Regarding the Jewsâ€™ rumor about the disciples steeling the body of the Christ, why did Jesus not appear publicly in Jerusalem to squash this rumor? Why did He limit the witnesses to around 600? When people talk about the health of Pope Shenouda, he simply appears on Aghapy TV to stop the spread of those rumors. Why then did Jesus not do the same, but left the door open for speculation whether His resurrection was true or a lie?
The answer to this question is in His Holiness’ letter on the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection dated April 2005.
Below is an excerpt of the letter but you can read there entire letter here:
Due to His humility, when He appeared He did not appear in His glorified body because those who saw Him would not be able to comprehend it, for even in normal circumstances, some could not endure seeing His resurrected body. Mary Magdalene supposed Him to be the gardener (John 20:15); the disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognise Him at the beginning of their meeting with Him (Luke 24:18); and even the eleven thought that He was a figment of their imagination or a spirit (Luke 24:37), but to reassure them He said “…Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have. When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet…” (Luke 24:38-47)
This was all a renunciation of glory, on His part, dealing at their level so that they may understand and accept the truth of the Resurrection. If He had appeared to them in His glorified body, they would not have been able to accept that reality. He did, however, appeared to them with His glorified body at the time of His Ascension- “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
With His Ascension came the end of the expression “made Himself of no reputation” (Phil 2:7). He “made Himself of no reputation” at His birth when He took the form of a “bondservant” and took the “likeness of man.” He also “made Himself of no reputation” to a certain extent in His Resurrection when He did not appear in His glorified body. When He comes at the Second Advent for judgement however, He will come “… in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” (Matt. 25:31) It is also said of Him that “… the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matt 16:27)