Authored by Scott MacGregor
I ended my last podcast in the middle of the subject of what Jesus looked like after His resurrection. This is important to us because we are going to look similar to Him in the future. For me, being kind of an old guy at the moment, it’s quite encouraging to consider the idea that I’m going to look better in the future. In this life, generally, we don’t get better looking the older we get. So it is nice, in a way, to realize that the process of aging is only temporary.
I was making the case, too, that Jesus in His resurrected state wasn’t immediately recognizable. Some of His disciples walked alongside Him on a road for seven miles and didn’t catch on that it was Him. As I said in that earlier podcast, I used to think that they were just too grief stricken or traumatized to recognize Him, or perhaps Jesus miraculously kept His identity secret.
But I now think it is more likely because He looked quite different.
In John’s account of what happened at the grave on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene—one of His closest companions—didn’t recognize Jesus until He called her by name.
Mary remained standing outside the tomb sobbing. As she wept, she stooped down [and looked] into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they said to her, Woman, why are you sobbing? She told them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him. On saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing [there], but she did not know (recognize) that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, Woman, why are you crying [so]? For Whom are you looking? Supposing that it was the gardener, she replied, Sir, if you carried Him away from here, tell me where you have put Him and I will take Him away. Jesus said to her, Mary! Turning around she said to Him in Hebrew, Rabboni!—which means Teacher or Master.1
The group of men we call the apostles had been with Jesus for over three years. After His resurrection, He had already appeared to them more than once when He appeared to them again on the banks of the Sea of Galilee.
Morning was already breaking when Jesus came to the beach and stood there. However, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.2
They had been fishing in a boat all night and had caught nothing. The penny didn’t drop even when Jesus called out to ask them how they had fared. It wasn’t till He caused them to catch more fish that they could haul in that John realized who He was. They must have still not been used to how He looked. Perhaps they didn’t recognize Him because He was so far away. But then you have to take into consideration that they were close enough to talk or at least shout to each other.
Leaving this point, I would like to go through the Gospel accounts and see what more we are told, or can deduce, about these future bodies.
Now after the Sabbath, near dawn of the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to take a look at the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled the boulder back and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his garments as white as snow. And those keeping guard were so frightened at the sight of him that they were agitated and they trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be alarmed and frightened, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, Who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, as He said [He would do].”3
You will notice that it is reported that the guards saw the angel move the stone and sit on it, but they didn’t see Jesus come out. The apparent reason for this was that He had already left the tomb before the stone was rolled back. This new super body can apparently pass through solid rock.
And behold, that very day two of [the disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, [which is] about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things that had occurred. And while they were conversing and discussing together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them. But their eyes were held, so that they did not recognize Him. … Then they drew near the village to which they were going, and He acted as if He would go further. But they urged and insisted, saying to Him, “Remain with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent.” So He went in to stay with them. And it occurred that as He reclined at table with them, He took [a loaf of] bread and praised [God] and gave thanks and asked a blessing, and then broke it and was giving it to them when their eyes were [instantly] opened and they [clearly] recognized Him, and He vanished (departed invisibly).4
In this passage it explains that their eyes were at first “held” and later instantly opened. So perhaps Jesus was immediately recognizable to those who knew Him. As I said, it is only a theory, but in this particular account they walked for miles with Him while He went through numerous Old Testament scriptures with them, explaining that the Messiah was going to have to endure rejection and death before He was glorified.5 This was such an unusual interpretation for a Jew to put to Messianic scripture that I am sure they would have caught on that this was no ordinary stranger pretty quickly if He hadn’t held their eyes.
And if you read all of Luke 24, you will see that these two men had already heard accounts that some of the women disciples were saying that Jesus had risen. The most outstanding thing that I take away from this passage about Jesus’ resurrection body is that it has the ability to vanish.6
Then on that same first day of the week, when it was evening, though the disciples were behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace to you!7
But they were so startled and terrified that they thought they saw a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you disturbed and troubled, and why do such doubts and questionings arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Feel and handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.”8
So He can vanish and then, according to the passages above, He has the ability to appear in a room where the door was closed. Again, though, He looked different, and this time they thought He was a ghost; He had to show them His wounds to convince them that He was who He said He was.
Here we are given another fascinating insight into this body. He is reported to have said He was flesh and bone. But what about blood? In a later passage, it talks about Thomas being told by the Lord to put his finger in the nail wounds and his hand in the spear wound in His side.
Then He said to Thomas, “Reach out your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place [it] in My side. Do not be faithless and incredulous, but [stop your unbelief and] believe!”9
The wounds were still there in His body, apparently deep enough to put a finger and hand into. If you have ever seen a healed wound, you will know that the holes heal over and you can’t stick something into them, at least not very far. But these wounds appeared to still be holes. And if they were holes, they would be bleeding if there was blood there to be bled. Now if there is no blood, then the whole internal anatomy of the body is brought into question. Is there no heart? If there’s no blood to pump, then there wouldn’t need to be a heart.
Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Especially if you combine this with Paul’s comment that “flesh and blood cannot [become partakers of eternal salvation and] inherit or share in the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (that which is decaying) inherit or share in the imperishable (the immortal).”10
And that’s not all. This body can apparently fly. That brings up even more questions.
And it occurred that while He was blessing them, He parted from them and was taken up into heaven.11
Even as they were looking [at Him], He was caught up, and a cloud received and carried Him away out of their sight.12
And we will fly too.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord!13
I will admit that these verses are a bit ambiguous as to whether this “resurrection body” can fly by itself or if it has to be lifted up by some other agency. Nevertheless, this body is operating in the physical realm, so the rules of physics would still seem to apply. But if it can fly of itself, then it defies the law of gravity, which states that objects attract, which is why we stick to the surface of the Earth.
Birds defy gravity by the fact that they have wings. But it doesn’t seem this future body has wings.
So how do we defy gravity?
Furthermore, if this body goes much higher than the lower atmosphere, then it doesn’t need to breathe because there isn’t enough oxygen in the upper atmosphere to sustain us. This implies it doesn’t have lungs.
First no heart and now no lungs.
And although it can eat (Jesus ate several times with His disciples after His resurrection), I am not sure how this body’s digestive system would work. Will we need to eliminate? I hope not.
Yet the most amazing thing about this body is that it is immortal.
So it is with the resurrection of the dead. [The body] that is sown is perishable and decays, but [the body] that is resurrected is imperishable (immune to decay, immortal). … For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death). And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory.14
Imagine life in an immortal body. Boggles the brain when you think about it. Just think of the possibilities!
1 John 20:11–16 AMP
2 John 21:4 AMP
3 Matthew 28:1–6 AMP
4 Luke 24:13–16, 28–31 AMP
5 Luke 24:27
6 Luke 24:31
7 John 20:19 AMP
8 Luke 24:37–39 AMP
9 John 20:27 AMP
10 1 Corinthians 15:50 AMP
11 Luke 24:51 AMP
12 Acts 1:9 AMP
13 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 AMP
14 1 Corinthians 15:42, 53–54 AMP
Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2013 by The Family International