By Mary Ogundimu
WHAT DOES EASTER REPPRESENT?
Several celebrations by believers today have a long history that regularly needs to be examined to understand the true meaning of such celebrations. Where does Easter come from and what does Easter represent?
Overlapping history of Easter
The history of the celebration of the resurrection of Christ coincides with an ancient pagan celebration during the spring equinox. The word Easter has an origin connected to the season of spring and has been described as dawn. Despite the pagan aspect that linked the name to their religion, In Christendom, the day or period was dedicated to observing the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is mostly celebrated around the time of the Jewish Passover (Matthew 26 v 17 -75). In the Gregorian calendar, the date for the Jewish Passover aligns and the period of the death and resurrection of Christ and are both observed between March 22 and April 25.
Since the adoption of the name Easter, not with any biblical etymology, it is usually celebrated by believers as a joyous holiday because it represents the fulfillment of the promise and prophecy of God’s deliverance through the life and death of the Messiah which is God’s redemptive plan for all humanity. Christ is the Messiah (Etymonline, n.d.).
Misconceptions about Easter
The message of resurrection is being misunderstood as the period of Easter has been associated with eggs. Connecting eggs with resurrection of Christ is nothing but the traditions and pagan lifestyle of men who want to add their ways to God’s grace of salvation in addition to Christ that they have received. While others argued that the refraining from eating eggs in days prior to Easter celebration has led to the shenanigan of exalting eggs during the celebration, some have argued that since egg represents new life and it equates resurrection (ABC, 2017). Paul would tell the Galatians in Chapter 3 vs 1, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you”. This is nothing than witchcraft; to associate the death and resurrection of Christ which brings eternal life to the laying of eggs by chicken. How shall we equate matters of the spiritual life to reproduction of animal?
Message of the Easter
- God promised to save humanity after the choice of Adam led to loss of man (Genesis 3:15).
- God sent Jesus, his Son as our Messiah to earth as Man and God in One (Isaiah 53).
- Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life as opposed to Adam (Romans 5 v 12 -21).
- Our Messiah pleased God and obeyed him by laying down his life (Philippians 2 v 5-11).
- God then raised him up (Act 2:24).
- Our faith in all God has done in Christ brings us into eternal life (Romans 10v 8-13).
Hence, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ at Easter. It therefore signifies that we recognize and appreciate what Christ did for us on the cross. We recognize his resurrection as the assurance of eternal life for all who believe in him. It shows we can be dead to our old ways as he died and took the punishment for us and we resurrect into our new life in Christ. Christ’s resurrection is an integral part of our Christian faith (1corinthians 15:12-19).
Our conduct as we celebrate.
It is important to note however that the season is not just to drink and be merry but to have a reflective thought and rejoice in what Christ has done while living our lives as he did on earth. Considering this understanding and as we celebrate, we are to:
- Make others see and know the true essence of Easter.
- Extend God’s love to others this season by sharing his message.
- Be the reason someone will not give up on God and life.
- Rejoice in the Lord because you are beloved of God and assured of eternal life.
- Celebrate and live the way Christ would have lived.
- ABC. (2017, April 14). Origin of easter: From Pagan rituals to bunnies and chocolate eggs. ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-15/the-origins-of-easter-from-pagan-roots-to-chocolate-eggs/8440134
- Bibles (2011). Church Bible-NIV.
- Christianity. (2020, January 27). What is the true meaning of Easter? Why celebrated? Christianity.com. https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/true-meaning-of-easter-why-is-it-celebrated.html
- Etymonline. (n.d.). Easter | Etymology, origin and meaning of the name easter by etymonline. Etymonline – Online Etymology Dictionary. https://www.etymonline.com/word/easter
- National Geography. (2022, April 15). A brief history of easter—from biblical prophecies to egg hunts. National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/brief-history-easter-biblical-origins-egg-hunts