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Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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The Nature and Purpose of Easter
A summary of Easter's key features
Easter: The Celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Easter is celebrated across the world, and not just by Christians. Unbelievers also celebrate Easter, often forgetting the message at the heart of the festival: the resurrection of Jesus! This resource explains the key features of Easter for the Christian community across the world.
At Easter, Christians remember and celebrate the events of Holy Week, which saw Jesus crucified and resurrected. On Good Friday they remember his crucifixion; on Easter Sunday they celebrate his resurrection. Good Friday may sound like a weird name for a day on which Jesus died, but Christians believe that this was part of God's plan for salvation for all of humanity. Jesus died on the cross so that nobody needed to make up for the sin they committed: Jesus was the 'once and for all' sacrifice.
'For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.' John 3:16
This salvation, offered by Jesus' death and resurrection, is something that Christians think is worth celebrating!
Christians share many Easter traditions with unbelievers. They might eat hot cross buns, and chocolate eggs, plus send Easter cards. These all reflect their beliefs about Jesus. For example, eggs represent new life; Jesus' resurrection and emergence from the tomb in which he was laid after his death.
Many Christians fast for Lent. On Good Friday and Easter Sunday, they attend special services at church. Some churches re-enact the Passion of Christ, bringing to life the last events of Jesus' life. These are known as Passion Plays.
The Easter Story serves to remind Christians of the role of Jesus in their lives. It gives them faith in God, showing how much he loves them through sending his Son to die for them. Jesus' resurrection gives Christians the hope of life after death.
'Now, since our message is that Christ has been raised from death, how can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life? If that is true, it means that Christ was not raised;'1 Corinthians: 12-13
'But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised.' 1 Corinthians 15:20
These verses were written by Paul, making it clear to Christians that Jesus' resurrection was evidence that they themselves will have life after death.