By Dr. Nathaniel Fabula
Christian churches celebrate the Holy Week starting with the Triumphal Entry, also popularly known as Palm Sunday and culminating with the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
Both events indicate triumph and victory. However, the two victories differ greatly because the first one was man-made and short lived.
The same people who accompanied (except the disciples) and shouted: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” (John 12:13) were also the ones who cried out “Crucify him” (Mark 15:13,14).
The second victorious event is the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day.
Man has nothing to do with this ultimate victory over death. It was purely and divinely consummated.
Many Christians refer to this glorious event as Easter Sunday (including myself before).
But have they ever thought why the word “Easter” is used when nowhere in the Bible Easter is mentioned in relation to the resurrection of the Son of God?
I made a research on this subject and here are my findings:
- The origin of Easter is rooted in European traditions. The name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe.
- A festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox by these people to honor her.
- The goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility.
- Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration.
- Today, Easter is almost a completely commercialized holiday, with all the focus on Easter eggs and the Easter bunny being remnants of the goddess worship.
- It was pagan practices, such as the spring fertility goddess rituals that the Western Church “absorbed” and attempted to Christianize, that resulted in Easter’s being linked to the vernal equinox and the full moon.
Because of the commercialization and pagan origins of Easter, many churches prefer to refer to it as “Resurrection Sunday.”
The rationale is the more we focus on Christ and the less we focus on the pagan holiday, the better.
The resurrection of Christ is the central theme of Christianity. Paul says that without the resurrection, our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15:17). What more wonderful reason could we have to celebrate!
What is important is the true reason behind our celebration, which is that Christ was resurrected from the dead, making it possible for us to have eternal life.
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).
May this short commentary be an eye-opener for you who will read this.
Wishing you all Christ-believing brothers and sisters, a truly Blessed Resurrection Sunday!
PHOTO CREDIT: Art4TheGlryOfGod via Flickr Creative Commons License