I’ve been reading a lot online this year about whether we believers should celebrate Easter or not. Some argue that Easter has pagan origins, from the goddess Asherah or Ishtar, and I have no disagreement with that! The origins of the Easter bunny, Easter eggs, hot-cross buns, and Easter lilies are undeniably pagan, yet does this mean I cannot celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? I know this is a controversial topic, but I couldn’t resist adding my two cents.
Growing up, my father always preferred to refer to Easter as “Resurrection Sunday.” The more I think about it, the more I like this. Let me explain some of the reasons why I believe we should honor Resurrection Sunday.
When we read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, we discover that He was offered as our Passover lamb on the 14th day of the month, just at the same time that all the lambs were sacrificed. When my family and church celebrates Jesus as the Passover lamb, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26), remembering that His death paid the penalty for our sin.
To fulfill Scripture, He must have been dead for three days and three nights before rising from the dead. He was dead during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, buried just before the Feast began (John 19:31). The significance of this is that His sacrifice and resurrection enables me to walk in “newness of life,” with all the leaven (sin) removed from my life (Romans 6:1-14, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8). Because He perfectly fulfilled Scripture, I can trust that His Word will remain true and powerful in my own life (2 Peter 1:1-4).
The Sabbath (Saturday) was the third day He was dead, so sometime after twilight that night (Sunday on the Jewish calendar), He rose from the dead. “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb…” (John 20:1). The account of Jesus’ resurrection is historically accurate and verifiable, and His Sunday resurrection is the basis of my entire faith and hope.
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19).
In addition to Jesus’ fulfillment of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, He was also the fulfillment of the Feast of Firstfruits mentioned in Leviticus 23:9-14 and Deuteronomy 26:1-15. On the Sunday following the first Sabbath after Passover, a priest was to wave a sheaf of barley before God, as well as offer other sacrifices, as an offering of thanksgiving for their spring harvest.
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
When I celebrate this feast by rejoicing that Jesus was the firstfruits offering, I am remembering that when He comes, I will be resurrected into eternal life as well. I’ve seen very little written about this feast, so I’m hoping to stir you up to remember that this life is not all there is.
As moms, sometimes our lives get filled up with everyday details that drag us down. Have you ever wondered, “Why was I in such a rush to grow up and graduate and get married? Why didn’t someone tell me that life would just be an endless diaper-changing, dish-washing, home-schooling repetition, until finally, when my children are grown, I’ll be too old to enjoy this life anymore?” We’re all tempted to think that way, aren’t we? Every morning the alarm clock rings, and the weeks race by, going faster and faster, with time disappearing as the wrinkles and cellulite become permanent.
“…for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away” (Psalm 37:2).
“My days are like the evening shadow;
I wither away like grass” (Psalm 102:11).
“As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more” (Psalm 103:15-16).
Since the time of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are confronted with the consequences of our sin, which is death. Yes, that death was postponed by the death of an animal, slaughtered to clothe them in their nakedness (Genesis 3:21). But at this season of the year, I want to rejoice that Jesus’ sacrifice causes the death angel to pass over me (Exodus 12:23, 1 Corinthians 5:7). Someday, He will return and, “in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet,” I will be raised, never to die again, changed from my old life of misery and futility (1 Corinthians 15:52).
“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?‘ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
Dear moms, do you have “victory” in your life? Do you have have love, joy, and peace that passes all understanding? “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Do you have eternal life that gives you something to live for?
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
This Resurrection Sunday, ponder what the resurrection really means. Ponder the hope you have, the future with Jesus you have, and the power He gives you to live victoriously today.