1

In Matthew 27:42, we read:

"He saved others," said the chief priests and elders , "but he can't save himself! He's the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him."

Had the resurrected Jesus appeared to the same chief priests who wanted to see him come off the cross and prove his messiahship , and sent the New Covenant through that route, no Jew would be skeptical of His resurrection (Matthew 28:15). Thus, every Jew would have believed in Jesus!

In light of the above insight, from an Evangelical perspective, why didn't the resurrected Jesus appear to those who doubted that He was the promised Messiah?

3

Resurrected "Jesus"

Jesus said this about his enemies

I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. John 5:42-43

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. " John 3:3

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44

Put simply unless God makes people born again they cannot recognise Him as He is. So it is not a question of proof but spiritual rebirth. If Jesus had appeared to the pharisees they would have just believed he was a ghost or a con man and tried to kill him.

When Peter a few months after Jesus rose again said plainly who Jesus was "It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed." Acts 4:10

Their response was "What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name." Acts 4:16-17

The question was not, wow, Jesus was the Son of God, but the people will believe these peoples message because of this miracle that looks outstanding, so we cannot stand against it, though we disagree with it completely.

If Jesus had stood before them it would have been no different. When stephen said something similar a year later they responded like this

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Acts 7:57-58

They knew Jesus, they knew they had killed an innocent man, who said He would rise again, and His followers, timid empty people, now appeared with boldness and great skill before them declaring His resurrection and performing miracles by Jesus's power, yet they hated them.

Either they accepted the truth or they had to fight for survival, because only force would stop this movement. They chose to fight and rebel against God.

http://cerebralfaith.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/why-didnt-jesus-appear-to-pilate-and.html

http://evidenceforchristianity.org/when-jesus-resurrection-happened-why-did-he-appear-to-his-apostles-first-why-did-he-not-appear-to-the-pharisees-teachers-of-the-law-r/

http://www.apologeticsinthechurch.com/objections-to-the-resurrection/why-didnt-jesus-appear-to-the-whole-world

above are three articles that are providing their perspective on this subject.

  • The question has been updated to ask for an evangelical perspective. Can you demonstrate that this represents such a perspective, perhaps by citing evangelical authors / commentaries? – Nathaniel May 3 '18 at 18:46
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The simplest answer is obedience: God the Father did not tell Jesus to do so.

For the second answer, consider Exodus 33:

18Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

19And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

If Jesus appeared to them, him being God and they being unrepentant, they would likely have died. Therefore, the second reason was mercy. This article from the Christian Courier describes all the efforts that they went to to suppress the story and the evidence they had that it was true:

https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/970-why-did-the-resurrected-jesus-not-appear-to-his-enemies

In times when there is a high degree of revelation from God, he holds people to a higher standard, and his justice manifests itself swiftly and more severely. Not just in the time of Moses, when people were struck down by plagues and other misfortunes when they disobeyed, but also in the church age. Consider Acts 5, where Ananias and Sapphira lie to the Holy Spirit about an issue of money and drop dead immediately. Also, Paul gives the example of unworthy people taking communion and dying. In 1 Corinthians 11:

29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

If eating the bread and drinking the wine to remember Christ's sacrifice can bring death to the unworthy who appear in his presence in church, how much more priests and soldiers who actively suppressed the truth!

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