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Author Topic: Luke Says the 11, but John Says Thomas was Not There. Contradiction?  (Read 6435 times)


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Re: Luke Says the 11, but John Says Thomas was Not There. Contradiction?
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2006, 03:10:13 PM »
"Luke 24:33-36  says that the 2 disciples from Emmaus found the ELEVEN [apostles] together when they witnessed to the fact of the resurrection. But John 20:19-24 negates this by saying that Thomas was not there when that happened [when the two witnessed about the resurrection]. This is a contradiction.
How can Luke say that there were Eleven and John say there were actually 10 when that happened? "
How do we reconcile the seeming contradiction

While all the details of the post-resurrection appearances are not provided, it may have worked something like this:

Luke records the two disciples on the road to Emmaus on the same day as the resurrection (Luke 24:13, Sunday - Luke 24:1, the first of the Sabbaths). The two (Cleopas and another) immediately returned to Jerusalem (the same hour vs 33) where the 11 were gathered, it being evening:

Luk 24:31-33
31 --  And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. And He became invisible from them.
32 --  And they said to one another, Was not our heart burning in us as He spoke to us in the highway, and as He opened up to us the Scriptures?
33 --  And rising up in the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem, and they found the Eleven, and those with them, having been gathered,

The eleven, including Thomas, were present to hear the account of the report of the Cleopas who met Jesus on the road. Thomas heard the account and like the rest of the disciples present (the eleven), did not believe. For whatever reason, perhaps out of disgust, Thomas left the gathering and went out.

Joh 20:24
24 --† But Thomas, one of the Twelve, the one called Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.

If we take the statement at face value, which we should, and take the fact that Cleopas spoke to the 11 disciples, then Thomas left the group at some point during Cleopas and friend telling them of about their trip with Jesus along the road to Emmaus. You can assume the discussion went on for some time, but the disciples did not believe their report (likely requiring a continuing back-and-forth discussion about the events).

Luk 24:35
35 --† And they related the things in the highway, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the loaf.

Now there are ten disciples present (Thomas is out and Judas is long dead) -- Jesus appears to them (and the others present) and they were terrified. Jesus shows his wounds on his hands, feet and side and eats with them.

Later, Thomas strolls back in, Jesus had long gone, and the disciples have changed their tune -- they now believe, having seen the risen Christ. To which Thomas says unless he sees the same thing he will "..not believe, never!".

Joh 20:24-25
24 --  But Thomas, one of the Twelve, the one called Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 --  Then the other disciples said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands, and thrust my finger into the mark of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe, never!

Sure enough, eight days later, the eleven are again together (including Thomas). Jesus appears to them and Thomas seeing and touching Jesus exclaims to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

The objection to this order is that Mark 16:14 states that He appeared to the eleven (vs 14) and yet if Thomas wasn't present there wouldn't be eleven disciples. Obviously, there is no contradiction with Mark. Rather Mark skips the first appearance of Jesus to the ten (with Thomas absent) but states only "they would not believe them".

Mark jumps to the next appearance when indeed they were all present. Mark says, "and at last" or "afterwards", meaning at a later time (i.e., when Thomas was present) he appeared. There is no reason to conclude that Mark is saying Jesus appeared to the eleven while there were only ten. Mark is not authoring confusion. 

Mar 16:13-15
13 --  And these went and told the rest; but they would not believe them
14 --  And at last, he appeared to the eleven: as they reclined at table; and he reproved the slenderness of their faith, and the hardness of their heart; because they believed not those who had seen him actually risen.
15 --  And he said to them: Go ye into all the world, and proclaim my tidings in the whole creation.

Note, the eleven were reclined at table at this meeting when Jesus appears to them. We know that Thomas had left at the first appearing because John 20:24 says this clearly. So, because the Bible is true, then this was the second appearing when Thomas was present, possibly during supper as they were reclining to eat. With them all together and finally with them all now believing (even Thomas) Jesus reproves their earlier unbelief and lack of faith (wouldn't happen if this occurred while Thomas was still in unbelief).

