Did the risen Jesus have a physical or a spiritual body?

Author: BibleAsk Team

Jesus Showed the Disciples His Physical Wounds

After the resurrection, the scriptures tell us that the Savior appeared to His disciples with His physical body. The apostle John reported that Christ “…came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19, 20). The nail-pierced hands were an eloquent testimony to the truth of His resurrection. But the reality of Christ’s physical presence seems to have been too good to be true (Mark 16:12, 13; Luke 24:35).

He Ate With the Disciples

The Savior Himself confirmed that He was not a spirit that doesn’t have flesh and blood when He said to the disciples: “Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”  But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.  And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?  Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 

“When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?”  So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence” (Luke 24:36-43). The Savior ate with the disciples to convince them that He was still a material, corporeal being.

He Asked Thomas to Touch His Physical Body

And to the doubting Thomas, the Savior said, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27). The Lord offered Thomas the exact proof he asked for, unreasonable though his demand was (verse 25) just to prove that He had a real physical body. We don’t know if Thomas took advantage of the offer.

He Appeared to His Disciples by the Sea of Tiberias

The apostle John narrated how the Savior prepared a breakfast to His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. “…This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead” (John 21:1-14).

He Accompanied Two Disciples Traveling to Emmaus

The Savior also appeared with His physical body to two disciples that were traveling to Emmaus. “Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them” (Luke 24:30) just as He did before His resurrection.

The Angels’ Declaration at the Lord’s Ascension

Just before Christ ascended to heaven, the angels said to the disciples, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). The angels declared that this is the same Person whom the disciples had closely known during the last three and one-half years. Although He had risen from the dead as the Son of God, He still possessed His human body. Further, the angels confirmed that He will come again in the same physical body with which the disciples identified Him.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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