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In many parts of the world, Christians call Easter Pascha. It comes from the Hebrew word Pesach, which means to omit, bypass, or skip. In the Bible, it is usually translated as Passover.
You may remember that a few weeks ago, during my sermon on Luke 22:7, we looked at the relationship between Jewish Passover and Christian Pascha. They are closely connected.
For instance, the Last Supper was almost certainly a Passover meal; the crucifixion coincided with the Passover's ritual sacrifice; and, in 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul calls Jesus "our Passover lamb."
Rather than thinking of Easter as just one day that focuses on just one aspect of Jesus' experience--his being raised from the dead--Pascha reminds us that Jesus' resurrection is intimately connected with his death as well as with the history of God's people going back to Passover.
In fact, properly speaking, there is no Easter without Passover; there is no Easter without Good Friday; and there is no Easter without Christ's sacrifice and atonement. They all go together.
This Easter, as we share the joyful acclamation--"Alleluia, Christ is risen; the Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia"--let's remember at the same time that it's all because "Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us."
It's a somber note, but it helps us avoid the oversimplification that cheapens and distorts our understanding of Easter. It will mean the joy we share in Christ is grounded in the fullness of what he has done.