Why Easter is Important
Thinking back to when I was growing up in the 1980s, there has been a noticeable shift in the culture. I remember stores closing down between noon and 3 PM on Good Friday so people could go to church. I am not arguing that we should go back to that, just simply making an observation. With each passing year, Easter seems to become more and more about bunnies, baby chicks, and colored eggs. I have nothing against bunnies, especially chocolate ones, but my question is how many of us ever take the time around Easter to think about what the happened on the first Easter and why it is such an important holiday.
Watergate and the Resurrection
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
The first thing that we learn when we examine Easter is that it is important because it was the fulfillment of very specific prophecies that were prophesized hundreds of years before. These prophecies were part of God’s plan of redemption that he began to reveal after the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, which had left us eternally separated from God. Let us take a look at some of the prophecies and how they were fulfilled.
- Genesis 3 - The first mention of Jesus’ coming was in Genesis chapter 3 after Adam and Eve sinned. God said that Satan would strike the heel of the messiah, but that the messiah would crush Satan. This prophecy was fulfilled with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ because he lived a life of perfection and broke the power of sin when he came back from the grave.
- Zechariah 11:12 and Psalm 41:9 – These two verses tell of the betrayal of the messiah by a trusted friend and that the wages for that betrayal would be 30 pieces of silver. The fulfillment of these prophecies can be found in Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:4, Luke 22:47-48, and John 18:2-3 when Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
- Psalm 22:7-8 – This verse says that the Messiah will be mocked and scorned. Mark 15:29-32 is the New Testament contains the fulfillment of that prophesy, which tells us that people were passing by and mocking him.
- Psalm 69:21 – The Psalmist describes that Jesus would be given vinegar to drink when he was thirsty on the cross. John tells us in his gospel tells that after Jesus said that he was thirsty, he was given some wine vinegar to drink via a sponge while he was on the cross.
- Psalm 22:16-18 – These verses tell us that the messiah would have his hands and feet pierced, that none of his bones would have been broken, and his garments would be divided by the casting of lots. This was written by David hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. The first prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was nailed to the cross. John 19:31-37 explains to us that none of Jesus’ bones were broken. He goes on to add to talk about a witness who saw it and that the testimony of that person is true. The third prophecy out of this passage was fulfilled in John 19:23-24.
- Isaiah 53 - The most famous messianic prophecy that reveals God’s plan of a suffering messiah is found in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. It tells us that the messiah will be rejected, despised, bare our suffering, and would be pierced. Isaiah goes on to tell us that he will be led away like a lamb going to its slaughter that he would die though he was innocent, and would bore the sin of many. I encourage you to spend fifteen minutes reading this chapter and dwell on how specific each prophecy is. What makes these prophesies remarkable is that the book of Isaiah was written about 700 years before the birth of Christ. To add more evidence to this was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, which contained copies of the book of Isaiah that dated back to 100 years before Christ was born.
- Psalm 16:10 – In this verse, David tells us that God would not let the coming Messiah see decay. As we know from the New Testament that Jesus was resurrected three days after he was crucified.
Jesus also predicted his own death numerous times in the New Testament. The chance of anyone fulfilling just these prophecies is astronomical. Jesus fulfilled not only these prophecies but also many others that are just as specific. The fulfillment of these prophecies represents the fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption through Jesus.
Perfect Sacrifice for Sin
“He [Jesus] did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12
The second thing that we learn about the importance of Easter is about a perfect sacrifice for our sins. In the book of Hebrews, the Bible says that there can be no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood. In the Old Testament, God set up a sacrificial system where animals without blemishes were sacrificed for Israel’s sins. These sacrifices did not actually cancel out anyone’s sin, but were symbolic of the coming messiah. Jesus, the God-man, was born of a virgin and lived a perfect life of obedience to God the Father. He was without sin. The reason the virgin birth is important is that the sin nature is passed down through the seed of a man. Jesus became a perfect sacrifice when he laid down his life for you and me. The veil in the temple was torn in two as a sign of God’s acceptance.
God’s Love Confirmed
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
The third thing that we learn about the importance of Easter is that God loved us enough to die for us. He would have been justified wiping all of us out because of the greatness of our sin. Some may be shocked by this. One sin is enough to condemn us to hell. The New Testament tells us that if we keep the whole law and yet stumble at one point, we are guilty of breaking all of the commandments. It is so easy to take our eyes of God’s standard of perfection and begin to look around at those around us to see how we measure up. We are lost without Jesus that is why he came to earth, to die. Think about it, the Creator of the universe, dying for his creation. That is what love is!
Great Easter Reading
Because the Tomb was Empty
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys to death and Hades.” Revelation 1:18
The fourth thing that we learn about why Easter is important is that death was defeated by the resurrection of Jesus. Physical and spiritual death entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus now holds the keys to death and Hades, both of which will be cast into the lake of fire at the last judgment. His resurrection opened the door for us to be able to have peace with God because he paid the penalty of our sin.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
The final thing that we learn by examining the importance of Easter is that salvation is offered to all. Your sins and my sins were put upon Jesus as he was being crucified. God then poured out his wrath on Jesus as a punishment for our sin. God the Father turned his head away from his only Son because of the sin. Jesus’ resurrection showed the acceptance of his sacrifice. Now God offers salvation to any who will repent of their sins and put their trust in Christ as Lord and Savior. The choice is ours. No one can make that choice for us.
Why Easter is Important to Me
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
Easter is important to me because I am a wicked and wretched sinner who deserves to spend an eternity in hell separated from God. If I were to stand before Him in judgment based on my own merits, I would be thrown into hell. Thanks be to God for sending Jesus to die in the place of sinners. I am forgiven and free because Jesus’ righteousness has been imputed upon me because I have repented of my sins and asked him to be my Lord and Savior, not because I am good or deserving. My salvation is based upon His goodness, not mine. Jesus makes the same offer to save you. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved, otherwise, you remain in your sins.
Why Easter is Important to You
If you are interested in receiving Christ, pray a prayer like this and mean it with all of your heart:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I am a sinner. Please forgive me for all of my sins. I confess that I cannot save myself. Please come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. I surrender my life to you. I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus, amen.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. For more information, please visit my hub on How to get to Heaven.