Is Easter mentioned in the Scriptures?

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By BibleAsk Team


Easter

The meaning of Easter in the Bible is profound and central to the Christian faith. Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which is the cornerstone of Christianity. The events surrounding Easter, including Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, are detailed in the New Testament, particularly in the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Through these scriptures, we can explore the significance of Easter in the Bible.

  1. Crucifixion: The Easter story begins with the crucifixion of Jesus. According to the Gospels, Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, and arrested by the Jewish authorities. He was then brought before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who sentenced Him to death by crucifixion. Jesus endured tremendous suffering and humiliation during His crucifixion, as described in Matthew 27:27-56, Mark 15:16-41, Luke 23:26-49, and John 19:16-37. His crucifixion fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament, such as Isaiah 53, which foretold the suffering of the Messiah.
  2. Death and Burial: After His crucifixion, Jesus died and was buried in a tomb. His death was confirmed by the Roman centurion overseeing the crucifixion, as recorded in Matthew 27:54, Mark 15:39, Luke 23:47, and John 19:30. Jesus’ body was then placed in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy disciple of Jesus. The burial of Jesus is described in Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, and John 19:38-42. His burial fulfilled the Scriptures and demonstrated the reality of His death.
  3. Resurrection: The most significant aspect of Easter is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the third day after His crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead, conquering sin and death. The resurrection is the central theme of Easter, symbolizing victory over sin and offering hope of eternal life to all who believe in Jesus. The resurrection accounts are found in Matthew 28:1-20, Mark 16:1-20, Luke 24:1-53, and John 20:1-31. These passages detail how Jesus’ tomb was found empty by Mary Magdalene and other women who went to anoint His body, and how Jesus appeared alive to His disciples on multiple occasions, proving His resurrection.
  4. Victory over Sin and Death: Through His death and resurrection, Jesus accomplished redemption for humanity. His sacrificial death served as atonement for the sins of mankind, reconciling humanity with God. As stated in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NKJV), “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” By conquering death, Jesus demonstrated His power over sin and death, offering salvation and eternal life to all who believe in Him.
  5. Promise of New Life: Easter represents a new beginning for believers. Just as Jesus was raised to new life, Christians are called to experience spiritual rebirth and transformation. This concept is articulated in Romans 6:4 (NKJV), which states, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Easter reminds Christians of the hope found in Christ’s resurrection and the promise of new life in Him.
  6. Commission to Spread the Gospel: Following His resurrection, Jesus commissioned His disciples to spread the good news of salvation to all nations. This Great Commission is recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV), where Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Easter serves as a reminder of this mission and the responsibility of believers to share the message of salvation with others.

Easter in the Scriptures

The name Easter is never mentioned in the original Scriptures. However, only the King James translation of the Bible does use the word. “And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people” (Acts 12:4). In the previous verse, Peter was arrested about the beginning of the Passover feast (the Passover meal was eaten during the night that began the 15th of Nisan), and the king’s intention was to sentence and punish him after the feast had come to an end on the 21st.

The Greek word, that the King James Version translates as Easter, is actually the word “Pascha” (Hebrew: Pesach) which means “ Passover” and this is how all accurate translations show it. As noted above, the whole paschal feast is meant, and not merely a single day of it.

The word Easter had pagan traditions. It is of Anglo-Saxon origin, derived from the Norse Eôstre, the goddess of spring, in whose honor a festival was celebrated each year at the time of the vernal equinox. Later, Easter appeared in Christian history in the 2d century.

The ancient Roman Catholic Church mixed the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection with celebrations that involved spring fertility rituals in order to make Christianity more attractive to non-Christians. The Roman bishops urged that its celebration fall always on a Sunday (Eusebius Ecclesiastical History v. 23–25). This custom, without a doubt, contributed to the practice of the weekly Sunday observance.

In the Christian faith today, Easter has come to mean the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after His crucifixion. But while it is appropriate for Jesus’ resurrection to be celebrated, the day on which Jesus’ resurrection is celebrated should not be referred to as Easter. Further, Christ’s resurrection is something that should be celebrated every day, not just once a year (Romans 6:4).

In conclusion, Easter holds profound significance in the Bible as it commemorates the central events of the Christian faith: Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. These events demonstrate God’s love for humanity, His victory over sin and death, and His promise of salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Celebrating the resurrection is a practice of renewal for Christians worldwide, as they remember and proclaim the life-changing message of the risen Savior.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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