Summary: What does Easter really mean to us personally and are we encouraging others with the truth?
Most people call today what??
Is it alright to use the word Easter for today?
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines Easter “a feast that commemorates Christ's resurrection and is observed with variations of date due to different calendars on the first Sunday after the paschal full moon”.
Now, how many of you think the word “Easter” is in the Bible??
And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. KJV
In your New International Version, Acts 12:4 reads: After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover. NIV
Most English translations of the Bible use the word “Passover” instead of “Easter” for Acts 12:4. Which translation is right?
What’s the first thing we should do in determining what the Bible is really saying??
Pray! So let’s do that……..
And yes, when studying the Bible, we must always look at words, phrases, and passages in context.
Now, you can do this later if you’d like, but I can tell you right away that even a study of this word Easter in context in Acts 12, you will not find a direct definition of the word.
What else can we do to try and have an understanding of an English word in the Bible?? Check the original Greek word!
The original Greek Word for “Easter” or “Passover” in Acts 12:4 is “pascha”. Guess what? The Greek Word pascha can mean many different things! “Pascha” can mean a date, a length of time, dinner, a pagan feast, or an event.
Acts 12:4 really doesn't help us define "Easter" does it?
What’s the point? Let’s go back to the KJV of Acts 12:4….. And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
If you heard the word quaternions for the first time, would you know what it meant? What’s the point? The words we use are only as good as how we define them!!
And so, is it alright to use the word Easter? The answer of course is it depends on how you define it!
Here’s a quick life application from this message: Are we clear on the definition of the words we use? How would you define Easter if someone asks you? We say that the truth will set us free. If someone tells us “Happy Easter”, why don’t we take the time to ask, what do you mean by Easter? Actually, I think a great question to ask when someone tells us “Happy Easter” is, “What does Easter mean to you?”
I’ll try and remind us next year of this. But this thought also applies for Christmas doesn’t it? When someone tells you Merry Christmas or even “Happy Holidays”, ask them what that really means to them!
By the way, in the same thought, if someone tells you they are Christians, ask them what that really means to them; and hopefully, and do it prayerfully, that you would have an opportunity to share what it truly means to be a Biblical Christian.
This is a long introduction but this is the main point of the message today:
Today is what most people call Easter – What does it really mean to us personally?
Is Easter just a time to get up really early and see the sunrise?
Is Easter making sure you catch on television the Easter Parade in Disneyworld?
Is Easter about eating ham and turkey?
Is Easter about bunnies and eggs and chocolate?
I encourage you to look into these things about Easter because many of your friends celebrate in those ways. Perhaps you celebrate in those ways.
But God tells us that the truth will set us free! And when God tells us the truth will set us free, God is talking about truths from the Bible. Again, I encourage you to look into the meanings of the things people do during Easter, but the main thing we need to know first and foremost is what God says. For us Christians, the Easter Sunday we celebrate is really Resurrection Sunday!
Let’s read what God says about Resurrection Sunday then we will discuss what it should mean to all Christians. Please grab a Bible and let’s go back to the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 28. Read along with me verses 1-15……