I recently read an article written by a denominational preacher with the above title. In it, he indicated that his church is facing a challenge about what to do with the large crowds that attend their Easter service. One suggestion was to offer a Saturday evening Easter service the night before. However, this would have the church celebrating Easter before Easter. This dilemma led to his question, “When should we celebrate Easter?”
The article briefly touched on the history and controversy of choosing which Sunday to observe as Easter. Most churches have settled on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (This explains why Easter is sometimes in March). Then, surprisingly, the rest of the article discussed why Christians everywhere should celebrate the resurrection of Jesus every day.
Indeed, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the lynchpin of Christianity. Everything we believe and hope either stands or falls with this one event. The resurrection proves that Jesus was the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4) and that our sins can be forgiven (Romans 4:25). It also validates our faith (1 Cor. 15:12-19) and assures us that there will be future judgment (Acts 17:30-31).
The point of this article was that the significance of the Lord’s resurrection cannot be confined to one day a year. I agree with his conclusion. However, this article failed to settle the question of when we should celebrate Easter. When we turn to the Bible to address this subject, we soon find that the question itself changes from “When should we celebrate Easter?” to, “Should we celebrate Easter?” Not only is the Bible silent concerning when to celebrate Easter, there is no trace recorded in the Bible of an Easter celebration ever taking place. Jesus never told His apostles to remember the anniversary of His resurrection. The apostles, in turn, never gave instruction to the church to celebrate Easter. No church, or individual Christian, is ever found celebrating Easter in the Bible.
In fact, the word “Easter” is found in only one verse in one translation. The King James Version renders Acts 12:4 as: “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” (Acts 12:4). The Greek word in this verse that the KJV translators rendered “Easter” is found many other times in the New Testament, and every other time it is translated “Passover.” This is the proper meaning of the word, which indicates that our modern concept of Easter was never in the original text.
In addition, this verse offers good proof that the early church did not celebrate Easter. Herod was killing Peter because it pleased the Jews (v. 3). Why would Herod concern himself with a “Christian” holiday by waiting to kill Peter if his goal was to please the Jews? Certainly, the Jews would have been even more pleased if Herod had killed Peter on one of the church’s special days. He waited until after the Passover to kill Peter because he was regarding the Jewish Passover.
Easter, as we know it today, does not exist in the Bible. Since this is the case, why would one celebrate Easter in honor of the Lord’s resurrection today? We will not be having an Easter Service this Sunday. As we have shown, such is without God’s authority. We will assemble and worship like we do every Sunday. We do not need a special day or a special service to give due regard to the resurrection of Jesus. We accomplish this every Sunday as the Scriptures authorize when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. Every Sunday is a special day and a special service. It is the Lord’s Day.