A question that is often asked concerns whether the believer in Christ will be recognizable in a resurrection body. Will we all look alike and what will that body be like? Scripture does address these issues both directly and indirectly through various passages. Perhaps the first passage to be considered is the record of the appearances of Jesus, Elijah and Moses on the Mt. of Transfiguration. “After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus” (Mark 9:2-4 NIV).
All three were known by their appearance. Apparently that scene was soon forgotten by Peter, James and John for they joined the other discouraged disciples upon seeing their Lord buried and crucified, by returning to their homes, abandoned following Him and resumed their former vocations. They had forgotten Jesus’ words upon cleansing the temple … “Jesus answered them [Jews], "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days" (John 2:19 NIV). “On the third day after His burial, though Peter and John had seen the empty tomb and two other disciples had spoken with him on the road to Emmaus.
Scripture tells us that they feared for their lives when meeting together. “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19-20 NIV). This same scene was repeated a week later. Though these disciples had seen Him on these two occasions, discouragement and doubt still hindered their faith.
Knowing their spiritual weakness, Jesus graciously appeared a third time … “He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" (John 21:5-7 NIV). “Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." “None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord” (John 21:12 NIV).
The Apostle Paul addresses resurrection at length in writing to the churches in Corinth. He differentiates between the mortal body and the immortal body by saying ... “I declare to you, brothers, 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” (1 Cor 15:50-53 NIV).
Immortality does not imply being unrecognizable but rather eternal in its nature. The resurrection body will not be restricted by space and time or the physical conditions of mortal life. In His glorified body, Jesus could appear at will regardless of location or barriers and without limitation as to time and space. To the churches in Philippi, Paul wrote … “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Phil 3:20-21 NIV). Eternity will reveal all that God has prepared for those who love Him.