this physical world, but more real. However, because of our bias and lack of understanding they seem to us to be insubstantial, ethereal and ghostlike. In fact, it is the other way around. It is our physical world which is insubstantial compared to them.

Example - Wall - Fog - Man - Wall

He gives this example. Let’s say there is a wall of fog but you didn’t know it was fog. It looked solid and impenetrable to you. Then let’s say a man steps through that wall of fog. Because you assumed the wall was substantial and solid you would assume that the man was ghostly and insubstantial. In fact, it is the fog that is insubstantial and no more than mist. This analogy explains the way angels can move through our physical world so easily and is a good explanation for the unusual condition of Jesus’ resurrection body.

He was not less real than this physical realm,...
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