Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, tells how the risen Lord appeared to various individuals and groups of disciples in the forty days after His resurrection.
When those men and women saw Him it must have made a lasting impression on them; some of them would later he prepared to die because of their confidence in the fact of His resurrection.
But what did they see, and how did they recognize the Person before them? Were they struck by the glory and beauty of His appearance? Or was it the impact of His deity in His actions that impressed them?
Alive from the Dead:
Perhaps surprisingly it is evident that in these resurrection appearances He must have seemed very ordinary in His dress. Mary thought Him to he the gardener (John 20:15), but when gently called by the Lord her misconceptions vanished and she had to be told not to cling to Him. Cleopas and another disciple took Him to he just one of the usual feast-time visitors to Jerusalem (Luke 24:18), and failing to recognise Him they were ready enough to engage Him in heartfelt conversation, not distracted by His appearance. It seems what He did in the breaking of the bread on that first day of the week, not His appearance, roused their awareness and subsequently sent them on their happy and excited return to Jerusalem.
By the Lake Shore:
Perhaps more significantly, the seven disciples (including Peter, James and John) who met Him by the lake shore after their fruitless fishing expedition - a vain pursuit - also failed to recognize Him. John was more perceptive than Peter in recognizing the evidences of His Lordship from the events rather than from His appearance (John 21:7).
As Christians we are waiting to see our Lord and Master. Our expectation is that we shall recognize Him, despite not having seen Him in the days of
His flesh. His glory then will he unmistakable and He will he the object of the worship of the redeemed, whose songs will he to the praise of the glory of His grace. But now, in our everyday experience as His disciples we can enjoy His fellowship with us in daily events. As we examine these things in the light of Scripture we shall he able to recognize that the Lord is with us, "at hand" (Phil. 4:5). What a thought, that He is by our side, for that is the meaning of the Greek word paraclete that the Lord uses to describe both Himself and the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). Like those disciples who saw the Lord in His resurrected body before His ascension we might he surprised that as He draws alongside us He does so in a gentle and unobtrusive way. We will want to
avoid vain pursuits that would cause us embarrassment in His presence. We can then delight in His company while living in the expectation of seeing Him in all His glory.