The Origin of Easter



“One should always prefer the impossible probable to the improbable
possible”–Dorothy Sayers
What difference does Easter make? I suppose that depends on what you think
Easter is really all about. If Easter is only about bunnies and eggs it
makes a nice holiday for card and candy makers. (I have to admit, I enjoy a
nice solid milk chocolate bunny myself!) But if Easter is about Christ
breaking the grip of death on humankind, then Easter is huge and the
Resurrection validates everything else we believe about Jesus Christ.
“The Gospels cannot explain the Resurrection; it is the Resurrection which
alone explains the Gospels.” – John S. Whale
There are those who suggest the stone was rolled away from Christ’s tomb, not
so Christ could get out but so the disciples could get in. Once inside, they
would see that He was no longer there. Peering through the rough opening into
the cave where His body had been laid, they would see that the permanence of
death had been dismantled. Just as He had predicted, Christ had risen from
the dead!
The day Christians call Easter dates as far back as A.D. 154 when it was
mentioned in some correspondence between Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and
Anticetus, bishop of Rome. Evidently, they were debating the specific date
for celebrating Easter. The word “Easter” may derive from the name of the
ancient Teutonic spring goddess Eastre, to whom sacrifices were offered each
year in April. It is believed the pagan festival gave way to the Christian
celebration of Christ’s resurrection as the Christian faith gained ground
throughout the ancient world.
Whatever the actual case with the development of the holiday, we invite you to
celebrate Christ’s victorious resurrection and to ponder the question: What difference does it make whether Jesus was
raised from the dead or not? We invite you to celebrate the new life Christ won for us, through that “impossible probable” when the Father raised Him up from the grave.
Jim Thomas/The Village Chapel
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