by Barrett Vanlandingham
March 27, 2018
On behalf of children everywhere, please restrain yourselves from telling the kids to go hunt Easter eggs you haven’t hidden yet just so you can say, “April Fools!!”
The last time Easter Sunday fell on April 1st was in 1998, and the next time will be in 2029. So if your 2-year old doesn’t get the joke this time, you can always try it again when they’re 13 (smile).
The floating date of Easter was decided long ago. In 325 A.D. Roman Emperor Constantine gathered 300 church leaders from several countries to have a meeting in Nicaea (in Turkey). Their discussions decided Easter should not coincide with a particular phase of the moon. This resulted in Easter being placed on or after the first day of spring (vernal equinox) on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring.
We can be sure that today’s Easter celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection take place during the correct season because Jesus ate the Jewish Passover meal the same week He was crucified. The Passover celebration always took place the same time of year.
On Thursday of that week, after Jesus and His disciples ate the Passover meal (aka: Last Supper), the Jewish supreme court, known as the Sanhedrin, had Jesus arrested and convicted on false charges. On Friday, the Romans crucified Jesus. Then, a wealthy member of the court who was a secret follower of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, got permission from the governor of Judea, Pilate, to take down Jesus’ body, wrap it, and place it in a “tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid” (Luke 23:53).
We do not know much about Joseph, except for his generosity that day, and the fact that he did not consent to the crucifixion (Luke 23:51). We can only presume that if word got out about who cared for Jesus’ body, Joseph would have faced great persecution, along with his helper and co-council member, Nicodemus.
Something tells me that when the events of Sunday came, those who believed in Jesus knew without a doubt that any trouble they faced in this life because of Jesus would have been worth it. The same is true today. Have a great week!