Upper Seneca Baptist Church
Friday, April 28, 2017
Our Mission: To Re-Present Jesus Christ In Our Community And Beyond
When is Easter
Have you ever wondered why each year, Easter falls on a different date?
Unlike Christmas, which occurs on the same date every year, December 25th. Well, let me walk you through a historical and Biblical journey as we solve this profound mystery of differing dates for Easter.
In the early New Testament time period, the historian Eusebius, documented and recorded the celebration of Easter as observed by Jesus’ apostles. Once such verse that points to this celebration of Easter is found in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 which reads, “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
As one continues to search the historical records, we see that early Christians celebrated Easter at the time of the Passover. It was during the Jewish observance of Passover, that Christ was crucified upon the cross. Therefore, these early Christians preserved the observance of Christ’s death and resurrection that corresponded to the Jewish Passover. However, as time progressed and Christianity began to flourish around the world, the specific observance date for Easter began to shift and became inconsistent and was celebrated at different times throughout the year. The Catholic Church in A.D. 325, at the Council of Nicea, decided to bring some uniformity to the date that churches should observe Easter. This Council declared that all churches should celebrate Easter on the same Sunday. However, the Council did not specify which Sunday and once again, this lead to confusion. By the seventh century, it was uniform for churches to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon that comes on or after the vernal equinox.
The vernal equinox occurs on March 21st. This new method to calculate the date for Easter, means that Easter can occur on any Sunday from March 22nd through April 25th. Therefore, here is how the date is calculated. The vernal equinox is March 21, 2017, the first full moon after March 21, 2017 is April 11, 2017, and the first Sunday following the first full moon after March 21, 2107 will be April 16, 2017. There you have it! Although Christian churches will be celebrating Easter on April 16th, Easter should never be a one-time event to reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice that Christ paid upon the cross. Psalm 34:1 reminds the believer that God’s praise should be continuous. It reads, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”