Peek-a-Boo: In honor of Easter

Do we realize that Jesus played hide and seek after the Resurrection? Here He just pulled off the greatest event of forever and He’s playing peek-a-boo with His followers: in Matthew, He has his angel tell the women: “Now toddle along, and He’ll see you in Galilee…Don’t just stand there gawking, shoo…you’ll see him there.” [A literal translation (chortle) of Mt 28:7]

And then, as if Jesus can’t wait that long to see them, He pops up anyway: Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.[1]

The women’s response is not only touching, it is very telling: They see him, they approach, embrace his feet, and do him homage. [Mt 28:8] It’s the same with Mary Magdalene…she just says: Rabbouni [Jn 20:16] and hugs Him. Complete love, complete recognition, complete trust, complete faith.

But all the men, except John [Jn 20:8], seem much more skeptical. When two of his disciple walk with Him miles on the road, not only do they not recognize Jesus immediately as the women do, but they don’t really hear him in the intonation of his speech when he hails them, questions them, chides them and then interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures which must have been quite a long monologue. They don’t even see that its him until He does something familiar.

The same with the apostles: instead of joy and exuberance, they are startled, terrified and think that they are seeing a ghost. [Lk 24:37] Jesus has to encourage them to look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have… they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed. [Lk 24:39,41] So finally he asks for something to eat, and take the fish and eats it in front of them. [Lk 24:43] So they’re finally convinced and tell Thomas “We have seen the Lord.”[Jn 20:25] Does he believe the at least ten witnesses…nope: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” [Jn 20:25] Now, Jesus is very patient and invites Thomas to do just that, in order that he might not be unbelieving, but believe. [Jn 20:27]

Even when Jesus meets them later during their fishing expedition in Galilee, they still don’t recognize him, none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” but his actions speak louder than simple visual recognition and they realized it was the Lord. [Jn 21:12]

The men don’t get it…there’s none of the complete love, complete recognition, complete trust, complete faith we see immediately in the women, but instead startled fear, terror, continued incredulity, even downright total skepticism. You would think that the guys, especially those who had been with Him from the beginning, from the witness of John the Baptist, from the fishing nets. But no childlike faith on their part. They think they’ve been around the block a few times, they know what’s real and what’s fishy. They’re cued into the flight or fight instincts. And, since they don’t “understand” this, since this appearance of a totally dead man, not only crucified, but skewered with a lance through the heart, is “not possible,” they are going to need a lot of convincing to get them to believe…so there!

Anyway, back to the women: Note how comfortable Jesus is with their oohing and ahhing. To wit, He says: “It’s ok now, it’s alright, dry your tears. I’m here. Now run along and tell the guys to go to Galilee. I’ll meet them there.” [Another literal translation (chortle)…Mt 28:9]

Would that I were more like the women and John than like the men from Missouri!

[1]  Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.”

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