Did You Know?Easter is the oldest and the most important Christian holiday celebrated in the world. It falls on a different date every year because it is based on the lunar calendar.
Christians celebrate Easter in commemoration of the day of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Jesus' resurrection has freed mankind from the grasp of sin and death. According to the Christian faith, Jesus died to save the world. His sinless blood that He shed on the cross, was poured out to justify man and restore man's fallen position.
Here is a detailed account of the background and significance of Easter.
Fall of Man
According to the Christian faith, God created Adam (Man) and Eve (Woman). Genesis 1: 27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." When God created man and woman He made them holy, sinless, and perfect in His own likeness. God gave them authority over every living creature (like fish, birds, animals) and placed them in the Garden of Eden.
God had given them free will, so Adam and Eve had the freedom to choose. However, God placed one restriction on them. Gen 2:16-17, "...of every tree of the garden, you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die." The devil (Satan―one of God's creation who sinned against God) in the form of a serpent, tricked Eve into eating the fruit from the forbidden tree. Satan whispered to Eve, Gen 3:4-5 "You shall not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God."
Eve succumbed to the temptation of the devil, and after she ate it, she gave the fruit to Adam as well. With this they had sinned and disobeyed God's command of not eating the fruit. Adam and Eve had a will of their own and they willfully sinned against God. They had forsaken God and it was not God who had forsaken them.
When they ate it, they looked at each other and felt shame and guilt. They weren't dead, so they thought God had lied. They didn't know God had meant spiritual death and not physical death. Physical death is when the spirit separates from the body, however, spiritual death means separation of man from God. As a result, they were banished from the garden of Eden and most importantly God's presence. They had no access to God anymore. Sin had separated them from their creator. All men and women born thereof, have inherited this sinful nature from Adam and Eve. So, every person born on earth is born in the sinful state itself.
Jesus Christ: Savior of Mankind
The Christian faith believes in the trinity (tri-unity) of God, that is Christians believe in one God with three persons. To understand this, take the example of an atom that consists of a proton, electron, and neutron, however, is still one single unit. Similarly, Christians believe in One God, with three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who though three persons are one unit. Separate identities, but still one God.
God created man to have fellowship with Him, however, sin became the barrier between God and man. It did not mean God ceased to love man, however God being holy cannot tolerate sin. God wanted to restore mankind from his fallen place, and destroy the barrier of sin that had caused the separation. To restore the relationship, God decided to send His Son, Jesus Christ to die as a penalty for man's committed sin. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Only Jesus could reconcile man to God. Jesus' blood alone had the power to save mankind, because the sacrifice of sinless blood had to be shed. His blood would cleanse man from sin. Since all of mankind was born in sin, no man could save man. Jesus, Son of God had to die.
Jesus Christ: Birth and Crucifixion
Jesus Christ came into the world through the womb of a virgin, Mary and was born in a little town of Bethlehem (Israel). 1 Timothy 1:15, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Jesus went all around Israel teaching people about God and that He was the Son of God who had come to save them. He preached the message of repentance, telling people to turn away from their wicked ways and believe that He came to save them. Mathew 4:17, "..Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
The Roman soldiers and chief priests hated Jesus because He claimed to be God. Often they wanted to catch Jesus but were unsuccessful. Jesus had chosen 12 disciples (who later on spread Jesus' message to the entire world), out of whom was Judas (whom Jesus knew would betray Him). Judas, for thirty silver coins betrayed Jesus and brought the soldiers and chief priests to catch Jesus. They seized Jesus and after whipping Him, they nailed Him to the cross and crucified Him (It was a Friday).
When the soldiers, officials, and high priests saw that Jesus was dead, they laughed and mocked. Mathew 27:41-43, "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God."
Jesus' body was wrapped in linen and placed inside a tomb, whose entrance was covered with a large stone. Soldiers were placed at the entrance to guard the tomb. All were aware of Jesus' claims of rising from the dead on the third day. They wanted to make sure that the disciples don't steal the body and then claim Jesus rose from the dead.
On the third day (Sunday), early in the morning, two women who were known to Jesus went to look at the tomb. When they reached there, they experienced a violent earthquake. An angel of God came down from heaven, rolled the tombstone, and sat on it. Seeing this the two guards shook in fright. The angel told the women not to be frightened, and also told them that Jesus wasn't inside the tomb. The tomb was empty with only the linen that had wrapped Jesus' body lying there.
Mathew 28: 5-7, "The angel said to the women, "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."
The women with tears of joy rushed to tell the good news to the disciples and while they were on their way, they met Jesus, who told them to tell his disciples that He would meet them at Galilee. When the chief priests heard what had happened, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money and told them to say that at night the disciples came and stole the body.
Jesus' sinless blood that was shed on the cross, freed mankind from sin and eternal death. Through faith in Christ, man has eternal life. Romans 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." A life that is no longer separated but in communion and fellowship with God. Jesus was the sacrificial lamb, who died to save the world, irrespective of class, color, or creed.
Good Friday, is the Friday when Jesus was crucified and Christ's sacrifice is remembered by Christians as the day their Lord suffered for them. On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. They celebrate the love that God has shown to them. His great love which made Him send His one and only Son to save sinners. They also celebrate the eternal life they have through their faith in Jesus, knowing that once the life in this world is over, their eternal life with God will begin.