This Sunday, March 27th, believers around the world will celebrate Easter - a joyful day commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter marks the final day of Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday and is traditionally a week of somber reflection on the events preceding Jesus' death: his triumphant entry into Jerusalem; his betrayal by Judas; his Last Supper with his twelve apostles; his arrest, crucifixion and death; and his burial in a tomb.
History and Meaning
The story of Easter is central to Christian theology. According to the Gospels, Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion, which would be Sunday. While the next part of the story varies slightly according to different accounts found throughout the Gospels, most follow the theme of female followers of Jesus going to visit the tomb and finding the stone rolled away from the opening with Jesus's body missing.
However, an angel appeared to the woman and said, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
Before ascending into Heaven, where he sits at the right hand of God the Father, Jesus went on to appear to his followers several times.
The resurrection of Christ marks the triumph of good over evil, sin and death. It is the singular event which proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ will be raised from the dead.
According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:17, "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins." Thus, Christ's Resurrection from the dead is central to the doctrine of Christianity, because without it, there is no hope of salvation, and no hope for eternal life in heaven.
Christians started celebrating the tradition of Easter with a feast soon after the time period of the resurrection, which is believed to have occurred around 33 AD. Today, many churches A start the Easter Sunday celebrations at Midnight on Easter Eve. Candles are used in churches all over the world to start the Easter Day Midnight celebrations, which help Christians to remember that Jesus is the light of the world and that when he rose to life on Easter Day he got rid of the darkness of evil.
Many churches hold Easter Sunrise Services. In some services, twelve candles are lit and these are taken round the rest of the church lighting the other candles. When a candle is lit the Priest says 'Christ is Risen!' and the congregation respond 'He is Risen Indeed!'
Some churches hold Easter egg hunts for children; the eggs signify new life, and it is used a symbol of Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Luke 24:2-3 "And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus."
Php 2: 5-11 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and become obedient to death --- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
John 11:25-26 "Jesus said to her, "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?"
Romans 10:8-9 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Peter 1:3-4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you."
Acts 24:16,21 "having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust, other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: 'It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.'"
First Corinthians 15:12-19 "Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied."
First Corinthians 15:55-57 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Isa 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 8:34 "Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died---more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
Acts 4:33 "And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all."
Matthew 27:52-54 "The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
John 20:19-24 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
John 20:25-26 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe." Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
Matthew 5:1-5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Acts 2:29-32 "Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses."