Did Jesus deny that he is God in Luke 24:39?
The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" teaches that Jesus denied he is God in Luke 24:39. They argue that if Jesus has flesh and bones and God is spirit, then Jesus cannot really be God. Is that really the implication of Jesus' statement in that verse?
Luke 24:39 (ESV) - 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."
When we look at the passage and what the rest of scripture teaches, we see that Jesus did not deny his deity in this passage.
Jesus was not merely spirit.
The INC makes the mistake of creating a false dichotomy between spirit and flesh. One can be both spirit and have flesh, as we see in the person of Jesus. Jesus was not merely spirit, and that was his intention when he said he was not a spirit.
If we approach the scripture with such a wooden way of reading it as the INC does, we would also have to affirm other silly things that are not true, like that Jesus is not a man:
Galatians 1:12 (ESV) - 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Of course, when Paul wrote Galatians 1:12, he did not mean to say that Jesus is not a man (Jesus is a man!). He was saying that Jesus is not a mere man. We should not read scripture in such a way that doesn't look at the intent of the passage.
Jesus is spirit.
The problem with the INC's understanding of Luke 24:39 is that Jesus is spirit. He is a man with flesh and bone, but he is also spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:45 (ESV) - it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Jesus is the last Adam. He is a life-giving spirit.
Luke 24:39 does not teach that Jesus is not God. It teaches that he is a man...a fact which does not conflict with the fact that he is God. Jesus did not communicate that he was not spirit at all, but that he was not merely spirit.