Scripture exposes the truth behind this beloved holiday.
It’s the Easter season, and pastel colors are coming out! Beautiful dresses for little girls hang in the department stores, kits for coloring eggs appear on the shelves, and that elusive species of hare—the chocolate bunny—is once again in season. Many churches will put on shows and pageantry, attempting to depict their understanding of the final week of Jesus Christ’s life here on earth, leading to His triumphant resurrection.
But some will ask themselves an important question in the midst of the festivities: Does Jesus Christ really want everyone to be doing all of this?
Some will ask, What do all these colored eggs and bunnies have to do with Jesus’ resurrection, anyway? They might look into where these seemingly omnipresent symbols of Easter came from, only to discover that they come from ancient pagan fertility rituals. If they are familiar with their Bibles, they might recall that God says He does not want pagan practices to be used in worship of Him (Deuteronomy 12:30–32), and that Jesus tells us not to ignore God’s commands in order to keep our traditions (Mark 7:6–13). They then might ask themselves, How does Jesus feel about celebrating His resurrection in this way?
Some will attend church services on Sunday and hear a discussion of Jesus’ crucifixion on “Good Friday” and His resurrection on “Easter Sunday,” but, after thinking about it for a while, they might come to another question: If Jesus told the Jews of His day that He would be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40), just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17), how in the world does that fit into the commonly accepted Good Friday/Easter Sunday formula?
Looking into it, they might come across all sorts of explanations trying to turn a day-and-a-half into three days and three nights—such as counting only parts of days, supposed ancient idioms, or even that Christ was in error and that the time was cut in half. For those not truly serious about their research, these explanations may suffice. But for others, those explanations will ring hollow—especially as they are examined more closely. For them, another question may come to mind: If Jesus didn’t die on Friday and rise on Sunday morning, then why do so many who consider themselves Christians celebrate it that way?
Lastly, some might ask whether or not Jesus gave His Church any annual celebrations or observances. They might then look into the book of Acts and discover that the church Jesus founded kept the Holy Days of the Bible, such as the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6) and Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks (Acts 20:16). If they look, they will see this confirmed in the letters of the Apostle Paul—the man often credited with abolishing those same Holy Days. They will see him commanding a Gentile congregation to “keep the feast” (1 Corinthians 5:8) during the days of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They might even look into the prophesied future and find that all nations—not just the Jews—will be commanded to keep the Feast of Tabernacles after Christ has returned to rule the earth (Zechariah 14:16–19). They might then rightly ask, Why don’t the “Christians” I know keep these days?
For those with hard questions this “Easter season,” God stands ready to answer. But being willing to ask those questions—that’s the really hard part. Are you willing?