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Ipswich Christadelphians

"Prove all things, hold fast what is good" 1Th 5:21

The True Meaning Of Easter

 

World Record Poasvuur Slepp'n - Paasvuur Espelo 2012 - Easter Fire - Height: 45.98 m!

WHO NEEDS A HOLIDAY?

The Centre for Economics and Business Research has stated that  if public holidays were scrapped it would add £19 billion to Britain's annual economic output as each bank holiday, and there are up to 10 each year, costs the UK economy £2.3 billion!

So, they say, we have too many and our economy would improve if we have less. On the other hand  some specialists feel that a complete break improves productivity! Although the bank Holidays of Christmas and Easter were initially religious holidays, most people do take them as an excuse to chill out, and consume lots of rich foods or at Easter chocolate eggs! Sadly, as each year goes by, fewer people seem to want to use either period to reflect on the goodness of God in giving His Son and the great sacrifice which the Lord Jesus Christ was prepared to make. On Easter Sunday, for example, the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ at this time nearly 2,000 years ago ought to have been uppermost in people’s minds, yet the front page Headlines in most Sunday papers were on the Boat Race!

EASTER CELEBRATIONS

It could be thought that other Countries make more of Easter than we do in the UK , but again it seems to be an excuse to have a jolly good time under the loose term of Easter celebrations.

Take the town of Espelo in Holland. There, since 1987 they have had a place in the Guiness Book of Records for having produced the largest Easter Bonfire in the world. This year the pile of wood for the easter fire had a record height of 45.98 m( 154ft)! Which is taller than a 10 storey building!! Videos show everyone having a great time*, but it makes one wonder how many are there to remember and show gratitude for the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Dutch call Easter, ‘Paas’ which connects it with the Jewish Passover , which is as it should be as Easter springs from the Passover. Lets us look at Easter and the Passover which it commemorates and how it is celebrated by Jew and Christian.

Because Easter is based on the Jewish Festival of Passover, it falls at a different time each year.  Passover is a Spring Festival, which begins in the Jewish month Nisan. Jewish months are governed by the phases of the moon and so the 14th Nisan, when the Passover Lamb is killed, begins on the night of the full moon after the northern vernal equinox.

The Jewish Passover

The Passover feast starts a seven-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, originated when God delivered the Hebrew Nation from cruel slavery in Egypt. ( Exodus 12:17). After refusing to let God’s people go, Pharaoh was given an ultimatum, let God’s people go or He will slay all your firstborn. In accordance with God’s commands, the Jews prepared to leave Egypt but first a lamb had to be sacrificed, its blood splashed on the doorposts and lintels of their houses ( Exodus 12:22) and roasted and eaten in haste. Because of their obedience, the angel sent to destroy the firstborn of Egypt ‘passed over’ their houses and thus they were spared. This was indeed a night to remember, when Israel was delivered from slavery and started their journey to the Promised Land. And the feast was to be celebrated forever in memory of this great deliverance.

Exodus12: 17  And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.

18  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.

25  And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

26  And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?

27  That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.

 

In the time of Jesus, every Jew came to Jerusalem on the 14th of Nisan and at dusk, each family offered a lamb to God at the Temple in remembrance of the deliverance from Egypt, then joyously ate of the offering together. Amazingly, the Passover has been kept by faithful Jews ever since. Once the Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed and sacrifices could not be made there, the Jews in every land kept the Passover in a symbolic form. The Passover meal now consists of several special foods and a roasted lamb shank bone recalling the special Passover lamb offered and eaten in Temple times. There are five cups of wine but the fifth is not drunk as it is prepared for Elijah the Prophet, harbinger of the Messiah in hope of the promise made in Malachi 4:5 ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.’ They sing "Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem" and the whole feast is a reliving of their redemption and deliverance from bondage.

Christian Easter.

Throughout his life on earth the Lord Jesus kept the Passover just as other faithful Jews did, starting when he was 12 years old (Luke 2:41-42), but God intended him to supersede the Passover Lamb. John the Baptist, when he first saw him said to his disciples. ‘Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29. Before his sacrifice, Jesus instituted a special meal, commonly known as ‘the Last Supper’ saying that he had greatly desired to eat this Passover with them before he suffered. During the meal he shared bread and wine with them

Mark 14:22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

23  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.

24  And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

25  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Here, like the Passover meal, was a reminder of a deliverance. In this case, it was to remember the Lord’s sacrifice which can deliver us from sin (Galatians 1:4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father). It was to be carried out as often as they met together to remember Jesus.( 1Cor 11:25). Only unlike the Passover meal it was only to be observed until the Lord returned as he had promised.

THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB

To many people, Easter seems to have degenerated into a time to relax, enjoy a couple of days off and indulge in Easter Eggs, Easter Bunnies, Hot Cross buns and the like. It is good to have Bank holidays which give rest to the whole nation but, sadly, the true meaning of Easter seems to have become lost. To the Jews when Jesus was on the earth, each Passover looked forward to a time of Spring, of rebirth and looked back to their miraculous deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Jesus, at the very time when the Passover Lamb was being sacrificed, offered his own life as the perfect sacrifice for sins and within 3 days, God had raised him from the dead to be the ‘Saviour of the world’. (John 4:42) The Jews share 4 Cups of wine to commemorate their deliverance, leaving a 5th in the hope of the appearance of Elijah. As we have read, Jesus, before he was crucified also shared a cup of wine and broke bread with his disciples and gave them the command to do this regularly until he would drink new wine with them in the Kingdom of Heaven. In doing this faithful Christians celebrate a better deliverance from that of Egypt- deliverance from sin. And rather than looking forward to’ next year in Jerusalem’ they look forward to the time when the Lord Jesus returns and, as he promised will ‘ drink it (the wine) new in the Kingdom of God’ This will be when there is a feast much better than any Passover feast, far better than any Easter Celebration. It is termed the ‘Marriage Supper of the Lamb’ and those invited will be those who have been judged worthy by the Lord Jesus at his return ‘ And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ (Rev 19:9)

Those called will be those who are found worthy and who are preparing themselves now for that great day; those who repent, become baptised into Christ and obey his commands. Will you be there? You make the answer now!


Credits: Picture by M Podt http://www.panoramio.com/photo/69760301

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