Have a look at the different versions of Jn 20:16 relating to the post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene :

Jesus said to her, Mary! Turning around she said to Him in Hebrew, Rabboni!—which means Teacher or Master. (RMPC)

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher.” (CSB)

Compare the salutation of Mary with that of the Apostles :

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” (Jn 20:24-25)

And that of `Doubting Thomas ':

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28).

Now, the salutation `Teacher'is not something you use for someone who you know, has been dead for three days and and is suddenly appearing before you in a not-so-easily recognizable form. In retrospect , we see Mary mistaking Jesus for the gardener (Jn 20:15).

Of course, we hear Mary telling the disciples that she saw the Lord (Jn 20:18) . But her initial reaction to the appearance puts one in doubt if she really understood that she was looking at the Risen Lord. My question therefore is: According to Catholic scholars, did Mary Magdalene understand at the garden that Jesus had risen from the dead ?

1 Answer 1


Great Question ...

However, it appears that not only Mary Magdalene failed to immediately and properly identify Jesus, after resurrection (as you mentioned, in John 20:15), but the two disciples on their way to Emaus faced the same challenge (see Luke 24: 13-31), and the 11 disciples that were very comfortable being around Jesus for more than three years, ...also failed to immediately and properly identify Jesus, when Jesus appeared among themselves (see Luke 24:36-40), while the disciples were filled with fear and consternation, not with 'the joy of Welcoming Him' as Alive, from Death ...

So, ... what can we Conclude from all these separate encounters with Jesus?

Three reasons that may help us better understand why they failed to identify Jesus:

  1. Jesus was Resurrected in A Glorified Body, which was (to a greater or lesser extent) Different than His previous human body. Besides, the Glorified Body (see John 20:14-15) is most likely made of the same 'spiritual new material' as the clothes that the Glorified body was/is covered with, since it is subject to 'teleportation'(see Luke 24:36) ... It will be at least 'Ludicrous' to even imagine that Jesus, after being Resurrected, was walking naked in the Jewish marketplace, to buy some clothes for Himself ...

  2. Another possible reason for most of the disciples (women included) failing to identify Jesus, after His Resurrection, was because of the Scarces that He endured during being scourged and beaten by the Romans (and Jews) multiple times, which the Prophet Isaiah talks about, in Isaiah 53:2), "and when we shall see Him, there is No Beauty that we should Desire Him" ... given that on our behalf (because of our sins), ... Jesus " was wounded for our transgressions, and was bruised for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5) ... (no wonder His face may not have been recognizable).

  3. Another (more feasible) reason for not being able to properly identify Jesus after His Resurrection, was the reason mentioned by the apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:50, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption" ... so, it was necessary for Jesus to "Open The Eyes" of the two disciples on their way to Emaus, or ... to hear "The Voice" with whom Mary so much accustomed with, or ... to 'Breath The Holy Spirit' over the Disciples (see John 20:19-22), before they were able to "'Walk Under The Authority and Power of The Holy Spirit' ... and thus, allowing Christ to Continue To Live Through Them (as He is Living Through Us ...the Citizens of His Kingdom, Today) ...

  • A fourth possibility is that we are less likely to clearly see what we are not expecting to see. Oct 3, 2022 at 12:22
  • 100% Correct ... I often ask an Atheist: "If it will be up to your own will that God exists (or do not exist), would you want God to exist?" and ... Right There, in his/her answer, lies his/her vision about God ...
    – Dan Bogdan
    Oct 7, 2022 at 20:04

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