My oldest memories of Easter include new clothes for my sister and me, maybe going to church, eating a feast at my grandma’s house with our relatives, and having a great time.
So, why do I struggle with Easter?
My birthday is February 9, but let’s say that everyone has decided to celebrate it on February 16 instead, even though everyone knows it’s really the 9th. Wouldn’t that be ridiculous?
But celebrating a birthday on the wrong date is no less ridiculous than our celebration of Easter!
First of all, Jesus did not die on a Friday. This would not have fulfilled His prophecy to Himself:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)
Jesus was most likely crucified on the Wednesday just before Passover which fell on the following day of Thursday and then a Sabbath on that Friday. In other words, two Sabbaths in that week. This would fulfill Jesus’ prophecy of three days and three nights in the grave. (Remember: The Jewish calendar records a day as beginning at nightfall, not at midnight like the Gregorian calendar.)
Okay, but why was Jesus crucified at this time?
Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13)
For fifteen hundred years, Jewish families had selected a year-old lamb without blemish each year to celebrate the feast of Passover, which the Lord had commanded them to do. This feast was a sign and shadow of what Jesus would eventually become — the perfect Passover Lamb for all of us.
Now, we all know that Jesus is the Passover Lamb and not the Easter Lamb, right? So, why do we celebrate Easter rather than Passover?
Is it because we don’t want to break our man-made traditions? Is it because we believe Passover is too Jewish for us Christians?
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two [Jew and Gentile], thus making peace (Ephesians 2:14-15)
If Christians ever hope to become the “one new man” in Christ, we’re going to have to get rid of some of our traditions, one of them will probably be Easter.