For some, Easter Sunday is a secular holiday for hunting Easter Eggs, which is a lot of fun for kids. Others view it as a religious holiday when you wear your new Easter dress or suit and attend church.
How about doing something different this Easter Sunday? Instead of turning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection into a once-a-year event, why not make this Easter Sunday the beginning of a renewed commitment to God? Can we claim we honor the great sacrifice Jesus made for all humanity by reducing His resurrection into a once-a-year holiday like Groundhog Day or Valentine’s Day?
There are different ideas about the origin of Easter. The name “Easter” may have come from a Germanic pagan goddess named Eostre or simply from the name of the spring month “Eosturmonath.” Christians began celebrating Easter in the second century, wanting festivals like the Jews, and it was initially called “Pascha.” In A.D. 325, the Council of Nicaea changed the holiday to the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox and added other events like Palm Sunday and Good Friday.
The rabbit was sacred to the Germanic Goddess and a fertility symbol. After all, rabbits are famous for making more and more rabbits. It was also a custom of ancient Egyptians and Romans to give eggs to people during this time to wish them a fertile or productive year. Another source says that Easter eggs were a borrowed tradition from medieval Europe, likely used to celebrate the end of the Lenten season. The Easter bunny comes from a 17th-century German tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase.”
Regardless of Easter’s origin, these traditions are not part of New Testament Christianity, nor were they ever meant to become a sacred religious Holy Day. We need to remind ourselves that we were hopelessly lost and doomed to suffer the consequences of sin, but Jesus loved us enough to give up the riches of heaven so we might become spiritually rich (2 Cor. 8:9).
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Jesus chose to come to earth knowing He would have to give His life for us. We didn’t deserve it, but He did it anyway. At the end of His ministry, we find Jesus in the garden full of agony, and His sweat became like great drops of blood (Lk. 22:44). At that point, He had the weight of the world’s sins on His shoulders, but He knew what He had to do to be our Savior.
Starting from Judas’s betrayal kiss, Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels to rescue Him from the senseless, brutal death (Mt. 26:53). He could have escaped the illegal trial and abuse from the Jewish leaders. He could have avoided the flogging that tore His skin to shreds. He could have avoided the nails being driven through His hands and His feet and all the shame and ridicule He received (Mt. 27; Mk. 15; Lk. 23; Jn. 19). Instead of avoiding such misery, He endured it all so we could be saved.
Though Jesus suffered for us on the cross, He was raised on the third day, the first day of the week. Not only did He die for us, but He also showed us that we can conquer the sting of death. The most significant news the world has ever had is Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection because He gave us power over sin and the confidence of eternal life in heaven when we are faithful to God till the day we die (Rev. 2:10).
Jesus didn’t go through everything He did just for us to make His great sacrifice into a once-a-year remembrance. Instead, Jesus tells us to remember what He did for us on the cross when we partake of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week (1 Cor. 11:23-29; Acts 20:7).
So, I encourage you to make this Easter Sunday the beginning of a new commitment to serving God daily and assembling with the saints on the first day of every week to remember the death of Jesus and proclaim it until He comes again when you partake of the Lord’s Supper. God deserves our total commitment. Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.