May 18, 2015: Not At All What We Expected

~by Susi Pittman

There are people who are not what they appear to be. Those we thought were good, are bad, and the bad end up being the good ones, and some we had figured out from the beginning, because they presented themselves truthfully.

Jesus is perhaps the greatest case of a person, NOT being what they seemed. And thank God for that!

It began at His birth in the grotto of Bethlehem, whereupon only the shepherds, the animals, some Bethlehem townsfolk and a few eastern kings were made aware of the great birth of the Messiah. Not at all what this world would perceive as noteworthy. A heavenly King, born obscurely, and soon after, living obscurely in Egypt for five years to escape persecution and death. No, not at all what we would think.

Jesus and His parents returned to Nazareth, Mary’s hometown following the five years in Egypt. The people of Nazareth know Jesus only as the son of Joseph and Mary.

I believe that God, by divine design gave Jesus and his earthly family anonymity following the last documented scriptural reference to the young Jesus in the Gospel of Luke; And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man. Luke 2:52. The life of Jesus growing up remains a mystery, until we once again hear from Him as a grown man. Not at all what the Pharisee’s would have expected, though Isaiah foretold of this.

Even as Jesus moves into His true mission, His own hometown is so incensed that He, Joseph and Mary’s kid, would claim to be God’s Son that they rushed to kill Him by pushing Him off a cliff at the edge of their village. But, He passes through their midst undetected and walks away. You have to believe that God allowed Jesus to escape their wrath by mystically blinding the mob to Jesus’ presence and He walked away from the town and its jealous people. Jesus transcended their ability to see. They certainly did not see Jesus for who He was, not at all what they thought God would have presented this world as His Son.

Numerous times we see Jesus transcending something. From the womb of Mary, which He transcended at His birth, leaving the Blessed Mother virginally intact, to the Transfiguration before His apostles Peter, James and John, to His transcending the Upper Room’s walls following His Resurrection where He bid Peace be with you, to His disciples. The disciples were the closest human beings to Jesus and yet they were continuously amazed and surprised by His abilities. Seeing isn’t always a sure-fire method of believing.

Jesus healed terminally ill and terminally diseased people. He opened the eyes of blind people who had never seen the light of day. Even upon this earth, Jesus held supernatural powers given Him by the Father. And yet, the people who witnessed these events did not always accept such miracles as being from a divine origin. It just wasn’t what they expected.

Funny enough, the ones who acknowledged the true authenticity of Jesus and His mission on Earth were not the ones we would have thought. Visiting the territory of the Gadarenes, Jesus came upon two men possessed by demons that He then moved to exorcise. It was the “demons” who addressed Jesus by His true title. In Matthew 8: 29 we read: What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?

It wasn’t at all what anyone in the town was expecting, and they became so frightened by it that they asked Jesus to leave.

We have to pause here and reflect for just a moment: the demons were the ones who were telling the people who Jesus was. It just seems to be such a mystery why “the people” about Jesus could not see who He was, yet the supernatural side of creation acknowledged Him in a heartbeat.

The Resurrection is a great miracle and mystery. The promised Messiah indeed rises from death three days after being laid to rest and then walks the Earth among the people for 40 days, preaching the kingdom of God and healing, being seen by thousands before the glory of His Ascension into the sky in His resurrected body.

A consistent part of the Resurrected Jesus is that He was physically different and initially unrecognizable. This certainly was by divine design. We have three distinct presentations of Jesus not being recognized by His own disciples. #1) On the road to Emmaus, Jesus actually visits with two of His disciples, one named, Cleopas and another, neither of which recognizes their Lord. They invited him to stay over at their home. Sitting at the table Jesus takes the bread, blesses it and breaks it…then the disciples eyes are opened and they recognize Jesus, but He just disappears from sight #2) The disciples are gathered back in Jerusalem, very likely in the Upper Room when Jesus appeared through the wall and said to them, Peace be with you. The men who knew Him intimately were terrified thinking that they were seeing a ghost. But, He calms them and eats food with them. #3) The Ascension occurs following Jesus announcing to the disciples that, Behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. This of course, being the promise of the foreshadowing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Amazing events, with not at all what you would have expected reactions and outcomes.

There ARE people who are not what they appear to be, but there is ONE Who IS exactly, perfectly and divinely WHO He IS…Jesus…the One that was not at all what WE expected Him to be!

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Susi Pittman is founder of CatholicStewardsofCreation.com and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Council of Women in Jacksonville, Florida; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine;a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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