Christian folks, those that grew up in a church or those that hang around churches often use the religious lingo and take for granted everyone knows what we are talking about. Well they don't. If you are one of those folks, don't feel bad. In reality, very few Christians know what most of the lingo means either.
Easter is one of those terms. There are folks that don't know or understand anything about the resurrection story or why we celebrate Easter. The term 'Easter' may have some pagan origins and this sets some folks off on a wildeyed rant. But don't feel bad if you've said Happy Easter all your life, this doesn't make you a pagan. Some of the western traditions of Easter come from the ancient pagan holiday. Many Christians don't like the term 'Easter' and hold strictly to "Resurrection day" as their holiday. Easter bunnies, colored eggs and such also don't really have a Christian origin and have very little to do with the resurrection, although they remain fun and a part of the celebration of resurrection in many traidtions. The term 'Easter' has been widely adopted by Christianity to celebrate resurrection Sunday. .
For me, I use the term 'Easter' more out of habit than anything. When I say Easter I am strictly keeping in mind the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ but I also take part in the traditions of Easter egg hunts, candy and bunnies. These things become an opportunity to celebrate Jesus. There are many who wouldn't agree with me on this and I can understand and respect that. Their desire to have a Resurrections Sunday free of the 'Easter' and its traditions is honorable.
It was on the cross, Jesus looked over to the repentant thief and said, "This day you will be with me in paradise!" That's exciting. Jesus saw into his heart. He saw a person who understood their sin nature and need for a savior. I can almost imagine the religious crowd at the foot of the cross saying, "Wait just a minute." They would first want to know what version of bible he would use, what end times theology he held, did he say Happy Easter or Ressurection Day, was his hair long, clothes too casual, did he worship correctly, pray with his eyes closed.........it just goes on and on. These are the things we separate over. We are called however, to be one in Christ. We can start with unity around the celebration of a risen savior.
What is Maundy Thursday?
With this question you could launch into a long lesson of language and culture that would bore everyone to tears. There are a couple of theories where the term came from and what language it originated from. Western tradition says 'Maundy' means new commandment. Maundy Thursday speaks of the new commandment given in John 13:34 after Jesus washes the Disciple's feet.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
This was part of the upper room discourse. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last supper and the Lord's commandment to love one another. It is called 'Holy Thursday' in some traditions and denominations.
What is Good Friday?
This is a commemoration of the death of Jesus on the cross. In some traditions and denominations it is called 'Black Friday' or 'Holy Friday'. After the Last Supper Jesus was arrested and subjected to trials by the politics of that time. He was beaten, mocked, spat upon and then he carried his cross to Calvary. He was nailed to it and died. He was crucified for claiming to be the messiah. The charges brought against Him became part of the testimony to the truth. The suffering, shedding of blood and death by this perfect, innocent sacrifice paid the price for our sin. The penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that penalty was paid on the cross.
Then an amazing thing happened. On the third day, the tomb was found empty. Whether you called it Easter or Resurrection Sunday this is incredible news. This was proof that He really did have power over death. He was fully man and capable of paying the sin penalty and He was fully God with the power over life and death. The payment He made for sin is available to everyone, but it doesn't just happen automatically. You have to receive that gift. You have to come to Him with the recognition that you are a sinner deserving of that kind of death and worse. With a humble and contrite heart and an attitude of repentance, you may receive that free gift. When it is received, then your debt is paid. You are no longer faced with the penalty of eternal, spiritual death. Now, by your new found faith, you have eternal life.
Jesus Christ took on the sin of man as he hung on the cross and gave up His life. He took on our sin so we could take on His righteousness. When we are born again, we come into a right relationship with God. We are washed clean and God sees us that way. We have the promise of eternal life. Some day we will pass from this physical body and enter eternity where we will trade the corruptible body of flesh for an incorruptible eternal body.
Celebrate the resurrection!! He is risen!
Just Thinking again........of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord.