Are you looking to learn more about the Easter story in the Bible and What Does the Bible say about Easter? Then pull up a chair, and continue reading. Easter is one of the most widely celebrated holidays of the year, next to Christmas for Christians. A perfectly harmless celebration right, after all you are celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus? Plus, what’s there not to love about Easter egg hunts, pastel colors and all the chocolate and candies lining the shelves at nearby stores?
Celebrating Easter is a great opportunity to get together with family and friends, share a festive meal, and remember the incredible story of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. But is it really necessary to celebrate this holiday? In this blog post, we will explore the history of Easter, the symbolism and rituals that come with it, and provide Easter verses in the Bible to help you learn what does the Bible say about Easter. So, let’s dive into the debate and explore why we should or shouldn’t celebrate Easter.
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What Does The Bible Say About Easter?
Growing up, I was always told that Easter was a pagan holiday, Easter is not biblical, it was never a holiday that I ever celebrated as a Christian alongside other popular holidays such as Christmas and Halloween.
Moving to a North American culture however where its greatly publicized and celebrated had me doing a double take to figure out what I actually believed.
What does the bible say about Easter? Is the Easter Story in the bible? Should Christians celebrate Easter? I set out on a quest to answer these questions and specifically “what does the bible say about Easter.” The answers made my eyes and mouth pop open wide and if you stick around and read this post you may fall off your seat in shock.
In addition to answering the main question, “what does the bible say about Easter,” we will also look into what it means to celebrate Easter, its importance or non-importance and if its message are still relevant today.
Easter Story in The Bible
If you are looking for Easter verses in the Bible, the Easter story in the Bible can be found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. When I use the phrase Easter, I speak in reference to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Matthew’s version of the Easter story gives insights into various key characters such as Judas and Pilate. The story kicks off with the anointing at Bethany and ends with the great commission where Jesus commanded his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. He then offers them comfort and reminds them that he is with them even to the end of the ages.
In Mark’s version of the Easter story, he provides a pretty concise account of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Luke’s version of the Easter story is pretty detailed in comparison to Matthew and Marks accounts and kicks off with a bang revealing the plot to kill Jesus.
I find John’s account of the Easter story, my favorite. It provides an extensive account from the anointing at Bethany to the ascension of Jesus.
The above death, burial and resurrection scriptures is a great place to start if you are interested in reading about the Easter story in the Bible or consider downloading this Digital Easter Bible study journal with reflection pages and a Bible reading plan focused on Easter verses.
Is The Word Easter in The Bible?
Easter is a very important Christian holiday. It is the time when the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated, but is the word Easter in the bible and are we commanded to celebrate it? How many times is Easter mentioned in the Bible? Well, from my research, I learnt that Acts 12:4, KJV actually has the word Easter. Yes, that’s right, the bible does have the word Easter in it. There is a scripture with the word Easter.
“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.” Acts 12:4 KJV
So, Easter is actually recorded in the KJV of the bible. So is Easter in the bible? Yes there is a verse on Easter in the KJV however other bible versions use the word Passover instead of Easter. So, this leads to the next question in my mind if Easter and Passover could be interchanged in different bible versions are they the same things?
What is Passover vs. Easter?
To answer the question: “what is Passover vs Easter?”, I had to research and answer my initial question: “Is Passover and Easter the same thing?”
In Exodus 12, we find the story of the first Passover. In the King James Version of the bible, the translators did not use the term Easter here. In fact the verse in Acts 12 seems to be the only place where Passover is translated as Easter. So, it is possible that it is a mistranslation as some scholars have proposed.
According to My Jewish Learning, a large nonprofit, nondenominational Jewish media organization in North America, “Passover and Easter diverge fundamentally. While both festivals are about delivery from a state of despair, be it slavery or sin, Passover heralds the birth of the Jewish people as a force for good in the comity of nations. In contrast, Easter assures the individual Christian life eternal.”
The bible in Exodus 12:18 states that the Passover preparations began from the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day of that month. As per Wikepedia, Passover is the “15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the first month of Aviv, or spring”, while according to Britannica online the “Council of Nicaea in 325 determined that Easter should be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox (March 21). Easter, therefore, can fall on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25.”
The Israelites were instructed by God to observe Passover in memory of their delivery from Egypt (Exodus 12:17) while the church by the council of Nicaea in 325 decided to have a celebration known as Easter to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins through his death and glorious resurrection.
