In his book, “The Church of Christ,” Everett Ferguson points out that, “The New Testament uses the word ‘body’ in reference to Jesus in four senses” (page 250).
Think about each of these with me.
First, there is, as Ferguson put it, “the physical body of his incarnation.” This would be the body he took on when he was conceived in the womb of Mary, the body that walked this earth, and died on the cross.
The Bible says, “Because God’s children are human beings — made of flesh and blood — the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death” (Heb. 2:14 NLT).
Second, there is, as Ferguson put it, “the glorified body of his resurrection.” The Bible teaches that there’s a great day coming when the dead will be raised and their bodies, along with those of the living, will be changed.
The apostle Paul wrote: “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:50-53 ESV).
This imperishable, immortal body is the same kind of body that Jesus now has. Paul elsewhere wrote, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Philip. 3:20-21 ESV).
And John wrote, “what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we will be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 ESV).
Third, there is, as Ferguson put it, “the spiritual body of his church.” Paul said to the Christians in Ephesus, “The church is Christ’s body” (Ephesians 1:23 NIRV). He also told them, “Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” (Ephes. 5:23 ESV).
Likewise, writing to the Christians in Corinth, Paul said, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor. 12:27 ESV).
Fourth, there is the bread of the Lord’s Supper. The Bible says: “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me’” (Luke 22:19 NASB).
When we eat the bread of the Lord’s Supper, we need to remember the Lord’s body, which was lovingly given for you and me!
(Jake King is the preacher at Seneca Church of Christ. He can be reached at (417) 776-3077.)