This article gives the differences of Christ's body before and after the resurrection. The resurrected body of Christ points to the certainty of what body Christians can expect.

Source: The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, 2012. 2 pages.

The Resurrected Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Chapter VIII.4 of the Westminster Confession of Faith includes the following statement in regards to Christ’s office of priestly Mediator:

On the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which He suffered with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father...emphasis added

In support of the above statement, the Confession cites John 20:27, in which our Lord Jesus invites Thomas to touch His resurrected body which bears the wounds of His vicarious suffering.

Thomas had said,

Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.John 20:25

Later, the Lord Jesus said,

Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.John 20:27

This shows that Christ’s resurrected body was the same body. The perfect and glorified body of Christ still car­ries the wounds of His priestly work on our behalf. The nail prints in Christ’s hands and feet are the strongest possible affirmation that the same earthly body that was crucified is now the same heavenly body that was raised.

While Christ’s resurrected body was indeed the same as His earthly body, yet there were differences. The Lord Jesus’ body after His resurrection for the most part looked and acted like a regular physical body (He walked and ate food); however, it was not restricted to the same physical limitations. For instance, the Lord Jesus suddenly appeared in a room where the door was shut (John 20:19). Further, we read that the Lord Jesus in His resurrected body suddenly vanished from sight (Luke 22:31). Paul teaches us about these differences in 1 Corinthians 15 where he speaks of the “natural” body and the “spiritual” body. Paul does not say that the natural body is raised a spirit, but a spiritual body, confirming that it is still a body after the resurrection, though being spiritual.

What relevance does this all have for us? Believing in Christ means that in many ways what is present in our Savior will be mirrored in us! This is true of the resur­rected body;

Paul says,

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.Phil. 3:20-21

Christ’s resurrection is a sure pledge of our glorious res­urrection (Lord’s Day 17). Further, our bodies will be “spiritual” bodies, similar but different to our present physical body.

You may presently be struggling with infirmities of the body, or be hindered by the limitations of your body. But we can know and be assured that when we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be better able to serve and glorify God with our new bodies in heaven. Joni Eareckson Tada says it well:

Somewhere in my broken, paralyzed body is the seed of what I shall become. The paralysis makes what I am to become all the more grand when you contrast atrophied, useless legs against splendorous resurrected legs. I’m convinced that if there are mirrors in heaven (and why not?), the image I’ll see will be unmistakably ‘Joni,’ although a much better, brighter Joni.1


  1. ^ Joni Eareckson Tada, Heaven: Your Real Home (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 39.

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