Jesus had lots of disciples in addition to the famous ones.

Who Saw the Risen Christ?

Other Disciples

Two of Them…, Mark 16:12-13
…Who Apparently Were Cleopas and Companion, Luke 24:13-33
Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 52: Jesus and Disciples at Emmaus, by Christen Dalsgaard
A Group of Disciples, Luke 24:33, 36-53
Five Hundred Believers, 1 Corinthians 15:6
1 Corinthians 15:1-20, Christ has indeed been raised from the dead!

Others Who Saw the Risen Christ

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Two of Them…, Mark 16:12-13 (4/13/2010)

One of the themes that runs lightly through the reports of Jesus’ appearances is that, at first, no one except the people who saw him believed that he was alive.  The eleven didn’t believe the women, Thomas didn’t believe the ten, and the other disciples didn’t believe Cleopas and his companion.
I understand that.  I’ve been to some funerals, and I don’t expect to see those folks again on this earth.  One of my elderly cousins was telling me a couple years ago that she wanted to show some pictures to Pop (our long-deceased grandfather), who normally sat near her at lunch.  My husband and I had been warned that she wasn’t completely in touch with the world, so we just nodded.  But if you tell me you’ve seen so-and-so, deceased, at lunch, I’m going to warn your family that you aren’t completely in touch with the world.
Take careful note of the difference between Mark’s account and Luke’s account of this particular appearance.  Mark, writing early and bluntly, says that the other disciples didn’t believe them.  Luke, writing later and a little more reverently about the eleven disciples, neglects to mention their disbelief.

…Who Apparently Were Cleopas and Companion, Luke 24:13-33
Random Walk in a Gallery of Religious Art, Step 52: Jesus and Disciples at Emmaus, by Christen Dalsgaard

Almost no matter how well I know you, I won’t recognize you in a grocery store, because I don’t expect to see you there.  In fact, about a year ago, my granddaughter and I came upon each other suddenly and unexpectedly in church, and it took about a second before we recognized each other!
Many explanations have been given for why Cleopas and his companion didn’t recognize Jesus, chiefly that (1) they were prevented (by God) from recognizing him, and (2) that he was so changed in appearance that they couldn’t recognize him.  Personally, I think the reason is much simpler.  They weren’t among his closest associates, they knew he was dead, and they had “been to his funeral.”  They weren’t expecting to see him ... and they didn’t. But whoever he was, they were intent on what he had to say, and Christen Dalsgaard shows them as they urge Jesus to stay with them and tell them more.  Only when he broke the bread and blessed it – an action familiar to them, did they recognize him.

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Jesus and the Disciples at Emmaus. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
"Jesus and Disciples at Emmaus" by Christen Dalsgaard, from the Gamble family Bible, now in the private collection of Regina Hunter. Photography by Daryl Lee.

A Group of Disciples, Luke 24:33, 36-53 (4/16/2010)

Another of the themes running through accounts of the resurrected Jesus is that he was really real.  He was hearable, seeable, touchable, and hungry.  Although his friends at first thought he was a ghost – as well they might, knowing that he had died – they quickly realized that he was really, bodily alive. 
I can sort of understand why non-Christians simply can’t accept the idea of resurrection at all.  I have trouble, however, understanding why some Christians reject the idea of the physical resurrection of Jesus in favor of some sort of “spiritual” or “non-corporeal” resurrection.  Today’s scripture, and others like it, talk about the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  People who reject the physical resurrection might as well play golf on Sundays, but that’s just my opinion.

Five Hundred Believers, 1 Corinthians 15:6 (4/23/2010)

Five hundred people saw the risen Jesus at one time.  Strangely enough, we don’t know exactly when, where, or who.  Paul seems to be reminding his readers of something that was well known.  He certainly doesn’t think we have to be convinced that this event happened.

1 Corinthians 15:1-20, Christ has indeed been raised from the dead! (4/10/09)

We have seen that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the 11 disciples, to Paul, and to several hundred other people. Apparently the risen Christ appeared to so many people that it wasn't even possible to keep track of all of them. The chief characteristic of the people who saw the risen Christ is that they were changed. Paul was changed from a rabid persecutor of believers into an apostle. Peter and the other disciples were changed from fearful followers to dynamic leaders. Jesus' brother James was changed from an anonymous villager to the most influential leader of the church in Jerusalem.

The church at Corinth was mostly made up of converts from various Greek philosophical schools, and they were having trouble believing in bodily resurrection. Paul makes a complicated argument (he was trained as a lawyer [really]), so I will summarize it for you here:
Christ is risen indeed!

Others Who Saw the Risen Christ
Mary Magdalene
The Twelve Disciples
Other Disciples
Special Cases and Visions

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Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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