With today being Good Friday, and this being Easter weekend, it is often the case that I will hear various people talk about how Jesus was crucified on the cross on Good Friday, and ressurected from the dead on Easter. It is true that Jesus died on a Friday, which was the day of preparation for the Passover (John 19:31). It is also true that Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday (Mark 16:9). However, does that mean that it is true that Godd Friday is the anniversary of Christ’s Death and Easter is the anniversary of His Resurrection? Also, should we celebrate Easter as a religious holiday?
As stated before, we know that Jesus died on a Friday and was risen from the dead on a Sunday. However, we are not told in the Bible the exact date of these two events. The Bible does not specifically mention a “Good Friday,” nor an “Easter” in the way that the word “Easter” is commonly used today. The King James Version of the Bible does mention “Easter” in Acts 12:4, however, the word here is for Passover.
It appears that in the 2nd century A.D., some professed Christians wanted to have celebrations of their own that were similar to the Jewish celebrations of Passover. The celebration that they created was called by the Greek word “Pasha,” which means Passover. However, in the 3rd century A.D., the Council of Nicea made this celebration that was started in the 2nd century a holiday that would take place on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. This new holiday would separate itself further from the Jewish Passover by observing Christ’s Resurrection from the dead.
Easter eggs are a tradition that began in Europe during the Middle Ages. It was a tradition in Eastern Europe to decorate eggs to signify “new life” during the Spring-time. This tradition was passed along to the U. S. with European immigrants. Other Easter traditions that children celebrate in the U. S. also came from Europe.
So, observing the holiday of Easter as a religious holiday is not commanded in the Bible, but was created over a century after Jesus died. With that being said, we cannot observe Easter Sunday as the exact day that Jesus was resurrected year after year. Afterall, have you not noticed that the date of Easter changes from year to year? More importantly, have you noticed that the Bible never commands us, nor authorizes us to observe Easter as a religious holiday (Colossians 3:17). We are to observe and honor Jesus’ resurrection every Sunday, not just one time out of the year on Easter. This makes Easter Sunday the same as every other Sunday of the year, and not a religious holiday. Therefore every Lord’s Day is important in that we honor the death and resurrection of Christ on the cruel cross of Calvary that we might all have remission of our sins through obedience (Acts 2:38, Hebrews 5:9). We honor Christ in this way by assembling with the saints for worship every Sunday (Hebrews 10:25), and we are commanded to remember the Lord’s death in partaking of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the Week (I Corinthians 11:26). Only showing up for worship services on Easter is not enough to honor Christ in the way that God wants.
Of course, it is a matter of personal judgment as to whether to observe Easter as in a non-religious way as a matter of cultural custom as a fun springime holiday for the kids, where they have an opportunity to decorate and hunt Easter eggs, for example. Romans 14:5 says, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
I hope that this article helps to shed some light on the origins of Easter and how that Easter Sunday is no more special than any other Sunday of the year. We are not commanded to observe Easter as a religious holiday, because it is not mentioned in the Bible. Let us be thankful for the Resurrection of Christ every Sunday, and every day!