Just Thinking About the Gardener

This is a short little thought by our friend who goes by Figleaf:

Was Jesus really nude when Mary mistook Him for a gardener after His resurrection (John 20:15)?

Many in the Christian Naturist world would unabashedly sound a firm “Absolutely!”  This conclusion is usually based on the fact that Jesus’ burial clothes were left folded in the tomb (John 20:6-7), and the historical fact that many common laborers of the time would often work unclothed to preserve their very limited wardrobe.

On the other hand, I have sometimes taken a more hesitant approach in my studies of nudity in the bible.  In our naturist efforts to give common social nudity the credit it deserves, it would be easy to make an “absolute” out of just a “probable but not definite” scenario.  Or, taking it one step further, it would NOT be to our advantage to take such a scenario from a “just plausible” stance to “probable” or “absolute.”   These are three very different degrees of a presented reality.

With this particular scene of Jesus as a potential gardener, I have always put this in the “probable” category for the same reasons mentioned above.  However, I have not put it in the “absolute” category for the following reasons:

It is possible that the clothing left behind in the tomb was not a complete listing and that Jesus retained a piece not mentioned in that verse.

It is possible that an angel could have provided Jesus with a resurrection robe?

That was my thought on the matter until last Sunday when I heard a very interesting sermon on this particular scene in scripture.  It definitely did not mention nudity, but it did give me evidence that I can now move my thoughts on Jesus’ nudity from “probable” to “absolutely.”

The preacher went on to say that it wasn’t an accident that Jesus was being mentioned as a possible gardener.  This is a picture of the last Adam restoring what the first Adam left undone.  Adam lost his job as gardener and was kicked out of the garden.  And now Jesus, the last Adam, comes out of the ground (cave/tomb) just as the first Adam came out of the ground!  The first Adam also returned to the ground when he died.

The preacher went on to say, “ It was Jesus’ way of saying Eden is back!” And we all know that when Adam was tending the Garden, he and Eve were naked and not ashamed (Genesis 2:25).  Jesus was obviously re-establishing how it was in the beginning – naked gardening included.  For me, this moved my thinking of Jesus as a nude gardener from “probable” to “Absolutely!”  And now the Garden of Eden life is available to us all once again.

Phil’s comments:

Whether it’s probable or whether it’s absolutely, the fact is, in those days nudity was more commonplace and not a big deal. Gardeners often worked naked, so it’s not a stretch to think that Jesus was mistaken as a result. Jesus was likely naked in multiple key moments in his life: His birth, His baptism, washing His disciple’s feet, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. I really like Figleaf’s statement quoting the insightful preacher: “Eden is back!” One of my favorite verses is on our homepage and that’s Revelation 21:5 where Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Let’s rejoice in the fact that the old is gone and the new has come.

14 thoughts on “Just Thinking About the Gardener

  1. david

    If Jesus told Thomas to place Thomas’ hand on Jesus’ wound on his side, is it not possible the other wounds from the crucifixion would be visible too making Jesus unrecognizable?


  2. b3rtj0n

    I can appreciate this view but for me, I just don’t see it. Jesus appears many times after the resurrection where if he were nude it would have been culturally inappropriate, the road to Emmaus. Grave clothes would have been inappropriate too. No reason he couldn’t have appeared with clothes in the garden.

    I wish I could see it the other way round, but I just don’t. That doesn’t take anything away from me being a Christian and a nudist. Great that we can consider things like this here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Phil O.

      You’re right in many ways. My whole point is that today it’s never culturally inappropriate to be nude and back then, there were times and moments where it was ok. This isn’t the only example, but one of so many.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Paul B

      When we say modern culture has written nudity out of the Bible and written a moral clothing command in we need to be careful not to do the same. Every time we open the Bible we need to lay aside our cultural bias and let it speak. That includes our pro nudity bias. When we’ve done that we let it shape whatever we take back. However Jesus was dressed, it wasn’t worth mentioning. The women did mistake him for a gardener. But did that make him naked? Maybe. Maybe not. “Eden is back!” The big question, as I see it, is “Did Jesus death and resurrection deal with Adam and Eve’s reason for covering up?”. If the answer to that isn’t “Absolutely!”,what did it deal with? As I’ve shared in previous comments, I’m not quite a naturist, but if we ever meet in person it would be tan lines and all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gil Royal

    Interesting points, Figleaf. I tend to agree with you. In one of his writings, David Hatton supports the naked Jesus point of view,too. I also think Paul B makes a good comment: ‘The big question, as I see it, is “Did Jesus death and resurrection deal with Adam and Eve’s reason for covering up?”. If the answer to that isn’t “Absolutely!”, then what did it deal with?’
    It is Jesus’ completed mission that restored our ability to once again be naked and unashamed. Being without sin, I don’t believe Jesus was ever ashamed to be naked. He may have exited the tomb naked just to prove that point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tandrscott

      This gives us a counter argument for the claim that since Adam and Eve sinned they needed to cover themselves. Well If I died with Jesus on the cross then my sins are no longer a reason to be covered. A little weak, but something along the line of the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paul B

        Actually, it would be an excuse now. But before October last year, I wore clothes because that’s the way the universe was, wasn’t it? I’d been reading the Bible through almost every year for more than 30 years and I had never noticed. I think it wasn’t Adam and Eve’s sin which made them cover up, but the impact of their sin. Guilt says, I did something wrong. By itself it causes us to want to make amends. Shame says, there’s something wrong with me. It causes us to want to hide. I could write a whole blog post on the subject. I feel a little sad and angry that most of the world has been conned into feeling shame. That somehow I’m deficient and look better covered.


      • tandrscott

        That is well said. I had not put the need to make aments for our wrongs into the story and I think it clears up why they followed Satan’s suggestion to use leaves to cover themselves even though it was a big sign to God that they messed up.


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