When it comes to a detailed report of Jesus' resurrection and how the event was first experienced, proclaimed and passed on to the disciples, we are at a loss!
The stories as related 60 or 70 years later are at best confusing and in some cases contradictory.
You would think that if a detailed account was absolutely essential to a passing on of the true Faith that it would have been carefully put together and immediately recorded as the official source.
It appears that most of the details, some common and some unique were not considered all that important to the infant Christian community. Certainly nowhere near as they are to our analytical linear minds
Detective Sargent Colombo would have closed his book, scratched his head and gone back to square one. Letís do the same thing.
What do we know for certain? We know that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. All of this being public record.
However, within days a group of long term associates who had been in hiding in fear of their lives suddenly, and in a state of euphoria, came out proclaiming his having come back to life and as they all expressed it, "He has shown himself to us."
In spite of having been forewarned by Jesus, this apparently was the last thing that these seemingly normal, practical men and women expected.
It began when a couple of the women went in search of Jesus' tomb so as to ensure that all of the traditional rituals were completed on the corpse. There, in the cemetery, he revealed himself to them and subsequently to others.
When it came down to their expressing their encounters verbally, there was a good deal of awesome mystery and a frustrating hunt for the right words. A problem encountered by the Evangelists some years later and possibly forcing them to resort to proven, acceptable literary devices to host the reality. Jesus, himself, did the same thing with his parables.
Whatever the limitations experienced by the first witnesses to the Resurrection they simply over flowed with joyful conviction and certitude. "Jesus had been raised by God from the dead and was now and for ever with them!"
Conditioned by hundreds of years of theological evolution and consequent tradition, not to mention important modern scholarship, we can be certain that resurrection is something that happened to Jesus.
It was not a fragment of is followers' corporate imagination. It is equally clear that Jesus' resurrection was the convincing, factual event that blew away their confusion, their frustration and above all their hopelessness.
They knew instinctively that resurrection did not restore the old order. Jesus was not resuscitated.
Jesus was the same Jesus but NOT the Jesus they knew before. When he comes to them, they do not always recognize him.
He is certainly Jesus but in a new unencumbered existence.
Clearly for the first Christians, Jesus' resurrection was an act of God whose creative power rescues Jesus from death and brings him fully into God's own divine life.
And that, dear friends, is how I see our future.
In his life, death and resurrection Jesus has made himself one with each of us.
Many times he attested to this in his public life.
It is his choice to be one with us but we are free to choose whether or not to reciprocate and so as long as we choose to maintain that sacred bond our futures are forever linked with his and that translates into eternal life.
For this reason I can and do speak of Jesus as being my saviour. This is a blessing freely offered and with the help of the Holy Spirit, freely accepted.
It is a blessing that saves us from the cumulative effects of our personal failings or, if you prefer, sins ...sins that COULD lead us toward a conscious rejection of that relationship.
In the meantime the risen Jesus continues to let himself be seen, creating conditions in which we can perceive his presence.
Just as with the early disciples, it is not you or I who goes out to meet Jesus, it is Jesus who goes out to meet us and usually takes us by surprise.