Biblical Counseling for Today’s Christian Family
“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said…”
– Matthew 28:5-6
The Christian Church in the Western world will celebrate Palm Sunday on April 1, 2012 and Resurrection Sunday a week later on April 8, 2012. “Easter” as it is commonly known, is an annually moveable holy day. March 21 is the earliest date, while April 25 is the latest. The rules for determining the actual day each year are complex and hardly known to Christians anywhere. The method is so complex that most seminary students forget the formula shortly after studying it in Bible College, Seminary or Divinity School. However, you may find the following resource helpful:
At the heart of the matter lies a very simple explanation. The early church fathers wished to keep the observance of Easter in correlation to the Jewish Passover. Because the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened after the Passover, they wanted Easter to always be celebrated subsequent to the Passover. And, since the Jewish holiday calendar is based on solar and lunar cycles, each feast day is movable, with dates shifting from year to year. Now, from here the explanation grows a little complicated.
Today in Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon date of the year. Over the course of history (beginning in 325 A.D. with the Council of Nicea), the Western Church decided to established a more standardized system for determining the date of Easter. In actuality, the date of the Paschal Full Moon is determined from historical tables, and has no correspondence to lunar events. Though modified slightly from its original form, by 1583 A.D. the table for determining the Ecclesiastical Full Moon dates was permanently established and has been used ever since to determine the date of Easter. Thus, according to the Ecclesiastical tables, the Paschal Full Moon is the first Ecclesiastical Full Moon date after March 20 (which happened to be the vernal equinox date in 325 A.D.). So, in Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon. The Paschal Full Moon can vary as much as two days from the date of the actual full moon, with dates ranging from March 21 to April 18. As a result, Easter dates can range from March 22 through April 25 in Western Christianity. (Source: christianity.about.com).
Regardless of the actual date, for Christians everywhere, the annual commemoration of the passion and resurrection of Jesus is the most holy of all Christian celebrations. The believer’s celebration begins with that great validating epoch of Jesus’ incarnation and culminates with His bodily resurrection. It is because of the resurrection of Jesus that believers can rejoice today. Jesus’ resurrection is the foundation upon which Christians place their hope. If there was no resurrection, Paul said, then our faith is not only a fallacy but believers would still be lost in sin (1 Corinthians 15). It is because of Jesus’ resurrection that we “…thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57, NLT). The resurrection truly makes the difference in every
The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.