JESUS’ GLORIFIED BODY
By Frank G. Tunstall
Cleopas and his unnamed friend had Jesus’ undivided attention on the road to Emmaus. The Lord began by describing them as “foolish” and “slow of heart for not believing the prophets and the Scriptures. Jesus went on to explain to them “what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). It is a reasonable estimate that was a three-and-a-half-hour walk. Jesus gave them His undivided attention for that whole time. Wow! What a gift.
Jesus stayed with Cleopas and his friend until they reached Emmaus and gathered at the table to eat. Jesus broke the bread and blessed it, but Luke did not record if Jesus ate any of it. At the table, their eyes were opened, and they recognized it was the resurrected Jesus who had been their Master Teacher.
In this context, the Emmaus story reveals great insight into Jesus’ incorruptible immortality immediately following His resurrection. Jesus had been beaten mercilessly by Pilate’s soldiers. The whip had sharp rocks and thin strips of metal embedded in the ropes. Jesus’ had flesh that had been cut open by the scourging whip that was hanging loose from His body. Can you imagine the pain! Yes, fainting would have been merciful, but Jesus did not pass out.
Jesus’ resurrection body showed none of that brutality. Instead, a mere three days later Jesus was healthy and strong. He walked seven miles, just three short days after that kind of brutal beating. Miraculous!
Jesus came out of the grave glorified, healthy, whole, and full of energy. This is all-the-more miraculous considering how dehydrated He was on the cross, and how much blood He lost. Yet, He had the stamina a mere three days later to go the whole distance to Emmaus and teach along the way from memory. Jesus did it with full knowledge and clarity of mind. He began with Moses and spelled out what all the prophets had said about the suffering of Messiah.
After Jesus blessed and broke the bread, the brethren recognized the Lord. Then Jesus in His glorified body “vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:31 KJV). Obviously, Jesus in His glorified body could move about freely and was not bound by time or space, including walls.
“Their eyes were opened,” Luke recorded (24:31). Every believer’s challenge as a witness is to share the living, bread of life with such excellence that people begin to see the truth of the gospel. The greatest responsibility of every pastor is to serve the table so effectively that his congregation’s eyes are especially opened to the historical reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and its implications for life and living. This historical anchor is at the heart of the Gospel and makes it such “good news.”
Yes, Jesus was raised with an immortal body, never to die again. It was His same body in appearance as before His crucifixion, with the big difference that this body was incorruptible. Jesus looked the same and His voice sounded the same, but everything was different. Jesus had a glorified and eternal body that could be touched and felt. Jesus said His resurrected body even included “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39).
Think about it. On the great day of the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus is the firstfruits, each born again follower of Jesus will have a perfectly whole, immortal body like Jesus’ body. This includes each of our loved ones who have died in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 50-54). None of the afflictions and impediments of this life will be part of our glorified bodies.
After Jesus disappeared from the table, Cleopas and his friend gave testimony about how their hearts had burned as Jesus taught them on the road. The information they had was so marvelous they felt compelled immediately to head back to Jerusalem. They had already walked seven miles. It meant another three-and-a-half-hour walk. It added up to fourteen miles of walking in one day, almost non-stop. But considering the good news they were carrying, anything is possible.
No doubt with very tired legs and throbbing feet, they fulfilled their mission and found the disciples. “It is true,” they told them. “The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34). Then the two shared what had happened on the way, and how they recognized Jesus “when He broke the bread.”
That resurrection evening, back in Jerusalem, “the disciples were meeting behind locked doors in fear of the Jewish leaders.” They were obviously bound by a phobia (a fear that lacks supporting evidence). In the disciples’ case, it’s was a raw certainty in their minds the temple police would be breaking down their door to arrest them any minute (John 20:19). Instead of an arrest party, however, “suddenly Jesus was standing there among them” in His glorified body (Luke 24:36; John 20:29 TLB).
This is the second time on resurrection day that Jesus showed locks and walls were no impediments to His glorified body. The first was when Jesus disappeared at the meal in Emmaus. Our glorified bodies will be like His.
