Happy Easter

Tomorrow, we will be celebrating the most important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year, EASTER.  Easter, also called Pascha [PA-SHA] in Hebrew, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which we as Christians believe occurred on the third day after his crucifixion around 33 Anno Domini. Many non-religious cultural elements have become part of the holiday, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike.

Easter is termed a moveable feast because it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. Easter falls at some point between late March and late April each year, following the cycle of the moon. After several centuries of disagreement, all churches accepted the computation of the Alexandrian Church (which we now know as the Coptic Church) that Easter is on or after March 21.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover. The Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples before his crucifixion is generally thought of as a Passover meal, based on the chronology in the Gospels in the New Testament books Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  The Gospel of John, however, speaks of the Jewish elders not wanting to enter the hall of Pilate in order "that they might eat the Passover", implying that the Passover meal had not yet occurred.  Thus, John places Christ's death at the time of the slaughter of the Passover lamb, which would put the Last Supper slightly before Passover.  In fact, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia, "…the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration."

Many people are wondering what Easter actually means, as the true meaning of Easter has been lost. What I can tell you is it isn’t about little chickens, nor does it have anything to do with Easter bunnies. It isn’t even about Easter eggs, although an egg can represent ‘new life’ because new life hatches from the egg, as Jesus was resurrected on the third day – giving us new life in Him.
But just like Christmas, the real meaning has been forgotten. For those of us that are Christians, we understand what Easter is all about.  For those that haven’t experienced this ‘new life’ in Jesus, I want to share with you the Easter story.
In Old Testament times, the priest would bring bulls, goats or a spotless lamb without any blemishes to be sacrificed as a sin offering for himself and for the people. The blood would purify and make atonement (or make amends) for their sins. This was the old order of atonement. When Jesus came, He was a representation of the sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world.  He was the final sacrifice. We no longer have to sacrifice animals to make atonement for our sins.  Jesus has done this once and for all.  It’s His blood that cleanses us from all sin.

He was crucified on the cross (the form of execution in those days). The sin of the world was upon Him, yet He was without sin and blameless. He bore it all. This is why Jesus is referred to as the ‘Lamb of God’. He was bodily resurrected on the third day. He appeared to many – eating and drinking with them. He appeared to them for 40 days, then went up to Heaven. 
Jesus Christ’s resurrection holds both a PURPOSE and a PROMISE. 
Jesus said, in John Chapter 11, Verse 25: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”
The resurrection of Christ was foretold hundreds of years before His miracle birth. He also foretold this event to His disciples (though they didn’t initially understand).
The Son of God was sacrificed on our behalf for the purpose of atoning for our sins. When Jesus taught this to the people of that time, many considered it heresy and as a result, they demanded His death by crucifixion, a common means of punishment for lawbreakers. Instead of offering a defense before the councils, Jesus was silent. Why? It was the divine plan of God the Father, from the beginning of time, that this be done so that we might have forgiveness and life.  It was His purpose.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a gift from God and fulfillment of His promise.  It is the very foundation of Christianity.  Since the disobedience of Adam in the Garden of Eden, all mankind is born with a sinful nature.  The Lord tells us that there is a price to be paid for sin and that cost is death.
A life without Christ can only offer eternal death, but the acceptance of Jesus as our risen Savior gives us eternal life. Because eternal death is not what God wants for us, He provided a way of atonement through the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus, and His resurrection.
Out of Christ you are in the wilderness: with him you are in a paradise.  In Christ, believers possess all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and grace, and power, and love. All things are yours, if you are with Christ.
We each must make an individual choice to seek God and find God; to be filled with His peace, joy, and awareness of who He is, who we are and what it means to be His child.
As Christmas is celebrating Jesus' birth, Easter is celebrating Jesus' victory over death and mankind's hope for eternal life.
Before His death, Jesus had promised eternal life to those who followed Him. If the story ended at His death, Jesus would have been no more than a religious figure with a fixed life span. But the fact that Jesus rose from death demonstrated He has the power over death, and only through Him can people have hope for eternal life. 
As Jesus said in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."        

In closing, I would like to share with you this beautiful prayer for tomorrow’s Easter morning:
0 LORD JESUS CHRIST, who upon this day did conquer death and rise from the dead, and who are alive for ever more, help us never to forget your Risen Presence forever with us.

Help us to remember,
That you are with us in every time of perplexity to guide and to direct;
That you are with us in every time of sorrow to comfort and console;
That you are with us in every time of temptation to strengthen and to inspire;
That you are with us in every time of loneliness to cheer and befriend;
That you are with us even in death to bring us to the glory of your side.

Make us to be certain that there is nothing in time or in eternity which can separate us from you, so that in your presence we may meet life with gallantry and death without fear.
You turn our darkness into light, in your light we shall see light.
Grant, O LORD, that in your wounds I may find my safety, in your stripes my cure, in your pain my peace, in your cross my victory, in your resurrection my triumph, and a crown of righteousness in the glories of your eternal kingdom.
I hope and pray that you will truly seek and find, that you will truly choose life over death, and that your special eternity will begin from the moment you realize a resurrected life is not only a historical fact but a promise for today, for you, forever. Compiled from content found here and here
HAPPY EASTER TO ALL, and May God Bless 'The Freaks'

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ken
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 12:43:00

    happy easter syrin,the birth and death of christ has been moved so much that most people don't know when he was born or killed,but the day still holds its hope, its promise of better days.


  2. sjohnson
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 16:11:00

    I hope you have a blessed Easter, Syrin. That was a well-written article. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of Easter.


  3. Syrin from Wasilla
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 17:29:00

    I wish that I could take credit for this well written heartfelt Easter message.
    I have referenced it previously and thought with the history presented and the links, this comes together beautifully as my Easter message.
    Christ’s resurrection holds both a PURPOSE and a PROMISE. Author expressed what I believe to be the meaning of Easter.


  4. sjohnson
    Apr 03, 2010 @ 19:31:00

    I totally agree.


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