3. Jesus was physically resurrected and appeared to his followers in a Physical Form. From this perspective, the Apostles and other followers of Jesus did actually see and experience him as a resurrected, physical person.
The New Testament book of Hebrews defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1). It is important to recognize that each of these three different options requires a faith commitment. Even the first position, which essentially denies the Resurrection of Jesus because there is no empirical proof, requires a type of faith. This faith involves the conviction that the only way in which we can learn about reality is through empirical science because the physical dimension is all that there is. In this faith perspective anything, such as the Resurrection, which cannot be explained by science must not be real. This is a plausible and honest perspective, but, again, it involves a faith commitment that we can only know through empirical science. There are good reasons for adopting this position, but again there are good reasons for rejecting this position. Either way, it is important to recognize that it too involves a kind of faith conviction.
I respect all three of these different points of view as plausible and honest, and my own position may ultimately prove to be wrong. However, in the sermon, I will claim the third option as the one which I believe to be true. I believe that it is wrong to view the Resurrection on Easter Sunday as an isolated event. Instead, I believe that it must be viewed within the overarching Christian narrative concerning the universe and humans’ place within it. This narrative includes the conviction that God created the universe and deemed it very good; that humans have a very special role to play on Earth as God’s stewards of this planet; that God has continued to work in the universe to redeem it and bring it to full completion; and that God’s full vision for humans and all of Creation will not be realized until the end time. In my sermon series, which begins with Easter and continues through May 5th, I will develop my understanding of this basic context of the Christian faith.