So, based on the time of occurrence and the purpose of both events, Passover is different from Easter. Passover is mentioned as a bible event but is Easter celebration biblical? What does the bible say about Easter? Here comes the shocker! Easter is not mentioned as a bible event however it has been linked to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for our sins which is a biblical event.
In case you think you have the answer to the question, “what does the bible say about Easter” and want to stop reading this post; I encourage you to read on because there are more interesting things I found out that I really want to share with you.
The Pagan Origin of Easter
When Constantine converted to Christianity, he didn’t just let go of his pagan practices but instead merged these practices with Christianity to make Christianity more attractive, hence the pagan origins to most of the Christian traditions we uphold to this very day.
The term “Easter” has its roots in the Anglo-Saxon word “Eostre,” which refers to the pagan goddess of spring and fertility. Bunnies have been associated with fertility, whereas eggs are considered pagan emblems of both death and rebirth. Lent is a common practice leading up to Easter, often done because Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days. In actuality this custom comes from the 40 days the pagans fasted to mourn the death of Tammuz, the son of Nimrod’s wife.
Here a brief video into the history of Easter from the History Channel.
The Meaning of Easter in The Bible
As per National Geographic, Easter occurs at the end of a 40-day season of fasting and repentance known as Lent, that culminates in Holy Week [Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter].
Traditionally, Easter has been a religious celebration but over the years, many other traditions have been linked to Easter. Some of the newer additions include the Easter Bunny, believed to have been started in Germany. The Bunny is a folk symbol of spring and makes eggs which are a symbol of new life. Some Christians now see the eggs at Easter as a symbol of the resurrection.
Other traditions such as bonnets became popular in the 1870’s to 1880’s when Easter became commercialized. Lamb as a meal during Easter is linked to the bible custom of offering lambs as a sacrifice for sin. The tradition of exchanging chocolates and other sweets became popular during the mid-19th century, as companies discovered ways to mass produce sweets and started making them in holiday shapes and packages. An example of this is Cadbury eggs.
Easter is Not Biblical
Is Easter celebration important and is it still relevant today?
In answering the question: “what does the bible say about Easter?”, I found out that Easter celebration is not a biblical command but rather a church initiated celebration. This celebration is actually a duplication of a celebration which Jesus asked us to have. Want to know what it is?
Luke 22:19 “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
So, eating the communion bread is a way of remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins. Does this mean the Easter celebration is unimportant and not relevant? Personally, I feel it is still relevant.
The communion is typically a service done for believers in Christ but Easter allows everyone to be told the story of the sacrifice of Jesus for their sins and this is essentially the gospel message which Christ wants the church to bring to the world.
Is it wrong to remember the resurrection? I certainly don’t think so. But instead of a time focused on bunnies and eggs, we can use it as an opportunity to share the message of the gospel.
To bring across the message of Jesus’ love for all humanity I have found some methods which don’t involve bunnies, bonnets or candy which I will share with you next.
Ways to Celebrate Easter without the Easter Bunny
- Attend a communion service– there are many churches that have an Easter service. You can attend and remind yourself of the purpose for the Easter holiday celebration. Lots of church’s put on a Easter communion service, a tradition that we are told to uphold that is actually linked to the death and resurrection of Jesus.
- Bake a Empty Tombs Cake and or Matzah Bread while you discuss the Easter story in the Bible as a family. You can find tons of variations of these activities on Pinterest, but here are some options: resurrection cake ,resurrection rolls, Matzah Bread
- Read the story of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. It is found in the bible in the Gospels. An example of a reading is Luke 22-24. You could also consider reading a devotional book related to the resurrection. This book on the Women of Easter is one am diving into this year!
- Watch movies about the sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of the world.
- In the same way Jesus sacrificed himself for humanity. Think of a way you can do something for someone in need and go ahead and do it over the Easter holiday. As a family, you could give each other gifts that serve as a reminder of God’s love.
- Spend time indoors doing Easter crafts, Easter coloring pages and Easter puzzles especially if you have younger kids. These are fun activities for the whole family.
What does the bible say about Easter?
Phhew! What a mouthful. The answer to my research on “what does the bible say about Easter,” was a shocker for me. I found out that Easter is not recorded as a bible event however was instituted by the church to celebrate the bible events linked to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
I am glad you came along the journey as we looked at Easter’s historical roots; its contemporary changes as well as it importance and relevance today. I will be glad to hear your thoughts on my findings. Also share as well as how you celebrate Easter in the comments below. Happy Easter!
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