Have you ever wondered what is Easter? or Why do we celebrate Easter?
As Christians, Easter is the most important celebration of the year. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His triumph over death is the highpoint of all history. The impact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is still changing the world today.
History of Easter
You might be surprised to learn that the original meaning of Easter hasn’t always been associated with the resurrection of Jesus. Long before Jesus, ancient cultures celebrated the spring equinox with a pagan festival and the renewal of life.
In 325, the Council of Nicaea set the date of Easter we currently use. Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs after the vernal (spring) equinox. This is why the dates for Easter vary from March 25th to April 25th.
The celebration of Easter starts with Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter). Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and is the beginning of Holy Week.
Additional dates in Holy Week include Maunday Thursday and Good Friday.
Maunday Thursday or Holy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. Maunday is from the Latin word mandatum or commandant which reflects the new commandment/new covenant given by Jesus.
Good Friday is the day Jesus died on the cross.
Why do we celebrate Good Friday?
Good Friday remembers the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Many see this day a sad and dark, but through the death and resurrection of Jesus sin and death were defeated once and for all. In the resurrection of Jesus, we all have the hope of eternal life.
Describing this day Matthew 27:50-51 says, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up this spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook and rocks were split.” (ESV)
This verse in Matthew shows that the death of Jesus ended the division between God and man. No longer do we need a human priest to act as our intercessor, we have direct access to God.
The death and resurrection of Jesus brought hope for all of us.
What is the importance of Easter today?
Easter is the one event in history that changes everything about your life today. Today, we can live in the power of the resurrection of Jesus. The power of the resurrection has 3 clear impacts on our lives today: freedom from our past, freedom in the present, and hope for the future.
Freedom from our past
Have you thought about how the power of the resurrection gives you freedom from your past? No guilt for past mistakes. Your past has been forgiven and forgotten.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”Psalm 103:13 (ESV)
It’s difficult for us to understand the depth of God’s love and mercy for us. Yet, no matter what we have done in the past, God will forgive and forgot. He will not hold our past mistakes against us.
Is your guilt gone and are you resting in the peace every day knowing God has forgiven you?
Freedom in our present
The resurrection of Jesus also gives us freedom from sin in the present. We don’t have to live like a slave to our impulses and desires. We can overcome temptation just as Jesus defeated sin.
For we were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 that being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.Titus 3:3-7 (WEB)
Titus shows us that without Jesus we are all prone to sinful habits and lifestyles, but through the power of Jesus and the resurrection, we are forgiven and justified. God freely gives grace to all who believe.
The resurrection changes our present if we live in the power given to us.
Hope for our future
Last, the resurrection of Jesus gives us a hope for the future. Not just any hope, a hope of eternal life in heaven. While we live on earth, we live in the shadow of the future.
In Jesus, all things will become new again. Every spring we see the renewal of the life – new flowers and new leaves on trees, fresh grass, but this is only a limited completion of the ultimate renewal we have through Jesus.
In Him, all things will become new again. The old will pass away. It’s hard to imagine a world without sin and God dwelling with us.
“I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with people; and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.'”Revelation 21:1-3 (WEB)
Through the power of the resurrection, our hope and our future are secure. God’s final plan will make all things new and God himself will dwell with his people.
Let us celebrate Easter and remember its power to change our lives including freeing us from our past guilt, giving us freedom in the present from the control of sin, and beautiful hope for the future.
This is the promise of resurrection every day and it’s why we celebrate Easter.
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