I used to wonder about the history of Easter and how the day became a "holiday" but I have to admit I was disappointed when I found out the truth about the origins of the Easter celebration.
I love Easter! Since I was a young girl, I have always associated Easter with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Instead, like many holidays, the history of Easter has its origins in pagan festivals and rituals. Apparently, Easter was a time to celebrate the spring equinox and the rebirth of a new year.
It is recorded that in the second century, believers in Christ wanted to find an alternative to the pagan holiday. As the time of year for this festival closely coincided with the Jewish Passover celebration as well as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they decided to use the festival for their own celebration of the Good News of the Resurrection.
What a great idea! This tradition was passed on has, over the centuries since, become synonymous with the Gospel story.
The date for the celebration of the Easter festival varied each year, falling on different days of the week.
Finally, in A.D. 325, the Emperor Constantine established that the official date of Easter would be the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon after the ecclesiastical vernal equinox, which is March 21. So Easter can fall on any Sunday after March 21 up until April 25.
Since I am a Christian and love the Lord Jesus very much, Easter Sunday is an especially important
celebration for me. I am so grateful for the wonderful sacrifice that
Jesus made for me, that it seems only appropriate and right that we
commemorate that amazing event at least once a year.
To me, and, I suspect, to most born again believers, the actual date of the celebration means little. It is the significance of remembering the event itself that is important.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is God's Own Son Who came into
this world for the purpose of taking on Himself the punishment for the
sins of mankind, my sin specifically.
Because Jesus lived His life on this earth without sin before God, He alone was able and worthy to make this sacrifice.
II Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The Bible makes it clear that every one of us is guilty before God and unworthy to enter into the perfect kingdom of heaven. I haven't yet met anyone who has not broken more than one of the TEN Commandments - most people can't even quote all ten, let alone live them. :)
As I mentioned earlier, I was just a young girl when I put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Please allow me the privilege of sharing with you just what that means.
The Bible teaches us that, as individuals, none of us measure up to God’s standard or requirements. We all have sinned against God.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Because of our sin, we owe a debt that must be paid. The debt or punishment for sin is death, hell, and separation from God.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars,
shall have their part in the lake which burneth with
fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
In spite of our sin and unbelief, God’s love for us is so great that He made a way for us to be free of this debt. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the debt that we owed.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek:
for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
All you have to do to be forgiven of your sin debt is believe in your heart that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, paid the price for your sin, and personally accept Him by calling on Him in prayer and asking for His gift of eternal life. If you believe in Christ and follow Him, He has promised to free you from the debt of your sin.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
As a little girl, I, of course, did not comprehend all the finer points of theology that I understand now. In fact, I am still learning and growing in the knowledge of God as each year passes. I simply believed that Jesus loved me so much that He died on the cross for me. I believed that He was willing to save me if I wanted Him to and to take me to heaven when I die. I prayed and asked Jesus to forgive me for my sin and to be my Saviour. If it sounds easy, that is because it is easy.
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst
of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted,
and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
If you have never personally accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, I urge you to take a few moments now to talk to Him and ask Him for His wonderful free gift. Like me, you will find that it is the best decision you have ever made.
So, why am I so excited about Easter and the Resurrection of Christ?
Because if Jesus had not risen from the dead, our faith and hope in Him would be useless. He proved that He had the power over sin and death by His wonderful resurrection! That is why I am so excited. The apostle Paul talks about this in I Corinthians 15.
The whole chapter is very interesting, but here is just a bit...
(verses 17-23) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
What an incredible and amazing thing to know that we are forgiven and can look forward to spending forever in the kingdom of heaven with the Lord and all those we love who have also accepted this remarkable gift.
Why shouldn't we take every opportunity we can to celebrate this exciting event and pass on these truths to our children, friends, loved ones, and anyone else who will hear?
I hope you enjoyed my little synopsis of the history of Easter and what Easter means to me. It was my prayer and desire to share the meaning of Easter in such a way that you would want to know the Savior, too.
I wish you a very special Easter,
or as I like to call it, RESURRECTION DAY! :)