I love that Jesus looked like a gardener to Mary Mag! Whenever we picture seeing Jesus we tend to imagine the “blinding light”, “celestial singing”, “booming voice” encounter. Jesus is God and those are all appropriate, but, it is not the way that He manifested Himself upon His resurrection.
I’m not contradicting that fact that God is God and we are not and that God is to be honored, revered and feared. But, we can get so hung up on that image of God sometimes that it interferes with the relationship that God wants and expects. We are His creation, made in His image. Jesus came to earth and became a man, fully man, born of a woman and raised from an infant to a man. While God is our King of King and Lord of Lords, He is, as Jesus said, also our Father.
Jesus comforted Mary and revealed Himself to her not with bolts of lightning, but by calling her by name, by being personal and real to and with her. He didn’t tell her to go tell His servants or His subjects. He told her to go to “my brothers.” He spoke of His Father as “my Father and your Father, my God and your God.”
Jesus did not die and rise again from the grave so that He could be God. He was already God! He did it so that we could be fully brothers and sisters with Him, FAMILY.
We all long for family. Many have very broken families on earth, partly because of the longing that we have for safety and love and support and the fact that our earthly families have not always fulfilled those things. But, we also have a family with Jesus. He wants to be, and is, the perfect brother to us – always there, always loving, always helping and healing. Our Father wants to be, and is, the perfect Father, seeking only our best interests in love and provision.
There are so many rich and deep analogies of the image of Jesus as the gardener. They fact that he tends to the garden of our heart, that He removes the weeds that hinder the growth of our faith, that He not only plants good seeds but that He himself became the seed that died to spring forth in new life. In John 19 we saw the reminder that sin entered the world in a garden (of Eden) and left the world in a garden (the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea). In John 20 we see that the Gardener that was there from the beginning is still alive and well and very much as welcoming to His creation as He was when He walked and talked with Adam and Eve.
spoke her name. I was called by name to be a follower of Jesus. He, too, knows my name and has written in the book of life
During the time post resurrection, Jesus appears and disappears all in bodily form. He also physically ascends to Heaven. He may have gone back and forth to heaven to appear in the presence of His Father numerous times during this period. (see Jacob’s ladder for physical ascent to heaven, see ascension of Jesus, see John 21, appears to them in a locked room)
Go to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”