Not too long ago I read John 5:23b which says, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.” These words were spoken by Jesus about Himself and His Father. Being someone who wants to know God and honor Him, I took this seriously and began looking more closely at Jesus, in particular His sacrifice on the cross. I want to honor and value Him in truth rather than in rote or in an unthinking or shallow manner. I am still learning many truths about Jesus, but here are a few.
Jesus, Immanuel, God in the flesh, had a body. Many people think Jesus had a body so that He would be more relatable to us. It is true, that Jesus having a body makes Him more relatable to us. He was able to show us who God is and what He is like in a more visual way. However, the fact that He had a body like us has more to do with salvation truths than anything else.
Jesus Had a Body for the Explicit Purpose of Dying
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me…” Hebrews 4:4-5.
This is a partial quote from Ps. 40:6 and other Old Testament passages. It is used to indicate that a spirit of obeying God is more important to Him than all the ritual sacrifices that people offered unto God. But, there is a deeper meaning in the expression “a body you prepared for me.”
A body was prepared for God in Jesus, because it is that very body that would be the one true sacrifice that atoned for the sins of the world. A physical body was necessary for Jesus to have not just to relate to us, but actually to be able to die for us.
Phil. 2:7-8, states that Jesus being in very nature God put on the form of a man, took on the appearance and qualities of man in the flesh. He did this, humbling Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. I find this very compelling that Jesus literally became a “man, a human” so that He could die for our sins.
A Flesh and Blood Body Provided Atoning Blood
Hebrews 9: 11-12 – “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (NASB)
Jesus took on a flesh and blood body so that His actual blood was poured out for our sins. Isolating this truth and thinking about it makes it more real and meaningful to me. Think about this -before Jesus came to earth He knew He would give His earthly body to be killed and His blood would bring spiritual life to us who believe in Him. Romans 3:25 emphasizes this truth, “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”
A Physical Body – Resurrected
Jesus had a physical body so that He could suffer and die on our behalf, but also so that He could be resurrected. This resurrection is crucial to our life.
In Luke 24:39 we read what Jesus said about Himself to the disciples after His resurrection, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
Acts 1:3 emphasizes the truth of this resurrection. “To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”
John in the book of Revelations states the most powerful truth about Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus, Himself, tells us who He is and what His resurrection has accomplished, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
Jesus, because He had a body that was resurrected, holds the keys to death for us. He is truly, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The Resurrection of Jesus’ Body Leads to My Resurrection
The resurrection of the body that God prepared for Jesus is crucial to our spiritual life, to our freedom from sin. Paul notes this in 1 Corinthians 15:17 – “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.”
As a result of Jesus’ resurrection I can be resurrected from death, because He was the “firstborn” from the dead. (Col.1:18- “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”)
The power of Jesus’ physical resurrection brings about both physical resurrection from the dead for me, but also a spiritual resurrection in me through His Spirit in me. As a result of Jesus’ resurrection, I can die to my fleshly self and be resurrected as a new creation in Jesus.
Romans 6:4- 7 describe this resurrection process: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
Who does not want this? How many times have you asked yourself, “How can I be different? How can I change? How can I do this better or do this over?” We have hope in these things through the resurrection of Jesus.
Paul describes these truths that I wrote about as being the Gospel, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
As for me, I see nothing simple in these truths. They are rich with meaning and complex with implication for us in our relationship to Jesus. My sense of honoring Jesus is deeper, and more entrenched in truth than ever before. I encourage you to look deeper into the truths you know about Jesus. Let your faith be encouraged.
“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16