They got up at this time and returned to Jerusalem and found the eleven gathered together with those who accompanied them – who were saying, “The Master has truly risen, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they recounted their experience on the road and how they had finally recognized him after the breaking of the bread. While they were saying this, he stood in their midst. He said to them, “Peace be with you.” Yet they were startled and frightened. They thought they were seeing a ghost. Then he asked them, “Why are you troubled and why have doubts been raised in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet and see that it is me. Touch me and see, for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:36-39)While Jesus' statement may indicate that he was presenting to his disciples within the physical body that died on the cross, there are several problems with this assumption.
The first is that he walked alongside Peter (Simon) and Cleopas for seven miles, and then sat down to dinner with them and they did not recognize him until the very end. If he had "risen" in his physical body, why didn't they recognize him?
Second, when he appeared suddenly to them, they were thinking they were seeing a ghost. If Jesus was standing there in his physical body, why would they think it was a ghost?
Third, how did he appear suddenly to the 11 disciples in their meeting room if he was in his physical body. A physical body would have had to have walked in, not suddenly appear.
In John it states:
Thus when evening came on that day, the first day of the week – after the doors were shut where the disciples stayed, for fear of the Jewish officials – Jesus appeared and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19)So here it is clear that Jesus appeared to them behind locked doors. If he was walking around in his physical body, he would have had to walk through the door.
Both John and Luke also state that Jesus disappears suddenly from their sight as well:
Then their vision was purified and they recognized him. Then he vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:31)And after he appeared to his disciples in the meeting room, he led them to another place and then left them:
Then he led them out as far as Bethany and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he departed from them and was carried up into the spiritual realm. (Luke 24:49-50)So we find that while Jesus is saying that he is showing them flesh and bones - he is also sometimes unrecognizable, and also appears out of nowhere. Then he disappears suddenly - and eventually returns to the spiritual realm. What is going on?
What kind of physical body does this? Don't dead bodies decompose?
Yes, certainly Jesus was trying to show them that it was indeed himself - and not a ghost.
We know a couple of other things here. We know that he was able to be unrecognizable, and then suddenly be recognized (with Simon and Cleopas). We also know that he was able to appear suddenly and then disappear.
Let's consider this carefully. What would give someone the ability to appear and disappear at will? What would give someone the ability to be unrecognizable and then suddenly recognizable?
Certainly, we are speaking of the ability to control physical reality. To control what people see and sense. Yes, Jesus was able to appear in such a way that allowed them to sense it was truly Jesus. Because they were so doubtful and fearful, he had to appear in a manner their senses could relate with.
This would truly be called a miracle. Something without a physical explanation.
What are we talking about here?
The ability to create illusion.
Yes, this text illustrates that Jesus has the ability - a power given to him by the Supreme Being - to create illusion in the physical world. We know that Jesus' power came from the Supreme Being:
"By myself I can do nothing; As I hear, I make choices, and my choices are just because I do not seek to please myself but to please Him who sent me." (John 5:30)The phrase "Him who sent me" certainly means the Supreme Being, who Jesus loved and served. And "By myself I can do nothing" certainly means Jesus' power comes from the Supreme Being.
But with regard to Jesus' miracle, it is not so surprising that Jesus is able to create illusion. This is, after all, the physical world - the world of illusion.
How so? Just consider how we look around us and think we are seeing solid forms - buildings, people, mountains and so on. But actually, each of these supposedly solid objects are made up of atoms that are not even touching. They are lattices of floating electromagnetism that give the illusion to our eyes that they are solid - yet they are not.
Just read any physics or chemistry book - that will clearly explain that the solids we think we see around us are not solids at all.
This is illusion. Thinking we see something - when it isn't.
Now if floating atoms of electromagnetic energy can give us the illusion that the world around us is filled with solid objects - surely the Supreme Being can give Jesus the ability to appear in what the senses perceive as a physical body.
The issue of illusion is at the core of our mis-identification with these physical bodies. The body is a temporary vehicle that dies, yet we live on after the body is dead. Why do we identify ourselves with the physical body if we existed before it was born, and we continue to exist after the body dies and decomposes? Illusion.
This issue of illusion is also at the center of what is considered faith in the existence of the Supreme Being. Many people today - even many so-called scientists - will proclaim that God does not exist because we cannot see Him with our eyes or any other senses. Nor can we perceive Him with scientific instruments - the extensions of our physical senses.
Yet these same scientists will also teach in their textbooks and classrooms that what the senses are perceiving is not reality. The senses are being tricked by the illusion of electromagnetic radiation, which give us the illusion of solid objects.
And these same scientists will also teach that there are many spectra of radiation that our senses cannot perceive. These scientists estimate that our eyes can perceive only about 0.0035% of the electromagnetic spectrum. This leaves a lot of reality that our eyes cannot perceive. Even with our instrumentation, the majority of the spectrum is unknown to us.
With these facts, how can scientists say with any confidence that they can perceive reality? How can they challenge God's existence when we can only see such a tiny part of even this world?
Let alone the spiritual realm. The spiritual realm is beyond the scope of our physical senses and this physical dimension. The spiritual realm does not have the same governance that the physical world has. The spiritual realm is not, for example, governed by time.
The physical world is governed by time. Every movement, every aspect of this world is controlled by the element of time - as designed by God. Without time, nothing would move. None of these atoms around us would exist without time. This is one the core principles of Einstein's - who accepted God's existence.
Faithless scientists are stuck within the element of time as they challenge God's existence. They are restricted by the element of time as they speculate about the creation of the universe. They think that nothing existed before the creation of the universe. Yet how could all this stuff - all the electromagnetism and personalities - be created without a source?
They talk about strings. As if a bunch of strings caused everything in the universe. As if a bunch of strings created all these personalities. As if a bunch of strings created love.
Talk about faith. These so-called scientists sure need a lot of faith to believe that crap.
Trusting in the existence of the Supreme Being is not such a stretch. Trusting that love came from a loving Creator is not unscientific. Trusting that the electromagnetic illusion of the physical universe came from an Intelligent Supreme Being makes perfect sense. Understanding that He created a world of illusion for those who wanted to escape His existence is completely logical.
Understanding that a Supreme Being loves us and cares for us so much that He would give us our freedom by creating this world of illusion is not something that has to be proven - because we can know this from within our hearts.
From within our hearts, we can trust the love of the the Supreme Being who created us. From within our hearts, we can trust that God is the Source of love. From within our hearts, we can perceive that love requires freedom of choice - to love or not. From within our hearts, we can see that we once rejected our loving relationship with God. And from within our hearts, we can make the decision to gradually re-develop our loving relationship with the Supreme Being - by remembering Him and worshiping Him.
This is why Jesus explained:
“The sanctuary of God does not appear through observation. Neither can you declare, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ Because the sanctuary of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)The concept of "within you" here is not a physical concept. It is a concept of the heart - a spiritual concept. Just as the notion of the heart is not the physical heart that beats blood. The heart we speak of is the heart of love: Spiritual love. This is why Jesus asked his students: "why have doubts been raised in your hearts?" And this is what Jesus' teachings were all about - re-developing within our hearts our trusting and loving relationship with the Supreme Being:
“ ‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)This is the "peace" that Jesus wanted for his students as he told them:
“Peace be with you.”
The verses above were quoted from the Gospels of Jesus.