What is so special about Easter Day?

 [ Masterweb Reports ] - On Sunday, March 31, 2013, about two billion people on planet earth will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Even though the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Romans and Jewish authorities occurred over two thousand years ago, yet the Cross of Christ remains the most perplexing event in all of human history.  Off-course the crucifixion of Christ was brutal and barbaric, yet Christ atoning death on the Cross still remains the pivotal event of the gospel message and His resurrection the central event of the good news of the kingdom.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity. Without it, Christianity will be a tale.

 

For years, I have been asked questions about the Cross, about Christ’s death, His resurrection, about Easter celebration, about the Church and so forth.  I have read arguments for and against.  I have read from atheists and doubters.  On this Easter Day, I’ll like to answer few of them to explain what makes Easter Day and celebration so special for Christians. 

 

.      Why do Christians celebrate Christ resurrection on Easter Day, which has pagan origin?

 

As you know, in Christian faith, no other Holy Day can match Good Friday and Easter Sunday. While the feast of Easter was first celebrated in the second century, it wasn't until the Roman Emperor Constantine called “The Council of Nicaea” in 325 A.D., that a date was officially pronounced. One debate of that Council was whether the observance of Easter should follow the Jewish custom of holding Passover on a weekday or should be on a Sunday. During the Council debate, it was decided to celebrate Easter on the Sunday following the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. Later the date of March 21 was selected as the Vernal Equinox. Like so many early Christian holidays, the actual day selected for Easter celebration was as much a political decision as it was a symbolic one.

 

       Why was Jesus Christ crucified?

 

The Jews and Roman authorities crucified Jesus because He claimed to be the Son of God, which is tantamount to being God (Matthew 26:63-65) and in so doing the Scripture was fulfilled.  The portrait of Jesus as Messiah was not easy swallow for the Jewish Israel to understand and accept.  The Scribes and Pharisees considered Jesus a heretic because he claimed to be the “Messiah.” Jesus did not meet the expectations of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were looking for a charismatic political leader to deliver them from the Roman occupation. The crucifixion of Christ is the vilest wickedness in all of human history. Crucifixion is a malicious manner to murder or kill someone.  It is a wicked way to kill a human being, an innocent person for that matter.

 

However, we have to understand that those who crucified Jesus were not really bad people but blind people. They were not wicked people but people without the wisdom of God. They were humanly wise and self-righteous elite of the day who knew the Old Testament Scriptures better than anyone yet; they did not know the God of the Scriptures. When God showed up in the flesh, they did not recognize Him. They were not really wicked but ignorant, misguided and stupid men who thought that they were doing God a favor. The Apostle Paul was that kind of man until the glory of Christ met him on a Damascus road. We still have such religious zealots in the various religious organizations today.

 

Biblically and spiritually, Christ resurrection marked the reconciliation between God and mankind thus opened the doors of resurrection for all who will believe in Him (see John 11:25-26).

 

Why did Jesus Christ have to die?

 

There are hundreds of prophecies in the Bible as well as Jesus statements alluding to His death on the Cross and His resurrection. For instance, in the Gospel of Matthew 16:21, Jesus declared that, "He must die." The Greek word ‘dei,’ is an impersonal verb, which means that it is a necessity or must. It is the strongest Greek word to express necessity. Christ death on the cross was voluntarily self-imposed. Jesus gave him up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Christ died to accomplish God's eternal purposes. In the Gospel of John 12:27, He stated, "No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father glorify your name.” In Revelation 13:8, "He is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for your sake (1 Peter.1: 19-20).

 

What is the significance of Christ death?

 

The biblical reason of Christ crucifixion remains the central message of the Gospel message.  The crucifixion of Christ is the means by which God provided salvation and forgiveness for the sins of mankind.  It is a supreme demonstration of God’s love toward sinful mankind (John 3:16).   The prophet Isaiah summarized the human condition: “We are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousness are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).  Even the high priest, Joshua, in his exalted position among God’s people, was clothed in filthy rags before God (Zechariah 3:3).  The apostle Paul, who labored arduously to be righteous before God, realized that his most strenuous efforts to please God were no more valuable than rubbish (Philippians 3:4-10).  The plight of humanity is that nothing we could ever do could satisfy God’s desire for righteousness.  But the miracle of God’s mercy is that God exchanges our filthy rags for rich robes of righteousness (Zechariah 3:4).  In this awesome exchange, God placed the sin of humanity upon His righteous Son.  Jesus became so identified with our sin that Scripture says God made Him to be sin on our behalf.  Christ bore the excruciating pain of our sin upon the cross.  He endured the worst physical and spiritual suffering for sinful humanity.

 

Therefore, Christ sacrificial death on the cross was for the forgiveness, justification and redemption of lost humanity. The precious blood of Christ was shed for the remission of sin.  His blood is a perfect and efficacious act that satisfied the demand of God’s holiness for ever.  The message of the Cross is a supreme act of God to help the afflicted, heal the wounded and reclaim lost humanity.  It established Christ reign all over the nations, provides eternal life and activated the exaltation and glorification of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

 

Did Christ actually rise from the dead?

 

In Acts 10:39-40, the apostle Paul writes, “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem.  They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. When the three women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Salome went early Sunday morning to  pay their last respects to Jesus by anointing His body with spices.  The three women had all they need for the anointing, except for access to the body of Jesus.  Who would roll the great stone from the mouth of the tomb?

 

Suddenly when they looked up they had a terrible shock: the stone had been rolled away already and there a young man in the cave, but no Jesus.  Then the divine messenger spoke to them:

 

“Do not be alarmed.  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified.  He has risen; He is not here.  See the place where they laid Him.  But go; tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee.  There you will see Him, just as He told you” (Mark 16:6-7).

 

What is the significance of Christ resurrection?

 

If the crucifixion of Christ is the means by which

 
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