Problems in Luke’s Account of the Resurrection Appearances
** (1) Could Peter have met someone other than Jesus on the Road to Emmaus, or could it have been a vision?**
Luke's gospel says:
24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
If the stranger looked like Jesus, wouldn't they have recognized Him? The second verse about their eyes suggests that they didn't see Him as Jesus. The stranger told them:
24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 24:26 Ought not [the Messiah] Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
At first glance, that sounds like something only Jesus would say. However, there a debate with a long history in Judaism over whether the Bible predicted that the Messiah would suffer these kinds of things. Perhaps the stranger merely chose to defend that side of the argument? Never did the stranger directly say that He himself was Jesus or even that Jesus was the Messiah, only that the Messiah would suffer those things. The two disciples finally recognized the stranger in the breaking of the bread, upon which the stranger vanished. So did the stranger merely break bread according to the longstanding Jewish ritual of breaking bread, or did he perform it in a secret way unique only to Jesus and the disciples? And did the stranger vanish into thin air in front of them or did he escape when they weren't looking? It's noteworthy here that the other disciples were skeptical about the two disciples' claim. And it's also strange that the two disciples' report was not that Jesus had appeared to both of them, but that "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon (Peter)." Was this appearance just a private vision by or revelation from Peter? In Mark 16:14, Jesus reprimands the apostles for failing to believe the two disciples. But this verse is in the part of Mark 16 (verses 9-20) that theologians like N.T. Wright often consider to be a later addition to Mark's original gospel.
** (2) When he came to the two disciples, the stranger called them “fools”. Does this contradict Christian teaching?**
Matthew 5:22 says:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [empty-headed], shall be liable to the judgment: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be liable to the hell of fire.
But in Luke 24:25, the stranger says: "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken". In Luke 11:40 and Matthew 23:17, Jesus calls the pharisees "fools" too. The explanation I could see for these verses is that either Jesus was not in a brotherly relationship to the people He called fools, or that when Jesus said that the person would be liable to hell fire He did not mean that the person would be guaranteed to be in hell fire or that the person was necessarily always sinning in labeling his brother a fool.
** (3) (A) Why did Jesus order Mary Magdalene not to touch Him in John, yet He let the disciples touch Him in Luke and John and the two Marys held His feet in Matthew?**
In John's Gospel, Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty and told the disciples. Then Peter and John came, found it empty, and left Mary Magdalene at the tomb. Next, Mary met the two angels inside the tomb, and then:
20:15 ...she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
In Matthew' gospel The women go to the tomb and an angel tells them to give the news to the disciples.
28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
Then in Luke 24:39 and John 20:27, Jesus asked the disciples to touch Him to prove that He was real and had a physical body. Why would He do this if He banned the women from touching Him? The only thing I can think of is that the women's touch would have made Him ritually unclean under the Torah, and that the women touched Him before He told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him.
** (3)(B) This account of the women touching Jesus raises the side issue of whether Mary Magdalene saw Jesus twice or the gospels’ chronology is wrong and she saw Him only once.**
In Matthew, (1) the two Mary's go to get the disciples, then (2) find Jesus and hold His feet. But in John's gospel, (1) Mary brings the disciples to the tomb, then (2) finds Jesus outside the tomb, and He says not to touch Him. What do you think?