Now that Easter and March Madness are over, what’s left to celebrate? Why, the Resurrection of course! And unlike Villanova’s win over Michigan, there is enough in Jesus’ victory over death to contemplate and give us joy for all eternity.
Have you ever considered, for example, what became of Jesus’ human nature after the Resurrection? Christians believe the Son has existed for all eternity with the Father and the Spirit, and in the fullness of time took on human flesh; that he lived, breathed, taught, healed, died, was raised and then ascended into heaven with a human nature, with a body. Did Jesus then unbutton his human nature and zip into a heavenly cardigan, like some divine Mr. Rogers? “Finally back home, I think I’ll hang that humanity in the closet, thank you very much!”
The truth is much more astounding, and so important for you and me to understand: Jesus still has his human nature. He is still fully God and fully man.
Think about the ascension for a moment. There are Jesus’ disciples, with him on the Mount of Olives, when he is taken away by being lifted up into heaven. Two angels then appear to them saying, “this Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” I take that to mean he will descend from heaven in bodily form, just as he ascended. Earlier Jesus had taught his disciples that at the end of time, people “will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26). Jesus refers to himself as “the Son of Man” here, a term used to signify his human nature.
In Revelation 1:5 we read that Jesus is “the firstborn of the dead.” And despite the startling nature of John’s vision of Christ in verses 12-16, he is described first of all as “one like a son of man” (1:13), though one with eyes like fire and feet like bronze!
The point? Jesus is still like us; or to put it better, he has redeemed humanity, he has a glorious, resurrected body, and we can be made like him! 1 John 3:2 says as much: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
It is on account of Jesus’ perfect human nature, as the book of Hebrews explains, that “he entered once for all into the holy places . . . by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). This was done only once, but Jesus continues “to appear in the presence of God on our behalf (9:24, cf. Romans 8:34). Jesus is now “a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever (Hebrews 6:19-20). He is our forerunner – we shall be made like him! He is our high priest – he is still like us!
What is the relationship between the Son’s divine and human natures? That’s a subject for another post. But the fact that he never discarded his humanity has profound meaning for us. It means that God’s interest in us is not limited to Jesus’ 33 years on the earth. God has bound himself to us for all eternity. It means that the future for those in Christ is material and glorious; material because we too will have bodies, but glorious imperishable ones, like Jesus’ resurrected body, free from sin and death. It means Christ’s Church will really someday be made into a fitting bride for him (Revelation 21:2).
In short, this all means that Jesus’ Resurrection is something to celebrate and marvel at. It is something we will never get over thinking about, for all eternity. And we won’t just be thinking about it; we will see him and touch him. What a Savior!