"He is not here, but is risen." This simple yet profound declaration from the Bible is the pinnacle of all Christianity; it is when Christians believe ancient scriptures were fulfilled. Today, Easter, is the holiest day of the year for Christians because it marks victory over the grave. As the Son of God, Jesus Christ's death and resurrection made salvation and eternal life possible for all mankind.
According to basic Christian beliefs, because of the fall of Adam and Eve, or, man in his natural state, humans became subject to physical death and sin, the latter of which is a form of separation from God. To reconcile this condition, Christ came to earth in the form of man to suffer the penalty for our sins, die on the cross, and be resurrected. This atoning sacrifice made it possible for us to become spiritually clean and to dwell in the presence of God after our own physical deaths. Jesus Christ was the only one who could do this because he was sinless and had no debt. He was the only one because through Mary, a mortal, he was subject to death, but as the only begotten son of God, he had the ability to lay down his life and take it up again.
The Bible is replete with scripture both foretelling the Messiah and Christ's works and miracles, all promising peace for the soul. Perhaps Matthew 11:28 says it best with, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," as well as John 16:33 with, "be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Many people know that the cute Easter bunny, chicks, eggs and the word Easter itself are rooted in ancient cultures, most likely from the Norse pagan goddess "Eastre," celebrating fertility, the vernal equinox, and the rebirth of nature in the springtime.
In 325 A.D., the Council of Nicea determined that Easter among Christians should be celebrated the first Sunday after the full moon on or following the vernal equinox. Although most likely not the true anniversary of Christ's resurrection, it is the generally agreed upon time to celebrate it. Many people combine both the secular and religious parts of the holiday, and can even converge some traditions by using eggs and other symbols to represent Christ emerging from the tomb and rebirth through the belief of the resurrection.
Today and every day, Christians rejoice over the empty tomb. The hymn "He is Risen" is one sung with grateful praise.
He is risen! He is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice.
He has burst his three days' prison; Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
Death is conquered, man is free. Christ has won the victory.
The hymn "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" is another sung with exultation.
Christ the Lord is risen today, sons of men and angels say.
Raise your joys and triumphs high, sing ye heavens and earth reply.
Love's redeeming work is done, fought the fight, the victory won.
Jesus' agony is over, darkness veils the earth no more.
Lives again our glorious king, where oh death, is now thy sting?
Once he died our souls to save, where thy victory, oh grave?
Make it a good week and enjoy this Easter and spring season with your family and friends.