Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus. — John 21:4
One of the strange things about the Resurrection is why people who knew Jesus didn’t recognize him. There was something different about him. I’ve come to realize, though, that the problem might have been that there was something different about the people who encountered him.
They had endured a lot of pain themselves. Grief, guilt, anger, sadness. They had changed because of it. Following Jesus wasn’t about sitting at his feet and listening to him as the birds sang, anymore. They’d longed for those days, the simpler times. And so naturally they would have looked for the man who could bring them back to that time.
The risen Jesus didn’t look like that to them. Only when he did something familiar, like blessing and eating a meal with them, did they realize it was him.
We can’t demand that Jesus conform to our picture of him from the good old days. He calls us to look for him as we grow, mature, change. Then we’ll see him as he really is: a dynamic savior who challenges, comforts, and confronts as we move through life, stage after stage.
It’s always a helpful exercise to approach what we encounter each day with, “What would Jesus say about that?” It helps us keep fresh in our minds his words and actions. We may discover a new side to him, and something he once said comes back to us with amazing relevance. It changes our view of him and deepens our appreciation.
A famous verse goes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!” (Hebrews 13:8)
That’s true. However, we’re not.