In our reading today we have the end of Luke’s Gospel and the beginning of John’s Gospel. In Luke’s account of Jesus’ resurrection appearances, he emphasizes the fact that Jesus rose bodily from the dead. It was not just a spiritual resurrection.
In the Road to Emmaus appearance Jesus sat down with the two travelers and ate a meal with them (Luke 24:30-32). In the next appearance at Jerusalem, Jesus explicitly tells His disciples to “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Luke 24:39). After He showed them his hands and feet, Jesus asked for something to eat and they gave him a fish. The text specifically mentions that he ate the fish in their presence (Luke 24:40-43).
The Jewish-Christian worldview affirms the material aspect of creation. We serve God and others in a physical body. Our bodies and the physical creation are a part of God’s handiwork. They are good. This view of the physical world is different from Platonic Greek thought and a religion like Buddhism which both teach that our bodies are something to escape. The Bible teaches that the ultimate goal of God’s redemptive purposes is to see all of creation, including our bodies, transformed in a new creation (Phil. 3:20,21;Revelation 21:1-27).
In John’s account of Jesus’ birth, he also affirms the goodness of the physical aspect of creation, and emphasizes that Jesus fully became flesh and blood. John 1:14 states: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Putting this verse together with John 1:1,2, we understand these verses as teaching us that God’s Son was fully incarnated in a human body. The creator became a part of His creation. The physical world is not inherently evil as taught by Plato or Buddhism. We are to affirm it as good and we are called by God to be faithful stewards in how we use our talent, time and treasure for the glory of God. Furthermore, our ultimate hope is much more earthy than most systems of pagan thought. In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John