This year, Easter falls on Sunday, March 27, and is a special time where Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For those who have placed their trust in the finished work of Christ, Easter is easily the most significant day of the year, as it symbolizes Christ's final defeat of sin and death, thus providing believers with the hope of heaven.
Romans 6:8-11 reads, "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Easter Sunday marks the end of Holy Week, which includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the day which Christians reflect on Christ's humility and crucifixion. In the 40 days leading up to Easter, many Christians observe Lent, a time of atonement, prayer and fasting.
Believers around the world use the Season of Lent to focus on spiritual renewal and growth, and reflect on Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our sins.
While the term "Lent" is not directly identified in the Bible, Matthew 4 speaks of Jesus' period in the Judean Wilderness, where He spent 40 days and 40 nights in solitude, prayer, and fasting.
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."
Lent commonly observed by many Christian denominations-Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and others-although not every Christian church or denomination does so. However, because Lent is not officially instituted in Scripture, observing it isn't a "requirement" of Christianity.
During the Season of Lent, Christians focus on their relationship with God, choosing to give up something valuable, or volunteering and giving of themselves to others. While some observers abstain from food, other believers make personal vows of abstinence during this day, such as refraining from meat or chocolate, vowing not to gossip, or practicing greater humility.
Purple is prevalent during Lent, the color signifying both penance and hope. Additionally, red is chosen for Good Friday, signifying Christ's shedding of blood and his martyrdom, while the color for Maundy Thursday as well as for the Easter vigil and Easter itself is white, celebrating Christ's triumph.
John 3:16-17 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
1st Corinthians 5:7-8 - "Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Romans 6:8-11 - "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Isaiah 53:4-5 -"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."
Romans 4:25 - "He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification."
John 11:25-26 - "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"