Why were the Apostles so surprised at Jesus' Resurrection?


#1

If the apostles knew Jesus was God, why were they so surprised at His resurrection? I dont think the apostles figured out Jesus was God until after the Ascension maybe? It was the Holy Spirit who led them into all truth. Before that time I believe that they knew He was Son of God, but maybe they didnt know what that title meant.


#2

Hello All,

 Jewish eschatology at the time postulated that the resurrection of the dead would occur at the end of the time, so a resurrection at that particular time was unexpected. Further, it seems the apostles believed Jesus was the messiah, but Jews did not expect the messiah to be divine. The fact that Jesus was crucified made the apostles loose heart at first, but once Jesus was resurrected, their faith was sealed, and thus they spread the Gospel with vigor even unto martryrdom. :bowdown:

#3

Good explanation, RikasAngel.

Are you saying that the apostles, like the other Jews, did not know Jesus was divine, let alone God, until after the Resurrection and Ascension?

One text that may support this is at the last supper when one of the apostles asked Jesus to show him the Father so he would believe.

John 14:7-9
7 If you really knew me, you would know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
9 Jesus answered: "Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
www.biblegateway.com

Maybe the apostles still didnt get it, even after Jesus had said this (refer above). Peter denied Jesus not long after, surely because he lacked faith at the time, as did all the apostles. Perhaps they thought that Jesus would be able to handle the situation without them, I don’t know, but they still fled (Mark 14:50).


#4

There is plenty of Scripture to the contrary. The apostles understood Jesus when He said He was God. The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sanhedrin also knew Jesus was claiming to be God, which is why they had Him killed.

In Matt. 9:2 Jesus says “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” and only God can forgive sins.

In Matt. 12:8 Jesus says *“For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.” * When Jesus says He is the Lord of God’s law he means He is God.

In John 10:30 Jesus says, *“The Father and I are one.” *making them equal.

In Matt. 26:64 Jesus says “But I tell you: From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’”

From these examples we can see that almost everyone knew exactly what Jesus was saying. They either believed or didn’t.

Peace,

Ryan :slight_smile:


#5

There is plenty of Scripture to the contrary. The apostles understood Jesus when He said He was God. The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sanhedrin also knew Jesus was claiming to be God, which is why they had Him killed.

In Matt. 9:2 Jesus says “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” and only God can forgive sins.

In Matt. 12:8 Jesus says “For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.” When Jesus says He is the Lord of God’s law he means He is God.

In John 10:30 Jesus says, “The Father and I are one.” making them equal.

In Matt. 26:64 Jesus says “But I tell you: From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’”

From these examples we can see that almost everyone knew exactly what Jesus was saying. They either believed or didn’t.

If St.Thomas knew Jesus was God during those verses you mentioned, why did He not believe that Jesus rose from the dead until he could touch the wounds? I mean if Thomas knew all that time that Jesus was his Creator, how come he didn’t think it was possible that Jesus could raise himself up from death.

That brings up another point. If the apostles knew Jesus was God throughout His public ministry, why did they flee when the Jewish soldiers arrested Jesus?

Also, how come on the road to Emmaus after the Crucifixion, the disciples referred to Jesus as “a prophet”?

Luke 24:19"What things?" he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."

25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ** have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.**

Surely if they knew Jesus was God, or even the Messiah, they would have said so. I don’t think they weren’t even sure if Jesus was the Messiah (not the apostles, but the disciples on the road to Emmaus). It depends on how one reads vs 26 I suppose. It seems that the disciples on the road to Emmaus once thought that Jesus was the Messiah, but now they no longer did…until later at table with them.

Luke 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
www.biblegateway.com

Btw, what do you think about of RikasAngel’s post?


#6

I’m not entirely rejecting your thoughts on this topic, because there is probably some truth to what you are saying. None of us fully understand the mystery of God. All I was saying is that Jesus’ own words and deeds are His claim that He is God. If the apostles didn’t believe Jesus, why would didn’t they reject him like the others. Take (John 8:58) for example. Jesus says “Before Abraham was, I AM” in reference to Himself and (Exodus 3:14) This is a bold claim of divinity, and the apostles understood this. But we don’t see them trying to stone Jesus to death. I don’t know how much they understood and I think this is an interesting topic, so let’s continue the conversation. I’m learning alot in the process.

Jesus said “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Do you ever have doubts about what the Lord can do in your life or in the world? I do, when my faith is lacking.

We know Jesus is God, so why do we flee and not always stand by the Lord? (In day to day and unusually tough situations) Probably because we are just like the apostles in this regard.

