What is the Meaning of Easter?
Let's Ask Google
If we ask the Internet what "Easter" means, we get answers like....
"the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ,"
"a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead."
Neither is far off the mark. If we go back to the New Testament, where the word "Easter" is not found (nor any mention of celebrations or festivals), we discover the single event from which "Easter" comes: the glorious Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
On "Easter" Sunday, Christians remember the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Jesus died on the Friday before the Sunday
To understand the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we must start on the Friday before, when Jesus died. Taken by the Roman authorities from the jealous Jewish leaders, Jesus was crucified, Roman style, on a Friday morning. Although both the Jewish and Roman authorities bear total responsibility for his death, in a remarkable way, it was allowed by God - and even "planned" by him. Although they put him to death, God was purposing and overruling something significant and wonderful. When Jesus Christ suffered, he was suffering for our sins. Acting as a substitute, he was paying the price that we ought to pay. He was dying in our place so that we might be set free, forgiven for all our sins. "God was in Christ reconcilling the world to himself." This is the glorious meaning of the crucifixion.
Jesus was then buried on that Friday.
Jesus rose early Sunday morning
Three days later according to Jewish reckoning (which counted any portion of a day as a "day", so, bit of Friday + all day Saturday + bit of Sunday = 3 days), Jesus rose from the dead! This miracle is at the heart of the Christian message for many reasons...
The meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
The resurrection of Jesus proves that our sins have been paid for. While Jesus remained dead in the tomb he was still bearing the penalty of sin. It was only until he "un-died", he rose from the dead that he paid, in full, the penalty of our sin.
The resurrection of Jesus proves that Jesus spoke the truth. Because he had said that he would raise himself up from the grave.
The resurrection proves that there is life beyond the grave. What happens to us after we die? We all want to know! Well Jesus, the real man, continued to live beyond the grave and came back to prove to us that the soul continues to exist beyond death.
The resurrection of Jesus provides hope for all who believe in Jesus. Why? Because, Jesus promised to all who believe in him that they would also one day rise from the dead to eternal life. And more! That that new life beyond the grave could begin here and now: the moment someone believes this Good News, God gives them the Holy Spirit who lives in their hearts and becomes a "down-deposit" of that eternal life to come, a foretaste of heaven here and now.
The meaning of it all = HOPE
This life is short. One day we will all die. And that looms towards us faster than we think. If this life is all there is, how pathetic is human existence! Here today, full of hopes and dreams which one day must come to nothing! But if the resurrection of Jesus is true - which it is! - and if the promise of Jesus to all who believe him is true - which it is! - then the short lives of all who believe in him will extend into a glorious eternity with God in new bodies and a transformed new heavens and earth where there is no sorrow, death or mourning.
This is the great hope that the resurrection of Jesus brings, and the true meaning of Easter!
This post is taken from our Pastor Roy Summers’ blog, where he discusses and comments on a wide range of current subjects and issues both in the world and in the church.