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  #1  
Old May 4, '11, 12:31 pm
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CatholicZ09 CatholicZ09 is offline
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Default Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

There are three cases I can recall from scripture that Jesus was not recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection.
  • Mary Magdalene - Easter morning. She goes to the tomb and doesn't recognize Jesus, thinking he is the gardener.
  • The Sea of Tiberius - The disciples think Jesus is a ghost.
  • The Road to Emmaus - The two disciples think he is visiting Jerusalem and do not recognize him until the breaking of bread.

So my question is: Why didn't they recognize him after his resurrection?
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  #2  
Old May 4, '11, 2:13 pm
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Spencerian Spencerian is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

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Originally Posted by CatholicZ09 View Post
There are three cases I can recall from scripture that Jesus was not recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection.
  • Mary Magdalene - Easter morning. She goes to the tomb and doesn't recognize Jesus, thinking he is the gardener.
  • The Sea of Tiberius - The disciples think Jesus is a ghost.
  • The Road to Emmaus - The two disciples think he is visiting Jerusalem and do not recognize him until the breaking of bread.

So my question is: Why didn't they recognize him after his resurrection?
Hi.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the glorified body of Christ has four qualities. One of these is clarity. The clarity of a glorified body follows the will of the perfected soul; it can choose to be seen, not seen, or seen in a different appearance. This follows several instances in Scripture where the risen Christ appears to several Disciples and Mary Magdalene, yet they don't immediately recognize him.
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  #3  
Old May 4, '11, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

Also, as I understand it, Jesus did not wish to be recognized by mere human sight, but by willing them to see through faith, instead. Add to this their own incredulity and joyful feelings of "it can't really be him, can it?" and we can surmise why. God often hides himself from us under other appears so that we seek him and desire him for himself alone and not for what he can do for us or because it makes us feel good, etc. He wishes to purify our desire into holy desire and to do that he conceals himself just enough for us to ask, "Is it truly him?"
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Old May 4, '11, 2:34 pm
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LemonAndLime LemonAndLime is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

I always thought it was because they couldn't believe it was actually Jesus as they were sure he was dead, didn't think it would be something deeper.
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Old May 4, '11, 2:35 pm
jfmarm81 jfmarm81 is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

I think it had to do with His glorified body being in a different state. Mary and the disciples had to believe that this truly was Jesus, back from the dead. It took some sort of words or actions (such as breaking the bread) for theirs eyes to be opened and for them to truly believe.
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Old May 4, '11, 2:36 pm
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Mary Gail 36 Mary Gail 36 is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

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I always thought it was because they couldn't believe it was actually Jesus as they were sure he was dead, didn't think it would be something deeper.
Me too, actually.
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Old May 4, '11, 2:39 pm
Della Della is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

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I always thought it was because they couldn't believe it was actually Jesus as they were sure he was dead, didn't think it would be something deeper.
There's always more to the accounts of Jesus' life and words than what can be easily be perceived with reason alone. Reason is good and helpful, but it can't take us all the way into the mysteries of God.
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  #8  
Old May 4, '11, 2:57 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

I believe it to also be a function of God's compassion for us, his knowledge of what we can and can't handle at any given time. Throughout his ministry, Jesus revealed himself to the disciples in stages, not giving them too much before they are ready to handle it...
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. (John 16:12)
Jesus knows just what we need and gives it to us right when we need it, never forcing us before we can handle it. And he does so even after the ressurection.
Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16)
Jesus doesn't just walk up to them and say, "Hey guys, check it out, I'm alive!" He hides himself and gently eases the disciples into it in a loving way, a Eucharistic way, first on the road to Emmaus. .
And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. (Luke 30:31)
The two men on the road to Emmaus tell the disciples how he revealed himself Eucharistically...
Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 30:25)
Simon Peter was already claiming to have seen the Lord but even so, through their frailty, the disciples are terrified when Jesus appears...
While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. (Luke 30:36-37)
How wonderful our Lord is! He reveals himself in such a loving way...
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them. (Luke 30:39-43)
He asks the disciples to come forward and see that it is really him, to look and to touch. Then he has a meal with them. And he reveals himself to us this way in the Eucharist, whenever we come forward to the altar to recieve him. He does not fully reveal himself in the flesh, but does so in a hidden way, still asking us to "See that it is really me" and inviting us to look upon him and touch him to know that he is real. And like that day when he at the baked fish, he asks us to have a meal with him.

