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When and Why Should We Observe Easter?

Just like Christmas, you won’t find Easter in the bible. There is no command or hint for the church to engage in the yearly practice of Easter. Interestingly, some in the English speaking church have (probably wrongly) argued that the name itself is a derivative of pagan mythologies. But regardless of whether or not those people are correct, what we call something and why we actually celebrate it are two different things. Nevertheless, Easter’s absence from the bible doesn’t mean that the observance of Easter is evil, sinful, or sinister. It simply means that the observance was a creation of human beings for the purpose of remembering the most important event in human history – the resurrection.

Of course, the steps leading to the resurrection are important, too. You can’t have a resurrection without a death. And the death of the only good, perfect and complete human being at the hands of men who hated him for his goodness is profoundly significant. It is sobering for a thoughtful believer to reflect on the torturous death that Jesus endured to reconcile us to a perfect and holy God while we were still sinners and rebels (Romans 5:8). It is a death that we – you and me – deserve because of our personal and willful rebellion against a sovereign God, as well as our own individual roles in helping to defile the created order that he originally made and declared to be good. There is a certain solemness that must be both expressed and experienced when we properly consider the path of loving sacrifice that led to the resurrection.

But death is not the theme of Easter. Not at all. The theme of Easter is new life. The resurrection is proof that God is sovereign even over death, and that our identification with Jesus will gain for us our own resurrection from our fallen bodies. The victory of Easter is that not only do we avoid an eternity in hell, but that we are given a life that can be free of sin, and the kind of ultimate death that an unrepentant, sinful life brings (Revelation 21:8). This kind of victory should prompt us to celebrate Easter everyday instead of just one Sunday per year. When we put that victory in perspective, it should motivate us to celebrate by demonstrating our new life daily in everything we do. We will rise each morning thankful to a loving God who willingly renews us each day, and who is continually shaping us toward both physical and spiritual perfection (John 11:25-26). So while there is no command to celebrate Easter in the Spring of each ear, there should be a drive in us to celebrate it daily in how we walk, talk, and live out our lives.

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