Posts Tagged the body of Christ
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the singularly most important event that has ever taken place since time began. It is such a powerful event that many people have no idea what to make of it. On the one hand some choose to ignore it, while on the other theologians, historians, lecturers, intellectuals, and artists want to explore it.
Artistic representations of the resurrection differ throughout the centuries. The earliest images are believed to be in Rome while later more westernised images appear around the world. Some of these images depict the resurrection in various ways. For many, the resurrected body is presented as clean, and free of scars, yet still containing the nail holes in His hands and feet and the spear hole in His side. While others may present a slightly more rugged body bearing the marks of a crucified man.
In many ways, these artistic representations have conditioned our minds. In the days before film and photography, paintings and stained glass windows served as the earliest cinemas. They presented Biblical stories for artists and Church goers who could not read. In our time Church buildings are not the only representatives of the Bible, movies and television programs have projected Biblical stories into our vision and in many ways have come to dominate how we see the resurrected Jesus. Biblically inspired films often depict the resurrected Christ as One who has suffered the pains of the cross yet risen as a new body with all the scars, wounds, and potential disfigurements airbrushed out. In many depictions the only damage to remain on the resurrected body of Jesus are the nail holes in His hands and feet. Many representations show nothing of the scars left from the crown of thorns, or the scourging, or the damage made to His face and body when He was hit and beaten (Matthew 26: 67, Mark 14: 65, Luke 22: 63-65, John 18: 22. Matthew 27: 27-30, Mark 15: 16-20, John 19: 1-3).
Although the gospels do not give us any graphic details about the passion, Josephus offers insight into how cruel Roman scourging could be and in one incident a man was so severely beaten that his bones were laid bare (Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, Book 6, chapter 5.3).
In my opinion, it is possible that the resurrected body of Jesus still retained the scars inflicted during His passion. Likewise, the whole point of the resurrection is lost if a person assumes Jesus’ resurrected body was not the same body that was crucified. The point of the resurrection is that Jesus rose again in the same body that was crucified and in the same body that died. None of this is denied in the gospels and yet the texts read as though there was something different about the resurrected body. For example, in Mark 16: 12 Jesus appears to two disciples in “another form”. In Luke 24: 13-31 the two people on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognise Him. Luke claims “their eyes were restrained” until He broke the bread and their “eyes were opened” and suddenly He vanished from their sight. In John 20: 14-15 Mary Magdalene saw Jesus but did not know it was Him and supposed He was the gardener, yet in verse 16 when she turned, she knew it was Him. Yet in John 21: 7 Peter recognises Him.
Clearly there was something different about the resurrected body of Jesus and this is also affirmed in Philippians 3: 21 where Paul describes His resurrected body as “glorious“.
Yet in John 20: 24-29, Thomas will not believe until Jesus shows Him the nail holes in His hands and the spear hole in His side. On this occasion the doors were shut and suddenly Jesus appeared. Thomas sees the wounds with his own eyes and believes, so clearly the physical resurrected body of Jesus still bore the wounds of His crucifixion.
This begs the question: if His body retained the nail and spear holes, could it have also retained the scourge marks and other scars from His beating? It would seem logical to assume if the body retained the nail and spear holes it would retain other scars also, including the marks made by the crown of thorns.
Isaiah 53: 5 does not write about the stripes as though they are going to disappear, but as though by their very existence, we are healed. It is therefore possible that His body bears the marks of His passion as a witness to His death and resurrection.
In conclusion, I believe it certainly is possible that the physical resurrected body of Jesus Christ bore the marks made by the wounds inflicted upon Him when he was beaten, scourged, and crucified. It could help explain why some of the disciples did not recognise Him. Isaiah 52: 14 says “His visage was marred more than any man” so we can agree that after such a horrific beating, His appearance would have dramatically changed from His usual appearance. Also, He would have had a new robe on which would not have been the same garment and tunic He wore normally. His original clothing was destroyed at the crucifixion (John 23-24) This may have also made His appearance appear a little different to the disciples.
It should be noted that all the disciples forsook Him at the crucifixion apart from John, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. Peter witnessed moments of trial. Both Mary Magdalene and Peter recognised Him, which could mean they knew how much He had been beaten.
Although the gospels make no direct mention of it, I believe it is possible, though I cannot prove it, that the resurrected body of our Lord Jesus Christ retained the scars and marks of the physical damage that was inflicted upon Him as He bled to death for us and our salvation.
It is a picture and a reality of hope, that no matter what life throws at you and how horrible people can be at times, those who believe in Jesus Christ will rise up and follow Him. We too will win in the end.
Believe in Jesus today. He died for you.
On November 10th 2011 I attended a lecture at Manchester Cathedral During this lecture John Parry made mention of gender-inclusive translations of the Bible and how he supports this idea.
