Not What You Were Expecting…?
What a frustrating God. Never doing the simple, predictable thing. Never.
Just look: instead of simply resurrecting Yeshua bodily and making quite a scene about it, God went and made it a silly kind of resurrection. A hidden, secret, and mysterious kind of resurrection.
For, you see, Yeshua was not “bodily resurrected” as we might expect… it was… well, kind of funny. For people very close to him had trouble recognizing him.
Was it because he was so beat up he was nearly unrecognizable? No, the scriptures tell us he was healed of all but the 5 wounds of his Crucifixion… and yet, when he appeared to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, not only was he completely healed, but she did not recognize him:
Mary Cannot Recognize Yeshua
10. Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11. but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12. and saw two angels in white, seated where Yeshua’s body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14. At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Yeshua.
15. “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16. Yeshua said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17. Yeshua said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
This is the very same woman who stayed at Yeshua’s side throughout the entire ordeal of his crucifixion, who took his body down from the cross, and helped prepare his body for burial 3 days before. And yet even she could not recognize him.
Why? Well, he didn’t look like Yeshua. Simple as that.
The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus
13. Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven milesa from Jerusalem. 14. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Yeshua himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.
17. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19. “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21. but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23. but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
25. He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27. And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28. As they approached the village to which they were going, Yeshua acted as if he were going farther. 29. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33. They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34. and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35. Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Yeshua was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
They could NOT recognize Yeshua until they broke bread together. No, this is not an allusion to the future ritual of the Eucharist, this is a simple statement of the power of sharing what you have with others. That is the outward sign of love, through charity of what you have with others, no matter how scarce or abundant it may be. When we show our love of each other through sharing what we have, we can see Yeshua!
The Stranger at the Sea of Tiberias
1. Afterward Yeshua appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2. Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Yeshua.
5. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7. Then the disciple whom Yeshua loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10. Yeshua said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
11. Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12. Yeshua said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13. Yeshua came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Once again, Yeshua could not be recognized by sight. John knew it to be Yeshua in his heart, but Yeshua did not appear as himself, but as a stranger. So much so, that even when the disciples came close on the shore, they still couldn’t recognize him, but dared not ask, because they simply knew it was him.
And what is the common theme? Sharing with each other. It is in the act of sharing their bounty of fish on shore that Yeshua became apparent to them.
He is Risen
So, you see my beloved brothers and sisters, Yeshua is risen! He is Risen, indeed! But recognizing this fact is much more difficult that we have been taught. Yeshua doesn’t appear to you in all the glory of the hosts of Heaven, he appears to you in the form of a stranger. Especially one in need.
We cannot assume anyone in this world is not the risen Anointed One come to see us. We must always treat others as if they are Yeshua. Because, if we don’t… it is as if his resurrection never happened at all.
When we break bread and share our meager bounty with others, He is Risen and alive! But when we ignore our essential brotherhood or sisterhood with others in the family of God, and we do not share with others and help others, we put Yeshua back into the tomb and let him rot away.
Yeshua’s resurrection was indeed a funny kind of thing. We have the power to deny, negate, and reverse the effects of the resurrection. All depending on how we choose to love everyday.
Do You Deny the Resurrection?
Lastly, one of my favorite videos about our power to denying the resurrection, by Peter Rollins.