A quick thought about the Easter story

I was spending some time reading through the Easter story, and I was struck by a couple of verses.

[Mary] turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

John 20:14-15

This got me thinking; is it just Mary’s floods of tears & grief at finding Jesus’ body wasn’t in his grave that caused her to not recognise Jesus, and just jumped to the conclusion that he was a gardener, or was it more than that? For John to have mentioned this, I wonder if there was something more significant in this detail.

In the Genesis creation story, God created the Garden of Eden for Adam & Eve to enjoy, making God the original gardener.

Jesus, on rising from the dead, signalled the beginning of a new creation, and was mistaken for a gardener by the first person who saw him.

What do you think – is there any significance in this detail, or is it just coincidence? Let me know your thoughts below.

  • Heather Kass-Iliyya

    Never noticed that before! Adam’s ‘job’ was also a Gardener…and Jesus was the ‘last Adam’?

  • Nadine Payne

    I don’t believe, personally, that He appeared in some other form. After all, in the next fw verses John talks about how Jesus appears to the rest of the disciples in an immediately recognisable manner, and still bearing the wounds of his crucifixion.

    I’ve always thought it was in her grief that she failed to recognise Him. Before Jesus appeared, it was two angels outside the tomb who first asked her “Woman, why are you crying?”, and she answered “They have taken my Lord away… and I don’t know where they have put him”. She never recognised them as angels – or, if she did, then her grief was such that she acted in a manner most unusual for anyone who had encountered angels before, by simply answering them honestly and bluntly, rather than experiencing or expressing any awe or reverence for their presence.

    Then Jesus appears and asks her an almost identical question, and she still answers without any recognition or reverence. It takes His voice, His tone and His speaking of her name (in a way I’m sure only He ever did) that kind of broke the blindness of grief. Many of us know the cloud that grief puts in the way of the clarity of the spirit, and often the clarity of everything else around us. It’s always touched me that she was so heartbroken by the death of Jesus and then the disappearance of His body that she just couldn’t think straight; she couldn’t even recognise the messengers of God, nor even God himself, until His love broke through that blindness.

    • ipeaco

      I agree with you Nadine. Grief does strange things to people. I think the link to the garden of Eden seems a bit tenuous, however, poetic it sounds. Interesting discussion starter though!

      • I wasn’t meaning to suggest that Jesus didn’t look like Jesus after His resurrection, or that Mary’s tears weren’t the cause of her mistaking Him for the gardener. But I was intrigued in the similarity between the first creation in Genesis, and this new creation that started with His resurrection, and wondered if this parallel was an intentional poetic device, or just a coincidence.

        • ipeaco

          I see. Not sure to be honest but wasn’t it Adam and Eve that were the original ‘gardeners’ in Eden, not God?

          • Genesis 2:8-9
            “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food…”

            My thought therefore is that makes God the original gardener, as Adam was brought in to work it and take care of it at a later point.