Also, how come on the road to Emmaus after the Crucifixion, the disciples referred to Jesus as “a prophet”?

Surely if they knew Jesus was God, or even the Messiah, they would have said so. I don’t think they weren’t even sure if Jesus was the Messiah (not the apostles, but the disciples on the road to Emmaus). It depends on how one reads vs 26 I suppose. It seems that the disciples on the road to Emmaus once thought that Jesus was the Messiah, but now they no longer did…until later at table with them.

I don’t really know the answer to this question. Jesus was different and initially unrecognizable (Luke 24:37; Mark 16:12; John 20:14; 21:4). and they had just lost their Master. Maybe they were afraid they would meet the same fate as Jesus. Would could further explore this question if you like.

Btw, what do you think about of RikasAngel’s post?

I’m no expert, and haven’t explored those ideas. RikasAngel’s post is interestingj, so I’ll make a seperate reply.

Peace,

Ryan :slight_smile:


#7

I agree with the statement below, but Jesus’ words and actions reveal His divinity before His resurrection. I also agree that Jesus’ resurrection (and the Holy Spirit) sealed their faith, but I’m no expert so I can’t say this with certainty. As I said before, I don’t know the minds and heart’s of the apostles, so I can’t say if they fully understood Jesus’ divinity. What I am saying is that they understood Jesus proclaiming Himself as divine.

Jesus said *“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.” *(John 5:21) This is a quite a bold statement of His divinity in light of (Deut. 32:39) “Learn then that I, I alone, am God, and there is no god besides me. It is I who bring both death and life, I who inflict wounds and heal them, and from my hand there is no rescue.” and (1 Sam 2:6) “The LORD puts to death and gives life; he casts down to the nether world; he raises up again.”

If we read (John 11:21-45) when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, we see that verses (21-24) confirm that

Jewish eschatology at the time postulated that the resurrection of the dead would occur at the end of the time, so a resurrection at that particular time was unexpected. Further, it seems the apostles believed Jesus was the messiah, but Jews did not expect the messiah to be divine.

*Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. (But) even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” *

It appears Martha states the Jewish understanding of the time, but then Jesus corrects Jewish eschatology concerning the resurrection and His divinity. (remember Deut. 32:39)

*Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” *

Notice that Martha believes. She couldn’t have missed Jesus’ claim, but she must have some doubts in light of

*Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” *

It doesn’t say what level of belief Martha had after her brothers ressurection.

*“Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.” *

Here we see the Jews began to believe in Him. This still doesn’t prove they were convinced of His divinity, but we don’t see them denying His claim like the Scribes and Pharisees.

I hope that help you understand the point I was trying to make.

Peace,

Ryan :slight_smile:


#8

Surely, presuming that the Apostles belived that Jesus was God, they would certainly have thought that He COULD rise from the dead.

That doesn’t mean that they would think He WOULD of a certainty rise from the dead. He never explicitly said that He would, rather He used the somwhat obscure metaphor of destroying and rebuilding the Temple as representing His body.

I just think the awfulness of the crucifixion caused a temporary wavering in their faith. I’m sure if I’d seen it I would have been at least tempted to doubt that He would rise again.


#9

Lily, you and Ryan bring up some good points in relation to knowing something is real but we still have doubts because of our human weakness.

However, I think this argument is not perfect:

The temple metaphor He used was when he was debating with the “Jews” (the Jewish leaders who were against Jesus). Jesus was often indirect with them because of their unbelief and arrogance I think. But even so, He actually used “three days” when talking about the raising after His body was destroyed. The verses are in John 2.

John 2: 18 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"
19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."
20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

I still think that your point about Jesus not clearly stating He would rise is a fair one. But, this brings up a simple questions:

  1. What did the apostles expect would happen to Jesus after His death? Did they think he would be spiritually in Paradise or Heaven like the deceased before Him? Surely if the apostles saw Jesus raise Lazarus from death after three or four days and also thought that Jesus was God, He could raise Himself up as well. Surely He had to rise again if He was God.

  2. If they knew Jesus was God, how could they reconcile the fact that now they would have thought there were two Gods? Because they wouldn’t have had the idea that there are three Hypostases in One God. Never in the Bible does it show the Apostles asking Jesus if He was the God of Abraham Issac and Jacob. How could they have realised that the Father and the Son were at the same time distinct from one another but both one God? I cannot see it. The only way at this time I can understand that the Aposles knew Jesus was God, was if they believed in the theory that would later be known as Modalism. But then, :slight_smile: they saw Jesus praying to God, so they wouldnt have thoughtt that Jesus was praying to Himself. :confused:

Anyway, for me its confusing. For instance, after the resurrection Mary Magdalen referred to Jesus as “Teacher” in the following verse:

John 20: 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ "
18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Then after she refers to Him as “Lord” (vs 18), but does “Lord” in this context mean the same as “God” or “ruler” I don’t know.

