As the title asks, what do modern Christian religions believe happened to Jesus' physical body after the resurrection?

From John 20:11 - 14:

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"

"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don’t know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

As far as I know, there is no further scriptural evidence or discussion concerning this.

  • 6
    So you've not read the gospel accounts of his ascension into heaven?
    – wax eagle
    Apr 28, 2014 at 12:55
  • 1
    @waxeagle I have. However, is that to say his physical presence ascended, or his spiritual being? Maybe the question could be rephrased if you feel it better clarifies what I'm asking.
    – Yuck
    Apr 28, 2014 at 12:57
  • 5
    both his body and presence ascended.
    – wax eagle
    Apr 28, 2014 at 13:00
  • @Yuck Presumably, His physical body got up and walked out of the tomb. He then met the women who came to see the tomb [Matt 28:9-10, Mark 16:9-11, John 20:14-18] and then the remaining 11 apostles [Matt 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-20, Luke 24:26-53, John 20:19-31]. He later ascended, as wax eagle mentioned.
    – reirab
    Apr 28, 2014 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


The body of Christ ascended with him into heaven, as was witnessed by his disciples and many others.

Luke 24 (ESV):

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.

Acts 1 (ESV):

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

And lastly, the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

Most modern Christians believe that Christ's body ascended with his presence into heaven after his period of ministry following his resurrection. This is borne out clearly in Luke's accounts in Luke and Acts, and is affirmed in the Apostles Creed (which many modern Christians recite regularly).

  • Nice. As usually, no SOLID evidence left :)
    – IceCold
    Sep 27, 2014 at 21:10
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    So Jesus' flesh and blood inherited the kingdom of God? Jesus has the physical body (with untainted DNA) and it is into that "physical body type" all are "changed"? That's Catholic doctrine?
    – Ruminator
    Apr 12, 2019 at 9:32

Some inferences can be drawn from scripture, particularly from 1 Corinthians 15:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (v14 NIV)

This indicates to us that Christ's resurrection should be viewed in a different manner than previous examples of people being raised from the dead (Lazarus, Widow of Nain's son etc.) - which would perhaps be better termed resuscitations as their bodies were not substantially changed and would have been subject to aging and (re-?)death.

Later in the chapter, the nature of resurrection for all believers is discussed. As Christ is the firstfruits, what applies in a believer's resurrection would most likely have been what happened to Jesus (at least in part - due to Him being the divine Son of God and triumphing over the powers of death and hell by His work on the cross there would certainly have been some circumstances unique to Himself):

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (vv35-55 NIV)

In summary, His physical body would have been transformed to a glorious, imperishable, immortal spiritual body that has some essence in common with the previous form, but is a greater manifestation of that essence in a way that is like a seed of a plant becoming the mature plant. From other places in scripture we know that He could ascend with this body to the Father, be translated from place to place including through solid walls and yet was tactile and able to consume normal food.

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    looks like I've more answered the question, "what happened to Jesus body at His resurrection?" taking a different tack to Wax Eagle. Hope you still find it useful. Apr 28, 2014 at 13:54
  • I do find it very useful. Thank you for taking the time to respond!
    – Yuck
    Apr 28, 2014 at 22:58

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