Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jesus Had a Real Human Body

The Apostle John wrote a biblical letter known as 1 John concerning what we can know about God, and about us. And he says we can know that we know God through Jesus Christ.

But false teaching had apparently cropped up where he was ministering. Some said then, and now, that Jesus only appeared to have a body, or that He merely seemed to die on a cross.

That may sound odd that some would question that Jesus had a real human body. But that seed of doubt has been used for centuries to cause people to stumble. So it's important to establish that Jesus did in fact have a real human body. And John clarifies that for his readers, and down through the centuries, for us.

John was trying to get across the idea that if you are a genuine believer, what you believe about Jesus matters. A true believer in Jesus will be marked by certain distinguishing marks: faith, obedience, love. The first that we'll talk about here is the mark of faith. True followers of Jesus will be shown by their faith.

And that faith must be rooted in the God who took on a human body to live perfectly, and then die and rise, in our place, instead of us. To do so, Jesus had to have an actual body, in which He actually died (and rose).

You can trust that Jesus had a real human body.

John says you can believe that. Why? Because he was there. John and his friends were with Jesus. They saw Him, they heard Him, they ate with Him, they touched Him, and they knew that He had a real human body. They were eyewitnesses in these early days of Jesus' ministry:

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of life—that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1.1-3, HCSB)

God's word says that Jesus really took on a human body. If you can trust Scripture—and you can—then you can trust that He had a real body. John and his buddies were there, and that's among the most important early facts they reported to us about Jesus.

When Jesus came back from death and showed up in the locked, fearful room the disciples had created, He joined them in their room and wanted to reassure them. "Peace to you!" He said. And then "He showed them His hands and His side" (John 20.20, HCSB). He was real.

Then a little later when Thomas kept having doubts, which were normal, Jesus wanted to reassure him also, and said:

Put your finger here and observe My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Don't be an unbeliever, but a believer. (John 20.27, HCSB)

Thomas saw and believed. Jesus said those who hadn't seen and still believed are blessed, but He knew that these close friends would soon attest to the fact that His body was indeed real. He really died. He really rose from death.

This is the incarnation. He put on flesh. He put on bones. Specifically this is what we celebrate at Christmas each year. Born into this world, He put on a body.

If He didn't, or hadn't, we would be hopeless. But He did. And we have certainty, and we believe. And our lives are marked by faith.