All about Easter by E Haynik –
Olive tree is over 2,000 years old….perhaps Yeshua Jesus prayed near it.
Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus 3 days after his crucifixion, death and burial. The name Jesus in Hebrew is Yeshua or Yehoshua meaning , ”God saves.” The Passion story is told in the 4 Gospels of the New Testament of the Bible (Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, and John 18-19). Christians call the week before the Resurrection of Jesus “Holy Week”.
Holy week begins with Jesus entering Jerusalem on a Sunday, riding on a donkey and the people proclaimed “Hosanna”, translated “Lord, save us”. It became known as Palm Sunday. Jesus made plans to celebrate a traditional Passover meal with the twelve apostles. He sent them ahead to prepare.
Maundy Thursday is the name given to the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, known as the Last Supper. Some Christian churches observe a foot-washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples. The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “command.” Referring to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another . He identified the matzah (or unleavened bread) he shared with his 12 apostles as his “body” and the cup of wine they drank as his “blood.” He instituted what is now called “The Lord’s Supper,” “Communion” or “Eucharist. “ After the Passover meal, Jesus led His disciples out to a deserted garden called Gethsemane to pray. He was arrested that night.
On Friday he was tried, scourged, made to carry his cross to Golgatha, and there crucified. Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ portrays the suffering of the Messiah. At the moment Jesus gave up his spirit, there was a huge earthquake. The soldiers there proclaimed “Surely this was the son of God.” Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb. The tomb was guarded by soldiers because the Romans were afraid the disciples would steal Jesus body and claim he had risen from the dead. Many Christian churches celebrate Good Friday with a subdued service, in which Christ’s death is remembered with solemn hymns, prayers of thanksgiving, Gospel readings, a message centered on Christ’s suffering for our sakes, and observance of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday and appeared to His disciples during the following week, then appeared to hundreds more during the next 40 days. He then ascended to heaven 40 days after His resurrection. On the 50th day after the resurrection, the feast of Pentecost is celebrated.
The Paschal Mystery of Jesus, which comprises his passion, death, resurrection, and glorification, stands at the center of the Christian faith. The word “paschal” is the equivalent of Greek “pascha” and is derived from Aramaic “pasḥā” and Hebrew “pesaḥ“, meaning “the passing over” referring to Passover. Jesus is called the Paschal Lamb. Greek word pascha occurs 29 times in the New Testament, and it is translated Passover except for one time. Acts 12:4 1Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. It should say after the 7 day feast of unleavened bread, which is concurrent with Passover.
So how did the name Easter come about? For the first 300 years after the death of Christ, the Jews composed the believers, and opened the door to salvation to the gentiles. Passover was observed, and the Saturday Sabbath and the Resurrection was celebrated. There existed at the time several pagan holidays celebrating the coming of spring, and various pagan deities, such as Orpheus, Tammuz and Dionysus, who were said to have been born of virgins and resurrected three days after their deaths. There began a mixture of sacred and cultural traditions and celebrations.
Along came Roman emperor Constantine , a pagan ruler, not a priest, who hated the Jews and tried to purge them and their religion from his domain. In 325 CE he convened the Council of Nicaea to establish a new feast to replace Passover. It would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox, also called the first day of spring. This year 2018 the vernal equinox is March 20, the full moon is March 31st. Easter is April 1. The name Eostre (Easter) is a corruption of Astarte, the mother goddess of the ancient Assyrians, also known as Ishtar.
Many other customs that were not biblical were incorporated through the years ie, chocolate bunnies, Easter eggs, Easter egg hunts, hot cross buns to honor pagan deities that symbolize fertility and new life.
The Resurrection signifies Jesus victory over death and the grave. God kept His promise to send and sacrifice the perfect Lamb, the Messiah, the Savior to bear the sins of the whole world. Now we can be forgiven and have eternal life in Him.
A proper greeting is “He is Risen” and a response “He is Risen indeed!”