Easter for a Christian
Easter for a Christian – What is the Significance?
What is the significance of Easter to the Christian? For some people, Easter strictly belongs to the realm of the Easter bunny and family get-togethers. For others, Easter is primarily a time of celebrating Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. For many, Easter -- like Christmas -- is celebrated as a combination of the secular and the sacred.
Understanding Easter from a Christian perspective is vitally important. The celebration of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection from the dead is crucial for believers in Jesus’ Christ. Without this doctrine, there is no Christianity and no Christian Easter.
Beyond doctrine is the knowledge of the truth that Jesus died to pay the penalty of death that we deserve for our sin, was buried, and rose with a glorified body, gaining victory over death and the grave. When we put our faith in Him by believing through faith alone in Christ alone, we have the promise of one day having a body like our Lord’s and reigning with Him in heaven.
Philippians 3:20-21 states, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
2 Timothy 2:11-12 says “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him...” This gives hope to the Christian at Easter time and throughout the year.
Easter Christian – The History
The history of Christian Easter is told about in the book, A History of The Christian Church1. The first definite record of the celebration of Christian Easter is in connection with the visit of Polycarp (the bishop of Smyrna) to Anicetus (the bishop of Rome) in 154 or 155 in order to come to an agreement about the time of the observance of Easter. Polycarp represented the more ancient custom of observing Easter with a vigil, ending with the Lord’s Supper, through the night of the fourteenth of the month Nisan (month of the Jewish calendar), like the Jewish Passover, regardless of what day of the week this day might fall.
Anicetus represented the Roman custom that was also followed by some parts of the East to have the Easter feast always on Sunday. They did not come to an agreement, but continued on each with their own practice. After further disputes over dates within the Asia Minor church, the problem became so serious that meetings were held around 190 that decided in favor of having Easter celebrated on Sunday. At a council in 314, the Roman date of Easter was approved.
In the third century in the Christian church, “the great event of the year was the Easter season. The period immediately before was one of fasting in commemoration of Christ’s sufferings. Customs differed in various parts of the empire. In Rome a forty hours’ fast and vigil was held in remembrance of Christ’s rest in the grave. This was extended, by the time of the Council of Nicaea to a forty days’ Lent. All fasting ended with the dawn of Easter morning, and the Pentecostal period of rejoicing then began. In that time there was no fasting or kneeling in prayer in public worship. Easter eve was the favorite season for baptism, that the newly initiate might participate in the Easter joy.”2 At the Council of Nicaea a uniform date for the observance of Easter was ordered.
Easter Christian – Personal Reflections on Christian Easter
Easter (Christian) is the reality of our Savior Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection which transcends failed hopes in things that come up hollow and empty. Out of the pain, suffering, and shame Jesus experienced on our behalf, truth came. Life everlasting came. What a glorious hope you can share with all those who are looking expectantly for the Truth.