God never overpowers, never twists arms, never pushes your face into something so as to take away your freedom. God respects our freedom and is never a coercive force.
And nowhere is this more true than in what is revealed in the resurrection of Jesus. The Gospels assure us that, like his birth, the resurrection was physical, real, not just some alteration inside the consciousness of believers. After the resurrection, we are assured, Jesus’ tomb was empty, people could touch him, he ate food with them, he was not a ghost.
But his rising from the dead was not a brute slap in the face to his critics, a non-negotiable fact that left sceptics with nothing to say. The resurrection didn’t make a big splash. It was not some spectacular event that exploded into the world as the highlight on the evening news. It had the same dynamics as the incarnation itself: After he rose from the dead, Jesus was seen by some, but not by others; understood by some, but not by others. Some got his meaning and it changed their lives, others were indifferent to him, and still others understood what had happened, hardened their hearts against it, and tried to destroy its truth.