We all know about Easter eggs, and the Easter Bunny. For many people, though, Easter is about much more than candy and presents. The miraculous story of Jesus, his crucifixion, and his resurrection are important elements in the religious history of Easter. Read on to learn more about how this chapter in the history of Jesus Christ became a worldwide holiday.
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
The bible tells us that Jesus and his disciples traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Almost everyone was overjoyed to see him, and they shouted, “Jesus is King” and, “Hosanna”. Some people were not pleased to see Jesus. The priests didn’t like that an ordinary man was being praised, and they sought reasons to arrest and kill him. One of the disciples, Judas, was paid thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus. When the guards found Jesus, they asked if he was the Son of God. Jesus said, “I am”. The Jewish counsel thought he offended God with that statement, and they sentenced him to death. Jesus was mocked and beaten, and eventually crucified. He endured excruciating pain, and later that Friday evening, he died on the cross. Legend said that beautiful white flowers sprung up from where drops of Christ’s sweat fell. This, along with white lilies representing the Virgin Mary, is how the Easter lily came to be!
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Once Jesus was removed from the cross, his mother and disciples cared for his body. They wrapped Jesus in a burial shroud, and placed him in a tomb that was cut from the rocks. A huge boulder was moved to block the entrance, so that no one would disrespect the body. When Mary Magdalene came to see the body on the following Sunday, she was shocked! The boulder had been moved, and the body was no longer there. Jesus revealed himself to his friends and family, and explained that he had been with his father in heaven. He told them to rejoice, because he would return to them again. Since then, Christians have celebrated Easter Sunday, as well as the days before it. Another miraculous resurrection is also associated with Easter: that of the Virgin Mary. Her tomb was visited three days after her burial, but the body was no longer there. Bunches of white lilies rested where Mary once had, and thus they became the symbol of the Annunciation – the Resurrection of the Virgin.
Different Interpretations of Easter
Different religions interpret Easter in different ways; each family has their own way of celebrating as well! Some people believe that Easter should be observed as a strictly religious holiday, with emphasis on the story of Christ’s resurrection. Others prefer the more commercials elements of Easter, including baskets, egg hunts, and candy. Easter flowers play a large role in both religious and secular celebrations; they are used as gifts, decorations, and spiritual symbols. Some major religions don’t celebrate any version of Easter whatsoever. Jewish people, for instance, celebrate Passover (which occurs before Easter), but not the resurrection of Christ. Jews don’t consider Jesus Christ as the Messiah, so for them, the date of his crucifixion is not significant.
There are lots of fun Easter activities that can be enjoyed no matter what you believe. Dying eggs, hiding them for egg hunts, and baskets full of candy have all become new Easter traditions. If your family believes in Jesus and his resurrection, you can incorporate the story and morals into your Easter crafts and games. One such craft is the making of resurrection eggs, wherein you fill plastic or hollow (blown) eggs with symbols to represent Jesus. A piece of purple cloth can represent the robe Jesus wore, and toothpicks can be fashioned into a small, symbolic cross. Sharing activities with your children is a great way to pass along whatever spring or Easter traditions that you consider important!