Blessed reality this: Jesus has never faced a “lock” He could not open. What is the “lock” in your life that you need Jesus to unlock?
The following list of the capabilities of the Lord’s glorified body is admittedly incomplete. At the great day of the resurrection of the body, the redeemed of the Lord will:
- Be able to walk on the earth as we do now.
- Have the ability to walk and talk with a group without being recognized by anyone in the group.
- Have the additional capability to pass through solid walls.
- Carry on highly intelligent conversations, capable of teaching and reasoning with full recall of the Scriptures.
- Have the additional capability to pass through solid walls.
- Have bodies with immortal flesh and bones that can be touched and felt, while possessing eternal life.
- Be completely restored with no impediments from former sicknesses or injuries.
- Disappear and then move about from place to place in ways not revealed to us.
- Eat food; in Jesus’ case, the food was fish.
- Live in an environment in which nature itself will be redeemed and perfected (Romans 8:22-23; Isaiah 11:8).
- When Jesus met His disciples on the Sea of Galilee after His resurrection, the Lord caught some fish and cleaned them. Then He collected dry wood, started a fire, began to broil His catch, and bake bread as He patiently waited for Peter’s boat to get near the shore (see John 21).
- The ascension showed Jesus’ glorified body was not limited by gravity, and did not need oxygen as He went upward, or clothing for warmth as the air grew thinner and colder, or a space suit to control the changes in the air pressure on His body. The ascension of Jesus is one of the greatest miracles of all history.
What else is meant by having a glorified body? Again, without being exhaustive: No one will feel persecution or slander again, or the curse of sin, or weeping and grief, or broken relationships, or poverty, hunger or thirst, or sickness and pain, or death. Heaven will have no tombs, no grave clothes, and no embalming fluids, or evil hearts of unbelief, or war.
Jesus had taught His disciples repeatedly that He would be killed and would rise on the third day. They had heard what Jesus foretold, but had not been able to digest and assimilate it. With Jesus in the room, however, they were finally beginning to “get it.”
Wonderful news, indeed. Every ending has within it the seeds of a new beginning for the children of God. It was true in this case too, but the disciples’ phobia was such it hindered them from seeing the dawn of the new day.
Then, Jesus appeared from out of nowhere in their locked room. His first words to them were “Peace be with you.”
The word John used, eirene, accurately translated as “peace,” communicates the idea of the comforting quietness and rest when Jesus sets things right (see 1Peter 2:23-24 Msg.). It is amazing but true – Jesus can pull things back into order with just one word. One word was enough for Jesus to do the job – “Peace!”
The tension, the despair, the hopelessness, and the fear of being arrested, in that special moment it all flew out of the room.
Jesus surely knew the word they needed to hear. But then, in all our heartaches and sorrows, Jesus-the-counselor always says the right thing. The perfectly right thing at the perfectly right time to set things right.
Then the Lord displayed to them what they needed to see the most. He “showed them his hands and side” (John 20:20). Yes, the powerful evidence that Jesus is the Son of God is illustrated by His scars – His hands and His side, and Matthew added “His feet” (Luke 24:39).
The change in the atmosphere of the room literally turned in seconds. “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19-20 NIV).
Their emotions, however, were like a roller coaster. One minute they were full of “joy and amazement.” The next they began to have misgivings, perhaps thinking, This is too good to be true; surely we’ll wake up and it all will be a dream. Jesus rebuked their unbelief, identifying it as hard heartedness (Mark 16:14).
Jesus knew what needed to be done next to give even further reassurance to the ten disciples to accept the historical miracle of His resurrection. [Thomas was not with them and Judas had taken his own life.] Jesus asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
“They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence (Luke 24:41-43 NIV).
Simply appearing in the room, quieting their fears, showing them His scars, and then eating food were strong proofs to the disciples that they were looking with their own eyes at the resurrected Lord Jesus who had exchanged mortality for immortality. They were eyewitnesses.
History has never been the same.
What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul;
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll.
Chorus: Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above;
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray,
In fathomless billows of love.
By: W. D. Cornell