Easter also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah who would be persecuted, die for the sins of mankind, and rise on the third day. (Isaiah 53:1-5,12 and Jonah 1:!7).
This year Easter begins on April 1. The date changes annually and always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25. Orthodox Christians – predominantly in Russia and Greece – will celebrate the holiday in a week, on April 8.
It is commemorated on Sunday, and signifies the end of Holy Week, the end of Lent, the last day of the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday), and is the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year.
This is the real story of Easter – minus the Easter Bunny – beginning with the prophecy up until the ascension:
Isaiah 53:1-5: 1- Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 – For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 – He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 – But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Isaiah 53:12: Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
Jonah 1:17: And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.
Matthew 12:39-41 39- Jesus replied, “A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 – For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 – The men of Nineveh will stand at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now One greater than Jonah is here.
Matthew 16:21: From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Matthew 17:9: As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Do not tell anyone about this vision until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
John 2:18-19: 18 – On account of this, the Jews demanded, “What sign can You show us to prove Your authority to do these things?” 19 – Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”
Luke 24:45-47: 45 – Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46 – And He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 – and in His name repentance and forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.
Mark 14:27-28: Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
Mark 15:17-20: 17 -They dressed Him in a purple robe, twisted together a crown of thorns, and set it on His head. 18 – And they began to salute Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 – They kept striking His head with a staff and spitting on Him. And they knelt down and bowed before Him. 20 – After they had mocked Him, they removed the purple robe and put His own clothes back on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him.
Mark 15:24-27: 24 – And they crucified Him. They also divided His garments by casting lots to decide what each of them would take. 25 – It was the third hour when they crucified Him. 26 – And the charge inscribed against Him read: The King of the Jews. 27 – Along with Jesus, they crucified two robbers, one on His right and one on His left. 28 – And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.
Mathew 27: 61-65: 61 – Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. 62 – The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and Pharisees assembled before Pilate. 63 – “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was alive that deceiver said ‘After three days I will rise again.’ -64- So give the order that the tomb be secured until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal Him away and tell the people He has risen from the dead. And this last deception would be worse than the first.”
65 – “You have a guard,” Pilate said. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 – So they went and secured the tomb by sealing the stone and posting the guard.
Matthew 28:5-8: 5 – When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 – But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they laid Him. 7 – But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you. 8 – So they hurried away from the tomb in fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples.
Matthew 28:9-11: 9- Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” They came to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. 10 – “Do not be afraid, said Jesus. “Go, tell My brothers to go to Galilee. There they will see Me.” 11 – While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.
Matthew 28:12-15: 12 – After the chief priests had met with the elders and formed a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money. 13 – and instructed them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole His body while we were asleep.’ 14 – If this report reaches the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”. 15 – So the guards took the money and did as they were instructed. And this account has been circulated among the Jews to this very day.
Luke 24:50-52: 50 – And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51- While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 – And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 – and were continually in the temple praising God.
Acts 1:9-11: And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 – And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 – They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”