Easter

We left the story of Jesus of Nazareth last Friday. He had been executed in the most painful and degrading way possible. His closest followers were disperse and in hiding. It must have seemed that Jesus and his movement had ended in utter failure. But then, something remarkable happened. This something is commemorated by the Easter holiday. Although Christmas is the more popular Christian holiday, Easter is actually the most important holiday in the liturgical year as the celebration of Christ’s resurrection is theologically more important than his Nativity. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The Gospel of Mark has the most concise account on what happened that first Easter.

1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,out of whom he had driven seven demons.10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping.11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country.13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.

14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.17 And these signswill accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons;they will speak in new tongues;18 they will pick up snakeswith their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands onsick people, and they will get well.”

19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heavenand he sat at the right hand of God.20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signsthat accompanied it. (Mark 16:1-20)

Mark 16:9-20 seems to be a later addition. At any rate the earliest manuscripts do not have those verses. Whether the original ending has been lost or Mark intended to end his account so abruptly is unknown.

Matthew has more details.

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

The Guards’ Report

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:1-20)

Luke and John have more to say of Jesus after His resurrection but I won’t quote them here.

The date of Easter has been a matter of some controversy in past centuries. The date of Easter is related to the date of Passover. The calculations on which the date of Easter is determined is based on a lunisolar cycle like the date of Passover but the cycle is not the Hebrew calendar. Generally Easter falls about a week after Passover but it occurs about a month later in three years of the nineteen year cycle. Various groups of Christians have had different methods of calculating Easter over the years and these differences have led to bitter disputes. There is still a different date for Easter among the Eastern churches since they use the Julian calendar for the liturgical year while Catholics and Protestants use the Gregorian calendar.

Among Catholics and some Protestants, Easter is generally celebrated by an Easter vigil beginning the previous evening. At dawn, a mass or service begins, etc.

And, of course, many people celebrate Easter by finding Easter eggs and eating candy delivered by the Easter Bunny.

The Easter Bunny

About these ads

Tags: , , , ,

4 Responses to “Easter”

  1. IN THE RESURRECTION IT WAS A WOMAN WHO FIRST SAW JESUS « Vine and Branch World Ministries Says:

    [...] Easter (davidscommonplacebook.wordpress.com) [...]

  2. James Snapp, Jr. Says:

    The two Greek manuscripts in which Mark’s text stops at 16:8 are not the earliest evidence; they were both produced in the 300′s, but there are four pieces of evidence from the 100′s – Justin Martyr’s First Apology ch. 45, the anonymous composition “Epistula Apostolorum,” Tatian’s Diatessaron, and Irenaeus’ “Against Heresies” Book 3, which support the inclusion of verses 9-20.

    In addition, the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 is supported by over 40 Roman-Empire era writers. That’s a lot. Early versions such as the Gothic version (350) and the Vulgate (383) include these verses. In addition, every undamaged Greek manuscript except for those two from the 300′s contains at least part of verses 9-20. Plus, even in those two copies there are indications that their copyists were aware of the absent verses.

    If you are relying for your information on sources that say something like, “Clement of Alexandria and Origen show no awareness of the existence of these verses,” or, “Some manuscripts contain asterisks and obeli alongside these verses,” then I recommend that you stop trusting that commentator as far as this particular text-critical issue is concerned.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.
    Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
    Indiana

    • David Hoffman Says:

      Thank you for your comments. I used no more exalted, or reliable a source than the notes in my NIV study Bible and Wikipedia. I did not mean to give the impression that I regarded that last section of Mark 16 as uninspired. On reflection I ought not to have mentioned the authorship of the section as it detracted from the Easter message I wished to give.
      It does seem that the majority of commentators that I have read believe that Mark 16:9-20 was written by another author, though majorities have been wrong before. If it was indeed written later, it cannot have been much later than the Apostolic age, and I believe it to be as fully inspired as the rest of Mark.

  3. He has been raised; he is not here. « Inspirations Says:

    [...] Easter (davidscommonplacebook.wordpress.com) [...]

Comments are closed.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 341 other followers

%d bloggers like this: