Summary: Jesus had the ability to hide Himself so His identity was not known. Mary Magdalene had the same problem. She was at the tomb of Jesus, and He spoke to her, but she did not know Him, for she thought He was the gardener.
Paul Harvey in For What Its Worth tells of the young
lawyer who was sitting in his office waiting for his first client.
When he heard the outer door open he quickly tried to sound
very busy. As the man entered his office the young lawyer
was on the telephone saying this: "Bill, I'm flying to New
York on the Mitchell Brothers thing; it looks like its going to
be a biggie. Also we'll need to bring Carl in from Houston on
the Cimarron case. By the way, Al Cunningham and Pete
Finch want to come in with me as partners. Bill, you'll have
to excuse me, somebody just came in...."
He hung up and turned to the man who had just entered.
"Now how can I help you?" The man said, "I'm here to
hook up the phone." His disguise as a busy man was ripped
off, and he was exposed as a deceiver. We see the disguise
used in the Bible by the wicked trying to hide their identity.
King Saul disguised himself when he went to the Witch of
Endor, and King Jeroboam sent his wife to the prophet
disguised so as to hide her identity. Disguise is one of the
ways Satan practices his deceit. He comes as angel of light,
but is in fact the prince of darkness. Like Dr. Jekyll, he has
something to Hyde.
Hypocrisy is the hiding behind a mask of deception, and
pretending to be what you are not. Because the forces of evil
specialize in the mask and hiding behind disguises, we tend
to associate disguise with evil. There is a tendency to throw
any weapon the devil uses out of the arsenal of Christian
weapons. The folly of this is revealed by Jesus on the very
day He conquered death and rose from the dead. Jesus
became the master of the disguise, for He was the best known
person in the lives of His disciples, yet He walked 8 miles with
two of them and they never even recognized Him.
To add to the perfection of His disguises, D. L. Moody, the
great evangelist, says, these two disciples were His aunt and
uncle. The evidence does support his conviction, and many
of the great preachers of history agree. One of the women
standing at the cross according to John 19:25 was Mary's
sister the wife of Cleopas. Moody reasons that it is likely that
Cleopas in this passage who was heading home from
Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified was the same man, and
that his partner was his wife who stood at the cross. They
invite Jesus into their home, and it is not likely it is two men
living together. If it was today, it would be more likely, but
this seems obviously to be a couple, a man and his wife, and
they could very well have been the aunt and uncle of Jesus.
Yet, here they walked 8 miles to Emmaus with Jesus, and as
far as they know, they never saw him before in their lives.
Jesus had the ability to hide Himself so His identity was
not known. Mary Magdalene had the same problem. She
was at the tomb of Jesus, and He spoke to her, but she did
not know Him, for she thought He was the gardener. This
couple thought He was a stranger, and she thought Him to be
a gardener. The clothes Jesus wore were different from His
usual garb, for the soldiers took His clothes, and His burial
clothes were all left behind in the tomb. We do not know if
Jesus by a miracle created new garments, or if He had some
stashed away for this need. But they were clothes that were
not recognized as His. He looked different because He was in
a disguise that hid His identity.
This was not a new thing, however, for God loved to play
this game all through history. The game of hide and seek, or
guess who's coming to dinner were His favorites. When God
came to Abraham He came as a way fairing man, and ate
with him as a friendly stranger. He came to Jacob as a
wrestler, and to Joshua as a soldier. The Old Testament is
filled with Pre-Incarnate appearances of Jesus, and He
always comes in some disguise to hide His identity at first
before He reveals who He is. This is not a game Jesus gets
tired of playing with man, but is one that goes on all through
history, and that is why we read in Heb. 13:2, "Do not forget
to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have
entertained angels without knowing it."
The supernatural is often disguised as the natural, and it
can be right in front of your nose and you miss it because