Easter is a very old word that is said to have come from an older German word for east, which also emanates from an even older Latin word for dawn.In Christiandom however, the word Easter refers to generally, the period of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Easter is therefore the name given to the festival of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.Brent Landau of the University of Texas at Austin College of Liberal Arts,a religious studies scholar specializing in early christianity,in his research paper titled:Why Easter is Called Easter,states that” the date of Easter, when the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place changes from year to year.This,he asserts is because Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.
Easter,A Rite of Spring?
According to Landau,most major holidays have a connection to the changing of seasons.Among others, Landau establishes that for those in northern latitudes, the coming of spring is often met with excitement,as it marks the end winter.Spring in essence also means the coming back to life of plants and trees that have been dormant for winter,as well as the birth of new life in the animal world.Given the symbolism of new life and rebirth, it was only natural to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at this time of year.
We could go on explaining on academic lines what Easter is and what it’s not,why Easter is called Easter and so on.
Instead of that,I would rather want to delve into the spiritual significance of Easter and the promises it holds for a sinful world.
The Bible says emphatically that” Christ died for us while we were still sinners”.Romans 5:8 That’s how God demonstrated His love for us.On this very ocassion of Easter over two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ of Nazareth shed His blood for all mankind,that whoever would believe in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.John 3:16.He continues in the next verse to say that “For God did not send His son into the world to condemn it but that, through Him, the world might be saved”.John 3:17
Even on the cross,, Jesus Christ declared,”forgive them,for they know not what they do”Even when the Messiah hung on a tree,,pierced with nails and spear,He still had the heart to forgive.Some years later, Stephen,a matyr of the faith followed Christ’s example.At the verge of death,just like Christ,requested forgiveness for his assailants.
What needless pain are you bearing?How unfairly and cruelly have you been treated?A heart in the heart of Christ can forgive anything.As we dine and wine, to commemorate Easter, let’s remember the sacrifice of Christ on the cross; forgive ourselves for our own follies, and forgive also, those who have wronged us.