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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Was Jesus Raised Bodily from the Dead?

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Don Stewart

There are some who believe that Jesus did not have a resurrected body, but was only a spirit. However, the Scripture is very clear on the issue - the resurrection of Jesus was in bodily form. Early in His ministry, Jesus predicted that He would come back from the dead in a body. He said.

Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then the Jews said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking of the temple of his body. Therefore, when he had risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this to them (John 2:19-22).

The Scripture is clear that it was the body of Jesus that was to be resurrected. Jesus refuted the idea that He was some disembodied spirit when He appeared to His disciples after His death.

The Similarities Between The Earthly And Resurrected Body

There were a number of similarities between Christ's earthly body and His resurrected body. They include the following.

1. People Recognized Him After His Resurrection

Jesus was recognizable after His resurrection.

And when he had said this, he showed them both his hands and his side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord (John 20:20).

It was the same Jesus who had been crucified on the cross.

2. Jesus Talked With People After He Was Raised From The Dead

Jesus talked to people after His resurrection.

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? (Luke 24:36-38).

3. Jesus Invited People To Touch Him

The disciples were frightened with Jesus' appearance, since they assumed they had seen a spirit. Therefore He invited them to touch His body to see if it were real.

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 feet (Luke 24:39,40).

This proves that Jesus had a genuine body - He was not some disembodied spirit.

4. Jesus Showed His Scars To The Disciples

When Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room Thomas was not among them. Thomas told the other disciples that He would not believe in the resurrection until he could see Jesus with his own eyes and touch His wounds. The Gospel of John records what happened after that.

After eight days his disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "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 answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:26-28).

On this occasion Thomas was challenged by Jesus to see if He were indeed real. The doubter immediately realized that Jesus had come back from the dead in a resurrected body.

5. Jesus Ate Food With His Resurrected Body

He had the capacity, though not the need, to eat.

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 broiled fish and some honeycomb. And he took it and ate it in their presence (Luke 24:41-43).

Simon Peter later told a group of Gentiles.

And we are witnesses of all the things he did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. And they also put him to death by hanging him on a cross. "God raised him up on the third day, and granted that he should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after he arose from the dead (Acts 10:39-41).

He ate food in their presence, showing that His resurrection was indeed bodily.

6. He Was Able To Breathe Out

Scripture also records that Jesus breathed out.

And when he had said this, he breathed out, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:23).


From the accounts in Scripture we can see that Jesus' resurrection was bodily. We discover this in two ways. First is Jesus own testimony. Jesus made it clear that he was not a disembodied spirit. Second, the things that Jesus did. He did things only a person having a body can do. Jesus walked, He showed His disciples the prints of the crucifixion on His body, He breathed and ate. Consequently both his words and his deeds testify to the fact that His resurrection was bodily.

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