Though it has a long history, the belief that Jesus was transformed at his resurrection is clearly false. Why?
- Transformation is bluntly a denial of physical corporeal resurrection. Only those who like David undergo corruption are changed at their resurrection.
- After his resurrection Jesus says specifically that he is still flesh (Luke 24:39, cf. John 20:26-29).
- Jesus denied that he was a ghost when he walked on the sea (Mt. 14:26) and he does the same after his resurrection.
- If Jesus had been transformed, he would have been invisible (2 Cor. 4:18). Doubting Thomas’ physical examination of him would have been impossible.
- The difference between the Jesus that Peter et al. saw and the glorified Jesus that Paul ‘saw’ ought to be plain to all (cf. Rev. 1,2,19, etc.).
- Jesus had prayed that his people might see his glory (John 17:24). It was certainly not evident in the man mistaken for the gardener (John 20:15).
- If Jesus already enjoyed new life, why did he eat with his disciples? If we take John 6 seriously, we are forced to infer that he was still flesh.
- If it is claimed that he was trying to convince his disciples that he was still alive in this way (cf. Luke 8:55), it might also be concluded that he was trying to deceive them!
- According to John 20:17 Jesus had not yet ascended. If ascension and transformation are correlative, clearly transformation had not yet occurred. The idea that ascension is mere drama designed to indicate that Jesus’ resurrection appearances were about to terminate, we deny the import of the dei (Gk) of 1 Corinthians 15:53. By so doing we also bring into question the necessity of the new birth (cf. John 3:7).
- If Jesus was no longer flesh (cf. 1 Cor. 15:50), why all the stress on his non-corruption in Acts 2 and 13? If he had already been changed, then corruption was no longer an issue. Clearly like all human beings he had to be changed at his ascension precisely because he had been physically raised and was still corruptible flesh (1 Cor. 15:50-53).
- Jesus as man had gained eternal life for himself by keeping the law (Lev. 18:5, cf. Gen. 2:17) at his baptism (e.g. Mt. 3:13-17). He had no need to die but he did so for us (cf. John 10:17f.). If this is so, when he rose again from the dead it was as if he had never died. In other words, he had retaken the life he had freely laid down as he promised (John 2:19; 10:17f.).
- Again, if his Father had denied the need for his death when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:39,42), Jesus like a sinless Adam would not have died and undergone resurrection. However, he would nonetheless have had to be changed at his ascension. A resurrection in contrast with an ascension transformation is not intrinsic to human life. For Paul ascension transformation (1 Cor. 15:51-53) is as naturally necessary as new birth is for Jesus (John 3:1-8). See further my Two ‘Natural’ Necessities)
Too many exegetes confuse Jesus’ resurrection with that of David who died for his own sins and so experienced inevitable corruption (decay) (Acts 2,13). Their problem would seem to be that they fail to recognise that they are falling prey to Docetism. According to Hebrews 2:17 the only difference between Jesus and the rest of us is that Jesus did not sin (John 8:46; Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22). He lived the perfect(ed) human life (Heb. 7:28). If he had been changed at his resurrection he would not have done so. A normal (sinless) human life in the flesh terminates with ascension transformation, not resurrection.
See further my Did Jesus Rise Physically From The Grave?.