came--though the doors were locked--and stood in their midst,"
These twelve words from John Chapter 20 verse 26 are, I believe, the bedrock on which Christianity as a 'sure and certain' faith based religion, allied with the reality of our senses and experiences rests.
The words are, remarkably, almost unanimously and uniformly agreed on by 26 Bibles and Commentaries.
That they are hardly open to any other interpretation other than what is manifestly obvious is stretching the bounds of language and credulity. I can, quite comfortably, state that the 12 words advise and mean that Jesus literally appeared from spirit to flesh from outside of a room that was, clearly and obviously stated for a reason, locked and barred.
It is not possible to reason from the text that Jesus was in the room, manifest to all inside, and "the room was locked and barred." Clearly a spiritual appearance is being described.
Now it can be stated that Christianity can be defined as being based on Jesus Resurrection and subsequent appearances.
But critics have dwelt on, variously, "wishful thinking/guilt
on behalf of the disciples (and Peter in particular).
"hysteria" by female followers", a non-physical 'spiritual' Resurrection seen "only in the minds of the
disciples" and "an embellishment of various other dying and reborn
God's themes from ancient mythologies of the time."
None of these themes negate the possibility of what is the core of Christianity the birth of Jesus as a man, his God filled mission, death and Resurrection.
But with the 12 words of John 20;26 there is no room for doubt, rationalist dismissal, individual hallucination.
There is no room for "mass hallucination" it being impossible that 12 or more people could, for any length of time, all experience the same hallucination at the same time for the same length of time and with the "hallucination" including dialogue with the "apparition" and even physical contact.
There is not getting around the simple fact, if these words and the ensuing event they commence to describe, are as they are obviously stated to be and obviously describe, then there are two considerations that follow from them;
1.The entire event (and a similar earlier one) are a fiction and, "if Christ has not risen, it follows that what we preach is a delusion, and that your faith also is a delusion. " (1 Corinthians 15:14).
How this group of men and their chronicler could invent such a fiction and, in a number of cases give up their lives for it is unfathomable. The only way this might be considered is that after the fact of the rise of Christianity the 'locked door' event was created, written by a later apologist but it is so ancient a tradition and would have been known to Paul, surely, through his dialogue with Peter in Jerusalem
2. The words describe a spiritual to physical manifestation to lucid men who could not have been suffering from a mass hysteria under the circumstances described. That these men became so inspired by their experience, and set out to change the world utterly convinced by the unique physical and spiritual experience of the risen Jesus, is the only conclusion that can be reached by rational minds.
Christianity, its basis in the life and Resurrection of Jesus is an unfathomable mystery and a stumbling block to the world but its reality is manifest in faith by those 12 words and also made manifest by the availability of the spiritual/physical
experience Jesus available to all though the gift of the Baptism in the Spirit.