Why don't the apostles recognize Jesus after the Resurrection?


Full Question

I'm baffled by the passages in Scripture that say the apostles didn't recognize Jesus when he rose from the dead (e.g., John 20:14). Should we not take this literally, or did Jesus really look different?

Answer

When Jesus rose from the dead, it wasn’t as though he was resuscitated (as were others who rose from the dead, like Lazarus); instead, Jesus’ Resurrection was the kind of resurrection that all of the saved will have at the end of time: He received and we will receive our glorified bodies. While we will know each other in heaven, we may look different than we do now. In like manner, Jesus’ glorified body probably was different in some respects from the body he had during his public ministry, but it was close enough to what he had before that his disciples eventually recognized him (see John 21:4-7). Luke 24:16 also notes that in one of Jesus’ encounters with the disciples that "their eyes were kept from recognizing him," suggesting that he may have looked the same, but people were miraculously kept from understanding who he was for the moment.


Michelle Arnold