The First Easter

After the Crucifixion, writes J.K. Elliott, the disciples had a vivid and personal feeling that Jesus was in some sense still with them.

An investigation into the career of Jesus of Nazareth cannot be based only on his birth, baptism, ministry, trial and death. This sequence needs to be extended to take into account the claim that after his burial he left the tomb and was seen alive by various witnesses. These resurrection appearances are referred to in each of the four New Testament gospels, and the Easter stories are all told as if they were historical events on the same basis as, say, the crucifixion.

Each gospel dates Jesus' resurrection from the Sunday after his burial on Good Friday. We may suspect that originally, when it was announced that Jesus had been raised 'after three days', all that was meant was 'after a short interval', but that, as the tradition developed, this loose expression was made into a literal three-day period; the Friday of the burial, the Saturday in the tomb, and the discovery of the empty tomb some time between darkness after the Saturday and the dawn on Sunday.

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