This is not a new idea or a ‘new thing’ or exclusive to Mr Parry and his teachings, for many Christians today support new translations of the Bible which are re-worded to fit with gender-inclusive language.
However, for those who do not know what gender-inclusive language is within a Biblical translation context, it reveals itself as a modern scholarship idea created through the root of feminism and employed by some theologians and so-called Christians who seek to appeal to the modern world by arguing that God is neither male nor female?
I marvel that anyone can make this claim and believe in the God of the Bible. Yet, today there are a number of translations which have employed this use of language and no doubt many more will come. Concerning this issue, I see no need to move into a review or exploration of the many arguments which are used to support gender-inclusive language for Bible translations, for, it is an accepted Christian truth that the Bible is the Word of God, therefore, let us go to the Bible first and see if gender-inclusive language would translate the Bible correctly? Firstly, there is not a single passage in the Bible which claims that God is neither male nor female. If God were neither male nor female, He would therefore be sexless and the entire Bible and its revelation of God would be fundamentally different. He absolutely reveals Himself in scripture in a masculine context.
Genesis 1 contains the Biblical account of Gods creation of the universe and of the life of man and beast. Verse 27 of that chapter says this, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” (KJV)
The New King James version translates this text a little clearer and reads as follows: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them”. This text presents a clear case and absolute confirmation that the creation of Adam and the creation of Eve were not one and the same event. There were two events and not one single event and the text shows this.
The Biblical account claims that in the image of God, God created Adam and He created him male, thus God is male. The text makes this point very clear. That “in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them”. The text distinguishes the two points of the creation of Humans, that in the image of God, God created Adam first, that He created Him male, the text then adds that in the image of man God created woman. The text distinguishes this by saying that God created Adam first, the then moves to say, “male and female He created them”. The text is very clear on this. When the Bible says, “God created man in His own image” the Hebrew word employed in this passage is literally “Adam”. That is an important fundamental point to distinguish.
I would further argue that Genesis 2 acts as a kind of commentary or expounding of Genesis 1. I say this for a reason. Genesis 2: 7 reads as follows; “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Thus, the creation of Eve does not fit the context of this verse and was thus was not created out of the dust of the ground, but from Adams rib. Adam was created out of the dust of the earth, not Eve. Thus, she was not created first and therefore, not created in the image of God, but of Adam.
Paul affirms this in 1 Timothy 2: 12-13 in his argument against female teachers within the Body of Christ and what could be seen as Paul writing against feminism? Paul says thus; “I do not permit a woman to teach, or to have authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Paul continues with this theme and gives his reason from out of the scriptures; “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”
He then goes on to argue that “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Timothy 2: 14) Paul is clearly writing within an ancient context and also warning future generations that the modern feminist movement is directly in line with what happened back in Eden, that because of woman, men are denying Gods word in favour of the deception of satan.
Further evidence that God created woman after Adam can be found in Genesis 2:18. The text reads as follows; “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make ‘him’ an help meet for ‘him”. This text confirms that the Genesis account is claiming that Adam was formed first.
Genesis 2:21-22 likewise reads; “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
The Bible is very clear that God created Adam first and Eve was created from Adam, no one can rightly argue against the fact that the Bible makes this claim and if any so-called Christian chooses to ignore this or hate that fact that both I and the Bible do say this, then I fail to see why you would call yourself a Christian, since you clearly do not believe what the Bible says?
Now a person could argue that God does not have gender, yet this claim also would be very weak and not in line with the entire Biblical text. God has always revealed Himself male, this can be consistently seen in throughout the Old and New Testaments. God appeared to Abraham as a male (Genesis 18) He appeared to Moses in a masculine way (Exodus 3) He is consistently named in scripture as “He”. Search the scriptures for yourself and see if it is not so?
Likewise, I would also point out a very Christian fundamental truth. That truth would be found in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Himself, who was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit and live as a man and died as a man. If God is neither male nor female, then how do we account for Mary’s conception?
How do we account for Christ being a man? Is He is not the very image of God? Was He not conceived in a masculine way? How then can anyone argue that God is not male?
The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, and I would plead with the church as did Paul when he warned us not to not be blown this way or that because of changing winds of doctrine, (Ephesians 4: 14).
I leave you once again with the text of Genesis 1: 27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” KJV
I ask every individual believer and Christian alike who reads this article, to look to Christ my brethren, bind yourself to Him and He will show you more clearly than I can, that He is who He is (Exodus 3: 14).
I would further add and plead with the Body of Christ that you must not deny the Word of God and forsake His testimony in favour of men and modern winds and an ever changing world. Be faithful to Him and His word and know His love and blessing which are given to those who love Him and keep His word (Exodus 20: 5-6) lest you make God angry and find yourself cast out of His garden and left to wonder through the world.