There’s a detail about this story that always intrigues me. It’s this: Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus the first time she sees him. This is interesting because she had spent lots of time with him during his ministry. She knew the way his eyes twinkled when he told stories. She was familiar with the way his hands danced when he talked. She could pick him out in a crowd by the timbre of his voice and the particular way he walked. She and he were friends who had spent lots of time in each other’s company, and as friends they knew each other well.
But here, after the resurrection, she does not recognize him. She supposes he’s a gardener, there to pull up the weeds and prune the bushes and pick the olives off the olive trees. It’s as if she has never seen him before, as if he were a perfect stranger to her. How could she not know him? How could this be?
- John 20:11 - 18