One thing I can say is that I’m more convinced that Thomas was saying “My Lord and my God!” directly to Jesus. I was starting to think that maybe Thomas was giving thanks to the Father for raising Jesus. I personally reject the notion that Thomas was using God’s name in vain because he was so surprised.

Bible quotes from www.biblegateway.com


#10

Ryanoneil: Jesus said “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Do you ever have doubts about what the Lord can do in your life or in the world? I do, when my faith is lacking.

We know Jesus is God, so why do we flee and not always stand by the Lord? (In day to day and unusually tough situations) Probably because we are just like the apostles in this regard.

As mentioned in my previous post, this does make sense ie.Even though we believe, why do we have doubts?

Ryanoneil: I don’t really know the answer to this question. Jesus was different and initially unrecognizable (Luke 24:37; Mark 16:12; John 20:14; 21:4). and they had just lost their Master. Maybe they were afraid they would meet the same fate as Jesus. Would could further explore this question if you like.

I don’t think that the disciples would have thought that the man that was walking beside them was a Jewish spy. But I dont know, stranger things have happened. But, “a prophet”, is that the best thing they could come up with? not healer, or law-giver, or even the prophet? I don’t know, maybe the disciples didn’t follow Jesus for a long time, maybe they didn’t see all the wonders Jesus performed. But surely they would have heard that Jesus rose Lazarus from death. Maybe they were now not sure what to make of Jesus because of His death (they probably expected that the Messiah would never die).

Ryanoneil: I agree with the statement below, but Jesus’ words and actions reveal His divinity before His resurrection. I also agree that Jesus’ resurrection (and the Holy Spirit) sealed their faith, but I’m no expert so I can’t say this with certainty. As I said before, I don’t know the minds and heart’s of the apostles, so I can’t say if they fully understood Jesus’ divinity. What I am saying is that they understood Jesus proclaiming Himself as divine.

You know, Im not sure. When I look at Acts, the disciples say things which I don’t feel reconciles with the fact that he believes Jesus is God on the same level as the Father. Examples:

2:36: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Im not sure what the disciples mean by “Lord” when they refer to Jesus throughout Acts.

In Acts 4:

23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
” ‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26The kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
against the Lord
and against his Anointed One.[c]’[d] 27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people[e] of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."

Theres a couple things that you can notice when you look closer.

  1. Both David and Jesus are called servants (admittedly, Jesus is called “holy servant”). Also, the apostles refer to themsleves as “servants” (vs 29).
  2. That this is a private prayer, and they are still calling Jesus a servant. When was the last time you called Jesus “a servant of God”? I can understand that when the apostles were evangelising they referred to Jesus as a servant to explain to them that Jesus was the “Suffering Servant” of the Isaiah prophecies.

CONT.


#11

In yesterdays second reading (Acts 10:34-38):

34Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

  1. See vs 38. It seems that Peter was saying that it was because God was with Jesus, that Jesus was able to “do good” and heal. Surely, if they knew Jesus was fully divine they would have thoguht that Jesus had the power in Himself. Or did they think it was the Holy Spirit working through Jesus (given to Him at the Baptism)?

  2. Why do they say God annointed Jesus? Isn’t it the Father that annointed Jesus? God is what the Father’s nature is isn’t it, not who He is. Otherwise, St. Peter should have said something like, “God (nature of the Father) annointed God (nature of the Son) with God (nature of the Holy Spirit).” What do you think? In other words, why does Peter exchange “Father” with “God”, but not “Jesus” or the “Holy Spirit” with “God”. Maybe they thought the Father was the God of Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) as well?

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

Notice that Martha believes. She couldn’t have missed Jesus’ claim, but she must have some doubts in light of

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”

It doesn’t say what level of belief Martha had after her brothers ressurection.

“Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.”

Here we see the Jews began to believe in Him. This still doesn’t prove they were convinced of His divinity, but we don’t see them denying His claim like the Scribes and Pharisees.

What did Martha say to Jesus? she said “I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” I can’t see how this means that she thought that Jesus was Almighty God. I think that Martha’s claim that He was the “Messiah, the Son of God” may be the answer to what the people now believe here in this verse:

"Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him."
They probably now believed He was the Messiah, like Martha, not that He was God.

