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The Resurrected Body

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The Resurrected Body

When Jesus stood among his disciples in the evening of that same day, he ‘showed them his hands and his side‘.  Here was Jesus, true God and true man.  He had healed the sick, given sight to the blind, brought Lazarus back to life, harrowed hell and risen from the dead and yet he hadn’t chosen to heal the wounds of his own crucifixion.  Why?

To the extent that we think about such things, we perhaps think (or hope) that through the resurrection of the body we might be given a younger or more glamorous version of this one, or at least one that does not bear the scarred evidence of whatever life has thrown at us.  Yet here is Jesus in his resurrected body, still wounded.

There’s a difference, again, between the way that we see things and God’s way.  Peter Kreeft* explains it like this:

many cosmetic features of the body that are imperfections when judged by human standards, especially the wounds of Christ and of the Christian, freely accepted and offered to God, are in fact badges of beauty.  The eyes of love see truly; where they see beauty, beauty is, even if the world sees ugliness.  Loves sees such wounds as augmenting the body’s beauty by expressing the beauty of soul or character.  Who has not marveled at the deep inner beauty of a careworn face full of wrinkles, tempered by suffering?  How beautiful are the wise and gentle eyes of a very old woman at peace with God! … The heavenly body is made beautiful by its soul, not its shape; by its inscape, not its landscape.  So are our earthly bodies, if only we had eyes to see, if only we applied our Heavenly wisdom.

So, returning to our Lord and his wounds; the disciples did not shrink from the sight of them, but were filled with joy when they saw it was Jesus.  Let us pray that we may see the Lord’s redemption at work in our own suffering and never shrink away from the physical suffering of others.  Instead let us be filled with compassion when we see the Lord present in those who suffer.

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*in his book, ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven‘ chapter 7.  A great book, which does as it says on the back: ‘rescues the afterlife from sentimentalism and makes Heaven truly desirable‘.

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