I see that the Church has kindly reposted a commentary I wrote on Easter! I really liked that one. I’m not always the biggest fan of my own writing, but I tried to make that one simple and straightforward, since I thought that would be the best way for it to have its intended impact. Here are the first few paragraphs:
Because He Is Risen, I Do Not Keep Easter
I believe in the risen Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of mankind. I believe that after His crucifixion on Passover, He was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth—as He said He would be. I believe He was then resurrected by His Father, restored to the glory He had with His Father before the world was.
He was the perfect Passover Lamb. He also became the perfect wave sheaf offering, accepted by His Father as the first of the firstfruits. In His resurrection, I see confirmation of the promise made to all those who truly follow Him that they, too, will one day be resurrected to live forever as He now does.
It was actually a commentary that was conceived as a post on my blog. That remains one of the benefits of this blog, which is the chance to write without the pressure of being as polished as I would strive to be for one of our Church publications or websites while still staying in a “writing mode” and being able to ruminate with pen and paper (well, keyboard and LCD screen) in such a way that I can explore some topics I might write about in the future. I’ve said before that I don’t have a “dog in the hunt”, as it were, concerning my blog, and if it interfered with the other work I have to do or was somehow unhelpful, I’d be content to stop doing it. But this is one way in which I’ve found it really helpful.
The title may sound strange to some, and, while it is not intended to be, the following content may be offensive. But I hope it is at least clear, and I will try to make it brief (which, for me, is quite a challenge).
I believe in the risen Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of mankind. I believe that after His crucifixion on Passover, He was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth as He said He would be. Then I believe He was resurrected by His Father, restored to the glory He had with Him before the world was. He was the perfect Passover Lamb. He also became the perfect wave sheaf offering, accepted by His Father as the first of the firstfruits. And in His resurrection, I see confirmation of the promise made to all those who truly follow Him that they, too, will one day be resurrected to live forever as He now does.
Consequently, I do not keep Easter.
This probably seems contradictory, given that Easter is ostensibly about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, any unbiased look through the history of the day, accentuated by its current customs, demonstrates that it is a custom of pagan origin, introduced into “Christian” worship long ago as more and more began failing to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered” (Jude 3).
From the Bible’s perspective, the facts are simple. Jesus Christ condemned violating God’s laws and commandments in favor of our traditions, regardless of how “religious” those traditions might be (e.g., Mark 7:6-9). God clearly does not want us to adopt pagan customs to worship Him (e.g., Deut. 12:29-31, Jer. 10:1-2). Consequently, as a follower of Jesus Christ and a believer in the power and truth of His resurrection, I cannot observe Easter.
There is certainly much more that could be said. We could speak of ancient Polycarp and Anicetus, of Polycrates and Victor, and of how the churches of the East strove to maintain the Christian keeping of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread and the teachings of the apostles (as Polycrates wrote, concerning the apostles Philip and John and others who “always observed the day when the people put away the leaven”) versus the corruption of Rome and those who wished to introduce blends of Christian doctrine with heathen practice. The history of it all is fascinating reading, to be sure.
But history isn’t Scripture. And it is the Bible and the word of Jesus Christ that compels me not to keep Easter. My human mind comes up with lots of reasons to ignore the scriptures and to discount the scriptures (Jeremiah 17:9 has a lot to say about that), but every argument I have ever heard–whether from others or my own imagination–is always rooted fundamentally in human reasoning that, ultimately, contradicts God’s Word. And I am told that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5). I cannot honor Christ by disobeying Him.
So, it may seem contradictory given popular “Christian” culture and practices, but I see no alternative. I do passionately believe in the risen Christ. Therefore, I cannot keep Easter.