Christ comes incognito

The board game Articulate challenges players to help their teammates guess the object, action, or location they're describing without saying it outright. You can't give the first letter of the word or say what it rhymes with, and on "all play" rounds you have to work fast as your description may help another team win. The way to win Articulate is to play with someone you know really well and exploit your shared experience. "We visited this place in 2006," you say. "India!" your wife replies, as you win the point. "When you do this in the kitchen, I always laugh," your wife says. "Dance in my underwear!" you say, and win the point! You win by alluding to what no one else could know. At the end of John's Gospel, we find Peter, John, and some other disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee. They cast their nets all night but the fish elude them. Then a man on the shore calls out to them (John 21:4). "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat," He says (v.6). They follow directions and can hardly haul in the catch. Suddenly, a flood of memories fill John's mind. Three years before, on this same sea, Jesus had performed an identical miracle, calling John and his friends to discipleship (Luke 5:1-11). "It's the Lord!" he cries, solving the puzzle, winning the point! Something similar had happened to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-16) and to a couple on the Emmaus road (Luke 24:30-35), Jesus appearing incognito. But with just a word ("Mary") or an action (breaking bread), they suddenly knew who He was. Jesus can come to us incognito, an oblique figure on the horizon. Yet with a word, an action, an allusion to shared experience, we recognize His ways and cry out, "It is the Lord!" , Sheridan Voysey