No event in the history of mankind increases with time and meaning to such an extent as does Easter. Looking back at the first Easter, its impossibility, its irreducible significance to all mankind, its timing at the nexus of outdated Judaism and fledgling Christianity, and its assertion and imposition of Divine sovereignty, one is aghast and the mind boggles at the sheer enormity of the occasion. This is an event that shook its foundation and changed the world forever.
“He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6) Simple, unambiguous and mighty powerful.
These were the moving words spoken by the angel to the women who had entered the empty tomb and were perplexed that the body of Jesus was not there as expected. This occurred on the first day of the week, Sunday morning, and is the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and is called Easter. Many people are unfamiliar with the history surrounding Easter so I will take a few minutes to bring you up to date by giving you some historical information.
The word Easter is mentioned only once in the King James Version of the Bible (Acts 12:4) and this word in the Greek is “Passover” and so translated elsewhere in the KJV. The English word “Easter” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name for the Teutonic (Germanic) goddess “Eastre”; the goddess of spring and fertility. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the spring equinox. To her was dedicated a month corresponding to our April.
Many of the traditions used in her worship survive to this day. The Easter Bunny, (a rabbit is a symbol of fertility), the Easter egg, painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring (given as wish for productive and fertile year), and the giving of baskets filled with treats are just a few of the traditions that survive.
Easter is the time, once a year, when we celebrate this most important of festivals. To all Christians Easter is the foundation on which our faith rests. Without the resurrection our faith is groundless and our hope is in vain. Jesus was resurrected on that first Easter morning, and because of that fact, Almighty God the Father endorsed all Jesus stood for and taught:
We know we can be saved by the grace of God.
We can go to heaven and be with Christ when we die.
We know the grave cannot hold us captive when we die.
We know because Christ lives we too shall live forever.
We know that Christ is alive and interceding with the Father for us.
We know all is well for our God is in control.