Question: "What is the meaning of Easter?"
Answer: Easter is the annual celebration of Christ’s resurrection to life after His crucifixion and death. The day is also called Resurrection Sunday. The word Easter is related to the word east, which naturally points us to the sunrise, to new days and new beginnings.
For some, Easter is bereft of all but the secular meaning. For them, Easter is a time to dye eggs, hide them, and send children in search of them. It’s a time to recite the myth of the Easter bunny and allude to his continuing escapades. It’s a time of giving candy, taking pictures, eating Peeps, and feasting around the family table. It’s a day to mark the start of spring and celebrate the rejuvenation of nature and the greening of the grass. Such observances of Easter, if they go no further than this, are a faint and feeble shadow of the real meaning of Easter; they are as empty as a plastic egg, as hollow as a chocolate Easter bunny.
Easter is a Christian holiday, and Christian celebrations focus on the true meaning of Easter: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Two thousand years ago, a man died on a cross, was buried, and three days later rose to life again. This fact—that a dead man came to life again and lives evermore—is why we celebrate Easter. The meaning of Easter is that the Son of God paid the price for our sins and rose again to reconcile us to God (see Romans 4:25).
Easter means that our greatest enemy, death, has been conquered. Easter means that our sins are forgiven and we are made right with God. Easter means that Christ is truly the King and Victor, seated “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked” (Ephesians 1:21). The meaning of Easter is that Jesus is the Lord of new beginnings, new days, and new lives.
Easter means that the incomprehensibly great power of God was on full display at the Garden Tomb where Christ lay. That same great power that raised Christ from the dead now works in us who believe (Ephesians 1:19). The meaning of Easter is that God can move mountains, split seas, restore life, and roll the stone away.
Easter means the poor in spirit will possess the kingdom of heaven, the mourners will be comforted, the meek will inherit the earth, the seekers of righteousness will be filled, the merciful will find mercy, and the pure in heart will see God (see Matthew 5:3–8). The meaning of Easter is that the promises of God come true in Christ.
Easter means that we can proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind. We can set the oppressed free and announce the year of the Lord’s favor (see Luke 4:18–19). The meaning of Easter is that the gospel—God’s Emancipation Proclamation—is to be heralded far and wide. Good news is meant to share.
Easter means that love is stronger than death. Love “burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away” (Song of Solomon 8:6–7). It was for love that God gave His only Son (John 3:16); it was for love that Christ died on the cross (John 15:13). It is for love that the risen Lord intercedes for His children (Romans 8:34). Easter is fraught with love.
Easter means there is hope for us, after all. As Jesus said, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).