Column: As It Is Written. . . .
Jesus Now Glorified
by Patrick Henry ReardonIf we reflected on it more closely, perhaps we would observe something curious, even surprising, in the Gospel stories about Jesus after his Resurrection; namely, what I venture to call a quality of restraint. Except for the wounds in his flesh (Luke; John), the risen Savior appears to his disciples rather much as they remembered him from before. He is alive, of course, but he does not display—visibly—the signs St. Paul seems to suggest as characteristic of the resurrected body: "It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:42–44). What the apostles actually see, in these appearances, is the same Jesus as they always knew him.
The plain, unremarkable form of his post-Resurrection appearance may be contrasted with the way Jesus is portrayed at the time of his Transfiguration. On that occasion, we are told, "the appearance of his face was altered, and his robe was white and glistening" (Luke 9:29). His appearance at that time took on a radiant quality not of this earth: "His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, as no launderer on earth could whiten them" (Mark 9:3). The witnesses to this event were overwhelmed by a sense of luminosity: "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light" (Matt. 17:2).
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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