This weekend is the anniversary date of when Jesus was arrested, tried, crucified and died, buried, and rose again. I call it Resurrection Sunday. A lot of people call it Easter.
There are folks who look at similar pagan practices and assume that the Christian way of celebrating Easter is because we borrowed and changed or Christianized their Easter practices. To learn the truth about this, go to http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/bytopic/holidays/easterborrowedholiday.html. It explains the actual origins.
Now, I don’t have a problem with taking something pagan and converting it and reconciling it through Christ (cf. https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/wallys-restoration/ and https://blogthechurch.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/regeneration/ ). Isn’t that what has happened in our lives. We were far from God, and Christ died for our sins and through Jesus we are reconciled to God. We who were pagan* have been saved and changed through our faith in Jesus who died on the cross.
So even if we have taken a pagan holiday, or any number of pagan holidays and converted them to Christianity, how different is that from what God has done in our lives through Christ.
This weekend is about Jesus. Unlike the celebration of Christmas, this is the actual anniversary date of the Passover night when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Romans on behalf of the Jewish leaders. When Jesus was tried before the Sanhedrin, Herod and Pilate. When the crowds wanted him crucified and Pilate on behalf of the Jewish leaders condemned Jesus to death and he was nailed to a cross and died 6 hours later.
This is the weekend that Jesus was taken down from the cross and buried in a tomb, and three days later, on Sunday morning, Jesus rose from the dead, came out of the tomb and began to show people that he was alive and that death had no power over him, that in fact his death was necessary to bring victory over Satan, sin, and death.
Jesus lives! And the evidence is beyond a shadow of a doubt that he came back to life. This weekend is about Jesus, but isn’t every weekend about Jesus?
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week, every week like the early church did because it is about what Jesus did on the cross. We gather on the first day of the week because the early church did so in honor of Jesus rising from the dead on Sunday.
The Barna Research Group put out a study recently that shows that most Americans recognize that Easter is a religious holiday but few recognize its real meaning ( http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/13-culture/356-most-americans-consider-easter-a-religious-holiday-but-fewer-correctly-identify-its-meaning).
And baptism, according to Romans 6 particularly, we learn that immersion is about Jesus’ death and resurrection as well as our own. It is in baptism that we come into contact with his death, burial, and resurrection.
I am baptized because of Jesus. I worship on the first day of the week with God’s people because of Jesus. I share in the Lord’s Supper, Communion every week because of Jesus. I live life now because of Jesus.
It’s the regular Sunday School answer, “Jesus.” It’s all about Jesus. Let us celebrate the real thing for the real reason and honor the real Lord.
“I believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God and he is my Lord and my God.”
* Pagan in this sense is that we were not in Christ, but outside of Christ, alienated from God.