What Is The Nature of Jesus’ Resurrected Body?

The eyewitness accounts of the Jesus’ resurrection say that Jesus’ had a thoroughly physical body. In fact, the reports say that it was the exact same physical body that died on the cross.

In Luke 24:39, Jesus appears to the disciples and tells them “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Jesus then takes a piece of broiled fish from them and ate it in their presence. Only a physical body could eat food and be handled.

In John 20:27, Jesus says to the disciples, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas, who said he would only believe Jesus had risen from the dead if he could touch Jesus’ wounds in his physical body. Jesus must have known this, for He satisfied Thomas by appearing to him bodily and letting Thomas touch Him.

Much is made of the passage in John 20:26 where it says “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them.” The implications from those who deny the physical resurrection is that this is supposed to somehow indicate that Jesus had a non-physical body. Many well-meaning people think this passage says that Jesus could walk through walls, and therefore somehow was non-physical. However, there are several alternatives. As Walter Martin pointed out, Jesus could have merely appeard in the room, for when a body moves from one dimension to two dimensions it does not go through anything, it merely moves there instantly; when a body moves from two dimensions to three dimensions, it does nto go through anything, it merely moves there instantly. Therefore when a body goes from three dimensions to four, it would not move through anything, it would merely move there instantly.

Next, we must look at what the passage says. It does not say that Jesus walked through walls, but merely says that He appeared to them when the door was locked. As already stated, He could have merely appeared in the space without going through anything. Jesus could also have done many things, such as knocked on the door. Much more likely, Jesus could have clouded the disciples’ understanding, something He did before the cross. For example, in Luke 4, Jesus had made the Jewish leaders so angry that they grabbed Him, brought them to the edge of a hill, and was about to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff. But in Luke 4:30, Jesus merely passed through their midst, going away unharmed and untouched. Only by controlling people’s understanding could He have done such a thing. On another occasion in John 8:59, the Jewish leaders picked up stones to kill Jesus on the spot, but “Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” The Jewish leaders lived and worked in the temple, it is not practical to believe that Jesus could hide behind a pillar so that they could not see Him. Rather, Jesus clouded the Jews’ minds so that they could not see Him. In Luke 24:45 Jesus opened men’s understanding so that they could percieve. Luke 24:31 says that the disciples “eyes were opened” so that they could recognize Jesus. Saying “eyes were opened” is a passive voice phrase, meaning someone else did the action to the disciples. Specifically, God had clouded their eyes prior to that, and opened them at this point.

Therefore nothing in the scriptures indicate that Jesus’ body was non-physical either before or after the resurrection. In fact, the eyewitness accounts say that Jesus resurrected body was physical, it was seen by eyewitnesses, handled by the disciples, and still had the wounds that Jesus received on the cross.

Whether we accept it or not, the Bible teaches that Jesus resurrected body was physical.

About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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8 Responses to What Is The Nature of Jesus’ Resurrected Body?

  1. Sadie says:

    So are you saying that a physical body can just “appear” somewhere and still be a physical body? That physical body that lives in different dimensions is not the same kind of physical body other humans have. Is it?

    • humblesmith says:

      What Jesus did after the resurrection, he also did before he was crucified…..see the passages where he “hid” himself in the midst of a crowd.
      As to dimensions, a thing can move from one dimension to two dimensions without going through anything…..it is just there. Same for moving between two to three dimensions. So if there were a fourth dimension, say time, for example, a thing would not have to move through anything.

      As to what can happen to a resurrected, glorified body, it seems to me we would move quickly into speculation.
      The one thing that is crystal clear is that Jesus’ resurrected body was entirely physical, and still is to this day.

    • humblesmith says:

      Actually, we have no reason to belive that a glorified, physical body could not do many things that we normally think improbable. The theoretical physicists are always pushing the limits of what they think possible.

      • humblesmith says:

        Further, the idea that Jesus would merely “appear” or “walk through walls” is something we read into the text. Nowhere are we told that Jesus walked through walls; we are merely told that he showed up when the door was shut. It does not say he didn’t knock on the door, or, as he had dome with the Pharisees several times, hidden himself from their view. On the road to emmaus, Jesus “vanished from their sight” (Luke 24:31. This is the closest that any of the resurrection accounts have of seeming to describe Jesus as vanishing or appearing as if by non-regular means. It is possible He vanished in thin air. It is also possible he hid himself from their view, or clouded their sight.

  2. Prashant says:

    Thomas touched jesus.jesus allowed to touch him…but after wards he said “dont touch me because i haven’t been there to god.” Why?

    • humblesmith says:

      You are speaking of John 20:17, where on resurrection morning Jesus told one of the women “touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren and say unto them, “I ascend to my Father.”(KJV). The simple answer is that the Greek word here that is translated “touch” (apto), can mean simple touch, but is also used to mean cling to, hold on to, make close contact with, or simply hold. Thus other translations of this verse say “Stop clinging to me” (NASB), “Do not hold on to me” (NRSV, NIV), “Do not cling to me” (ESV). This tells us a very important thing: that it was possible to touch, hold on, or cling to the resurrected body. We know this because Mary was doing it at the time. Thus the body was physical, as John tells us “our hands handled him” (1 John 1:1-3). Thus Jesus’ resurrected body was very much physical and able to be grabbed hold of.

