COULD YOU DESCRIBE JESUS’ RESURRECTED BODY?
by Shawn Brasseaux
“Is Jesus’ resurrected body that was on earth the same body that He has in heaven now, or was there some sort of transformation that His body went through to have a spiritual body fit for heaven? And, will we see the holes in His hands when we’re with Him in heaven?”
Short answers first. “Is Jesus’ resurrected body that was on earth the same body that He has in heaven now [YES], ….or was there some sort of transformation that His body went through to have a spiritual body fit for heaven [NO]? And, will we see the holes in His hands when we’re with Him in heaven [YES]?” Now, the long answers.
Jesus’ resurrected body was undoubtedly physical in one sense. (There is a common myth in some groups that Jesus was raised merely a “spirit” but that is nonsense.) His resurrected body had hands and feet, and flesh and bone that human hands could touch (Luke 24:39-40; John 20:17,27). It ate physical fish and physical honeycomb (Luke 24:41-43). Clearly, that was not a spirit. It was a body very similar to ours, except it did not have blood. Yet, at the same time, that physical body of Christ had an extraordinary structure that allowed it to pass through locked doors and walls (John 20:19,26). Jesus instantly appeared in and immediately disappeared from crowds (Luke 24:31). So, Christ’s resurrection body was not merely physical but had some sort of supernatural spiritual aspect, too. In fact, He traveled to the third heaven to His Father and back to Earth in less than eight days (John 20:17-27)!
Certainly, an ordinary physical body like ours could not do that! It had some enhancements at His resurrection, so I would call Jesus’ resurrected body an “enhanced physical body” for simplicity’s sake. It was physical and yet more, so it is somewhat mysterious to classify and describe. We really have no comparison in life so the full imagery of that body is elusive. (We will have a definite answer one day!)
Remember how Jesus’ body radiated with light on earth (Matthew chapter 17, the Mount of Transfiguration), and then it returned to normal? That is a picture of Him coming back at His glorious Second Coming (Matthew 16:27). According to Scripture, He glowed no other time in His earthly ministry. The Scriptures are silent about this even during the 40 days between His resurrection and ascension.
However, some 30 years after His ascension in Acts chapter 1, Paul wrote that Jesus Christ “dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16). That is Christ ascended in heaven, at His Father’s right hand. That same light evidently appeared to Saul/Paul at his conversion in Acts 9:3 (cf. Acts 22:6; Acts 26:13). Perhaps that is what Paul meant when He mentioned Christ’s “glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). There is not enough detail in the Scriptures to make further comment here, but I will offer an informed opinion (which you have the option to accept or reject). It seems like Jesus’ resurrected body was equipped enough to do other “super-human” things, so it probably had the ability to glow, but it did not actually glow until He went to heaven. Remember, even before His resurrection, His body could glow when He willed it (go back to Matthew chapter 17). The “glow” of Matthew chapter 17 did not appear again until Paul saw Him in heaven.
Overall, these verses lead me to conclude that Christ’s resurrection body is the same body in heaven today. (Likewise, I believe our bodies fit for heaven, 2 Corinthians 5:1-9, will be given us at our resurrection, the Rapture.) That resurrection body allowed Him to go to heaven and come back in less than eight days (John 20:17-26). It can travel super fast, certainly not like our bodies today!! For that reason, I would say His resurrection body was already fit for heaven before the ascension of Acts chapter 1. Once Jesus came out the grave, that body was already equipped to function in heaven. It went to heaven in John 20:17-26 and came back, evidently looking the same, and then returned to heaven in Acts chapter 1 to stay for the last 20 centuries. How awesome are these thoughts, friend!
Now, to answer your final question. “Will we see the holes in Jesus’ hands?” I would say “yes” because Zechariah 13:6 references Him coming back to Israel at His Second Coming, and He still has those nail prints in His hands. Evidently, they can see Him and recognize Him by those scars where He was pierced with the nails (Revelation 1:7; cf. Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:6). This will be after He ascended to heaven in Acts chapter 1, after His time in heaven, and yet He still has those scars. (Had His resurrected body undergone some “transformation” as you wondered, I think those scars would have disappeared.) So, I would say those scars will be there forever on the Lord Jesus Christ. They will always be a reminder for all people and angels to see—the great price He paid for us on Calvary’s awful tree!