Easter weekend is upon us and it’s the time when Christians around the world celebrate the most important element of the Christian faith—more than Christmas. It’s to commemorate the death, burial, and resurrection and Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  As Passover is one of the most holy times of the Hebrew culture, so it is for Christians.

The celebration showcasing the greatest love of God known to mankind coincides with the Hebrew festival of Passover, commemorating the miraculous deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt during the time of Moses in the Old Testament. It is taught that God used Moses as a deliverer to end the 400-year slavery of the Hebrews in Egyptian bondage. Plagues would come upon the kingdom to force Pharaoh to release the people of Israel. Moses told Pharaoh that Israel was God’s firstborn son, and if the people weren’t released, God would touch Pharaoh’s firstborn son. Plague after plague hit the Egyptian kingdom, and the ruler would not move from his position. God then lowered the hammer as He initially promised, and all the firstborn of Egypt, including those among cattle, would die.

God directed Moses to tell Israel to take the blood of a first-born lamb who would stand in the place of the firstborn of each family, place that blood around the doors of their homes, and remain inside until the morning after the death angel would come through the kingdom. They would then leave Egypt. This meant that the Lamb’s death would count as the Hebrew firstborn’s death, and spare that child’s life. Death had to move on to another home, for in this case, there already was the life taken at that home.

The New Testament of the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the Great Deliverer Whom Moses foreshadowed. His death was like that Passover Lamb’s death.  It counts for all of humanity, and the death that occurred in Egypt in every family represented the death that all mankind must face due to our sin that separated us from God.  The bondage of sin, like the slavery in Egypt, is broken by Christ’s death on the cross that occurred 2,000 years ago on the same day that Passover occurred in Egypt. To walk through the doors of the Hebrew homes surrounded with blood is to enter the death of Jesus Christ by baptism. And once “inside Christ’s death,” so to speak, the penalty of death for sin is paid for the sinner, to not be lost for eternity due to sin. We remain in Him until one glad morning to come.

Though that smear of lamb blood on the outside of their doorways was thin, the power of God would honour their faith and obedience and not allow death to enter their homes and take their firstborn. By faith, they remained inside, confident that God would protect them on Passover night.

Similarly, Christians believe that the power of the blood of Jesus, representing His death for their salvation, is enough to protect them from eternity without God and the loss of their souls to a devil’s hell.

 Jesus Christ’s Resurrection then occurred three days after Passover Day, and that also corresponded to the Hebrew festival of Firstfruits, when the first harvested grain was showcased and dedicated to God in the spring on the day after Sabbath (Saturday) during Passover, to indicate the first of many more harvests would take place. Because of their freedom from Egypt following their subsequent “Exodus,” Israel would have their own crops to harvest.

Jesus experienced death on the same day that Passover is celebrated by the Israelites. He also resurrected the same day that the Feast of Firstfruits is celebrated by Israelites, to indicate that His resurrection from the dead represents the first of many others who resurrect into both a newness of life, blessed by God, as well as the future resurrection from the graves that will take place at the second coming of Jesus Christ to take saints to glory for all eternity. Christ’s resurrection is like the first of all the grains to be harvested later.

Just as Christ rose from the dead on the third day after He was crucified, so Israel left Egypt and would celebrate and worship God for their freedom on the third day in sacrifice to God for thanks (Exodus 3:18). The New Testament teaches that Christians are freed from sin by “co-resurrecting” with Jesus from the dead when they are saved from sin to walk in a new life (Romans 6:3-6), no longer separated from God by sin, in a born-again experience.

Resurrection Sunday is the holiest celebration that Christians not only honour on Passover/Easter weekend but every day.

There are many churches in Portage la Prairie and all are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend.