Lilies, parades, bonnets and bunnies, colorful eggs with baskets of yummies!
These all come to mind when the world thinks about celebrating Easter. It is a joyful holiday that children love and families can enjoy sharing together. Who can resist a cute little bunny that delivers chocolate eggs and other yummy treats? However, there is a deeper, more eternal message that this Sunday evokes for the disciples of a Jewish man who lived in first century Palestine. This message is the Good News that “Jesus is Risen”.
Easter, also called Pascha (Greek, Latin) or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD.
Some of the women, who were followers of Jesus, went to his tomb very early on Sunday morning. They were bringing fragrant spices to put on Jesus’ body, which had been placed behind a large stone in a rock hewn tomb after his death (Mark 16:1-8). This is what people did in those days to their loved ones who died. The tomb was guarded by soldiers but when the women arrived, the stone was rolled away, the soldiers were passed out, and Jesus’ body was gone. Instead, they were greeted by angels who told them “He isn’t here, he has been raised from the dead” (Matthew 28:1-7, Luke 24:1-12).
So the women rushed back to tell his disciples that he was alive. Two of his followers, one was named Peter, ran to the tomb and found it empty just like the women described. After this, they went home, except for one of the women named Mary, she stayed there crying. Jesus appeared to her and gave her a message to tell his followers. Later on that same Sunday evening, Jesus appeared to the disciples and gave them convincing proof that he was alive. (John 20:1-18)
By rising from the dead and appearing to many witnesses over the course of 40 days, Jesus provided the unequivocal proof that he is alive and is everything he claimed to be: Lord, prophet, priest, king, the unique Son of God, and the Savior of the World (John 4:42). We invite you to come and see the evidence for yourself. Following Jesus will forever change your future and your Easter celebration.