Easter tends to be one of those holidays that comes and goes each year like clockwork. It seems that many of the people who celebrate it don’t even know the actual significance of the holiday in the first place! Let’s talk about why Easter is such a big deal and what biblical significance it has and should have for Christians today.
In the beginning, God created all things, and they were very good! He created mankind in His image, and He placed man in the garden and gave him dominion over all the earth, including all the living creatures which inhabited it. Mankind had a perfect relationship with God, perfect relationships with each other, and perfect relationships with all of creation. Of course, as we know, that didn’t last forever, and mankind rebelled against God by disobeying His rule to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
As a result of man’s sin, death entered the world, and man’s perfect relationships were all broken. Adam blamed God and Eve for what happened, and Eve blamed the serpent who tempted them. It was a mess! Yet that is the reality that we still live in today. Mankind was removed from the garden, but they were given a promise:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
God promised that through man’s offspring, the serpent would eventually be crushed, and things would be restored. The whole rest of the Bible is focused on awaiting that seed or offspring to come and bring mankind back into the garden environment and back into a perfect relationship with God by crushing the serpent once and for all.
Eve probably thought she could just have a child and he would be the seed, and all would be solved! So, in Genesis 4, she births Cain and Abel hoping for them to save mankind, yet Cain murders his brother, clearly forfeiting the possibility of him being the seed. The seed is supposed to bring life, not death. Yet through the rest of the Old Testament, the seed is nowhere to be found. Instead, the seed takes a new name, “the Messiah.” The prophets of the Old Testament prophesy constantly about this messiah who is to come and save them from the oppressing nations and their foolishness. They preach a message of repentance because God will send this seed to save them!
Meanwhile, God gives Israel the law, allowing them to atone for their sins through sacrifice so that they can be in a relationship with Him as they await the Messiah who will restore all things. However, the people turn away from God and worship other gods, rejecting God’s plan for them and rejecting His covenantal promises.
This all leads up to the end of the Old Testament when God decides to remove His presence from the temple and to be silent towards the people for 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. During this time, the people probably were heavily doubting that the messiah would ever come and restore all things.
Then we get to the New Testament and a man named Jesus appears. He fulfills 48 different Old Testament prophecies which were made specifically about the messiah and He comes to finally save mankind from their sin and restore their relationship with God once again! Yet, the way He does it is way different from what the Jews were expecting. They were expecting this larger-than-life military leader who was going to come with armies and multitudes of soldiers to take down the Roman empire and liberate them! Instead, Jesus came in love and as a humble servant to show the Jews and the Gentiles a new way of life; one that revolved around serving and loving your neighbor.
While He was on earth, Jesus did plenty of miracles and taught many times about the kingdom of God, but that is not where the focus of Easter lies. Easter is all about His death and resurrection. So, why is this so important? When Jesus died and rose again, He crushed the serpent’s head. He defeated death! His death and resurrection became an avenue for us to also have eternal life and His blood atoned for our sins, serving as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice so that we can come into a perfect spiritual relationship with God once again. His work on the cross brings us back to Eden in the sense that our relationship with Him reverses the effects of sin and makes us look more like Himself.
Without the events that Easter celebrates, we would still be dead in our sin and have no way to God’s presence. Yet Jesus came to change that and brings us life everlasting by dying and rising again in His love for us.