Holy Week History: What is Easter Sunday?
What is Easter Sunday?
The most important event of the Church Calendar is Easter Sunday. On this day Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection from the dead. Not only has Christ paid for our sins on the cross, but He has triumphed over death! Jesus' resurrection seals our hope for eternal life with God. "For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
The Resurrection gives us hope, that although there is still sin and death in the world, we will be resurrected like Christ and have eternal life with God. This hope is expressed through the following words: "'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'" Sin and death still exist, but they have lost their power because of Christ's resurrection.
Celebrating Easter Sunday
Christians celebrate Easter Sunday in numerous ways. Many celebrations begin at sunrise, ushering in a service of light that represents the hope of Christ's resurrection. Some churches use this day to baptize or renew the baptism of their congregants. Many Christians celebrate communion, giving thanks to Jesus for giving the sacrifice of His body. Most all services emphasize light and rejoicing, which stands in stark contrast to the previous dark and solemn days leading up to Easter. Some churches refrain from saying "Alleluia" during the season of Lent, and so on Easter they can finally exclaim, "Alleluia. Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia."
Easter services may revisit stories of Scripture that show the many ways that God has been pursuing His people across time. This is a reminder that Christ has fulfilled the laws of the Old Testament by establishing his New Covenant through the Resurrection. The Passover lambs of the Old Testament only spared firstborn sons from death on one night. Christ the Passover Lamb saves us from sin and death for eternity! "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:56).
As your family reaches the great celebration of Easter, talk about the meaning behind different images or stories you may encounter during your Easter Service. The empty tomb celebrates Jesus' victory over sin and death, which we share in through Him! The church filled with light and music reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world because of the promise He brings through His Resurrection. The image of the lamb signifies that Jesus is the Passover Lamb, whose sacrifice paid for our sins and secured eternal life with Him.
The True Meaning of Easter: The Resurrection
Easter can be a confusing holiday - stores are filled with chocolate eggs and stuffed bunnies, while churches teach about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Are the two connected? Not really. But even within the Christian celebration of Easter, there can be confusion, especially when explaining Easter to children. Different Christian traditions emphasize different parts of Holy Week - there are Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday services. How do all of those events come together to tell one story - the Holy Week? And even more, how do all of the stories of the Old Testament lead us to the Cross on Good Friday?
Let Phil Vischer, Buck Denver and Friends explain the real meaning of Easter in a video that kids will love and understand.
To fully grasp the meaning of Easter, it is helpful to know the meaning and origin of the events leading up to the Resurrection--Holy Week. Try reading our blog series all about Holy Week: "Holy Week History." Learn the answers to the questions:
What is Palm Sunday?
What is Maundy Thursday?
What is Good Friday?
If you want to see more, pick up What's in the Bible? Volume 10 today to learn - and feel - the story of Jesus.