In our last two posts on body theology, we talked about how our bodies are not containers, and also how the image of God means more to body image than we’ve ever grasped before. Both of these truths have had life changing effects on me, and what I’m sharing today about the incarnation and resurrection just takes the cake. Even if those words are very familiar to you, please keep reading. You’re going to want to hear this. These ideas really did change my body image instantly. I’m not completely healed and able to walk it out perfectly, that’s an ongoing sanctification, but I finally feel like I have some effective tools, and I want you to feel that too. — Mindy
“Who Are You Wearing Tonight?”
It’s the question fashion reporters ask sleek, coifed celebrities as they glide up the red carpet in their gorgeous dresses, tuxedos and jewels. A-listers answer with the name of whichever designer created the art they drape over their svelte bodies. Who among us hasn’t thought, “Wow, what I wouldn’t give to look like THAT, and in that dress!”?
If you were to ask me who I’m wearing right now, I’d answer, “Oh this incredible ensemble? It’s a marriage between the creative minds at Old Navy, Costco, and Walmart. Mr. Fred Meyer dreamed up the ingenious bobby pin in my bangs.” Haha! That’s just the surface though. The deeper truth rates even better than if I told you I had on a black Oscar De La Renta gown and Jimmy Choo stilettos.
“He put on flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14
“…but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and was made in the likeness of men” Phil 2:7
Jesus, fully God, came to us in an utterly human body. He shivered in the cold and sweat in the heat. He reached for his mother’s hand. He experienced exhaustion and pain. He smiled and ran, grimaced and bled. Dirt dusted his sandaled feet. He wept. He cracked up laughing. He unreservedly touched the unclean. He was fully human.
Jesus was wearing us.
His muscles trembled under the weight of the wooden beam. His arms and legs lit ablaze around the nails. His face contorted beyond human likeness with the weight of sin, iniquity, trespass and corruption.
He became unclean. He wore me. He wore you.
He said, “It is finished”.
He died. All the way. They carried, jostled, wrapped, and buried his body in a cave. The light rolled out of the tomb with the grating sound of stone on stone. He wore us.
Jesus came here wearing exactly what we’re wearing.
Isaiah 53 says that he had no form that we should look on him, no beauty that we should desire him. He did not come as the pinnacle of male attractiveness. He didn’t come as a half-god like Hercules; he came with an unremarkable, fully-human body. The Ruler of every particle in the universe descended, PUT ON FLESH, and shared embodied living with us. He loved us in the ultimate expression of affection and devotion. He wore us. The dignity he confers on the human body in this act is indisputable. You now wear the same human form he wore then. The same human form he wears still.
Jesus was fully God and fully man, and HE STILL IS. His body is glorified, but it’s still a human body–the same body he invited Thomas to touch for assurance. He cooked fish for his disciples on the shore with the very same hands that now wield the scepter of God on high at the right hand of the Father. He ate with the same mouth that intercedes for you right now. He is still wearing you. Moreover, as Christians, Jesus’ perfect robes of righteousness drape our now dignified bodies, as a gift of reckless love and grace we could never ever earn or deserve.
This truth astounds all by itself, but it isn’t all God has to say about our bodies. When you die, you’re not done. You will be incomplete in heaven without your body. Redemptive history concludes, NOT when you die and leave your body but when you get it back at the Resurrection on the last day. In the blink of an eye, the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise. God will gather every atom of you and call you forth. Billions will rise from the sea and land, the sepulchers and cemeteries. We will rise and bow to Jesus, one and all. This is how valuable your body is to God.
At the Resurrection you will receive a glorified body, but nothing in scripture suggests resurrected bodies look like cultural ideals, present or past. Jesus didn’t strut out of the tomb with, say, fourteen abs, hair all manscaped, and David Beckham’s chiseled jawline. He looked like himself, and we will too.
God loves diversity and variety in everything he creates! Daughters of God, embrace the freedom of this truth. Heaven is not a fat free zone. It won’t look like a convention of fitness models. The whole church will rise in bodies of every color, shape, and size from short to giant, thin to fat, hairy to smooth, muscular to soft. The miracle is that there will be no shame, tears, pain or sin. Heaven holds no disease, stigma, or discrimination. All of us will gather with great joy at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, where we will publicly dine before the face of God in freedom and glorious grace. When we stand and worship him there, us wearing him and him wearing us, body diversity will be an incredible glory to his name.
My body, in all its size 16 uniqueness, glorifies my Maker. My body brings him pleasure now, and will bring him still more pleasure when we rise with him in glory. I am learning to live a life believing I am one unified being before God, body and soul—believing I am incomprehensibly beautiful because I am made in his image—believing that he wore me in the manger, on the Cross I deserved, and in the grave I earned so that I could wear him and all he earned, as a wild gift of extravagant grace. He wears me still, and it staggers my heart and hushes the lies I couldn’t escape on my own for the last 25 years.
Mindy Pickens a wife and mother who loves Jesus, her husband, their two daughters, coffee, books…and coffee. She spends her time homeschooling, tutoring in her homeschool community, and trying to figure out this whole home-maker thing. She’s a regular woman who is captivated by the gospel of Jesus Christ and is learning to surrender to the grace and goodness of God. Read Mindy’s posts here.