Luke 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
The resurrected Jesus said this during the forty days during which He repeatedly showed Himself to His followers. We are in the annual anniversary of those days right now.
The passage overthrows the idea that Jesus resurrected as some sort of ghost or spirit-only entity. Likewise for the passages where eyewitnesses tell us that His grave was empty. The body wasn’t in the grave because Jesus, body and all, was moving about, preparing His witnesses to spread the Gospel.
In Luke 24:51 we read that “he was carried up into heaven” body and all. In Acts 1:10 it says, “He went up,” and in 1:11 an angel says, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Body and all.
The resurrection of Jesus was not merely a spirit visitation or a psychological phenomenon. Witnesses not only tell us they saw Him. They heard Him, touched Him, walked with Him, and ate with Him. He gave coherent answers when they asked Him questions. He asked them questions, too, like “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15-17).
Some people think that Jesus-sightings were the psychological phenomena of disciples who were distraught because of Jesus’ death. However, such psychological experiences simply do not happen – neither to such a variety of witnesses, nor on many occasions. James, Jesus’ cynical brother, and Paul, someone who hated Christ, also reported seeing the risen Jesus. The experiences of these two antagonists of Jesus completely destroy the theory that distraught followers of Jesus only thought they saw him.
It is so important to us that God raised Jesus bodily that the Apostle Paul says, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). The resurrection gives us faith that God cares for our physical lives. As long as we breath we can have faith that God loves us and will care for us. We can also have faith that death is not the end for our physical bodies, for we, like Jesus, will be changed and raised incorruptible. As the song says,
There ain’t no grave
Can hold my body down.