If Jesus were to show up today, in the flesh, what would you expect him to look like?
The women who went to the tomb did not recognize Jesus at first, probably because they never expected to see him in physical form again. But there may have been other reasons they did not see the one who stood right in front of them. They were looking for their good friend—whose physical torture had most certainly changed the way he looked. They would have expected a bloody, beaten man, one whose eyes held torment and sorrow. That’s not the person who came to them. Jesus was in a “glorified” state, which I would not hazard to describe very closely. But it’s probably safe to say that the resurrected body, though bearing the scars, presented even more clearly the very essence of the person, a truer manifestation of his personality than had been evident in the pre-resurrected life.
The same happened with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Obviously, Jesus looked like a normal person to them—there’s no mention that they shrank back in horror, that he looked like someone who had just been un-nailed and removed from a scaffolding. They carried on a conversation with him, listened to him intently, yet did not know who it was.
For people at the time, resurrection was not a new concept but neither was it something they expected to witness right then. We, however, have carried this concept and this belief for centuries; we just presume that Jesus rose from the dead because it is our habit to believe it. Yet, if he walked into my office or your home, would we know it was him?
Questions to ponder:
- What would you expect in an encounter with the physical, risen Jesus?
- Where do you think Jesus would appear to you—during what event or in what location—and why?
- How would it feel to understand suddenly that you were in the presence of the resurrected Christ?