We just celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. People ask what’s the big deal? Many people were considered clinically dead and then came back to life.
But they weren’t too dead. They were revived or resuscitated, not resurrected. They survived a near death experience, they didn’t conquer death.
And not one of them walked out with a transformed body, new life, and immortality. Plus each died or will die again. Even those Jesus raised…
Question, how many people did Jesus resurrect from the dead? ZERO.
How many people did Jesus raise from the dead? History records THREE: Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son. All three died a second time.
But Jesus’ resurrection—and which He promises us one day—is fundamentally different. On Good Friday, after mortally suffering for six long hours,
Luke 23:46 … Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this He breathed His last.
When Jesus’ spirit left His body, just as with us, that’s death. Nothing is inside to animate life. The heart ceases. Breathing, brain and brain stem function all ceases. And Jesus’ vacated body began the irreversible process of decomposition. Not only that but He was dead for three days.
Yet on Easter, Jesus walked out of the grave in the same yet transformed body. He wasn’t a ghost, a disembodied spirit; He was in a physical body.
And for all the internet hype and memes, He wasn’t a zombie.
If Jesus was a zombie, He wouldn’t have eaten breakfast with His disciples, He’d have eaten His disciples for breakfast.
The angels wouldn’t have said to the women, “Do not fear!” They’d have said, “Run for your lives!” Rather than be disgusted by Jesus’ rotting body, they were overcome with joy.
After His resurrection, Jesus’ body was different.
While He was here on earth, He was Eternal God but He veiled His glory. His natural body reflected His new humanity not His eternal deity. Yet now that Jesus Christ has been resurrected, His glorified body reflects, for our sake, the radiance and glory of both His divine and human nature.
Jesus’ body was put into the earth like a seed, and by through resurrection, it sprung forth into something glorious and new, like an oak sprouting out from a buried acorn.
So what does Jesus look like now? What was different about Jesus after His resurrection?
1. After His resurrection, Jesus’ body was different enough to go unrecognized by His followers.
Mary didn’t recognize Jesus. Neither did the two on the road to Emmaus.
John 20:14 When [Mary] … turned around and saw Jesus standing there, she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
It wasn’t poor lighting! His resurrection body is different. He was glorified. His body took on a glory that matches His identity and reflects who He is, immortal, indestructible, physical yet spiritual. Fashioned for earth and heaven. To live with us and to “live with the Father in unapproachable light.”
Unapproachable light. Remember, no mortal can see God as He is (in His full glory, His full identity) and survive. The Lord told Moses,
Exodus 33:20… “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”
We’ll talk about that next week as we consider what God says about our future body. But we must be changed, we must put on immortality before we can see God fully. And Jesus was in a glorified body, living among not yet glorified beings. He still couldn’t show the full change. We’ll see that soon. But even still, He was different enough to go unrecognized…
We see this with two of His followers that were heading to Emmaus,
Luke 24:15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.
Even after this, seven of Jesus’ disciples went fishing, and caught nothing.
John 21:4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
Even after seeing Him several times now, they didn’t recognize Him. So this stranger tells them where to cast the nets and they do, and the nets are miraculously full of large fish. That’s when John said, “It’s the Lord!” And Peter swam to the shore while the others rowed back with fish in tow.
Jesus not only appeared differently in His resurrected body,
2. Resurrected Jesus was also able to vanish at will.
Luke 24:28 As they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. 29 But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. 30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
3. Post-resurrection Jesus could also appear at will.
Luke 24:36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 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.” 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate before them.
Not a ghost, not a zombie, not an android body. Jesus is nothing less than fully human. Yet He goes wherever He wants. He teleports through walls. He enjoys food but doesn’t need it and He is not affected by calories…
Jesus' resurrection shows that the body is good.
He wasn’t trapped in human flesh as if it wasn’t a part of Him. But His body that died and started to decay is now utterly transformed. Metamorphosed. Fashioned for heaven and earth. Eternally reflecting who He truly is. Unlimited. Glorious.
I said His body is fashioned for heaven and earth. In His resurrected body,
4. Resurrected Jesus entered in and out of heaven
Acts 1:9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men [angels] in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
So Jesus could pass through locked doors, fly or ascend into the highest heavens and return to earth. Which in the future remember, He will reign from His throne on earth, and from the right hand of the Father in glory.
Jesus is luminous, He radiates holiness, power, glory.
But this leads to one final observation. After He ascended to heaven, He appears to be even different from His forty days on earth after His arose.
A few of the disciples got a glimpse of this when Jesus told them,
Matt. 16:28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” 17:1 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light… 5 [Then the Father spoke,] “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.
Paul described his experience in Acts, “I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground,” Jesus spoke to him.
In the book of Revelation, we read John’s experience,
Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp stands [seven churches]; 13 and in the middle of the lamp stands I saw one like a Son of Man, [he looked human like us] clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars [angels], and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”
This is how Jesus looks now that He ascended. This is how He is in heaven.
Yet this is discomforting for some. This thought of Jesus seems scary, less personal. True, every time His followers saw Him they were frightened and fell to the ground! We don’t want scary Jesus, we want fully human Jesus. He’s more personal, relatable, gentle. BUT will He be less intimate in heaven? No, even in His radiant omnipotence God is love. That’s His nature…
He is all-powerful yet merciful and gentle. He is holy and transcendent yet intimate and personal. His voice roars like many waters, yet it will match who He is—in holiness, power, and love. His eyes aflame like fire, yet with them He looks into your eyes and says, “I am yours and you are Mine.”
Jesus’ body human didn’t reflect all that He is, it didn’t reflect His essential nature as God. Just as man. But after His resurrection, He now does. The One we love and pray to glows with power, and radiates brilliant glory…
He reflects who He is as God the Almighty. And and as man. One of us.
This is our God. This is our Savior. The Light of the world. Pure goodness.
When Jesus rose from the dead and ministered on earth for 40 days, He still had to veil His glory because His followers were not resurrected yet, they were still flesh and blood. No man may see His glory and live. But after we are resurrected, we will see and be amazed and be drawn in worship. Rather than condescend to our level, He will elevate us to His level.
1 Cor. 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we [who are alive when Christ comes for us] will be changed.