Mark 16: 12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
The disciples heard through Mary that Jesus was alive, but they didn’t believe her. Jesus appeared in another form.
We’re familiar with the Easter narrative. Think about how it was and how it felt that first Easter to hear that Jesus had risen from the dead. His own followers failed to recognize him for who he was. In another form, it was still Jesus. He was still the same.
Let me ask some questions. Have you ever wondered why Jesus appeared the way he did? Why didn’t Jesus go see Pilate after he rose from the dead? Why not appear to the Sanhedrin? Consider the resurrection from the disciples’ perspective. They probably wondered at first why Jesus didn’t appear to everyone who was against him and show himself alive. Easter was one week after Palm Sunday and he had died and risen again. Why didn’t he go down the street after he rose like he did the week before? He appeared in certain ways and forms.
Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordon River, and most of the time after that he was in the public eye with multitudes around him. Now the greatest event had happened. He had finished a wonderful work when he died and rose again. Why didn’t he make an appearance to everyone? Why did he choose the people he did to show himself to in the next 40 days?
He appeared only to those who followed him. He was in a different form. Case in point: Mary got to the tomb. His body was gone. Jesus appeared, but she thought he was the gardener until he spoke her name. Later he told the women to go quickly and tell the disciples he would meet them in Galilee. He met the women in the pathway. I’m glad Jesus surprises us and shows up. He appeared to be in another form, but it was Jesus.
The Emmaus disciples didn’t recognize Jesus. He questioned them about why they were so sad. They began to tell him what had happened to him. Aren’t we like that? We try to tell Jesus all about it when he already knows. They kept their heads down and not until Jesus broke bread with them did they realize who he was.
Don’t think the Lord is gone. If he doesn’t appear the way you think he should, don’t think he’s not there. Jesus jumped the disciples for not believing Mary and the Emmaus disciples. They would hardly believe their own eyes. I know times are the way they are. People have departed from the faith. Many question the Lord. He doesn’t always appear as we expect or how, but he said he’d take care of us. That doesn’t mean he caters to us, but he cares above and beyond what we expect. What he does will be the right thing.
Thomas said he wouldn’t believe unless he could see the wounds and put his hand in them. Jesus appeared and gave him the opportunity to do just that. Why would he put Jesus through that? Why do we? Take him at his word and believe him. He may be the still small voice and make the impossible possible. That voice is the power of creation, salvation and deliverance. It makes devils tremble. Whatever form he chooses is all right.
First Corinthians says Jesus was seen of Peter, James, the women, and the apostles. At one time he was seen of 500 disciples. I don’t know how he looked, but it fortified their belief. Jesus was upset that they failed to believe what he told them. A few weeks later they decided to go fishing when they should have been somewhere waiting for Jesus. They fished all night and caught nothing. Jesus was on the shore waiting for them. No matter what others do or say about it, Jesus is still Jesus. Paul said he was an enemy of Jesus at the time of the first Easter, but Jesus appeared to him later.
He has appeared to us through his Word, through the gospel. When we see the Bible, we see Jesus. We can trust the Word when we can’t trust ourselves. Whether it was Paul or the disciples, they preached the same Jesus. Paul said therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. The Bible declares Jesus the son of God and resurrected from the dead. Paul was struck blind so he could see. The first thing he did was call him Lord.
Whether it was those who saw him or us who now bear witness of the truth, we can help others believe. Regardless of how vague he seems, he is still fully Lord and Savior. Jesus told Thomas those who believe without seeing are blessed. Whatever form he comes in, let’s still trust him.