Fifteen Characteristics of Jesus’ Resurrected Body (and ours as well)
He looked like a normal human
He didn’t look like a toad or elephant or an angel. He looked human. So much so that on the road to Emmaus, the two disciples were mystified that he didn’t know the local news. His body shape and appearance were distinctly human.
He was the same gender as his pre-resurrection self
He wasn’t resurrected a woman, but a man. We rightly assume this to be the case for all of us. There is no marriage in the future kingdom but there is sexuality and gender. We retain that as it is part of God’s good creation.
He looked like his pre-resurrection self
When he appeared to the disciples in the locked upper room, nobody said, Who is this guy? They all knew who he was. They didn’t need to see the scars. It was the guy who hadn’t seen him that required that.
He was “touchable”
The famous disciple Thomas said, unless I touch his scars, I will not believe. Jesus appeared to him and he invited him to touch him. Mary clung to him on Easter morning. He says to them, see I am not a ghost. A ghost does not have flesh and bones as I have (Luke 24:39).
He ate in the upper room, he broke bread with Emmaus road disciples, and he ate fish by the sea of Galilee with the disciples. All of this after his resurrection.
He spoke words audibly. His mouth moved like ours as he did it. He spoke on many different occasions. He talked.
He walked with the Emmaus road disciples. Presumably, so much like we walk that they didn’t notice anything unusual. Resurrected bodies will walk. Stand. Run. Jump. Dance. Even the Baptist ones.
He had conversations with the disciples. He responded to Mary’s words in the garden. He had the sense of hearing.
He saw Mary crying. He saw and spoke directly to Thomas. His eyes worked. He saw the disciples fishing, called out to them, and even told them which side of the boat to fish on. He could see.
His body had extraordinary abilities
He suddenly appeared in a locked room on two occasions. In his ascension, he rose from the ground out of sight. These may be related more to his deity than his body, so some of you may still not be able to dunk a basketball, but it’s fun to consider the possibilities.
He was self-aware – “It is I”
He knows who he is. There’s no Jason Bourne here. No search for identity. Resurrected bodies have self-awareness and identity and identify with their pre-resurrection self.
His personality continued – “Greetings!”
Jesus’ words are filled with personality. Greetings, he cries. Peace be with you, he says.
He had full memory of pre-resurrection life
He knows the disciples. He speaks immediately of them. He knows Mary and says her name in the garden. He remembers and reminds the disciples of the words he had told them (Luke 24:44). There’s no amnesia here. He is the same person with all the memories of prior life still there, like he had never died.
He had emotions
He’s not mechanical in the way he relates. He rebukes the disciples for being slow to believe and understand. We see tenderness from him for the women who came to the tomb.
He had love, spoke of love, and sought love
The gospel of John ends with Jesus inquiring about love. He asked Peter if he loved him. Not once but three times. What an assurance as we see after the resurrection, we are still relational and wired for deep affection with each other. This includes love and friendship no doubt greater than any two sinners here can enjoy.
Christian, listen. You’re going to hear few things in this life much more encouraging than this. After resurrection, you will still be you. You will still be human. Your body will be like your present body in ways you’ll love and better than your body in ways you’ll love. What does a glorified body look like? I’d suggest looking at the Dutch. You will be the same gender. You are going to look much like you do now only better. Your friends in heaven will still recognize you and everywhere you go you’re going to hear, Hey, well, who would have guessed you’d make it here. You look incredible! You are going to eat and taste delicacies starting with the marriage supper of the Lamb. All this in a physical body in a physical world. Do you want to know what you will feel like in heaven, grab your arm, that’s what you’ll feel like. With that body you will hug and be hugged. You will touch and be touched. You will express yourself verbally and in eternity everyone’s a good conversationalist. You will walk and talk and stroll and run and climb and jump and dance in your body. You will see through perfected eyes. No glasses. No contacts. No Lasik surgery. Perfect clarity to see the renewed paradise all around known as the New Earth.
You are going to be you. Whole, body, soul, personality. The real you. You will remember everything that happened in this life. You will still love deeply, friends and family from this life. Probably deeper. Your personality will be refined and beautified but still be you. You will feel the breadth of human emotions unsullied by sin. You will cry and laugh and feel reverence and joy and peace; the whole span of emotions without any of the destructive and painful feelings mixed in. Pure joy. Pure love. Pure adrenaline. The resurrected body is the body set free to fullness in all of its human dimensions.
That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? No. I would say not.
Finally, the best thing, the very best thing we have to look forward to really has little to do with this amazing resurrected body. The best of eternity is not that we are there but that He is there and we are there with Him. Even a glorified body pales in comparison to the wonder that He will be with us, in his resurrected body with us in our resurrected body; and so we shall be with Christ forever. A redeemed people in redeemed bodies rejoicing in our redemption and in our Redeemer.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2011 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s web site address (http://www.bethelweb.org/) on the copied resource.