What is historically indubitable is that shortly after Jesus death some of Jesus followers were re-energized and ready to carry on Jesus’ work even if led to their deaths. These disciples said that Jesus had come to them and shown them that he was alive. They said that he was “resurrected.” They were joined by one we know as Paul, who had been their enemy, but who had a vision of Jesus alive in heavenly glory and calling him to his service. Paul taught that the resurrected Jesus had a “spiritual” body. Other believers insisted that the Jesus who came to them after his crucifixion was a fully physical being, although he appeared and disappeared in quite extraordinary ways.
If Jesus had not appeared to his followers and to Paul, his impact in human history would have been minor. We who live out of our memories of Jesus today, would know nothing about him. So, for us who follow him, Easter is the most important of our celebrations. Jesus lives on in our imaginations, our memories, and our hopes because his new life after his death gave new life to his followers. The image of “death and resurrection” is at the heart of Christian faith.
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