With Christmas being just around the corner, many people are more curious about the birth and life of Jesus Christ. At this time of year, you might find yourself around the dinner table with family discussing unique topics regarding your faith. With the growing interest in ideas such as New Age spirituality, pluralism, postmodernism and other ideologies, it has become more common to reject the concept of a physical Jesus.
Postmodern thought has reopened the door for gnostic spirituality and notions regarding the rejection of the physical. It is not uncommon to paint Jesus as a man who died and experienced a figurative or symbolic resurrection; however, the gravity of this statement and its consequences extend to the most essential focal point of the Scriptures—the bodily resurrection.
Some might question the importance of Jesus being both fully man and fully God; however, several verses speak to the great importance of these claims for the metanarrative of the Scriptures.
Hebrews 2:14-17 says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people”.
Clearly, in order for Christ to fulfill His call, He must have been both physical body and divine spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:13-14 says, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, your faith also is in vain”.
If the death and resurrection of Christ did not occur, then Christ has not concurred death. If Christ has not concurred death, then there is no redemption of man to God. If this was the case, Christians are to be greatly pitied. This is obviously not the case, but it is necessary to recognize the physical raising of Christ. All other historical evidence points to the life and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth through the examination of manuscripts, artifacts, prophecies and statistics.
All that to say, the physical Jesus is necessary for the Gospel to prevail. Christianity hinges on the belief in Jesus Christ who conquered death. The right view of the ontology of the human being and the metaphysics of our reality are crucial to know who we are and how we fit in the world.
By dismissing our experiences of the physical or spiritual realms, the human experience is reduced to our souls being stuck in flesh prisons or our material world being ultimate reality. Both options are tragically bleak. The recognition of both the material and the immaterial can create the basis for a life with the fullest range of the human experience.
So, as you are sitting around the table this Christmas discussing the natural topic of conversation, Jesus Christ, remember the importance of His physical death and resurrection offering salvation to all those who will believe.