On last week’s TNT podcast I got to present my 3-fold take on the life of the church (minute 55).
Let me try to articulate my perspective as quickly and clearly as possible so that there are no misunderstandings – even if you disagree with me.
My 3-fold thought is pretty straight forward.
The gospel and thus the church are:
Incarnation means embodied and enacted. It is not abstract ideas, universal concepts or timeless truths … it is local, particular and timely.
Resurrection means the church is a new-life people with perpetual hope. Death is not the last word and we serve a God who vindicates the victim and unmasks the powers that be.
Pentecost means that God’s Spirit is at work in the world (ahead of us) in-filling us with power for a transformed life resulting in sanctification-holiness (within us) and opening us to the possibilities and opportunities for ministry (all around us).
So let’s zoom in on the Resurrectional aspect more specifically.
An argument that I hear over and over is that the resurrection must have been real because
A) the disciples lives were transformed by what they experienced
B) they were so convinced that they were willing to risk –and ultimately give – their lives for it.
I don’t disagree with either one of those lines of reasoning.
My contention comes from Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
Follow my concern:
1) Whatever kind of body that Jesus had after Easter Sunday BUT before the Ascension was the kind of body that allowed him to both walk through walls (John 21:19) and make breakfast for his friends on the shore (John 21:12). He looked enough like himself that Thomas could touch the wounds (John 20:26) but different enough to be mistaken for gardeners (John 20:15) and strangers (John 21:4).
Jesus has a kind of body that we can expect to have when we are resurrected (Romans 6:5) – it will have some relation to our present earthly existence but be glorified/improved as to constitute a new existence.
2) When Saul meets the Lord on the road and was blinded by the light … his life was transformed and he was willing to sacrifice and eventually offer his life because of what he had experienced.
But is anyone suggesting that the Jesus Spirit that Saul met on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:5-6) is the same bodied-one the disciples met after Easter/ pre-Ascension?
So apparently you don’t need a resuscitated corps or molecular/cellular consistency to result
A) a changed life
B) the willingness to give ones life for what they experienced.
Therefore, I am not interested in getting into arguments based on the certainty of THE resurrection – however one understands that.
THE resurrection is whatever it is/was. Understanding/articulating it is not my primary concern!
I want to know in what way the people of god are a resurrectional community that celebrates new life and offers perpetual hope because of what we have experienced … the presence of Christ.