Also, this may sound speculative, but if the best claim that was said to Jesus throrughout His ministry was by Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (doesn’t clearly state that he thinks Jesus is true God here), what do you expect people who didn’t know Him as well as the Apostles were actually going to say? that He was God? I just can’t see it.

I admit here that in Matthew 16, there is something more to Peter’s declaration that Jesus was the Christ. Based on what Jesus says straight after: 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

I don’t think it was a big deal that by now he thought Jesus was the Christ after all he had already seen (healings, multiplications of the loaves, Jesus walking on water etc), so Peter must have meant more by what he said.

I hope you understand me.


#12

Another thing that has not been brought up:

They may have believed he was God, but they may also have believed you **cannot **kill God. BUT their faith was shaken because he was killed at the crucifixion. They were now in the process of saying “Were we wrong? how could God die?”


#13

Bear in mind that some prophets of the old testament also were able to perform certain miracles. Jesus being able to perform miracles as a prophet would not of necessity pegged him as God. I am thinking that they at the point of the crucifixion and even before Pentacost may not have been able to put all they had heard and experienced together. Certainly they did not attempt to preach and teach until the Holy Spirit descended upon them and “reminded” them of all that Jesus had taught…


#14

Don’t forget that Jesus didn’t need baptism.

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.

He submitted to it to identify with sinners and align himself with Gods plan. He is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will. He is being an example for us. He is sanctifying the waters and prefiguring Christian baptism, so that we can be adopted as a beloved child of God.

  1. Why do they say God annointed Jesus? Isn’t it the Father that annointed Jesus? God is what the Father’s nature is isn’t it, not who He is. Otherwise, St. Peter should have said something like, “God (nature of the Father) annointed God (nature of the Son) with God (nature of the Holy Spirit).” What do you think? In other words, why does Peter exchange “Father” with “God”, but not “Jesus” or the “Holy Spirit” with “God”. Maybe they thought the Father was the God of Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) as well?

The Trinity is a mystery and hard to understand. I can’t do justice to your questions. Thankfully we are able to see The Trinity at Jesus’ baptism. The father speaks, the Son is baptized, and the Holy Spirit descends as a dove.

What did Martha say to Jesus? she said “I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” I can’t see how this means that she thought that Jesus was Almighty God. I think that Martha’s claim that He was the “Messiah, the Son of God” may be the answer to what the people now believe here in this verse:

"Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him."
They probably now believed He was the Messiah, like Martha, not that He was God.

I hear what you are saying but the most important part of this whole story is in 11:25-26 *Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” *

Jesus places all hopes for a future resurrection upon himself. He possesses the absolute sovereignty over life and death that was always believed to be the sole prerogative of God himself. (Deut. 32:39; 1 Sam 2:6)

Jesus mentioned this in John 5:25 Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

He also talked about this in the bread of life discourse. John 6:40, 54 *For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him (on) the last day. . . Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. *

Like I said earlier, I don’t know what they actually believed, but there is absolutely no way that they could have misunderstood what Jesus was saying.

I hope you understand me.

Yes, I do understand what you are saying MH84. I’ll try finding claims by Jesus’ followers that He is God, before His resurrection and Pentacost.

Peace,

Ryan :slight_smile:


#15

I think it is safe to assume that most Jews understood Deut. 32:39 “Learn then that I, I alone, am God, and there is no god besides me. It is I who bring both death and life, I who inflict wounds and heal them, and from my hand there is no rescue.”

Understanding that God is the one who brings life, Jesus applies this power to himself in the bread of life discourse John 5:25 Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

John 6:60 *Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” *

I understand this has to do with Jesus saying they must eat his flesh, but they couldn’t have missed him saying the voice of the Son of God makes people live.

Then John 6:68-69 *Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” *

At the least this is a confession of the heart, even if his head didn’t understand the mysteries revealed.

Peace,

Ryan :slight_smile:


#16

There’s belief and then there’s belief. Some or all of the Apostles and other disciples believed, in a cerebral sort of way, that Jesus was divine. But when it came down to it, when their lives were threatened and everything they “knew” and expected about the Messiah was crashing down around them, that shallow kind of belief didn’t mean much, and they fell away. It might sound amazing to those of us who have never had to undergo real persecution, but this is how humans operate. Only in times of severe crisis do we find out what we *really *believe, what we actually trust in on a gut level. True faith like that is a gift from God, not just a product of our intellects. The Apostles had it after seeing and being empowered by the risen Lord.


#17

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