Easter falls on different dates each year because Easter Sunday depends upon the Vernal Equinox (Spring) and the first full moon thereafter. Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. The date this year falls on April 16. The death of Jesus and His subsequent resurrection occurred around the time of the Passover which was celebrated on the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. The Council of Niciea in the 4th century established that Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox.
Easter is the time of year that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave after being crucified and buried. Â The resurrection of Jesus has nothing to do with hiding eggs or with rabbits or chicks, but it has everything to do with our eternal salvation because without Jesus’ resurrection there would be no salvation. It took His death for His people to be housed in heaven. John 12:24 says: â€œVerily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.â€ Â Jesus is that corn of wheat that died and was was buried or else He would abide alone in heaven. Â Now, He will be not alone but will be with the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the untold number of children of God out of every kindred, tongue and people. (Rev. 5:9). Â Jesus became the first fruits of them that slept. God accepted His sacrifice and as the first fruit (Jesus) was accepted, so all the harvest of the redeemed are secure.
Easter is only mentioned one time in the Bible and then it has reference to the Passover. Although there is no command to celebrate a specific day commemorating the resurrection of Jesus, it should be celebrated every day of the year as Godâ€™s people meditate on what it means. Â Jesus told the disciples of this great event in redemptive history, but they did not understand until after Jesus was glorified. Â Jesus said, â€œJesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.Â Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?Â But he spake of the temple of his body.Â When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.â€ Â (John 2: 19-22). Â What a joy to realize the significance of the resurrection of Jesus because without it we would still be in our sins and preaching and faith would be vain! Jesus said that because He lived we would live also. He is the Alpha and Omega who liveth and was dead and is now alive for evermore.
Easter is a time to feel especially embraced in that great event in redemptive history because Jesus has hid some things from the wise and prudent and hath revealed those same things to babes. (Matt. 11:25). Jesus showed Himself alive after coming forth from the grave but not to all people. The Bible says, â€œHim God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;Â Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.â€ (Acts 10:40-41). We should feel especially blessed that He has shown us individually His great power, having performed a type of resurrection in our life; that is He brought us forth from the grave of death in trespasses and sins. Now we can show forth the praise of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Jesus sent another Comforter after He went back to the Father in the person of the Holy Spirit that dwells with us with comfort and assurance, and it guided the disciple into all truth. Â Jesus did not leave His disciples comfortless, but the comfort would now be in a different form than His physical presence. If we believe that Jesus died for us then we can believe in His second coming and the souls of those that are sleeping in Jesus will be brought with Him as Paul states in I Thess. 4:114-15: â€œFor if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.Â For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.â€
Happy Easter to each of you and may the Lord bless each of you and your families with health and happiness as you come to a greater awareness of the goodness of God and His Son, Jesus Christ (Adapted from March 2013)–April 15, 2017–Elder Larry Wise