Question:

When Jesus rose from the dead, what form (human, spiritual or something else) was he in when he appeared to the women and the apostles? Upon death He gave up his spirit (Matthew 27:50) or his soul (Isaiah 53:12) but yet he did not want Mary to "cling to me". Some apostles saw Him but didn't recognize him (Mark 16:12). But his wounds were very real to Thomas (John 20:17). He ate and disappeared from rooms or sight. He talked quite plainly. Acts 1:3 says He presented himself alive.

After the coming of the Holy Spirit is it correct to say that Jesus never returned to earth in a visible form?


Answer:

"And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit" (Matthew 27:50). "Yielded up his spirit" means his spirit left his physical body, which means he died.

The Bible teaches that Jesus physically was resurrected. See: He Showed Himself Alive by Many Proofs. Anything else would not have been significant. For example, people already believed in ghosts (as evidenced by the disciples when they saw Jesus walking on the water). For Jesus to come back only in a spiritual form would not display the power of God to many people. A physical resurrection means his spirit returned to his physical body. If Jesus only came back spiritually, then it would mean his body would have remained in the grave.

In regards to Mary, the word is "cling" not "touch."† Mary was holding on to Jesus so he wouldn't disappear on her.† She probably grabbed him in her joy, but Jesus told her she did not have to hold on to him. It wasnít time yet for him to ascend to heaven, so he would be there for a while. But meanwhile, Jesus wanted her to take a message to the disciples that he would be ascending to the Father.

The disciples said that Jesus would return as he left. "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Of course, at Jesus' return the world will come to an end (II Peter 3:10-12). We will all appear before him in judgment. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (II Corinthians 5:10).† So we will all see Jesus, just not with physical eyes.

Jesus did and does "come in judgment" in the sense of taking a hand in the world's events, such as the destruction of Jerusalem, just as God came in judgment on nations many times in the Old Testament. It does not mean Jesus had to be physically present.

Thank you so much for the reply!