Jesus Christ



10. Did Jesus rise from the dead bodily or spiritually?



The Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ rose from the dead bodily. In other words, it teaches that Jesus took back His body, in which He had been crucified and which had been placed in the tomb. Of course, His resurrected body with which He appeared to His disciples differed from His former body because it was immortal, incorruptible and glorious (this is confirmed by the fact that Jesus came and stood among His disciples when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, therefore He passed through the walls of the house where His disciples were assembled); yet that body was still His body. For when Jesus appeared to His disciples and they thought they saw a ghost, Jesus said to them: “Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:38-39). Please notice that Jesus said He was not a spirit for a spirit did not have flesh and bones as He had, thus He invited them to touch Him. Furthermore, to confirm what I have said, I add that in His hands and feet there were the prints of the nails while in His side there was the spear wound. This is very important, or rather fundamental, for those wounds in His resurrected body are the physical evidence of His bodily resurrection. In other words, the fact that Jesus still had these physical wounds from His crucifixion is an unmistakable proof that He was resurrected in the material body in which He was crucified.

Furthermore, I say this: ‘If Jesus had not taken back His body how could these prophetic words of David “also my flesh shall rest in hope” (Acts 2:26) have been fulfilled?’ Don’t you think that it wouldn’t have made sense for God to say that the flesh of the body of the Messiah would rest in hope and afterward that very same body wouldn’t come out of the tomb immortal and glorious? If the flesh of the Messiah would not be taken back by Him, what kind of hope would the Christ have had about His flesh? I think that His hope would have been a false and illusory hope. Don’t you think so? However, the Messiah saw the fulfilment of that hope because His soul was not left in Hades nor did His body see decay, in that the third day He rose again, that is to say, His soul returned into that pierced body but this time that body was immortal and glorious. I want to say also this: ‘If His resurrection had not been a bodily resurrection, how could Jesus have destroyed death? In my opinion, He couldn’t have destroyed death because when Jesus died His soul was separated from His body, thus we say that in a certain sense His body was ‘lost’. Therefore in order that Jesus might overcome death it was necessary for the soul of the dead Jesus to return into the same body from which it was separated. In other words, it was necessary for Jesus to take back His own body. And that’s what happened at His resurrection, so we now proclaim that Jesus Christ destroyed death.

Therefore, brothers, take heed to yourselves, and beware of all those who in one way or another deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus. They lie against the truth. Know this, that the bodily resurrection of Jesus is part of God’s plan of redemption for mankind, for Paul says that Jesus Christ “was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25), and also that those who hold that Jesus did not rise bodily but spiritually deny His resurrection (because there is no spiritual resurrection, and such a resurrection cannot be called resurrection) and thus they nullify the redemption worked by Jesus Christ for our sake. Therefore, brothers, continue to proclaim the resurrection of Christ, and to defend it from the attacks of those who, being deceived by the devil, deny it.