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Easter represents a season of hope for many of us. There's a lot to appreciate with the light of springtime, bunnies, and festive meals. Whether you're religious or not, you probably know that Easter is about more than sunshine and blossoms; it's about the resurrection of Jesus. But what does that mean? Why do we celebrate Easter? If you're unfamiliar with the topic of Jesus' resurrection, now is a great time to learn more. And even if you know a lot about Christianity, you may not really know much about Easter. There's quite a bit of fascinating history tied to it, and it all began with the tomb.
Easter is a celebration of the third day after Jesus died, the day He rose again. The word "Easter" was most likely derived from Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess of springtime. Eostre was symbolized by the hare, which is tied to the origins of the Easter Bunny. The Easter title may also have come from the Norse word "Ostara," which means "season of new birth." Some people believe that the practice of Easter started with the tradition of Passover, which appears in the Bible. However, many historians believe that Easter originated when early Christian missionaries adapted pagan festivals into a religious context. Due to its connection with Passover, Easter follows the Jewish calendar based on solar and lunar cycles. For this reason, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, and that date changes every year.
We may never know when or how the first Easter celebration occurred, but we know what it represents. The Bible tells us that Jesus died to pay the debt for our sins, and as it was foretold, He rose after three days, conquering sin and death for everyone for all time, showing us we can have new life through Him. While the Bible does not tell us to celebrate Easter, it does tell us to remember the sacrifice of Jesus. Easter, and the time leading up to it, is an opportunity to focus on the importance of repentance and the amazing hope we have through grace.
The symbol of the cross is prevalent in Christian culture as a reminder of Jesus' death. The Son of God came to die, and it was not a painless death. Jesus hung for hours on the cross as people mocked and betrayed Him. Jesus' last words from the cross are some of the most moving words we can ever know. Because of the cross, the tomb gives us hope. Jesus was not just a man who died; He was God in flesh, and He rose from the grave. Jesus then left this earth to go to the Father and gave us the choice to have everlasting life with Him, even though we are sinners.
To believe God's Word is to believe that the tomb was found empty because Jesus rose. There were many testimonies of people who saw Jesus alive after His death, and His disciples were persecuted and killed because they refused to deny His resurrection. The symbol of the empty tomb has been carried through hundreds of generations and cultures, and it means the same thing to us as it did to those who first saw it.
We don't have to fear death because Jesus took our consequences on Himself. We now have an open invitation to embrace Him into our lives and receive an eternal future with God. The tomb shows us that our Creator is one of redemption and love. When we accept God's grace, our old self dies, and we become a new creation in Him. Nothing we've ever done or will ever do can erase the value He has given us. That is the message to remember on Easter and every day of our lives.
Check out this informative book to learn more about the evidence we have of Jesus’ resurrection.
Whoever you are, you are welcome at Sun Valley. We have Easter services at our in-person and online campuses!
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.