Did Jesus Rise from the Dead in a Physical Body?

This week, Christians all over the world will celebrate Jesus’ death and His resurrection. Christians have been celebrating His death and resurrection for almost 2,000 years because they truly believe that He was put to death by a team of Roman soldiers, buried in a tomb, and rose again. The Bible, the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, and the ancient Roman historian Tacitus all record that Jesus’ crucifixion was ordered by Pontius Pilate. His crucifixion was carried out by Roman soldiers who were experts at executing people who had been condemned to death. But what happened after His crucifixion? Was that the end of the story, or is there more to it?

One of the most important questions that we can ask about the events of Holy Week (or Passion Week) is this: Did Jesus really rise from the dead? This crucial question can also be stated another way: Did Jesus rise from the dead in a physical body?

If Jesus’ resurrection was just spiritual rather than physical, than His body would have remained in the tomb in which it was buried. Moreover, if Jesus’ resurrection was not physical, then Jesus would have been a liar or lunatic rather than the Risen Savior and Lord. Jesus had clearly predicted His own crucifixion and resurrection at least three times (see Mark 8:31-32; 9:30-32; 10:32-34 and the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke), and there are several good reasons to believe that He conquered the grave and rose from the dead in a physical body. Jesus’ resurrection seems too hard to believe, but it’s true!

What are some of the reasons why we should believe that Jesus rose from the dead in a physical body? First of all, all four gospels record that Jesus’ tomb was discovered as being empty by His followers (see Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20). Secondly, Jesus’ resurrection body was visible to His disciples and other people (see Matthew 28:17; John 21:4-7). Thirdly, Jesus’ resurrected body had scars from His crucifixion (see Luke 24:39-40; John 20:27). Fourthly, Jesus’ resurrected body was touched by His disciples (see Matthew 28:9; John 20:27-28). Fifthly, His resurrected body was made of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Finally, Jesus ate food in the presence of eyewitnesses after He rose from the dead (See Luke 24:30, 42-43; John 21:12-13; Acts 1:4). Can ghosts or spirits eat food? Of course not!

We can summarize the main evidence for Jesus’ resurrection by pointing out two facts. Here they are: 1) Fact #1: The fact that Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb serves as indirect evidence that He rose from the dead in a physical body. 2) Fact #2: The fact that Jesus appeared to His disciples and more than 500 other people serves as direct evidence that He rose from the dead in a physical body (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

In my book The Life Changer, I point out that there are five key facts about Jesus which provide strong evidence for His resurrection in a physical body. Besides the two facts mentioned above, three other facts convincingly show that Jesus did indeed defeat death by rising again on Easter Sunday. No other adequate explanation for these five facts exists besides Jesus’ resurrection in a physical body. Please read my book The Life Changer to discover these five key facts and why alternative explanations for them aren’t sufficient. Jesus is alive, and His conquering of death, sin, and Satan make it clear that He is the Risen Lord and the Life Changer.

May God bless you and your family with a Happy Easter!

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