Something happened to the followers of Jesus after his crucifixion. Something that catalyzed them into a community, that set in motion a movement that has influenced the life of the world. Mystery is involved, a mystery I don’t confess to understand fully. But one thing is certain: what happened was transformative. Those who experienced it used the words and concepts and assumptions about the world they knew in order to tell about it. And because they were all different, their stories were different.
What we call “the Easter Story” is, in fact, many stories. It’s about a woman in a garden mistaking Jesus for a gardener. It’s about two followers of Jesus extending hospitality to a stranger they met on the road. It’s about fishermen being joined by Jesus at breakfast on the beach. It’s about discovering Jesus somehow present in a group huddled behind locked doors. It’s about either one man, or two men, or an angel, meeting grieving women at an empty tomb. These stories don’t amount to a theological assessment of Jesus. They are, instead, hints of a reality that people would grapple with over the generations, one that some would stake their lives on.
So transformative had Jesus’ life been for the lives of others, that when this one, in whom they had placed so much trust, was killed at the hands of the powerful whom he had challenged, there came the surprising and unshakable conviction that he continued with them, inspiring and empowering and guiding. It was like life, in the last analysis, triumphing over death, and good having the last word over evil, and love overcoming hate. What other word was there to describe this but Resurrection? This conviction didn’t grow out of argument, but out of experience. And the incredible fact of history is that it’s the repeated experience of people through the centuries, witnessed to, and verified by, a community of faith!
— Dale Edmondson