Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. A quick check of the Sunday ads or a run through your local department store will remind you of the fact. Virtually any calendar pronounces that April 5, 2015 is Easter.
But what is Easter, exactly? If you were a visitor from another planet who was unfamiliar with our traditions and was charged with studying the major holidays of the people of planet Earth, what would you conclude?
A study of the ads and stores might lead you to believe that the people of this planet believe in a mythical creature called the Easter bunny. This gigantic rabbit apparently loves pastel colors and promotes the purchase of new sets of clothing in said colors. He is further honored by the curious practice of painting white eggs in shades of pink, green, blue and yellow. But it doesn’t stop there. People also buy massive amounts of chocolate and other sugary sweet objects and pack these candies into hollow plastic eggs. They then take these little balls of sugar and spread them around their yards. Next, they dress their children up in their new clothes, shove a plastic basket in their hand and engage their children in a kind of contest where the children collect as many of these colorful orbs as possible. The adults then watch as the children gorge themselves with the candy until their eyes roll back in their heads and their brains go into a overload involving many tears and stomach aches.
Perhaps that description of Easter is not too far off from the way many people celebrate the holiday (excepting of course that the adults are sneaking at least as much candy as they actually load into the eggs). There is little doubt that insofar as retail is concerned, Easter is simply another holiday that presents an opportunity to market and sell something to a willing general public.
But this version of Easter misses the mark. While there is nothing wrong with new clothes and coloring eggs, and certainly nothing wrong with consuming mass amounts of chocolate covered peanut butter, we are remiss if we fail to look deeper at the reason for this holiday.
Easter is marked on our calendar because it is the holiday that celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As such it is a uniquely Christian holiday. As a matter of fact, if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, then not only would there not be a reason for Easter, there would not be a reason for Christianity altogether.
In all of human history, there is only one person who predicted their own death and resurrection and then actually followed through. This is the central claim of the Christian faith. Whatever other objections you might have to Christianity—Christians are jerks, church is boring, the Bible doesn’t make sense, etc.—you have to first and foremost wrestle with Jesus coming back to life after being dead for three days. The fact is there is a lot of evidence for this historical event.
Have you really wrestled with Easter? Have you investigated the claims that Christ made about Himself? Or is Easter to you still just a day of cute white bunnies and peeps?