Seven Important Words
“He is not here; he has risen!”
Seven of the most important words in the Bible are found in Luke 24:6, “He is not here; he has risen!” The resurrection of Jesus is what Easter is all about and it is the heart of the gospel message. Jesus’ resurrection is a powerful reminder that his death was not an accident but a gift of love and a victory over sin, suffering, and death. Easter is our celebration of new life, forgiven and freed, that is ours through Jesus—“that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
The original name for Easter was Pascha, a Hebrew word for Passover. The Old Testament tells us how God passed over the houses of the faithful, delivering them from the plagues sent upon their Egyptian oppressors. The New Testament reveals the perfect Passover, Jesus who delivered the world from the curse of sin and death.
The contemporary word for our celebration, Easter, is a adaptation of the Old English Eastre—the goddess of spring and dawn. Ancient Anglo-Saxons held feasts in her honor on the spring equinox near the time when Jesus rose from the dead. The Christian celebration of the resurrection supplanted the pagan festivals but in Anglo circles the traditional name, Easter, remained in use.
Easter is the oldest Christian festival. Jesus was raised from the dead on a Sunday. Each Sunday thereafter was celebrated as a little Easter. Eventually the day of worship changed from the Sabbath (Saturday) to the Lord’s Day (Sunday). The time for celebrating Easter was set by the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. The date of Easter changes because Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the first day of spring except if the full moon is Sunday—then Easter is celebrated on the following Sunday. The appropriate color for altar paraments and liturgical vestments is white—signifying purity, hope, and celebration.
If you have a family member visiting at Easter or of you know of a friend or relative who is spiritually searching—you may be the one that leads them to Christ. Please pray for them and invite them to attend church with you on Easter Sunday. Christ the Lord is risen indeed!