The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most significant events in Christianity. It is the cornerstone of the faith and provides believers with hope for eternal life. However, not everyone believed that Jesus had risen from the dead, even those who were closest to him – his disciples.
Why did the disciples not believe that Jesus had risen?
There are several reasons why the disciples did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead:
Their Expectations Were Different
The disciples expected a different outcome. They believed that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom and rule as a king. When he was crucified, their hopes were shattered, and they were left confused and disillusioned.
They Were Afraid
After the crucifixion, the disciples were afraid for their lives. They feared that they would be arrested and executed, just like Jesus. They had seen what happened to their leader, and they did not want to suffer the same fate.
They Did Not Recognize Him
When Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he looked different. He had a glorified body that was different from his physical body before he was crucified. The disciples did not recognize him at first, which added to their confusion.
They Needed Proof
The disciples needed proof that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. They wanted to see him for themselves and touch him to confirm that he was real.
One of the most famous examples of doubt among the disciples is Thomas’ doubt in John 20:24-29. Thomas famously said “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:25) This passage shows that even after Jesus appeared to the other disciples, some still had doubts.
In conclusion, the disciples did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead because their expectations were different, they were afraid, they did not recognize him, they needed proof, and some of them had doubts. However, once they saw him for themselves and realized that he was indeed alive, their faith was strengthened, and they became bold witnesses for Christ.