I now know that I am a heathen. Possibly a blaspheming one. I recently came across this passage, an extract from a learned tome by Pope Benedict XVI. Read it all, no cheating.
“JESUS‘ RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD
The appearances that we read of in the Gospels are manifestly different. On the one hand, the Lord appears as a man like other men: he walks alongside the Emmaus disciples; he invites Thomas to touch his wounds, and in Luke’s account he even asks for a piece of fish to eat, in order to prove his real bodily presence. And yet these do not present him simply as a man who has come back from death in the same condition as before.
One thing that strikes us straightaway is that the disciples do not recognize him at first. This is true not only of the two in the Emmaus story, but also of Mary Magdalene and then again at the Lake of Gennesaret: “Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus” (In 2I:4). Only after the Lord has instructed them to set out once again does the beloved disciple recognize him: “That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!'” (21:7). It is, as it were, an inward recognition, which nevertheless remains shrouded in mystery. For after the catch of fish, when Jesus invites them to eat, there is still a strange quality about him. “None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord” (2I:I2). They knew from within, not from observing the Lord’s outward appearance.
Keep with it – the punch line’s coming…
This dialectic of recognition and non-recognition corresponds to the manner of the apparitions. Jesus comes through closed doors; he suddenly stands in their midst. And in the same way he suddenly withdraws again, as at the end of the Emmaus encounter. His presence is entirely physical, yet he is not bound by physical laws, by the laws of space and time. In this remarkable dialectic of identity and otherness, of real physicality and freedom from the constraints of the body, we see the special mysterious nature of the risen Lord’s new existence. Both elements apply here: he is the same embodied man, and he is the new man, having entered upon a different manner of existence.”
From Chapter 9: Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead
I know I should be marvelling at the intellect and the insights but I’m afraid I just thought “It’s the Doctor! He’s talking about The Doctor!”
I apologise for offending anyone but have been unable to resist this. I expext to be struck down. And no, I haven’t read the book.