But that leads me to my final question. I am told by my Jehovah's Witness friends that the resurrection of Jesus was not literally physical.
They said when He appeared and took a physical form it is because He had other bodies after the resurrection which He appeared in because people couldn’t recognize Him at first like Thomas didn’t recognize Him, or didn’t believe it was Him. The resurrection was not literal.
Well first of all, if it was only spiritual and the spirit of the pnuma – the psuchei, call it what you will – is only “breath”, how could Jesus have risen? His breath rose? Now I'm confused. How could “breath” appear as a person? The tomb was empty. We’re told in John the tomb was empty. (Jn. 20:1-10) there was no corpse found in it. In John 2:21 Jesus said his body would rise. The Greek word “soma” – His bodywould rise.
Let’s look at John 21:12. I’d like to read it to you.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord.
“Come eat breakfast”. When Jesus raised a little girl from the dead He said, “Talitah t’kumi”, and His first instruction was, “Give her something to eat”. (Mk. 5:40-43) When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the next thing we see them doing is eating in John 12. Whenever somebody raises from the dead in the Gospels you always seem them eating. “Come eat breakfast”. On the road to Emmaus He goes to the house and they recognize Him in the breaking of bread. (Lk. 24:30-31) Why is He eating? Any time in the Bible when someone rose from the dead they ate to prove it was a literal, physical resurrection. It was only a ghost? No, it could not have been. Let me explain why.
Let's look to the story of Jesus calming the raging sea. It says they thought He was a ghost. (Mt. 14:26; Mk. 6:49) He said no it’s not a ghost; a ghost does not have flesh and bones. He appeared physically. So if He was only some kind of a ghost, a phantom, how could He have appeared physically when He said ghosts don’t do that? I'm told He had multiple bodies and this only happened because when Thomas didn’t recognize Him or on the road to Emmaus when they didn't recognize Him. But we are rather told in Luke 24:16 they were keptfrom recognizing Him. The reason they didn't recognize him was not because He had other bodies, because they were kept from recognizing Him; in other places they knew it was Him such as in John 21:12, it says they knew He was Him.
At His resurrection of John 20:17, Jesus says, “Stop clinging tor Me”. You can’t cling to a ghost. The tomb was empty. Why would bribes have been paid to say His disciple stole the body if it was only a spiritual resurrection? It just doesn't make any sense. It makes no sense whatsoever. First I am told that psuchei, that pnuma is only “breath” and that I’m told His “breath” rose? His body had to rise – “Stop clinging to Me”. The tomb was empty, He ate physically, He said directly that His body would raise up from the dead in John chapter 2:21. If Jesus said His body, His physical body – He used the word “soma”, He didn’t use the word “psuchei”, the text does not use the word “pnuma” – but “soma”, “body”. He says His body would raise from the dead. If the tomb was empty, He said “Stop clinging to Me”, if He repeatedly did things like eat and so forth, how can you say it was not a literal, physical resurrection, it was only spiritual? How? How could it be anything other than an actual literal, physical resurrection? How?