Easter’s meaning still rings true
Published 5:50 pm Friday, April 15, 2022
By Myrtle Thompson
Spring means Easter — bunnies, hidden eggs, children and fun times.
Easter is all these things but, like so much else in our lives, Easter has a deeper meaning, sometimes ignored or not known. It is a time of reflection, of sadness, then a time of joyful reassurance, something we need right now. This world and some of its leaders are no different than they were thousands of years ago.
Email newsletter signup
That was when the people of the Jewish faith were in bondage in Egypt, oppressed and crying out to God. God chose an answer that might seem strange to us. He chose Moses, who was able to obtain the release of God’s people by God’s sending what we know as 10 plagues.
The last plague was the most serious. It required the sacrifice of an animal and its blood to be placed over the doorposts of their houses. The death angel would be coming that night and when the angel saw the blood, it would “pass over” that dwelling. Those who did not have the blood in place lost their firstborn, including their beasts (Exodus 11.)
That was the beginning of the Jewish Pesach, or Passover, as we know it today. It is still commemorated by the faithful after thousands of years. They still look for “Elijah” to return. They have missed what the New Testament scriptures told about the coming of a Redeemer for everyone, including Israel.
What meaning does Passover have for non-Jewish people like Christians? Why do we celebrate? We believe in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies about the need of a Savior. We believe what John’s Gospel said about Jesus, that He came as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. We believe His blood had to be shed to cover our sins. We are unworthy and unable to get into the presence of a holy God without being forgiven. We are sinners, “There is none righteous, no not one… ” (Romans 3:10.)
Two thousand years ago Rome was the political power, the religious rulers the spiritual powers, not entirely unlike our conditions today. Rome celebrated a goddess known as Eostre. That is the likely reason we call this season Easter. In time what the Romans believed about celebrating their goddess became a part of the Christian celebration.
This week in Christian history is called “holy week.” It is always celebrated in the spring, the same as the Jewish Passover. It was about the same time as when Jesus was crucified.
Jesus had done many miracles, and had been able to confront the “spiritual elitists” who wanted Him dead. They were fearful of losing power with the Roman governors. At that Passover Jesus knew He was coming to the end of his three years on earth. He had been sent to die for our sins.
Palm Sunday begins the last week of His life. The adherents thought He would end in triumph as He rode through the streets on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). They were trying to proclaim Him King, but kings don’t ride on donkeys; they ride on horses. That day is yet to come when everything about Jesus will be fulfilled (see Revelation.)
On Friday we remembered those last moments of the crucifixion. It was about the ninth hour, or 3 in the afternoon. Is it a coincidence or just a reminder that the Seder, the Jewish Passover, is celebrated starting at 6 p.m.? Both of these have come together this year, 2022, on the same day, Sunday, April 17. The Jewish date does not change. The Christian calendar and celebration is set by the moon changes, the equinox. The significance cannot be ignored. Something happened that changed history forever.
It is not by chance that the Old Testament scripture writers have told of a time when God was going to send a deliverer. When we pull apart what the God of Eternity, the Creator, has told us we find every book in the Bible has something God wanted us to know.
The Bible is a history book of truth. Even Balaam the dishonest prophet saw it (Numbers 24), Job knew it (19:25), Daniel had a message (Chapter 12), and Isaiah and the other prophets wrote almost exactly about what was to take place.
We rejoice in a risen Savior because what the Bible said about Him happened just as Isaiah said it would: “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.” (Chapter 53)
Sunday is Resurrection Day. The tomb in which Jesus was laid is empty. Let us be glad and rejoice as we await the return for His people. (John 14:3) All has been fulfilled; it could be any day now.
Myrtle Thompson is a local writer and author, now age 94, a former missionary and educator who still teaches Bible studies. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.