A Bible Study by Paula Yingst
Jesus surprised his disciples by appearing and standing among them a second time with a special message for Thomas …
“Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:26-29)
As Christians, we should long to experience RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR SAVIOR. But a majority of believers have DIFFICULTY RECOGNIZING JESUS. Each of the gospel writers eluded to the fact that even the people closest to him did not know who he was.
MATTHEW: “When the centurion and THOSE WHO WERE GUARDING JESUS saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, ‘SURELY HE WAS THE SON OF GOD!’“ (Mt. 27:54)
MARK: ” When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. Afterward JESUS APPEARED IN A DIFFERENT FORM to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.” (Mark 16:9-13)
LUKE: “Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus … They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. … Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but THEY WERE KEPT FROM RECOGNIZING HIM.
He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’…
‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but 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. …’
He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself….
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. THEN THEIR EYES WERE OPENED AND THEY RECOGNIZED HIM, and he disappeared, and he disappeared from their sight.”(Luke 24:13-31)
JOHN: “‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them, and they said, ‘We’ll go with you.’ So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, BUT THE DISCIPLES DID NOT REALIZE THAT IT WAS JESUS.
He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ … He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” (John 21:3-7)
THINK ABOUT IT: The centurion needed proof of Jesus’ true identity, and God caused a violent earthquake to rattle his emotions. Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was the gardener (John 20:11-16); she heard him say her name and believed. The Son of God — the Lord’s avatar — appeared to two of the disciples “in a different form.” He had to “open their eyes” before they recognized who he was. And as Jesus stood on the shore of the sea, he called out to the disciples who were fishing. But it was only after their miraculous catch of fish that John was able to conceive, “It is the Lord!”
If Jesus appeared to you at a time of confusion in the world about what had happened … what was happening … and what would happen in the future, what would it take for you to recognize him?