Easter is the most important celebration for Christians around the world. It is the time when we remember and rejoice in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But what does Easter really mean? How does Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and his victory over the grave save us from our sins and give us eternal life? In this blog post, we will explore the biblical meaning of Easter and how it affects our lives today.
What is Easter?
Easter is the name given to the Christian festival that commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The word “Easter” comes from the Old English word “Eostre”, which was the name of a pagan goddess of spring and fertility. Some scholars believe that the early Christians adopted this name to celebrate the new life that Jesus brought through his resurrection.
The date of Easter varies from year to year, depending on the lunar calendar. It is usually celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after March 21, which is the spring equinox. This means that Easter can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week, which includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. These days mark the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. The day after Easter is called Easter Monday, which is a public holiday in some countries.
Why Did Jesus Die?
The reason why Jesus died on the cross is because of our sins. Sin is anything that goes against God’s holy and perfect will. Sin separates us from God and makes us deserving of his wrath and judgment. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
But God loves us so much that he did not want to leave us in our sinful condition. He had a plan to save us from our sins and restore our relationship with Him. That plan was to send his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place. The Bible says that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) and that “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” (John 3:16).
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our sins because he was fully God and fully man. He lived a sinless life and fulfilled all the requirements of God’s law. He willingly laid down his life for us and took upon himself all our sins and their consequences. He suffered and died on the cross as our substitute and paid the price for our redemption. The Bible says that “he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24) and that “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
How Did Jesus Rise?
The story of Easter does not end with Jesus’ death on the cross. On the third day after his crucifixion, something amazing happened: Jesus rose from the dead! He defeated death and sin once and for all and proved that he was indeed the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
The Bible tells us that early on Sunday morning, some women who followed Jesus went to his tomb to anoint his body with spices. But when they arrived, they found that the stone that sealed the tomb had been rolled away and that the tomb was empty. An angel appeared to them and said, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5-6).
The women ran back to tell the other disciples what they had seen and heard. But some of them did not believe them at first. They thought it was too good to be true. They needed to see it for themselves. So Peter and John ran to the tomb and saw that it was indeed empty. They also saw the linen cloths that had wrapped Jesus’ body lying there.
Later that day, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, one of the women who had gone to the tomb earlier. She did not recognize him at first, because he looked like a gardener. She was still weeping and looking for his body, thinking someone had taken it away. She asked him if he knew where they had laid him, and he said to her, “Mary.” Then she realized it was him, and she cried out, “Rabboni!” which means Teacher. She wanted to embrace him, but he told her not to hold on to him, because he had not yet ascended to the Father. He told her to go and tell his disciples that he was alive and that he would soon go to them. She ran and announced the good news to the others, who were hiding in fear of the Jewish authorities.
This was the first appearance of the risen Christ to his followers, and it was a remarkable one. Mary Magdalene had been one of his most faithful and devoted disciples, who had followed him from Galilee and supported him with her own resources. She had also witnessed his crucifixion and burial, and was the first to see the empty tomb. She was a woman who had been healed of seven demons by Jesus, and who loved him deeply. She was also a woman who had been marginalized and stigmatized by society, because of her past and her gender. Yet Jesus chose her to be the first witness of his resurrection, and the first messenger of his victory over death. He honored her with his personal call and commission, and he entrusted her with the most important message in history.
What can we learn from this encounter between Jesus and Mary Magdalene? First, we can learn that Jesus knows us by name, and he calls us personally. He does not treat us as strangers or numbers but as friends and children. He knows our stories, our struggles, our joys, and our sorrows. He knows our needs, our desires, our hopes, and our fears. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He loves us unconditionally. He calls us by name because he wants us to know him personally, and to have a relationship with him.
Second, we can learn that Jesus can transform our lives, and give us a new purpose. Mary Magdalene had been a tormented woman before she met Jesus. She had been oppressed by evil spirits, and probably by other people as well. She had no peace or dignity in her life. But Jesus set her free from her demons and gave her a new identity. He made her his disciple, his friend, his sister. He gave her a new reason to live, and a new mission to fulfill. He changed her from a victim to a victor, from a mourner to a messenger.
Third, we can learn that Jesus invites us to share his resurrection power and joy. Mary Magdalene was the first person to experience the reality of the risen Christ. She saw him with her own eyes, she heard him with her own ears, and she touched him with her own hands. She felt his presence in her heart and his peace in her mind. She tasted his love in her soul and his joy in her spirit. She was filled with his life in her body, and his hope for her future. She was transformed by His grace in her past, and His glory in her future.
Jesus wants us to have the same experience as Mary Magdalene. He wants us to see him as he is: alive and victorious. He wants us to hear him as he speaks: lovingly and personally. He wants us to touch him as he offers: gently and powerfully. He wants us to feel him as he moves: intimately and faithfully. He wants us to taste Him as He satisfies: abundantly and eternally. He wants us to be filled with Him as He fills us: completely and wonderfully.
Jesus is alive today, and he is calling your name. Will you recognize him? Will you respond to him? Will you follow him? Will you share him? He is waiting for you.
Remember What Jesus Has Done for You
The first thing we need to do is to remember what Jesus has done for us. He gave his life for us so that we can be forgiven and reconciled to God. He showed us his love, grace, and mercy in the most powerful way possible. He demonstrated his faithfulness, obedience, and humility in fulfilling God’s plan of salvation.
The Bible tells us to remember Jesus’ death and resurrection regularly, by celebrating the Lord’s Supper or Communion. This is a symbolic act of eating bread and drinking wine (or juice), which represents Jesus’ body and blood. By doing this, we proclaim his death until he comes again (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
We can also remember Jesus’ death and resurrection by reading and meditating on the Scriptures that tell us about his passion, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Some of these passages are Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-21, Acts 2:22-36, Romans 5:6-11, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Philippians 2:5-11, Hebrews 9:11-28, and 1 Peter 1:18-21.
As we remember what Jesus has done for us, we should respond with gratitude, praise, worship, and joy. We should thank him for his amazing love and sacrifice. We should glorify him for his victory over death and sin. We should rejoice in His presence and power in our lives.
Live As Jesus Has Risen from the Dead
The second thing we need to do is to live as Jesus has risen from the dead. He is not dead; he is alive! He is not in the tomb; he is at the right hand of God! He is not weak; he is mighty! He is not distant; he is with us!
Because Jesus has risen from the dead, we have a new identity, a new purpose, and a new hope. We are no longer slaves to sin; we are children of God. We are no longer condemned; we are justified. We are no longer enemies; we are friends. We are no longer strangers; we are citizens of heaven.
Because Jesus has risen from the dead, we have a new mission, a new power, and a new message. We are called to follow Him, serve Him, and make disciples of all nations. We are empowered by His Spirit, who lives in us and works through us. We are entrusted with His gospel, which is the good news of His death and resurrection.
As we live as Jesus has risen from the dead, we should reflect on his character, obey his commands, and share his love. We should be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). We should love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). We should be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
This Easter season, let us remember what Jesus has done for us and live as he has risen from the dead. Let us celebrate his death and resurrection with gratitude, praise, worship, and joy. Let us follow him faithfully with obedience, service, and witness.
Let us experience the power of Easter in our lives today!
This Easter, you have a unique opportunity to make peace with God and enter His Kingdom. You don’t need to do anything to earn this gift of salvation. It is by God’s grace that He loves you and sent His Son Jesus to die for your sins and rise again. All you need to do is confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.
This is what Romans 10:9-10 tells us: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Don’t wait any longer. Pray this prayer of salvation today and give your life to Christ. He is waiting for you with open arms.