Fr. Dale Matson
The flesh and blood humanity of Jesus is quite evident. Jesus became fatigued. He was hungry and thirsty. He wept; He was filled with joy and even anger. He was born as a child from a human mother and bled and died as a man. He was fully human in body and in His emotions. Jesus was born, lived, died and was even resurrected in the flesh. The prologue to John’s Gospel states, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, ESV)
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.” (1st John 1:1-3, ESV)
Jesus reassures His disciples that He is in the flesh and not a ghost by showing the wounds in His hands and feet. He also stated, “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 24:39-43, ESV)
Scripture offers overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence to the fact that Jesus was truly human, truly died and bodily rose from the dead. In a sense this does not even require faith since the evidence is there. The arrival of Jesus the Christ was predicted throughout Old Testament prophesies. The events of His life were recorded by four separate accounts that agree and His resurrection was witnessed by over 500 people before He ascended to Heaven. As a scientist and a researcher, I accept the objective evidence of His life, death and resurrection and the concurring witnesses that reported it.
As a Psychologist, I would also like to comment further on the response of the disciples. It is human nature to frequently distort reality because humans often perceive reality subjectively, not objectively. Often we do not see what we don’t want to see. How many folks have gotten into a car accident and stated later, “I never saw the car coming that ran into me.” Why is that? That is because the person did not want to wait for traffic to clear and so they saw no traffic as they pulled out.” It is also human nature to see what we want to see. A group of subjects was asked to eat a delayed lunch. Each was walked past a sign with an arrow that said 400D. They were each asked to record what the sign indicated when they returned and every person wrote the word “Food”.
OK, Father Dale, so where are you going with all this about perceptions and subjectivity stuff? What did the Scriptures say would happen with the Messiah? He would be killed and raised to life. What did Jesus say would happen? He would be killed and raised to life. What did the disciples believe? They wanted to believe that he was raised from the dead. This should have primed their perceptions to see Him raised from the dead, but it didn’t. They thought someone had taken the body when they saw the empty tomb. They thought they were seeing a ghost when He appeared to them. They didn’t even see this Ghost as the Ghost of Jesus. He had to first convince them that it was Him and that He was not a ghost. Still, Thomas would not accept the report of the other disciples that Jesus was raised unless he physically put his fingers in the wounds. These accounts do not describe the disciples as men of faith or even men who reported what psychologists would predict their response to be. They were surprised and slow to realize, even with the evidence in front of them that Jesus was in fact, raised from the dead. What convinced them that He was Lord and God, however was not a transfigured Jesus but a resurrected flesh and blood Jesus.