John Piper on Why Jesus Needed a Physical Body

John piper
John Piper, founder of Desiring God and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary, speaks from the book of Revelation at the Passion 2016 conference Sunday morning, January 3, 2016, in Duluth, Georgia. |

Theologian John Piper answers the question many people may have of why Jesus needed a phsyical body in an audio sermon.

In message posted to the website, the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minnesota said that because Jesus was immortal, he needed a physical body so he could die for our sins.

"[Jesus] didn't have any body. He could not die. And yet he wanted to die for you. So he planned the whole thing by clothing himself with a body so that he could get hungry and get weary and get sore feet," Piper says.

The pastor goes on to say that it is important to understand the gravity of the gift of Jesus' crucifixion, death and resurrection for mankind.

"He needed to have feet so that there was a place for spikes. He needed to have a side so that there was a place for the sword to go in," Piper says. "I just plead with you. When you are reading the Bible and you read texts like he loved you and gave himself for you (Galatians 2:20), you wouldn't go too fast over it."

"Linger, linger, linger. And plead with him that your eyes would be opened," the pastor urges.

Piper stresses that it is dangerous to admire Jesus' sacrifice for us from a distance; rather, we as Christians must remember the pain, suffering and effort he went through to die for our sins.

The well-known evangelical leader concludes his message by citing Galatians 2:20, which draws a strong connection between Christ's crucifixion and living out a Christian faith.

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who now lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh," the verse reads.

In addition to explaining the significance of Jesus' human body, Piper also delved into the topic of the sanctity of the human body and how this affects the understanding of burial versus creamation of the dead for Christians in a recent post.

"Glorifying God is what the body is for — in life and in death," Piper wrote earlier this week.

"Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit […] Christ died to purchase us, including the purchase of our bodies, for himself […] Therefore our bodies do not belong to us to use as we please, but rather as he pleases […] Therefore, we should use our bodies to put the glory of God on display," Piper added.

We must also remember that as Christians, our bodies will experience "resurrection glory" just as Jesus did after his death, and therefore our bodies should be prepared for such an event through a proper Christian burial, rather than cremation.

Evangelical author and speaker Eric Metaxas has also spoken on this Christian belief in bodily resurrection, writing in a 2013 column posted in The Christian Post that because Christians believe their bodies will be resurrected, how they treat their bodies in life and death matters.

"God's purposes for our bodies don't end with our final breath. On the contrary, something infinitely more glorious awaits us," Metaxas wrote.

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