This past Easter I reflected on all that comes with the celebration around the Easter season. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ - although the origin of the name Easter is questionable. Jesus came to earth for one purpose and that was to redeem us from sin. From his birth, his purpose was the cross, his purpose was to bring us back into a right relationship with God. Now the part that I cannot get behind are the traditions that distract from the true meaning of Jesus’ objective on earth. One thing I was taught is that the truth will set you free. And when there is a little lie embedded in the truth, it can distort the whole truth.
All through the prophecies and the life of Jesus, it was known that after the crucifixion that Christ was going to spend 3 night and 3 days in the grave before he is resurrected. In Matthew chapter 12 verse 40, Jesus told the Pharisees about the sign they should look for from him to know that he was the son of God. He said: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” These men were knowledgeable of the scripture and would have heard the story about Jonah, so they had an idea of what he was talking about, but they did not understand. It clearly says here that Christ was supposed to spend 3 days and 3 nights in the grave, so how did we come about Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday?
I will not go into the history of the origins of the word Easter or why the church adopted this Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday tradition. But what I will do, is look at the scriptures that I was taught, because again I do not want a misunderstanding to cloud my view of the truth. If we count from Good Friday and Christ was crucified by midday, we get 2 nights (Friday and Saturday) and 1 day (Saturday). Now if Jesus Christ himself said that he will be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights, then this Good Friday celebration cannot be true. And while I know that it may not matter to us who know the truth and already believe, I worry about the non-Christian who is looking at the scriptures and the church and trying to make sense of it. God cannot lie and he never will, so it is also our duty as Christ representers to present the truth always.
My believe is that it is not important when Christ was crucified but that he was raised from the dead. But because we have scriptures that are there to help guide us, we can look at them. If we count backwards, it may be easier to follow. The first thing we need to establish is that end of the day is around sunset: “God called the light day and the darkness night. So, the evening and the morning where the first day.” Genesis chapter 1 verse 5.
Now back to the resurrection, “Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. […] Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” Mark chapter 16 verses2 and 6. So when they got to the tomb on the 1st day of the week, Jesus was gone, he was gone before the new day started. Now counting backwards, we have Friday, Thursday, and Wednesday night; followed by Saturday, Friday and Thursday which puts the crucifixion at Wednesday midday. In Matthew chapter 27 verses 57-60, Luke chapter 23 verses 52-54, and John chapter 19 verse 42 all recount how Jesus was buried.
Finally, John Chapter 19 verse 31 makes mention of a “High Sabbath” which is not to be confused with the weekly 7th day Sabbath. So that Thursday was a high Sabbath and the women were trying to spice Jesus’ body, but had to rest, and when they finally got the spices, another Sabbath (the 7th day Sabbath) was upon them again. So, by the time they got to the grave -the 1st day of the week- Jesus had been risen.
I went through all this to explain why I do not subscribe to the Good Friday to Easter Sunday ritual of the church. Yes, it may seem trivial, but when presenting the gospel, I want to know what I believe and why I believe it. I believe the bible to be the true words of God and God cannot lie. Hence, if it is written in his word there must be an explanation for it. I am grateful to God for sending his Son to die on the cross for me and for you, so let us focus on the reason why Christ came and not the traditions the church tries to uphold. If you are ever asked to explain ‘Why Easter?’ go to the scriptures which focuses on the death, burial, and resurrection. Don’t allow the traditions to cloud your view of the gospel story. Always seek to speak the truth and to represent Christ always.
Ashea West is a third-year medical student from Manchester, Jamaica studying in the USA. I am passionate about sharing the gospel, using whatever opportunities I am given. I do believe in blooming wherever I am transplanted.