Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs or Jesus

It all began in early January shortly after the Christmas decorations had been removed. Suddenly Easter buns appeared.  Not long afterwards, chocolate eggs and chocolate rabbits wrapped in multi coloured foil appeared on Supermarket shelves and display areas.

This year  the commercialisation of Easter began in January in Australia.

How many people, particularly children understand the significance of Easter?

The Origin of Easter

There are many explanations given and many legends recorded about Easter.  Most agree that it had its origins in pre – Christian times.

The famous English Monk and Christian scholar, The Venerable Bede (672-723), in one of his books stated that Easter was named after Eostre (a.k.a. Eastre) an ancient goddess of the Saxon people in Northern Europe. Her name was derived from the ancient word for spring “eastre”. She was the goddess of fertility and springtime and her earthly symbol was the rabbit. The rabbit was considered to be Eastre’s earthly incarnation.

The giving and receiving of eggs is another custom that goes back thousands of years. It was the symbol of rebirth and was used in springtime celebrations of ancient people such as The Persians, the Egyptians, the Chinese, the Gauls and Romans long before the beginnings of Christianity.

The idea of the egg laying “Easter Bunny” was introduced to America by German settlers during the 1700’s. The real meaning of the German word “Hase” is “Hare”, so in fact the Easter bunny is really an Easter Hare not a rabbit.

Cild collecting Easter eggs

In legend the rabbit (or Hare ) brings baskets filled with coloured eggs . The children would build brightly coloured nests in the house or around the garden. The Easter Bunny would then lay brightly coloured eggs in the nests  for “good ” children to find on Easter Sunday.

When Christianity spread to many parts of the then known world, the giving of coloured eggs was incorporated into the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Many Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church still dye real eggs, the colour red , the colour of blood, to commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

 

The Christian Easter

In retrospect it may have been better if the early Church Fathers had not tried to “Christianize” pagan celebrations by adopting the name Easter. Jesus has been obscured by painted eggs and bunnies. Attention has been moved away from spiritual truths and directed towards commercialism and materialism. These things have nothing to do with Christ’s death and resurrection

Many church bodies recognize the problem and make every effort to keep the focus of Resurrection Sunday totally on Jesus Christ and the Good

Easter is the event upon which the whole Christian faith depends.  When Jesus was born , He fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies . By the time of his death and resurrection Jesus had fulfilled more than 300 prophecies. All these prophecies pointed to the fact that He was the promised Messiah that the Jews had expected. Unfortunately the Religious Leaders of the day did not see it that way. With the co-operation of the occupying Roman Army He was crucified on a cross with  a thief on each side crucified with Him.

Christ was crucified and resurrected during the Jewish Passover week ( See Exodus Chapter 12 ) Christians believe that Jesus was the substitute Passover Lamb spoken of in Exodus. He died and rose again that  all who believe in Him might have forgiveness of sins and inherit eternal life.

Have a happy and blessed Easter as you ponder its true meaning

Watch for my next Post ,  The Resurrection

Doctor Bill