John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3:16 KJV

In my personal experience, I find this to be the most quoted passage in the Bible. Yet, Easter, the holiday supposedly meant to celebrate the resurrection alluded to in the verse, is a convulsion of paganism that most professing Christians neither understand nor question. Every year, this year being no different, the bulk of Easter posts I see are of people flaunting their Easter dresses and suits, children and adults alike arrayed in colorful get-ups. With each post, I wonder more and more if these people have any understanding of the resurrection of Christ at all. Last year I wrote two posts—What is Easter? and What is Easter? (continued)—discussing the origins of the name Easter, the Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs, and the date of Easter.  This year, I wanted shift the discussion from the pagan holiday people are accustomed to celebrating to focusing on the actual resurrection.

Importance of the Date

There's a reason we're given a timeline of events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion and it has nothing to do with setting a date for playing dress up. Jesus and the disciples' last supper, as recounted in Luke 22, is during the Passover. Perhaps the general lack of focus on the Passover in Christianity stems from our Gentile origins, but nevertheless, the Passover is an integral part of the power and purpose of Jesus' resurrection. For those unfamiliar with the origins of the Passover, it was/is celebrated in remembrance of the 10th plague God brought upon Egypt before bringing the Jews out of bondage. This plague brought death to every firstborn in Egypt, except the Jews, who were instructed to eat nothing but unleavened bread for seven days, sacrifice a lamb, and then paint part of the door with the blood. God commanded the Jews to continue observing this tradition in remembrance of how God brought them out of bondage.

Jesus is/was the Passover lamb; this is why He is referred to as The Lamb of God (see John 1:29). Jesus' death on the cross occurs in accordance with the death of the Passover lamb (on the 14th day). Remember,  in Isaiah 53, it is said that the Messiah will be "cut off from the the land" and "brought as a lamb to slaughter." Jesus fulfills the prophecy of the Messiah not just because He was born of the virgin, nor that He rose from the dead, but that He was the perfect lamb who was sacrificed in accordance to the Passover. Therefore Jesus' resurrection has to occur in the propper sequence of the Passover events!

In 2014, the 14th day of Nisan (the month and day specified by God for the sacrifice of the Passover lamb in Exodus) was April 14, thus the resurrection must have occurred on April 16, yet Easter was on April 20. Next year (2016), Easter is on March 27 but the 14th day is on April 22, placing the resurrection on April 24. Very seldom does Easter actually coincide with the death and resurrection of Christ, because Easter is a pagan holiday.

The Celebration

God specifically commands the Jews to observe the Passover—

And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.Exodus 12:24-25 KJV

If you read all of Exodus 12, and compare it to the New Testament, you will see that not once does the directness that God commands the Jews to observe the Passover appear in Jesus' discussion of events. Jesus does not explicitly command us to celebrate His resurrection—especially not in the manner of dressing up, hiding eggs, and/or giving speeches. The closest thing Jesus says to imply making a holiday of His resurrection is when He breaks bread with the disciples in the last supper in Luke 22:19. However, if you compare "do this in remembrance of me" to the specific outline and commandment to observe something forever, it becomes obvious that there is no mandate from God to perform any type of ritual celebration for the resurrection.

While the resurrection itself is a joyous occasion for believers—Jesus has triumphed over death and our sins have been washed away—the events themselves are extremely solemn and bittersweet. Remember, Jesus was beaten (John 19:1), mocked (Luke 22:63), spat upon (Matthew 26:67), crowned with thorns (Matthew 27:29) and hung on a cross to die. This was a sacrifice of great pain and suffering, a sacrifice deserving of thankfulness and humility. If there was to be a holiday or celebration, the days before the resurrection would not be equated to picking out cute outfits or decorating but to remembering and reflecting upon His sacrifice.

Jesus said "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34 KJV). That was over 2000 years ago. It is now 2015, the time is drawing near for you to know what you are doing.


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