Why didn't the disciples recognize the resurrected Jesus?


Luke 24:15-16

As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

John 20:15

"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

John 21:4

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.


Why didn't the disciples and others recognize the resurrected Jesus, after they had spent so much time with him? In two of the cases above, they may not have gotten a good look at him at first. Mary Magdalene recognized Jesus as soon as he spoke (Jn 20:16); she may have been too upset when she first saw him to really look at him. The disciples in the boat were about 300 feet from shore, but they soon recognized him as well (Jn 21:5-8).

As for the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they were prevented from recognizing Jesus (Lk 24:16, 31). It may have been that Jesus kept them from recognizing him so that he could teach them without their being in shock and exclaiming over him.

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