Why Celebrate Easter?
The True Meaning Of Easter
Why celebrate Easter? Many know this time as Passover or Passover week. Each and every year at this time many children look forward to seeing the Easter Bunny. They look forward to coloring eggs and having an Easter egg hunt. Not just finding those beautifully colored eggs but all of that delicious candy too! Many families gather together to indulge themselves in grandma's homemade pies, honey baked hams, cranberries, yam and jam. Some recipes handed down from generation to generation. It's a day for many regardless of their religious views to come together for more than just a family dinner. With that being said, sadly for many the observance of pagan practices are the center point of all that takes on this very special day.
The name of the ancient Assyrian goddess was Ishtar, pronounced by the Assyrians exactly as we pronounce "Easter" from which we derive the name. The Babylonian name of this goddess was Astarte. Astarte was a consort of Baal, the sun god, whose worship is denounced by The Almighty in the Bible as the most abominable of all pagan idolatry. The ancient gods of the pagans had many different names and practices which the God of the Bible clearly says He hates. For those who observe this holiday while choosing to practice only those things taken from pagan celebrations, and to those who claim this day to be more than just a family gathering while choosing to leave Christ and His resurrection out of the day I say once again, Why Celebrate Easter? What true, meaningful purpose is fulfilled by gathering together if Christ is taken out of the picture? We are no different on this day than any other without the purpose and meaning that Christ brings to this day, to this time of year.
Time To Pray
Then there are those who call it Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday. From a biblical standpoint the scripture teaches that Jesus was resurrected on the third day after His crusifixion. Jesus being God in the flesh lived a sinless life in order that He might fulfill the will of His Father by laying down His life as Gods chosen sacrifice, thus fulfilling the scriptures. The scriptures speaking of Jesus tell us that He who knew no sin became sin as atonement for our sin and the sins of the entire world.
You see it was Passover week in Jerusalem when Jesus road into the city on the back of a colt. As He entered the city the people waved palm branches and cried out Halleluiah or save now. It was at this time as Jesus entered the city that He for the first and only time allowed public worship of Himself. It was during this time as He sat in the upper room with His twelve disciples celebrating Passover that He instituted a new covenant. As Jesus had that first communion with His disciples He was telling them of the things that would soon be taking place speaking of His death, burial and resurrection. He spoke to His disciples telling them that the elements of communion, the bread and wine represent his body that would be broken and his blood that would be shed for the remission of sins for all who would believe.
Old Things Become New
The Old Testament Passover in the book of Exodus tells us the story of God miraculously delivering the Hebrews out from under the heavy hand the Pharaoh by the hand of a shepherd named Moses. God sent plague after plague until the Lord forced Pharaohs hand and he allowed the Hebrews to leave Egypt. On that dark night in which in which God sent the angel of death upon Egypt to kill the firstborn, Moses was instructed by God to tell those who wished for Gods judgment to pass over their house to place blood over the door post. It was the blood that God honored as the sign of acceptance. The Bible tells us that the volume of the book (bible) is about Jesus. The Exodus story is a picture, a shadow or a type of Gods ultimate plan of deliverance pointing to Jesus as the fulfillment of this picture. Again, it was the blood that God honored and accepted which allowed His judgment to Passover the homes of those who trusted in His word to them as He delivered the Hebrews out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt. The Old Testament sacrificial system that God had given to Moses in the Law required the offering of a sacrifice and the shedding of blood to atone for the sins of the people.
These were all temporary sacrifices, shadows, pictures of that ultimate once and for all sacrifice that was to come. Jesus by His death, burial and resurrection, delivers those who believe in Him from the bondage of sin by his blood that was shed on that tree at Calvary. We are set free from the bondage of sin just as the Hebrew's were set free from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. Just as the Jewish people are cleansed by the sacrificing of animals and the shedding of the blood, we too are cleansed by the blood of The Lamb. You see, the Bible says that we are all sinners. All have fallen short of the glory of God. There are none righteous no not one. The Bible also says that the wages of sin is death. That means when someone sins God requires a payment for that sin. Someone has to pay the price and God says the cost of sin is death. As I said earlier it was the blood that God accepted which allowed the judgment to pass over the Hebrews in Egypt. It was the blood of the sacrifices that were brought to the priest during Passover week that covered the sins of the people.
Food For Your Spirit
Bound By Love
Under the new covenant it is by the precious blood of Jesus shed on the cross at Calvary that covers our sins by which we are forgiven. It is said that Jesus died because I had a debt that I could not pay so He paid a debt that He did not owe. With that being said in light of God's grace and mercy, Easter is a time when we can reflect upon the goodness of God. Through Jesus death, burial and resurrection, by the shedding of His precious blood, a sinless sacrifice was provided that I may be forgiven. The penalty for sin is death. Eternal death as in complete separation from a God of love who demonstrated that love on a tree at Calvary. Jesus was God manifested in the flesh with all the power of heaven itself at his disposal yet it was Love that held Him to that tree. Love for you and for me.
When this is brought into the picture Easter has a whole new meaning and purpose. No longer is Easter just about colored eggs, bunnies and family dinners. We now see that there is a true purpose and reason to celebrate. Now we have that which was needed most, to be forgiven by a Holy and Just God. To be reconciled with a God who loves us and gave Himself for us. In Jesus we are new creation. As that stone was moved on that first Easter morn and the angels said to Mary as she came to the tomb “He has risen”. What a glorious thing that must have been. With the resurrected Christ at the center truly we have something to celebrate. New meaning, new purpose, new life!