The disciples thought they were seeing a ghost, that he wasn't real, in spite of being told by several people that he had been seen alive. And its the same way now. Catholics say, "Jesus is really present in the Eucharist" and we are told, "Oh, you crazy Catholics, It's just bread." Just like Thomas, secular society and mainstream Protestant Christianity refuses to believe.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." (John 20:25)
But Jesus was real then and he is real now. The Eucharistic thread through the whole story is clear to me. He reveals himself to us the same way in the Eucharist as he did to his disciples after the ressurection, in a loving, compassionat way. In a hidden way. In a Eucharistic way.
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:27-28)
The verse above could just as well have been written...
Then the Priest of God said to the parishoner, "Body of Christ." The parishoner answered and said to him, "Amen!"
-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; May 4, '11 at 3:15 pm.
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  #9  
Old May 4, '11, 3:19 pm
piejesu piejesu is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

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Originally Posted by jfmarm81 View Post
I think it had to do with His glorified body being in a different state. Mary and the disciples had to believe that this truly was Jesus, back from the dead. It took some sort of words or actions (such as breaking the bread) for theirs eyes to be opened and for them to truly believe.
I think the answer above is a good place to start with this mystery. I am reminded of these stunning lines from the Holy Father's Easter Vigil homily this year.

The world had changed. This man who had died was now living with a life that was no longer threatened by any death. A new form of life had been inaugurated, a new dimension of creation.
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Old May 4, '11, 7:53 pm
PacoG PacoG is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

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Originally Posted by jfmarm81 View Post
I think it had to do with His glorified body being in a different state. Mary and the disciples had to believe that this truly was Jesus, back from the dead. It took some sort of words or actions (such as breaking the bread) for theirs eyes to be opened and for them to truly believe.
I wouldn't put the Blessed Mother on the same plane of knowledge as the Disciples. Mary had more than just faith to rely on about her Son. She had actual knowledge. She had it directly from the angel of God-- the Archangel Gabriel -- that her son was the Christ who would fulfill the prophecies. I don't think she was surprise to hear of the Resurrection or at any time doubted that he would rise again.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel says that the among the Stations of the Cross on the Villa Dolorosa in Jerusalem is Jesus Visiting His Mother on the Morning of the Resurrection (supposedly St. Francis of Assisi had many more Stations than those that we observe). Fr. Benedict says that the reasoning behind that particular station is "what good Jewish boy wouldn't make visiting his mother his first priority."
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  #11  
Old May 4, '11, 9:11 pm
jfmarm81 jfmarm81 is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

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Originally Posted by PacoG View Post
I wouldn't put the Blessed Mother on the same plane of knowledge as the Disciples. Mary had more than just faith to rely on about her Son. She had actual knowledge. She had it directly from the angel of God-- the Archangel Gabriel -- that her son was the Christ who would fulfill the prophecies. I don't think she was surprise to hear of the Resurrection or at any time doubted that he would rise again.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel says that the among the Stations of the Cross on the Villa Dolorosa in Jerusalem is Jesus Visiting His Mother on the Morning of the Resurrection (supposedly St. Francis of Assisi had many more Stations than those that we observe). Fr. Benedict says that the reasoning behind that particular station is "what good Jewish boy wouldn't make visiting his mother his first priority."

Sorry, I was referring to Mary Magdalene......my apologies for the confusion....
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  #12  
Old May 4, '11, 9:40 pm
patrick457 patrick457 is offline
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Default Re: Why wasn't Jesus recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection?

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Originally Posted by CatholicZ09 View Post
There are three cases I can recall from scripture that Jesus was not recognizable to his disciples/followers after his resurrection.
  • Mary Magdalene - Easter morning. She goes to the tomb and doesn't recognize Jesus, thinking he is the gardener.
  • The Sea of Tiberius - The disciples think Jesus is a ghost.
  • The Road to Emmaus - The two disciples think he is visiting Jerusalem and do not recognize him until the breaking of bread.

So my question is: Why didn't they recognize him after his resurrection?
Personally, I think this may have something to do with His now having a glorified body. Either He could change His appearance at will or choose to 'cast a veil' (so to speak) over the disciples' eyes to prevent them from recognizing Him.

I'm reminded BTW of the 2008 BBC miniseries The Passion, where they got two different actors - who look totally different from one another - to portray the resurrected Jesus on two different scenes (Mary Magdalene and the Road to Emmaus). When the disciples finally recognize that Jesus is risen, He is now again portrayed by the main actor (Joseph Mawle).
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