Have you ever asked yourself why so many people celebrate Easter? When I was a kid I thought it was simply about The Easter bunny, candy, and egg hunts. At this point in my life, I still think some of that stuff is pretty cool, but I’m not entirely sure as to how we came to that conclusion or why exactly we celebrated it that way when I was a kid, especially since we were Irish Catholic. I’m pretty sure I can blame commercialism for it, and those glorious chocolate companies, which, I mean hey, I like Chocolate… so, I can’t be too mad about a giant Reese’ Easter bunny, and last year I totally bought my wife a bunch of Easter stuff, so sue me.
On the other hand, it wasn’t until after I had become a Christian that I truly realized the importance of Easter, and the Irony is, my devout Catholic aunt was the one who filled me in on it. As Saint Paul touched on it, he said,
3 For I delivered to you [b]as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to [c]James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as [d]to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
So, you probably just read that, and you’re like ok… so what? Well, little american, let me tell you what. Well, I mean i’ll try. Essentially, this is what Easter is about, it’s about the fact that Jesus, the Christ(Messiah), died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. The Last part is extremely important, and is essentially what the Christian faith hangs on. Easter is about the fact that Jesus rose from that grave that He was buried in, and that when those who loved Him went to visit that grave, He wasn’t there, because He had Risen!(Luke 24:1-12)
This of course, freaked some people out, I mean, how many people are willing to believe that someone has been raised from the dead? Especially, how many people in the 1st century? Even more so, how many people are willing to believe that someone has been raised from the dead when death is so common place? Death was so normal, that someone rising from their grave would not only scare them, but be almost unbelievable, but apparently it wasn’t, and apparently it isn’t, because that’s what we’re celebrating 2 thousand and 17 years later.
So when all of your Christian friends tell you that they went to church on Sunday, they went to celebrate this, the fact that a Jewish carpenter who claimed to be the Son of God, was raised from the dead by his Father after having been crucified two days prior, and was vindicated by His resurrection after over 500 people saw Him in one place.
In a nutshell, Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the grave for our sins and the destruction of death, which, has now be swallowed up by life, we are celebrating that He has Risen, and that the Holy Spirit that raised Him will one day raise us. (Romans 8:11)