In case we are doubting that Mark 16:14 "afterward" should mean 'lastly' or 'eventually', we find the same word used of Peter who would follow Christ in death -- "afterward you shall follow Me", that is, in the "last" you will also die likewise.

Joh 13:36 Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, where do You go? Jesus answered him, Where I go you are not able to follow Me now, but afterwards you shall follow Me.

Thus, husteron has the sense of something that eventually happens or is the last to happen. Thus, eventually or at the last of all Jesus appeared to the eleven all together. Why would Mark leave out the other appearances? Because he wanted to move to the conclusion, but wanted to make a firm point on how slow they were all to believe that Jesus was alive. The truth of the missing disciple was not the important point under discussion.

We must remember how encapsulated the synoptic gospels are -- often events that occurred at later times and locations are condensed together in one continuous flowing account.

Paul includes Matthias in the twelve who would later (but prior to Paul's writing) be one of the twelve. Matthias was not counted in the synoptics because Acts 1:26 hadn't happened, but note how Paul just summarizes that Jesus appeared to Peter and then the twelve (if we include Matthias) completely skipping the unnecessary details about the first appearance to the ten. Paul is making the point that Jesus did appear to all the living disciples (even Matthias), and wasn't interested in the details about Thomas either.

1Co 15:4-5
4 --  and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day, according to the Scriptures,
5 --  and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.

Therefore, there is no real contradiction with the Scriptural account. There were eleven disciples present when Cleopas arrived at John's house and there were ten when Jesus appeared a bit later. There were eleven disciples the following Sunday too, as this time Thomas stayed put, and with Matthias present there were, by Paul's hindsight understanding, 12 disciples present.

Hopefully this is a help,

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Re: Luke Says the 11, but John Says Thomas was Not There. Contradiction?
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2006, 03:42:53 PM »
A harmony of the resurrection week might go something like this:

1. Mary Magdalene (Mary who had seven demons cast out, from Magdala, a village near the Sea of Galilee), Mary the mother of James (wife of Cleopas), Joanna (wife of Herod Antipasí steward, Chuza), Susanna (friend of Joanna), and Salome (wife of Zebedee , mother of James and John) exit their houses (it was very dark), meet, and strike out (beginning to dawn) for the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, where Jesus had been buried.

2. They travel the two miles to the tomb, they discussed how they might move the stone. But while they were still traveling an earthquake had occurred, an angel had descended (scaring the four guards) and had removed the stone and sat on it. First the guards passed out from fear, but then they recovered enough to flee from the angel.

3. The five women reach the tomb, the sun had risen and it was light, yet still very early in the morning (about 6:00 am). As they enter the garden they can see the stone rolled away. Mary Magdalene and the others looked in the tomb, seeing nothing they were perplexed. Mary Magdalene assumed the body was stolen and ran back to tell James and John.

4. Soon after Mary left, the other women look into the tomb (or are continuing to look) and the angel appears, sitting to the right. The angels stand, they appeared as men but frightened the women. One angel spoke so Matthew and Mark record the one speaking angel, but there was another that accompianed him, making two in the record of Luke and John.

5. Joanna leads the women back to tell the disciples as instructed, but they didn't speak to anyone else because of their fear. Joanna led the women back the way they had come -- a longer route that goes to the Ephriam gate. Joanna was only a visitor to Jerusalem and didn't know the faster Gennath Gate route used by Peter, John, and Mary Magdalene.

6. Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene reaches John's house and tells Peter and John about the stone and the missing body (she did not see Jesus). Peter and John take off to the tomb to see for themselves. Mary Magdalene follows behind them, but slower.

7. John (much younger) beats Peter to the tomb and stops at the entrance peering in -- Peter blows on by and rushes inside, then John follows. They see only neatly rolled up burial clothes (two pieces) but no angels. They walk back to their home.

