In three out of the four gospels, there’s something wierd about Jesus’ resseruction.
The wierd thing is that three independent accounts of three indepent events describe how hard it was to recognize the risen Jesus.
Some of Jesus’ own disciples spend the whole day talking to somebody. It’s only at the end, when he breaks the bread and prays over it, that they recognize him.
Elsewhere, he shows up when some of them are fishing. It’s only after several minutes of fishing tips, God-style, that they recognize who he is.
The book of Mark is the most debatable. It simply says: “when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”
Even if we discount this last example, there’s some pretty fascinating things going on.
NT Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” suggests that all of Christ’s followers will end up with bodies like his in the next life. (I think Paul says some similiar things to this.) Perhaps this is part of the explanation for the stuff in the epistles that seems to say that we won’t recognize each other in the afterlife. (Anybody know where that is, by the way? It was mentioned in small group last week, but none of us could come up with the reference.)
Interestingly, he doesn’t appear all glowing like in the transfiguration. Everybody involved seems to mistake him for some other ordinary (though wise) person.
In the first two cases, Jesus does something which might have evoked memories his disciples had before. When he does it, it seems like the light just suddenly turns on, and they get it.
Jesus not only broke bread with his followers numerous times… but the last time he did, he turned it into a pretty striking and major lesson.
And when he met some of the disciples first, they were fishing. Jesus promised to make them “fishers of men”
It almost seems like one of those optical illusions, or one of those magic eye things. Once they see Jesus for who he is, there’s this sense of “How could we possibly have missed it before?”
I’ve been thinking lately about expectations and predictions. We can worship the living Jesus or we can worship our expectations of him. If we worship our expectations we can miss the real risen Christ, even when he is right under our nose.