What is the meaning of Easter?The origins of the word Easter have their roots in both Greek and Latin. Easter as a name for the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be interpreted as an amalgamation of spring/east/dawn/sunrise. Jesus' resurrection took place during Passover (Mark 14:12–16), which on the Jewish calendar is in spring, and it was at dawn that His disciples discovered His tomb empty. He then appeared to them as the risen Lord (John 20:1–23).
Easter is the Christian calendar name the Church uses for the holiday that marks this momentous event in human history. Some have mistakenly tied it to an ancient pagan goddess Eostre because of similar name origins. However, the two are not historically connected by any recorded events. Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection are historically documented events, not only by the Bible, but by histories of contemporary sources. Likewise, many Jewish prophets foretold His coming and the salvation that was promised (2 Samuel 7:14; Psalm 2:7, 11–12; Proverbs 30:4; Isaiah 7:14; 52:13—53:12).
For Christians, people who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, Easter means we can now have eternal life with God. We have forgiveness of sins because of Jesus' sacrifice of His own life (2 Corinthians 5:16–21; Ephesians 1:3–10; Colossians 1:14), and we are sealed by the Holy Spirit as children of God, adopted into His family as His own (Ephesians 1:5, 13–14). Jesus' resurrection—what we celebrate on Easter—confirmed He is who He claimed and that His death was sufficient to pay for our sins. It is because of Jesus' death and resurrection that we can be made children of God and have true life in Him (John 1:12; 3:16–18). To be saved from eternal judgment and separation from God and from our sins is the greatest of all things to celebrate. No other religion has a documented historical figure who defeated death. And no other religion has a god or goddess who was willing to sacrifice themselves for mortal humans.
Easter proves that God has always wanted and always longed for a restored relationship with humanity, not just anyone of Jewish decent but anyone who is willing to believe in Jesus and accept that we needed Him (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 49:6; John 3:16–18; Galatians 2:16; 3:23–29).
The meaning of Easter is that the God of the universe wants to have a personal, vibrant relationship with you, and we can have that because of Jesus. Understanding our own sin is the start of understanding our need for a Savior. And understanding what kind of Savior we really need helps us to understand why Jesus is who meets those qualifications and is the only one who ever could.
Easter for some may include hiding plastic eggs or making brunch for family, and those things can be good and fun for families. But Easter is at its core the essential gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of who He is and what He has done for us (Luke 2:10).
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