When He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
–1 John 3:2
If you want a good idea of what your resurrection body is going to be like for eternity, the best place to look is Jesus. Jesus is the prototype of our resurrection body. In 1 John 3:2, the apostle wrote, “We are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” The best way to know what our new bodies will be like is to look at the resurrection body of Jesus.
Was Jesus’ resurrection spiritual or physical? Some people in the Corinthian church said, “We believe Jesus was raised from the dead, but we believe it was a spiritual resurrection. We cannot believe that he was physically raised from the dead.” So in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Paul made it clear that the physical resurrection of Jesus is the very essence of the gospel. Paul wrote, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” The resurrection of Jesus is the heart of the gospel. It was not just a spiritual resurrection; it was a physical resurrection. How do I know that?
After Jesus was raised from the dead, He spent 40 days ministering to people. On 17 occasions, He conversed with His disciples. Three times, He ate with His disciples. On two different occasions, He allowed His disciples to touch Him. What was Jesus’ resurrection body like?
First of all, Jesus’ resurrection body was superior to His earthly body. Jesus was without sin in His earthly body, but He had limitations just like you and I have in our earthly bodies. But in His resurrection body, Jesus was vastly superior. On several occasions, Jesus was able to materialize in a place at will. He had abilities in His new body that He did not have in His original body. Second, Jesus’ body was also similar to His earthly body. During the 40 days Jesus spent on earth after His resurrection, those who knew Him best eventually recognized Him. The disciples did not always immediately recognize Him because they were not expecting to see Him, but they eventually recognized Him. What was it that caused them to recognize Jesus? There were some similarities between Jesus’ earthly body and His new body. Perhaps it was His stature. Perhaps it was the color of His eyes or His hair. Perhaps it was a mannerism that He had that caused them to recognize Him. Jesus’ resurrection body was similar to His earthly body.
In Luke 24, Jesus was on the road to Emmaus. The disciples with Him did not recognize Jesus immediately, but then He ate with them. Verse 35 says, “He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.” Something with the way Jesus broke the bread made the disciples recognize Him. Maybe it was the fact that Jesus took the loaf in His right hand and broke it with His left hand. Maybe it was a habit He had. Something about Jesus’ new body was recognizable.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Will We Know One Another In Heaven?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)