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Oops – Has Easter Been Already?

March 29, 2016

As you will have noticed, this was another year when Easter came early – some of us can’t quite believe it’s already over! Are you among those who wish it could be a bit more regular, or do you enjoy its quirky unpredictability? Except it’s not at all unpredictable, of course; we know exactly when it’s going to fall: on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after spring equinox, of course!

Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple (!); when we lived in Albania we frequently celebrated Easter twice a year, since the Eastern Orthodox churches follow a different calendar…

Which is why it was interesting to note that Justin Welby recently addressed the thorny issue of the date of Easter. Wouldn’t it make sense to have a slightly more fixed date? I think it would; and I can’t see that the lost connection with Passover is a problem – especially as the current way of calculating doesn’t follow Passover anyway. Personally I think the spiritual connection with Passover is more important than an artificial calendar connection.

When John the Baptist sees Jesus, he exclaims: Behold the Lamb of God! The three apostles Peter, John and Paul also use the word “lamb” about Jesus. This is the proper connection to Passover! To be more precise, it’s a reference to the Passover lamb, eaten by every Israelite family in remembrance of the exodus from Egypt, when the blood of a lamb protected the Israelites from God’s wrath being poured out on the Egyptians.

It’s somewhat ironic – and very sad! – that so many people demand that God intervene against evil before they’ll believe in him, not realising that his intervention will involve them and their shortcomings as well. There’s sin and evil in each one of us; it shouldn’t take much soul searching to see how true that is! And the only way we can survive the day of God’s final, decisive intervention in this world is if the blood of Jesus, the ultimate Passover lamb, has been applied to our lives.

John points out that Jesus “takes away the sins of the world” – and that’s what Easter is all about: Jesus taking the punishment that would otherwise be ours, so that we can be cleansed from sin and become children of God. He defeated sin by giving his life as a sacrifice, and he defeated death by going through it and rising again. This is what we celebrate every Easter. When we celebrate doesn’t really matter; what we celebrate matters eternally!

 

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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