8. Mary Magdalene stays at the tomb after John and Peter leave. She looks in the tomb and sees two angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot where Jesus had been laid.

9. Mary Magdalene still operating under the earlier assumption that the body was stolen, turns around to see the 'gardener' who also asks who she seeks (the angels ask first). She tells the gardener if he knows where the body is she wants to get it. She turns to the angels, but (they are probably gone) and just then the 'gardener' says "Mary!", she turns around fully and realizes the man to be Jesus.

10. At about this time, the guards report to the Jerusalem elders (out of fear of being executed for a capital offense). The guards are bribed by the Chief Priest and elders to say the body was stolen at night while they slept by the disciples. The Jews promised to smooth things over with the Roman authorities.

11. The four women, led by Joanna, arrive at John's house with their burden given by the angel to tell the discples and Peter what they've seen. They wait for Peter and John to return from the tomb (recall they had left earlier at the word of Mary Magdalene). When Peter arrives they give him their report about the angels, and without waiting for Mary Magdalene (who was heading back), the four women head off to Bethany, across the Mount of Olives, to tell the other disciples, as instructed.

12.  As the four women are traveling to Bethany, they encounter Jesus on the road, and the fall at his feet and worship Him. They are instructed to tell the disciples that they may go to Galilee and that Jesus would meet them there. This did not mean that they were to leave for Galilee immediately -- but Jesus reminded them the thing He had told them "I will go before you to Galilee" (Matt 26:32).

13.  Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene arrives at John's house (with news of having seen and touched the risen Jesus) where John and Peter are now back. The four other women had left for Bethany earlier (thus Jesus appears to them on the road), and Cleopas and friend (unnamed) had headed out for Emmaus before Mary Magdalene arrived with the news.

14. So, Cleopas and friend are traveling from John's house about seven miles to the village of Emmaus. These two knew only of the two angels at the tomb (as reported by Mary - Cleopas' wife) and the report of Peter and John (having seen only the empty tomb), they didn't know Jesus was alive. They tell these things to the 'stranger' they meet along the way. Jesus is revealed to them as they arrive near the village -- they immediately turn around and head the 2-1/2 hours back to John's house.

15. After Mary Magdalene arrived at John's house and spoke with Peter and John, and before Cleopas and friend made it back from Emmaus, Peter had left upon hearing Mary's report to the tomb (we must assume this). It was on this route that Simon Peter (Cephas) met the risen Christ (Luke 24:34, 1 Cor 15:5). Nothing more is known about this event. Peter returns to John's house by the time Cleopas returns.

16. Cleopas and friend return to John's house with the news of seeing Jesus alive. All the disciples have arrived from Bethany with the four women ("the eleven having been gathered", Luke 24:33), Mary Magdalene is still there with John, and Peter has returned from seeing the living Christ. When Cleopas arrives they are immediately told "The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon" (Luke 24:34)

17. Cleopas and friend then begin to explain the events along the road to Emmaus, but most of the disciples were still in unbelief (all the eleven including Thomas were present). Thomas, probably frustrated by all the conflicting news of angels, empty tombs, and reports of Jesus appearing to differnt people in separated places, probably rose up and went out for a long walk. In any case, Thomas was not there when Jesus appeared (Luke 24:35; John 20:24).

18. While the disciples are still going back-and-forth over the news, trying to sort all the reports (whcih most did not believe), Jesus appears before them (the doors were locked on account of fear of the Jews). Because the doors were locked they supposed Jesus was just a spirit entity. Jesus shows them His body, eats some fish as proof, speaks with them, and departs.

19. Thomas returns and will not believe the ten disciples or the others, claims he must see and handled Jesus first as they did or he will never believe it. Perhaps only because Thomas did not believe the disciples must continue in Jerusalem another week rather than heading for Galilee. It was the following Sunday that Jesus appears again -- and all eleven are present. Thomas sees and believes, saying, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:26-28). It may be this appearance that Paul refers to when he says that Jesus was seen "by the twelve" (1Cor 15:5.) Paul includes Matthias who was present because later he did replace Judas, and Paul writing much later understands this.

