Sunday (March or April)
© Dr. Harvey Taylor
Easter itself is the 1st Sunday after the 1st full
moon after March 21st (the beginning of Spring), but many people include
the preceding Thursday and Friday in their celebration, as well as the
39th day afterward.
1) This holiday began in about 30 A.D. when Jesus Christ died and was
“resurrected” (came alive again). The following points describe the main
events that took place (in Jerusalem, Israel) according to the Bible. At
the bottom you will learn about other modern Easter traditions.
THE LAST SUPPER (THURSDAY)
2) When Jesus was about 33 years old, one Thursday evening he ate a
special Jewish meal with his 12 best friends (his “followers” or
“disciples”). Most Christians call this “The Last Supper” since it was the
last meal Jesus ate with these men before he died.
3) One of the men who ate this last supper was named Judas. He kept the
bag that held the money for the group. Judas, however, would often steal
money from the bag to use for himself.
4) At the supper Jesus said that one of those eating with him would turn
against him and help his enemies. Jesus then told Judas to go and quickly
do what he wanted to do. The other disciples thought that Jesus was
telling Judas to buy something or to give some money to poor people.
5) But Judas had already told the Jewish leaders that he would help them
catch Jesus, and so they had given him some money. He left the supper
early to guide them. (This is why anyone who turns against a friend is
called “a Judas.”)
6) Jesus often went with his 12 disciples to a big garden. Judas brought
soldiers to that garden so they could catch Jesus. From the garden the
soldiers took Jesus first to one group of leaders and then to some others.
7) The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem hated Jesus. They wanted him to be
killed the Roman way. Roman soldiers nailed non-Roman criminals to a
wooden cross and left them there until they died, but only the Roman
Government could sentence someone to this horrible death.
8) So the Jewish leaders took Jesus to the Roman governor named Pilate.
They told the people to call out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
9) Pilate knew that Jesus had not done anything wrong deserving a death
penalty. He wanted to let Jesus go free, but someone shouted that if
Pilate let Jesus go, Pilate would be helping an enemy of the Roman
Government. So Pilate agreed to have Jesus severely beaten and then
crucified (to be nailed to a wooden cross to die).
10) The soldiers made Jesus walk from the city carrying his own cross.
Jesus’ mother Mary and many other people followed Jesus to a hill. There
the Romans crucified Jesus between two criminals on their crosses.
11) Then, even though it was in the afternoon, the sky suddenly became
dark. Jesus called to God his father, and in a loud voice said that he was
giving his spirit into God’s hands. Then Jesus died.
12) Two other friends of Jesus took Jesus’ body down from the cross. They
wrapped it in some cloth and put it in a small cave (or tomb). Mary and
other women watched while soldiers rolled a large stone across the front
of the cave.
13) Jesus had said that after he died, he would come alive again. So the
Jewish leaders told Pilate that Jesus’ disciples might steal his body and
then say that he was alive again. Therefore, Roman soldiers watched the
14) Why is it called “good” Friday? Jesus died so God could forgive the
sins of the people in the world. For this reason his death was good for
other people. Christians of all kinds now call this day “Good Friday.”
15) Two days after Good Friday is Easter Sunday. The story of this Sunday
begins early in the morning with an earthquake. Then an angel came from
heaven and rolled the stone away from the front of the cave.
16) When the Roman guards saw that the cave was open and empty, they went
and told the Jewish leaders what had happened. The leaders gave the
soldiers a large amount of money so they would say that Jesus’ disciples
had taken Jesus’ body away while the guards were asleep.
17) A little later some women came to the cave. When they saw the angel,
they were afraid. He told them not to be afraid. He knew they were looking
for Jesus, but Jesus had come alive again. He had been resurrected.
18) The angel told them to go quickly and tell his disciples that Jesus
was alive and would meet them. Over the next few weeks Jesus was seen by
many of his followers. He taught them many things about the future.
19) In many languages of the world, the day of Jesus’ resurrection is
called “Resurrection Sunday.” It remembers the greatest miracle in the
Christian teaching — the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But in English it
is usually called “Easter Sunday.”
20) True Christians believe that this event actually happened. Without the
resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christianity has no real meaning. So this is
the most important day of the year for Christians.
21) One day, about five weeks after his resurrection, Jesus was talking
with many of his followers. While he was talking to them, he went up into
the sky — he “ascended into heaven.” And so, Christians around the world
celebrate the 39th day after Jesus’ resurrection as his “Ascension Day.”
22) Easter in North America and Europe has both Christian beliefs and many
non-religious customs. It is a happy Christian holiday mixed with other
modern customs that are not Christian.
23) Some early Christians thought that the hatching of a hen’s egg was
like the resurrection of Jesus from the cave. So on Easter Sunday boiled
eggs can have that special Christian meaning.
24) But most Easter eggs have no Christian meaning. Stores sell Easter
eggs made of chocolate or colored candy. Children in many countries color
boiled eggs just for fun. Pictures show an “Easter Rabbit” bringing
colored eggs to homes on Easter morning.
25) Both Christians and non-Christians send Easter greeting cards. Many
cards have pictures or words about the resurrection, an empty cross, the
women at the empty cave, etc. Other cards are about Easter rabbits,
colored eggs, baby chickens, and spring flowers.
26) On Easter Sunday children will look for colored eggs and eat candy,
while adults will buy spring flowers, wear new clothes, and enjoy the warm
sunny weather. And people around the world will sing Christian songs
during this special Easter holiday season.
HAPPY EASTER TO YOU!
(Other Easter resources:
Easter for Kids 中文;
Easter for Kids (English); article about
The Passion--with Emperor Kangxi's poem)