Today's Foundations Devotional: ‘Behold My hands’
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
(1 Corinthians 15:20)
If we do not accept this biblical account of the destiny of man’s body, then we have no right to speak of a resurrection – that is, of a process of raising again the second time. If the elements which make up man’s body at resurrection are not the same as those which originally made up his body, then there is no logical or causal connection between the first and the second body. The two bodies are in no way related to each other, either in time or in space. In that case we should not be able to say that God resurrected (or raised up) man’s body. We should have to say instead that God equipped man’s spirit with a totally new body, unconnected in any way with the previous body.
This is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that there is direct continuity between man’s original body and the body with which he will be provided at the resurrection. The continuity consists in this: that the same material elements which formed the original body will once again be reassembled to form the resurrection body.
Confirmation of this wonderful truth is found first and foremost in the resurrection of Christ Himself. When Jesus first appeared to His disciples in a group after His resurrection, they were frightened, supposing that what they saw was a ghost, a disembodied spirit. However, Jesus immediately reassured them and gave them positive proof of His identity and of the reality of His body.
“Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet (Luke 24:39-40).
One of the disciples, Thomas, was not present on this occasion, and he would not accept the account of the incident which the other disciples gave him. However, a week later Jesus appeared to the disciples again when Thomas was also present, and this time He addressed Himself directly to Thomas.
Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27).
From these passages we see that Jesus was careful to give His disciples the plainest evidence that after His resurrection He had a real body, and that His body was the same that had been crucified. The evidence was in His hands and feet and in His side, which still bore the marks of the nails and of the spear.
Lord Jesus, as I read how real the tangible scars were in Your hands,
feet and side, I realize how immense the suffering was that You bore,
as the sinless, innocent Lamb of God who took upon Himself the sins
of the world ... Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for that precious grace!