I posted at the beginning of Lent how excited I was to be in the season of Lent to be reading and listening to all the rich Gospel messages of the season. And now that Lent is over, I’m singing alleluia’s because of Resurrection stories!
I’m sure you’ve noticed that Jesus’ disciples don’t recognize him when they look at him, or even when they hear him speak. Outside the empty tomb, Mary Magdalene, for example, doesn’t recognize Jesus. She thinks he is a gardener. She is looking at him and he speaks to her. It’s not until he says her name, “Mary,” that her eyes and ears are opened. (Jn 20:11-18). There is also the story of Jesus meeting up with two unnamed disciples on the road between Jerusalem and Emmaus on the day of the Resurrection. They don’t recognize him as a walks and talks with them, even after he explains all that has happened based on Old Testament Scripture. It is not until they break bread with him that evening that their eyes are opened. (Lk 24:13-25). Even the eleven apostles don’t recognize him until he shows them the scars on his hands and side. (Jn 20:19-23). And there is a fourth example. The apostles were fishing in the lake one day (after the Resurrection) and caught no fish when Jesus stood on the beach and told them to simply cast the net off the right side of the boat. They did not recognize him until they pulled in a net so full of fish that the net was tearing. St. John’s eyes were then opened and he said to St. Peter “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21:1-14). Why did they not recognize him? The teaching is that after the Resurrection, Jesus’ body was glorified and he was not recognizable.
This, in fact, is also the teaching for our own bodies. Once we rise from the dead on Judgement Day and enter into heavenly glory, our bodies will be transformed. (See 1 Cor 15:36-58). Gregory Koukl in his book The Story of Reality describes it quite eloquently: “And one day we will lay hold of it in its fullness. The war will be over. The anguish will end – all brokenness mended, all evil vanquished, all beauty restored. For those who receive mercy, the home we have been seeking all our lives will be ours. It is the Father’s house, and there is a place for us in it. And he will say, ‘Come, Enter. Enjoy. Be with Me.’ And when he does, we will realize that our hunger for home was always our hunger for him. And we shall have him.”
Beautiful words. I pray today that all my readers will recognize the need for full repentance and true faith if a glorified body and an eternity full of hosannas is your goal. Amen! Alleluia!