By Stephen Leonard
“And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 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.’ And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, He said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate before them.” Luke 24:38-43
Most of us crave new bodies; slimmer, firmer, and more athletic. When death comes, the body we here lived in all our life returns through a decaying process to dust, from which our first parent came. So do you ever wonder what your new eternal body will be like? Will anyone recognize you? Will you really love your new body? Of course, you will. God designs it for you!
Jesus gives us a picture of what eternal bodies are like after His resurrection. The two disciples with whom He spent the afternoon and part of the evening did not recognize Him till they all sat down to dinner and broke bread. We are not sure what this previous non-recognition is all about, but they eventually truly recognized Him as they ate together. He was in His eternal body, resurrected from the dead.
Later, when He entered the presence of all the disciples, minus Judas, Jesus said He was not a spirit, as some of them supposed, but had flesh and blood like them. “Here,” He says, “feel My hands, see My feet, put your hand in My scar made by the spear thrust into My side and chest. See, I am flesh and blood, as you are.”
“Do you have anything to eat?” He then asked them. They gave Him a broiled fish which He ate in front of them. He ate with them in His every appearance to them as a group, at least three times. There is a continuity to what we ourselves are familiar with. I am not sure just how much there is of complete continuity, but being flesh and blood and eating is a lot.
We will sit down with Him in the marriage feast of the Lamb at the beginning of our eternal sojourn. Apparently, eating is a thing in the new heavens and new earth. Fellowship around meals, and partaking of delicious food and drink, is apparently an important part of this new life.
So is the continuity of the landscape in our new home as in our old home, even more, beautiful than the fallen earth, which was very beautiful in its own right, despite the effects of sin. Trees, mountains, lakes, creeks, waterfalls, flowers, grasses, and beautiful skies will be plentiful on the new earth. Our God has proven Himself to be a knower and creator of beauty!
There is a natural fear of our unknown future, but there shouldn’t be if your focus is on God and looking to the face of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2). Complete trust in Him gives you no pause that He will provide “abundantly above all we ask or think.” The provision of the future is “beyond the imagination.”
We are not able to see the future, but instead, put our trust in God, who already knows and is preparing that future (John 14:1-3). Jesus gives us a full glimpse of our eternal bodies in His appearances after bursting the bonds of death in His resurrection. Since Jesus was flesh and blood in His eternal body, so will we be. Hugging, touching, eating, doing the things we did in our flesh and blood bodies in this life, but without any sin in the next.
As my father was dying of pneumonia at the age of 98, my wife, Glenda, asked him what he would like to do in heaven. His answer was short. He said one word: “Work!” Work was his joy; work was his peace; work was what he desired to do. We will live purposeful lives in eternity. Work will not be a drudgery. It will be fulfilling. It will be creative. Life in eternity will be glorious, and always in the present, because eternity is timeless!
Have no fear of what you will do, or what you will be. God provides it all. His choices are perfectly attuned to who you are. He is to be trusted with your very life, and your eternal future. Your glory is His desire!
“O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: how great thou art, how great thou art! Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee: how great thou art, how great thou art!”
(1st verse of Stuart Hine’s hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” 1949)