He is Risen! You may hear this often during the weeks surrounding Easter. Do you know who “He” is? Have you heard the historical facts behind Easter? If not, this article will be quite interesting and informative. If you know the true meaning of Easter, read on and you may learn something new.
Let’s start with a historical pagan celebration of the coming of spring. Eostre was a Greek goddess, and they believed that she returned each year after a long cold winter and brought with her the flowers, birds, and rejuvenation of the new season. The vernal equinox occurs on the 21st of March every year, and the pagan festivals were always celebrated around this time. In 325 A.D., the church council of Nicaea declared the first Sunday following the full moon on or after the vernal equinox as the day to celebrate Easter. Because of lunar cycles, Easter can occur as early as March 22nd or as late as April 25th. Now that you know a little about the origin of Easter, let’s look at the modern meaning of the holiday.
In approximately 33 A.D., Jesus Christ was crucified on a Roman cross and buried in a tomb on a Friday. Three days later Jesus arose from the tomb. That is a very brief overview of the Christian reason for celebration – Jesus’ defeat of hell and the grave. An artist named “Big Mo” has an extremely vivid portrayal of Jesus’ resurrection called “Jesus’ Funeral.” soundsideofwb has made a YouTube video with images to coincide with the words of the song. Nobody can know for sure, but you could certainly imagine the scene in Jesus’ tomb playing out in exactly the way that Big Mo described it.
There are additional interesting ponderings about the resurrection of Jesus. The chief priests and elders paid the soldiers to spread the story that Jesus’ disciples had come and stolen the body. How was the huge stone covering the opening of the tomb moved? Why were the grave clothes left neatly folded on the slab in the tomb? These questions are all mentioned in the verses of Luke 24, Mark 16, and Matthew 28. Read these and let them shape your own beliefs.
Now you know “the rest of the story.” Whether you get Good Friday or Easter Monday as a holiday, take a moment and remember the true reason for celebration.