From the Bible’s point of view, what is the meaning of Easter?  Should we celebrate it? Answer:  From the biblical perspective Easter has no meaning.  In other words, the particular celebration on a set day of the year of the resurrection of Jesus is not mentioned or even hinted at in the Bible.  Having said that, there is evidence very early in church history for the church celebrating what we now call Easter.  This is different from the celebration of Christmas or "Lent" or other events in the traditional Catholic and Orthodox church calendars which came in much later.  Easter was certainly celebrated by the middle of the second century.  We already have Christians arguing over the "correct" date to celebrate Easter by the 170s AD.  We know this because Irenaeus was asked to settle an argument over the difference in Easter dates between the eastern and western churches at this time.  The evidence will lead one to conclude that Easter was probably already celebrated by the beginning of the second century. Some have claimed that the celebration of Easter was borrowed from a pagan holiday.  This is almost certainly not true.  They say that the name "Easter" is adapted from the name for the pagan god Ishtar.  Whether or not this is true, bottom line, Easter is and always has been a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  This celebration goes back to the most primitive Christianity.  To the extent that Easter is a true remembrance by Christians of the power and significance of the resurrection of Jesus, I say this is a good thing. Whether or not Bible-believing Christians ought to celebrate or even acknowledge Easter is a matter of opinion.  The celebration is not "biblical" in the strict sense, but like Irenaeus decided back in the second century, such things should be left as a matter of opinion.  It is hard to think of anything wrong with celebrating and remembering the resurrection of Jesus, as long as the remembrance can retain its spiritual meaning and not simply become a meaningless ritual. Of course, in the world, there is a lot of "junk" accreted to the celebration of Easter, and much of this is truly pagan!  The hiding and finding of eggs, the wearing of pretty dresses, talk about the Easter bunny and so forth are all tied to ideas about fertility which clearly derive from pagan sources.  Obviously, Christians do not attach religious significance to such things.  Perhaps some will choose to completely reject involving Easter egg hunts as part of their celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, and perhaps that is a good idea.  It seems that these things tend to take away from any real spiritual significance of Easter. Others will say that these things are harmless.  I do not want to interject my opinion on these things as the readers can decide for themselves. So, although there is literally no "biblical" significance of Easter, there is a clear connection which goes back to the primitive church.  In its purest form, Easter can be a powerful reminder to us of one of the most significant events in the history of humanity–the resurrection of our Lord and Savior from the dead, which is the first fruits of the harvest of souls for eternity.  Hopefully, those Christians who choose to celebrate this holiday will emphasize this aspect and help people to know Jesus Christ. John Oakes

Comments are closed.