When Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples, but they didn’t recognize him at first. This may seem surprising since they had spent years with him and knew him well. However, there were several reasons why they didn’t recognize him.
Reason 1: They Were Expecting a Different Kind of Messiah
The Jewish people were waiting for a powerful political leader who would overthrow the Roman government and establish an earthly kingdom. They expected this leader, or Messiah, to be a charismatic and powerful figure who would lead them to victory. When Jesus came as a humble servant rather than a conquering hero, many people were confused and disappointed.
The disciples also had these expectations, and when Jesus died on the cross, their hopes were shattered. When he appeared to them after his resurrection, they may have been looking for someone who looked more like a king than a servant.
Reason 2: Jesus’ Appearance Was Changed
Another reason why the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus was that his appearance had changed. In the Bible, it says that after his resurrection, Jesus’ body was transformed into a glorified body. This meant that he looked different than he did before.
In Luke 24:16, it says that when Jesus appeared to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” It wasn’t until later when he broke bread with them that “their eyes were opened” (Luke 24:31) and they recognized him.
Reason 3: They Were Afraid
When Jesus was arrested and crucified, the disciples went into hiding because they were afraid for their lives. When Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection, they may have still been afraid and hesitant to believe it was really him.
In John 20:19-20, it says that when Jesus appeared to his disciples in a locked room, “the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” This suggests that they may have been fearful before that moment.
In conclusion, there were several reasons why the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus after his resurrection. They were expecting a different kind of Messiah, his appearance had changed, and they may have still been afraid. However, once they realized it was him, their lives were forever changed.