"Look at my hands and feet; it really is me, myself. Touch me and see! Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones like you can see I have."
With these words, he showed them his hands and feet.
While they were still in disbelief and amazement from sheer joy, he said to them, "Have you got something to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish, which he took and ate in front of them.
Do you remember the movie, Casper: The Friendly Ghost? There’s a scene where Casper’s uncles—The Ghostly Trio—are eating. The shot moves from these three un-dead slobs at the dinner table, shoveling food into their mouths, to Casper, quietly sweeping up the chewed up pieces of food that have fallen straight from the ghosts’ teeth to the floor.
You would think those ghosts were a bit like Jesus—they had died, after all—but really they were not like Jesus at all. They had no biology.
Last Thursday I graduated with my nursing degree. Working in the medical world means accompanying people in the rawest, most elemental moments of life. I have had privileged access to birth, death, and nearly everything in between that makes us what we are.
There are basic bodily functions that we all experience: lungs breathing, a heart pumping, a stomach digesting—these are what every human has in common. Jesus shared in all these basic facets of biology with us. They should have died with him.
The Ghostly Trio had no lungs, no hearts, no digestive tract. We can only wonder whether the disciples were expecting a similarly messy floor as they handed Jesus the piece of fish to eat. What questions were in their minds that day?
I would probably take it one step further and ask: If Jesus eats food in his resurrection body—and clearly he does according to Luke 24:42-43—is that food still digested in the same way? And if so, what happens to it?! In other words, will there be restrooms in heaven???
But leaving aside that highly significant question, this encounter between the now and the not-yet, the biologically ordinary disciples and the seemingly super-biological resurrected Jesus, reminds me of a passage in the book of Romans, where Paul declares that,
“the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves… groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” [Romans 8:23]
Jesus is the first. His broken body has now been redeemed, transformed. According to the scriptures, his existing biology still functions, but he also looks somehow different and can trans-locate and even walk into locked rooms. He is the first—we are waiting.
I am presently thirty-eight weeks pregnant. I am waiting (and occasionally groaning) for the new life to be revealed. I am limited in what I can do, my back hurts, and my body is carrying a huge burden. But it all has purpose—there is new life coming! And just like Jesus’ new body still carries the battle scars of the victory He won over death, “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” [Romans 8:18]
Today's guest post is by Maria Shahid Rowe: Maria lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband David, her son Samson, and her very pregnant belly. She is a doula and a nurse, likes to kiteboard whenever she can, and cares deeply about good food, Korean dramas, and Dimitar Berbatov.
Photo credits: Chelsea Hudson