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The history of Easter, its spiritual meaning and why it is celebrated

ReligionThe history of Easter, its spiritual meaning and why it is celebrated

Three mega days in Christianity, Christmas, the birth of Christ; Good Friday, the crucifixion of Christ; Easter, the resurrection of Christ.

Many Christians, celebrate Easter with marzipan, brightly painted shelled hard-boiled eggs, and chocolate-filled eggs, some in the shape of cute “Easter” bunnies and pretty flowers and Easter lilies, the celebration has some parts inculcated from the old Anglo-Saxon, Greek, and Roman cultures.

In many places, bakeries are making hot cross buns, share delicacies, and exchange gifts. People go to church to celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection as Easter Sunday marks the victory of good over evil, rebirth, and that truth shall prevail.

The Sequence of Events Leading to Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday observes the resurrection of Jesus Christ after being crucified and signifies an empty tomb. According to the New Testament, Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion because the Jewish leaders were upset with Him as Christ drew thousands of crowds due to His power of miraculous healing. They were waiting for a way to trap Him and when Christ claimed He was the ‘Son of God”, they used it as a point to crucify Him for blasphemy.

One of Jesus Christ’s twelve disciples, Judas, gave Christ a kiss, signalling to the Roman soldiers that He was the Christ. The soldiers were sent by Jewish priests and leaders. Christ said that he wouldn’t rebel against the Jews or protest his arrest. He even ordered Peter, his disciple who struck out his sword t and cut the soldier’s ear to put back his sword, and Christ, a miraculous healer, to heal his ear instantly.

After His arrest, He was put on trial by the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish council of law. Having been found guilty of religious blasphemy, Jesus Christ was taken to Pontius Pilate, who gave in to the crowd’s demand to crucify Christ.

He Died A Slow Horrific Painful Death

The crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300 BC, and perfected by the Romans in 100 BC. It was considered the most painful death ever invented by man where we get our term “excruciating” and reserved primarily for the most vicious of male criminals. Christ even refused the anaesthetic wine which was offered to Him by the Roman soldiers because of His promise in Matthew 26: 29, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

He was stripped naked and His clothing was divided by the Roman guards. This was in fulfilment of Psalm 22:18, “They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

After he died, His body was brought down from the Cross, wrapped in linen, and placed in a tomb, owned by Joseph of Arimathea. It was then sealed by a massive stone. This day is marked as Good Friday.

Three Days Later The Angels Rolled Back the Tomb Stone

It is believed that after three days angels rolled the stone and Jesus Christ was resurrected from the grave and visited his disciples. This day is celebrated annually as Easter Sunday. Since Christ rose from the grave, it is also known as Resurrection Sunday.

Easter Rituals and Significance

The Lunar calendar of the Church determines the Easter date every year, which falls on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. However, several countries, like Greece, with Eastern Orthodox Church continue to predict the Easter date based on the Julian calendar.

Earlier in the West, Christ’s resurrection was celebrated on the first day of the week— Sunday. Since then, Easter has been celebrated on the first Sunday after the 14th day of the Nisan month. Easter Sunday also marks the end of the ‘Passion of Christ,’ which is a 40-day fasting period called Lent. The Sunday before Easter is called Palm Sunday and marks the arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.

Easter week, known as the ‘Holy Week’, also includes other significant days like Maundy Thursday— the day Christ had the Last Supper with his disciples before the crucifixion. The Saturday after Good Friday is also considered as ‘Holy Saturday’ by many and people attend church services called the Easter Vigil.

Easter is closely associated with the Jewish holiday of Passover, which is celebrated around the same time as well.

Out of mixed old traditions from Greek and Roman cultures, Spring and Summer are merged into the symbolism of the Easter celebration illustrating fruitfulness, rebirth, and new beginnings. The word ‘Easter’ is also said to have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of spring and fertility, Eostre.

Families celebrate Easter Sunday with their own traditions and customs but the basic rituals are almost the same. As a precursor to Christmas, it gives people an opportunity to spend quality time together and enjoy the holidays.

Special delicacies like carrot cake, hot cross buns, sweetbreads, eggs, ham, lamb, marzipan, and spring peas make Easter Sunday a robust experience along with the famous chocolate-filled ‘Easter egg.’

It is believed that the tradition of having the Easter egg probably began in ancient times when the Church did not allow Christians to have eggs during the Holy Week. However, today the exchange of Easter eggs has new dimensions. Children are given delicious and brightly coloured eggs filled with sweets and marzipan and chocolate Easter bunnies on Sunday morning.

The making of decorated eggs was first recorded in the 13th century. As per the Orthodox tradition, these eggs are painted red to symbolize Christ’s blood.

To make things more delightful and lively, events like Easter egg hunts, decorating the Easter eggs, egg rolling and many more are organized.

It is interesting to note that Protestant European areas ushered in the Easter Bunny tradition. Though it started in the 17th century, it wasn’t popular until the 19th century. According to legends, Easter rabbits are believed to lay eggs and decorate them secretly. In the US, these Easter bunnies are believed to fill children’s baskets with toys and candies.

Spiritual Significance of Easter

Who is Jesus? He is the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Way, the Truth and the Life and He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the Good Shepherd.” Psalm 23 takes care of His sheep throughout their lives.

Resurrection Life: Jesus defeated death in order to become the Resurrection. He triumphed disarming Satan’s power. This is why when we die, He made the direct route to Heaven. Our physical body lies in the grave, but our soul unites with God in Heaven. On the last day, when Christ returns, our physical body rises up in a gloried new body. Until then, we remain in Heaven as souls without a glorified body.

Jesus cried out “IT IS FINISHED” and Satan and his foes were put under the feet of Christ. Today, we walk in the finished work of Christ. It is accomplished, FINITO!

Christians believe that when we put our faith in Christ, He starts to work inside our hearts. The Holy Spirit who is a Person dwells within us. People have to die daily to our flesh, nailing it to the Cross! This enables us to walk in the spirit, in Christ’s resurrection life. What is the flesh? Our natural wants which can rule us, our anger, our frustrations, our jealousies, competition, greed for money, power, control, revenge, our sense of justice where we cry vengeance, ..all this has to be nailed to the Cross daily.

The Bible says we have to activate the Resurrection Life in Christ by walking in faith daily, not with our thoughts, our fears and our natural mind, but with Christ’s mind working in us. Submit to Him, the devil will flee and the Holy Spirit will activate your spiritual life to a new depth in the power of His resurrection.

When we walk in resurrection life daily, all our strongholds in our lives and minds, all chains, yolks and bondages are broken and His Spiritual blessings are released unto us. Righteousness, joy, peace and the Holy Spirit, that’s the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives. Our life becomes abundant.  Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, abundant life!”  He said

In John 11:25: Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die.”

In John 14:6, He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Easter is a time of great rejoicing and happiness. Wishing everyone a wonderful blessed Easter and a happy year ahead!

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