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.
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.