      As for why Jesus told Mary not to, we are not told directly. The passage does not actually say why, and any explanation has some speculation. Some have made some sort of mysterious connection with Jesus needing to do something when He ascended to the Father. While this is possible, we need not read this into the text. It could be a much simpler answer. Consider the emotional state of the woman; she was devastated from watching Jesus die horribly, had spend a long weekend in mourning, and a busy morning that had resulted in her thinking the body was gone. Jesus shows up, so she would naturally grab hold of Him and cling to Him. He could have just been telling her to let go since He had something to do. A perfectly acceptable explanation for John 20:17 is Jesus could have merely been saying, in effect, “Let go of me, for I have something I have to go do.” Note that the second half of the sentence has Jesus telling her to go to tell the men a message. I believe Jesus was merely saying, “let go of me and go tell the men a message.”

  3. CJ says:

    Why is it important to you to insist on this interpretation?

    Why does it bother you if Christ has a new resurrected body that is or was not entirely unlike his previous body (retaining some of the same physical properties) but also with entirely new properties?

    Is anything too hard for God? God made nature, he can supersede nature.

    But on the point of the text you limit yourself to, the interpretation you provide leaves out passages in Luke 24 entirely which provides other telling clues.

    You seem determined to not rely on the plain meaning of the scripture though. John 20 indeed says the doors were locked for fear of the Jews, a detail that is completely unnecessary to include if the author wasn’t trying to emphasize that Jesus did something extraordinary in coming and appearing to them in spite of the locked doors.

    In other words, why would John include this detail at all if he wasn’t trying to draw attention to Christ’s new resurrected body? Why not just say that Jesus appeared to the disciples? But John does include this detail. He includes, right prior to telling us of Jesus’ appearance, the fact that the disciples had been in hiding in a home and were all shut up in order to EMPHASIZE that this was a supernatural occurrence and that Christ’s new resurrected body was not limited by the laws of nature anymore.

    No details are in Scripture unworthily or for no reason. And it is not our place to twist and distort them. The plain meaning here says Jesus came into a locked room and manifested himself materially in a new way.

    Remember, nothing is too difficult for God. He is God!

    Luke 24 also recounts that Jesus ‘vanished’ from view of the disciples, even though he had just been in their presence.

    This also suggests a somehow physical, yet supernatural body as well.

    When Jesus later appears to the disciples (verse 37), they are sufficiently put off by his appearance to think that he is a ghost. He does not appear to them in a form that they acknowledged just earlier on Emmaus Road. There is something similar, yet changed about Our Lord’s very being after the Resurrection.

    The Risen Christ has a body that has conquered death – it HAS to be a different kind of body, or else death would not have been conquered? Our bodies, as they are now are subject to death because we are still subject to the effects of original sin.

    It seems like if Christ’s body was not somehow supernaturally different than His previous body, a whole lot of theological quagmires open up regarding Christ’s victory over sin.

    That, and I don’t find your exegesis particularly compelling.

    God bless,
    A fellow Thomist

  4. humblesmith says:

    The reason Christ’s body is so important is because of the several passages that tell us it is important. The gospels and most of the New Testament tell us He resurrecteed. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 15, it tells us about nine times that the body is raised, repeating “it is raised” over and over. The same chapter tells us that if Christ is not raised, we are still in our sins, our faith is in vain. 1 Corinthians 15 makes no sense unless Jesus and all of humanity are viewed as a soul-body unity…….the body is as much Jesus as the spirit. So if Christ be not raised, our faith is in vain. The point of 1 Cor. 15 and Romans 5 is that death is conquored. Christ is presented as one body-soul unity, and if the body is not raised, Christ is not raised. Resurrection does not mean re-created from God’s memory……..such heresies were excommunicated from the church in the early centuries.

    I agree that Jesus’ resurrected body is glorified…….supernatural, if you will……but it is still physical. He was able to move about and do miraculous physical things with his body prior to the cross. All the events, such as the closed door in John, were done prior to the cross. Jesus vanished prior to the cross, and walked on water, and transfigured. The things done after the resurrection were done prior to the cross.

    So yes, Jesus is now glorified and can do supernatural things. But the passage in John merely says he appeared when the door was locked, not that he “went through” anything. I dealt with this in the post….he could have miraculously appeared in a locked room and still be quite physical.

    All this is important because it is a first-class heresy to say that Jesus is not a spirit, and that the the same body on the cross did not rise. Rather, the body with the nail and spear holes rose again, and did not suffer decay, as the scriptures tell us. The victory over sin was because the same person, both body and spirit, conquored death. With anything less, we are lost.

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