It is that time of the year again for Christians to celebrate that Jesus died for all humanity. His death and resurrection were not in vain; in doing so, he cleansed humankind of all sin. If you are a staunch Christian, you might know this holiday's importance. However, you might easily forget some facts accompanying this holiday due to its profound meaning and significance. So, how important is it? And what is Resurrection Sunday?
The resurrection of Jesus is an event at the centre of Christianity. His death and subsequent revival meant all prophecies about the messiah were true. As a result, Christians commemorate the occurrence in an event known as Easter, Pascha or Resurrection Sunday. But as a Christian, have you ever considered the holiday's significance? Why is it necessary, and what does Resurrection Sunday mean?
Interesting facts about Resurrection Sunday
What is the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday? The Bible signifies it as the event that led to the establishment of Christianity. Christ rose from the grave three days after his crucifixion, conquering death and redeeming humanity. But apart from the obvious, what other hidden meanings do you know about the event? Here are ten facts to elaborate on the true meaning of this Christian holiday.
1. The resurrection was prophesied
Did you know there was a resurrection prophecy in the Old Testament? According to the prophet Hosea, Jesus was to revive humanity after two days, rising from the dead on the third day.
In addition, Jesus also prophesized his resurrection in Mathew when he foretold his predicament. In Mathew 20:17-19, as Jesus went up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve aside and told them that he would be delivered to the chief priests and the law teachers.
He also told them how the priests would condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked, flogged, and crucified. Jesus also told his disciples he would be raised to life on the third day.
Hosea 6:2: "After two days will he revive us: on the third day he will raise us, and we shall live before him."
2. God forgave humanity after the event
Jesus paid the penalty for the world's sins and rose from the dead, allowing God to forgive us for all our sins. No ordinary man could have accomplished this, but Jesus is God's Son. According to John 14:6, Jesus reminds us that he is the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody comes to the Father or goes to heaven apart from him.
In 1 John 1:9, the scripture reminds us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
3. Some of Jesus' disciples abandoned him
The gospels' is true and are not fabricated. One reason is that it contains embarrassing details about the apostles. For example, According to Matthew 26:69-75, Peter denied Jesus three times, while the other apostles deserted him after his arrest. People are unlikely to make up a story that paints them negatively.
4. Women were the first to witness Jesus' resurrection
According to John 20:14-16, Mary Magdalene and her friends were the first to see the risen Lord. They were crying and heard a voice and when she turned around Mary didn't know that he was Jesus and mistook him for a gardener. But after Jesus asked them why they were crying and called her by name, Mary realised who he was and cried out, "teacher!".
5. Christians should celebrate the resurrection throughout the year
According to the calendar, Resurrection Sunday occurs only once a year. However, it is something that believers would benefit from observing daily. The resurrection preaching should not only happen once a year to pay homage to it. It should be preached from the pulpit every Sunday and lived out by believers daily.
1 Corinthians 15:56-58 serves as a guide reminding Christians of the importance of living every day in the light of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
6. It marked the beginning of Christianity
According to Christian tradition, Christianity became due to Jesus' physical resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus is the central mystery of the Christian faith. Jesus' death would not have received divine approval and interpretation without the resurrection.
The scripture in Romans 1:4 talks about the declaration of Jesus as the son of God. And Romans 4:25 talks about Jesus' triumph over death to save humanity.
7. There were many witnesses to the resurrection
According to 1 Corinthians 15:6, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of his believers. The verse proves that many people saw Jesus after his resurrection. At the tomb, Mary Magdalene and her companions encountered him. Also, the Roman guards guarding his tomb must have seen him. Peter, John, and the other disciples all saw him appear.
Luke 24:34: "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon."
8. The resurrection signifies something greater
Jesus proved the resurrection by showing himself to many people afterwards. He talked to people and let them touch him, reminding them that his resurrection was true, making them believe after they saw.
According to John 20:19-29, after Jesus appeared to his disciples and let them see the proof of his resurrection, he also said, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
9. There is life after death
The resurrection defeated the power of death. Jesus offers believers a future after death and hope. Although this life on earth is transitory, believers can look forward to eternal life because of his resurrection.
10. The timing of the resurrection was significant
According to Matthew 26:2, Jesus' crucifixion occurred on Passover day. However, two days later, the Jews celebrated the Feast of First Fruits, signifying God's redemption to humankind. But according to the Jewish calendar, a new day begins when the sun sets, not when it rises, meaning that Jesus arose on the third day, the first day of the Feast of First Fruits.
According to 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, Christ's resurrection coincided with celebrating the Feast of First Fruits.
Jesus' death and resurrection summary
Soldiers arrest Jesus shortly after the Last Supper when Judas identifies him through a kiss. They took him before the Sanhedrin (the Jewish supreme court), where he was tried and sentenced to death. The Sanhedrin handed him to Pilate the following morning.
After Pontius Pilate questions Jesus and finds no fault, he lets the people decide his fate. They condemn him to death over the criminal Barabbas. The soldiers take Jesus to Golgotha, where they crucify him alongside two thieves.
After his death, Joseph of Arimathea claims the body and places it in a tomb. But after three days, Jesus rose from the dead, appearing to his disciples and followers.
Why is it called Easter and not Resurrection Sunday?
Unfortunately, no concrete evidence shows how the Christian holiday lost its name. Easter is a name that originated from the pre-Christian goddess of dawn in England, Eostre, who marked the beginning of spring.
Scholars believe the Roman empire was responsible for intertwining the holidays to appeal to the Anglo-Saxons as the Romans converted them to Christianity.
How do Christians celebrate Resurrection Sunday?
Most Christians observe the holiday worldwide with special church services, candlelight, flowers, church bells ringing and music. You can also commemorate the holiday by sending your loved ones happy Resurrection Sunday images and quotes. Other ways of celebrating as Christians include:
- Praying and maintaining contact with new believers
- Witnessing to others
- Meditating on Christ's sufferings
Do Catholics celebrate Resurrection Sunday?
Yes, they do. Most Catholics celebrate the resurrection weekend with a mass, and in the weeks before the ceremony, they preach readings and sermons about the death and resurrection of the Lord. For some believers, Easresurrection Sundayter Sunday begins by attending the Easter Vigil Midnight Mass, while others start Easter Sunday with a morning mass.
What does Jesus on the cross teach?
The cross was a symbol for Christians of the turning point in history when God made peace with humanity. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, gave his life as the sacrificed lamb, dying for our sins and freeing us from the chains of wickedness and death.
Resurrection Sunday is one of the most important holidays in the Christian calendar. It is the day Jesus rose from the dead after dying for humanity's sins three days earlier. Believers celebrate the holiday worldwide differently, with some attending sermons or Mass, while others signify the day by ringing church bells.
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