Pierced Hands and Feet: The Identity of the Resurrected Christ

April 9, 2018 Author: Dr. John Vazhakoottathil OCD 0 Comments



We see in the Gospel of John that he proclaims the mystery of the resurrection by presenting the pierced hands and feet of Jesus. (John 20, 19-29) The identity of the resurrected Christ is manifested to the world through his pierced hands and feet! While many are curious about the shape and form of the human body after the resurrection, Luke, in his version, presents the resurrected Jesus as a human being who eats and drinks with the disciples! Paul clarified in his first Letter to the Corinthians that the resurrected body is not a material body but a spiritual one. (1 Cor 15, 44) Then why Luke presents the resurrected Christ as a person who eats and drinks and John proclaims him as a person with pierced hands and feet?

It is clear from the words of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles that people without true orientation and deliberation in their lives reject ‘the holy and righteous way’ and choose the path of murder and injustice. (Acts 3, 14-15) The history reveals how these people have systematically eliminated the men and women who could illuminate the human minds with a scope of a better living on earth. The depth of the agony of Peter is very clear from the acknowledgement of his realization about Jesus that they have killed the ‘Author of life’. Here it becomes clear how human immaturity and irresponsibility can destroy, at least for a moment, the very meaning and significance of life. At the same time Peter, who has now become another Christ by the presence of the Holy Spirit in him, utters words of consolation with heart full mercy: “And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.” (Acts 3, 17) He asks them to come out of the useless feeling of remorse and calls for a change of life ‘so that times of refreshing may come among them from the presence of the Lord’. (Acts 3, 20)

What does it mean by ‘change of life’ is made clear by John in his first Letter. He emphatically says that to know God is to obey his commandments. If anyone says that he knows God and if he does not keep his commandments, is a liar. (1John 2, 3) Jesus who truly knew God “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.” (Phil 2,8) Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets and therefore one who truly knows God cannot but follow the foot prints of Jesus Christ and live like him. In Jesus we see the ‘time of refreshing’ for the humanity– a time of healing and freedom, a time of peace and joy. After a long Winter of individualism and egocentrism, there comes the Spring with full of flowers, honey bees and butterflies, a Spring of universal love.

Putting together our reflections we can discover the answer for the question we put forward in the beginning. The Evangelists proclaims about the resurrected Christ with an intention of inviting all the faithful to a life of the resurrection. A participation in the glorious life of Jesus Christ here on earth includes a participation in his suffering and death. A Christian who lives in this world placing his eyes on eternity will be capable, like Jesus Christ, to forgive and to be merciful. Although they are wounded everyday due to the ignorance of the others, they can soon regain healing and health by their life of forgiveness and mercy. A participation in the life of the resurrection of Jesus does not cancel eating and drinking, not a life outside the world. It is rather a life in the world fixing our eyes on eternity.

We are to discover our Christian identity in the resurrected Christ who carries the signs of wounds. We are to convert our sufferings and sacrifices into a treasure and an alchemy of growth by accepting them and transforming them with our heroic patience. Like Jesus let us become the cause of healing and conversion of others by our heroic life of mercy. With Jesus let us believe that there is a God who is powerful to transform everything to a good end.

Author: Dr. John Vazhakoottathil OCD