Thoughts to Ponder

Who is Jesus now?

Have you ever given much thought to who Jesus is now? What I mean is when you see Him, what will He be like. Does it make any difference to you, what He will be like?

That is what I want to take a look at in this Thought to Ponder. I think that many of us just think of Jesus as being Jesus. We know that He is and has always been God, but we don't really think much beyond that. We know that He was a physical being while He was on this earth, but what about now?

We know from Scripture that if anyone denies that Jesus was a human on this earth they are not from God: (1 John 4:2-3 NIV) This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, {3} but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. But what about His resurrection? That is just as important as His physical life: (1 Corinthians 15:13-19 NIV) If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. {14} And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. {15} More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. {16} For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. {17} And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. {18} Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. {19} If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

Scripture also tells us that death is our enemy and the last enemy that needs to be destroyed: (1 Corinthians 15:26 NIV) The last enemy to be destroyed is death. If death kept Jesus physically in the grave and only His spirit lived on, then our enemy has defeated Him and is waiting for each of us also. So we see that it is vitally important to our faith that Jesus rose again to physical life, in a physical body.

Look at this passage from Luke: (Luke 24:40-43 NIV) When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. {41} And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" {42} They gave him a piece of broiled fish, {43} and he took it and ate it in their presence. You may be wondering why God thought it was important to tell us about Jesus asking for something to eat and eating in their presence, but this goes to the heart of the issue. The disciples were over joyed to see Jesus, but they had watched Him brutally killed. They had no doubt that three days before He was dead. What Jesus proved to them by eating in front of them was that He was physically resurrected. That He was more then just a spirit being without substance.

We know that He was only with His disciples for forty days and then ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. What happened then; did He discard His physical body so that He could again take on all His divine attributes? No, He did not discard His physical body. I also don't believe that He is now limited as to His divine attributes, however. I wish I had a clear answer as to how He can have both, but I don't, but as Scripture says nothing is impossible with God.

I want to show why I know that Jesus did not discard His physical body. First we see that the very first martyr Stephen saw Jesus while being martyred: (Acts 7:54-56 NIV) When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. {55} But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. {56} "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Now you by may be wondering how I get from this passage confirmation that Jesus had not discarded His human body. Look at the passage closely. Notice that Stephen does not say that he saw Jesus, but rather that he saw the Son of Man. We use capital letters to denote that this means Jesus, and many times we tend to think that the words son of man, are synonymous with the name Jesus. If we think that we are wrong. The words son of man is an expression that in Hebrew would just mean; human. So it would be like Stephen saying that he saw the Human (of course meaning Jesus) standing at the right hand of God.

If we go back to what Jesus told the disciples during the last supper we also see evidence that He retained His physical body after returning to heaven: (Luke 22:14-18 NIV) When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. {15} And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. {16} For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." {17} After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. {18} For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." Jesus tells them that He will not eat the Passover supper again until He eats it in His kingdom. That tells us that He will eat again, which is a physical thing to do, spirits do not eat. Remember this is the same reason He asked for food when He first appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. In verse 18 He tells them that He will not drink any fruit of the vine until His kingdom comes.

If we look at John's vision in revelation we see the same type of description: (Revelation 1:12-16 NIV) I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, {13} and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. {14} His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. {15} His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. {16} In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. He saw a human, yet this person was only like a human, because of the glory that was seen. There is a lot of allegory in this passage, meaning that the descriptions of Jesus all have meanings. Such as the head and hair being like wool, as white as snow. I won't go into any explanation of those descriptions, but if you are interested you should get a good commentary and look them up. My point is that John saw a human, although not an ordinary human being.

John had walked with Jesus on this earth for close to three years, yet look at his reaction to seeing the resurrected Christ: (Revelation 1:17-18 NIV) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. {18} I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." Notice too what Jesus tells John. "I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!" This statement would be meaningless if Jesus was not in His physical body. Yes His physical body had been dead and yes He arose physically from the dead, but if He had then discarded His physical body, then the statement that "behold I am alive for ever and ever" would be an over statement of the obvious since His spirit never died, but was always alive from everlasting to everlasting.

We see again later in John's vision another description: (Revelation 14:14 NIV) I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man" with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. This time John saw Jesus seated on a cloud with a golden crown and a sharp sickle. The golden crown denotes His regal status as King, and the sickle denotes the coming judgment of the world.

(Hebrews 2:17-18 NIV) For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. {18} Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. He is still our High Priest and He can still help us through our temptations and we can know that He is able because He is our physical Brother and our God. He is also our mediator: (1 Timothy 2:5-6 NIV) For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, {6} who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.

We as Christians have much to look forward to. God tells us that in the future the curse will be gone, and He will renovate the heavens and the earth and make them like new. He also promises to live with us: (Revelation 21:3-4 NIV) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. {4} He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Jesus will live with us physically for eternity.

One last promise also from Revelation: (Revelation 22:3-4 NIV) No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. {4} They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. We will see His face.

I get great comfort knowing that my Lord and Savior is human, yet Lord God Almighty. I may not be able to totally understand it or explain it, but I believe it and that gives me comfort knowing that He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for me. He can truly understand me and my struggles because He has been there and knows what it is like.

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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