20. They then go to their hometown of Galilee. While waiting Peter declares that he is going fishing. Six others join him: Thomas, and Nathanael of Cana, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.  At the Sea of Tiberius (also called the "Sea of Galilee" John 6:1; 21:1), Jesus appears on the shore. They didn't recognize Him until the haul of fish occurred and John recognizes Him and tells them the stranger was the Lord. Peter immediately swims naked to the shore, and the rest follow in a smaller boat. They ate bread and some of the 153 fish they had caught. This is when Jesus asks Simon Peter three times "do you Love Me" and restored him to fellowship.

21. Sometime later, while in Galilee area, the disciples and about 500 others gather on the hills of Galilee (Matt 28:16-20, 1Cor 15:6). Here Jesus again speaks with them, for some of the 500 doubted (for the 500 it was their first time seeing Jesus resurrected). The eleven disciples return to Jerusalem.

22. After they return from Galilee, Jesus appears to His own half-brother James, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:6-7. This was probably in Jerusalem and it was a private meeting. James believes (John 7:5) and goes on to be a pillar of the Jeruslaem church (Gal 2:9).

23. At the end of Jesus' 40 days on earth, He appears the last time to the eleven discpiles. As Paul says in 1Co 15:7, "Then He was seen by James, then by all the apostles".  He meets with them in a house and tells them:

Mar 16:14-18
14 --  Afterward, as they reclined, He was revealed to the Eleven. And He reproached their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him, having been raised.
15 --  And He said to them, Going into all the world, preach the gospel to all the creation.
16 --  The one believing and being baptized will be saved. And the one not believing will be condemned.
17 --  And miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things: they will cast out demons in My name; they will speak new languages;
18 --  they will take up snakes; and if they drink anything deadly, it will in no way hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will be well.

Mat 28:18
18 --  And coming up Jesus talked with them, saying, All authority in Heaven and on earth was given to Me.

Luk 24:44-49
44 --  And He said to them, These are the Words which I spoke to you yet being with you, that all the things must be fulfilled having been written in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms, concerning Me.
45 --  Then He opened up their mind to understand the Scriptures,
46 --  and said to them, So it is written, and so the Christ must suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. No OT passage
47 --  And repentance and remission of sins must be preached on His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
48 --  And you are witnesses of these things.
49 --  And, behold, I send forth the promise of My Father on you. But you sit in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.

Act 1:4-5
4 --  And having met with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await the promise of the Father which you heard from Me.
5 --  For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

24. Then after their meeting, probably the next day, the disciples and Jesus walk from the house to the Mount of Olives. They walked down the Kidron valley, past the Garden of Gethsemane, up to the top of the mount of Olives, and as far as the path that leads down the hill to Bethany. On the hilltop Jesus continues His sermon to them and is lastly taken up to heaven:

Luk 24:50-52
50 --  He led them out as far as to Bethany. And lifting up His hands, He blessed them.
51 --  And it happened as He blessed them, He withdrew from them and was carried into Heaven.
52 --  And worshiping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy

Mar 16:19
19 --  Then indeed, after speaking to them, the Lord was taken up into Heaven, and sat off the right of God.

Mat 28:19-20
19 --  Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 --  teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.

Act 1:6-9, 12
6 --  Then, indeed, these coming together, they asked Him, saying, Lord, do You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?
7 --  And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority.
8 --  But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
9 --  And saying these things, as they watched, He was taken up. And a cloud received Him out of their sight.

12 --  Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount Of Olive Grove, which is a sabbath day's journey from Jerusalem.

Hopefully this will help put the events into perspective and help us understand that the Bible is completely trustworthy,

Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!


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Re: Luke Says the 11, but John Says Thomas was Not There. Contradiction?
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2006, 05:47:53 PM »

  Thanks John, that was very interesting!


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