Then suddenly, two of them left on that day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about all the things that had happened. As they were talking and questioning each other, Jesus came up and began walking with them. But their eyes couldn’t recognize him. (Luke 24:13-16)Why couldn't their eyes recognize Jesus? He was walking right next to them.
Because Jesus was appearing in a form they did not recognize. Jesus walked with them all day, and they still did not recognize him. It wasn't until he broke bread with them that evening that they finally recognized Jesus:
Then as they approached the village there were going to, he indicated that he was continuing on. But they urged him, “Stay with us, because evening is approaching and the day is now almost over.” So he went in and stayed with them. After he sat down at the table with them, he picked up the bread and offered it to God. He broke it and gave it to them. Then their vision was purified and they recognized him. Then he vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:28-31)This is very curious. Not only did they not recognize him as he walked with them. They also didn't recognize him as he sat down right in front of them. It wasn't until he offered the bread to God that they suddenly recognized him.
But then as soon as they recognized him - he vanished.
So we must ask the question: Did Jesus' dead physical body truly "rise" as has been assumed and taught by sectarian institutions for 2,000 years?
If Jesus' physical body "rose from the dead" - why didn't they recognize him?
Certainly these two disciples - Peter and Cleopas - were close to Jesus. They had been following him for some time. Peter was personally with Jesus nearly on a daily basis according to the Gospels. They would certainly have recognized him - if he was appearing to them in his physical body.
They didn't recognize Jesus because Jesus was not appearing in his physical body. Otherwise they would have recognized him.
This is also how Jesus could have suddenly vanished as well. And how he could have appeared to his other disciples inside a locked door - and vanished again. Physical bodies do not suddenly appear and vanish. Physical bodies are part of the physical dimension. They are composed of atoms and molecules that are visible to the eyes. This is why they cannot vanish.
We also know that Jesus left his physical body - as described with this verse:
Then Jesus cried out loudly and said, “LORD, into Your Hands I commit my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)The Book of Matthew states:
After Jesus called out again with a loud voice, his spirit departed. (Matt. 27:50)With these verses, we provided further evidence further evidence that the Gospels describe Jesus' spirit as leaving his physical body at the time of death.
So what appeared to Peter and Cleopas - and the other disciples later?
Yes, it was Jesus. But it wasn't Jesus' physical body, because physical bodies do not act like this.
Jesus' appearance was certainly a miracle. Jesus is God's representative, and thus had the power to appear before them in any form that he wished. He could also change their awareness, allowing them to recognize him.
In order to convince them that he was Jesus, he had to subjugate reality and appear in a way they recognized him. He had to also allow them to become aware that it was him.
The point of Jesus' "rising from the dead" is not that his physical body got up and walked. That is not the point that Jesus was trying to make.
Sectarian institutions like to make this the proof that Jesus was great. Some like to say that this proves he was God. But this in itself doesn't prove anything. Especially that he was God. God doesn't die and then rise again. As if God ever dies. That is preposterous.
The point Jesus was trying to show them is that he lived on after the death of the physical body. This is why the Gospels say his spirit departed. What did his spirit depart? His spirit departed the physical body as it died.
Jesus is teaching us that he lived on after the death of his physical body. And we will each live on after our physical body dies.
Jesus was trying to give them spiritual vision. Spiritual vision is necessary to understand that our composition is spirit - not these physical bodies. Spiritual vision is also required to understand God's existence - because the physical body's senses cannot see God.
Normally the spirit-person cannot re-appear to others in the physical world after the physical body dies. We know this from thousands of clinical death experiences. The spirit-person rises from the physical body and for awhile can watch others in the physical world, but cannot be seen by others.
Jesus, due to his relationship with the Supreme Being, did have the power to change matter and be seen by his followers, in different forms - even with a form that emulated his prior physical body.
So what happened to Jesus' former physical body that lay in the tomb? This has been the source of much speculation for centuries. The scriptures do not tell us. Each of the four Gospels describe a different story about what happened at the tomb when they realized Jesus' body was no longer there.
But they do tell us that Joseph put Jesus' dead body into his family tomb. And it was against Jewish custom to keep a dead body of a non-family member into one's family tomb. So Jesus' physical body would have had to have been moved at some point.
But does it matter how or when the body was moved? Does it matter whether Jesus' spirit-person returned and carried it away or it was carried away by angels or it was carried away by Joseph's family members? Does it really matter that the Gospels have different stories about the tomb and who appeared at the tomb?
No. What matters is what Jesus taught. This is why Jesus appeared on the earth in the first place. To teach us about God and teach us to love and serve God. If we don't learn this, then we don't know Jesus at all. We may be amazed at Jesus' ability to appear before his followers after his body died. But if this doesn't lead us to following his teachings then there is no value.
This is why Jesus also said:
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘lord, lord,’ shall enter the sanctuary of the spiritual realm – only one who does what pleases my LORD in the spiritual realm. Many will say to me at that time, ‘Master, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles? And I will say to them, ‘I never knew you: Get away from me, you who practice wickedness.’ Thus, anyone who hears these teachings of mine and acts on them is like a wise man who built his house on a rock. Then the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house – and yet it didn’t fall because it was founded upon the rock. And anyone who hears these teachings of mine and does not act on them is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: The rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – it fell with a great crash." (Matt. 7:21-27)
The verses above were quoted from the Gospels of Jesus.