THE meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ’s victory over death, and for believers, His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him.
The meaning of Easter also symbolizes the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry.
If He had not risen from the dead, if He had merely died and not been resurrected, He would have been considered just another teacher or Rabbi. However, His resurrection changed all that and gave final and irrefutable proof that He was really the Son of God and that He had conquered death once and for all.
However, Easter did not always symbolize Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the meaning of Easter was quite different than what Christians celebrate today. The feast day of Easter was originally a pagan celebration of renewal and rebirth.
Celebrated in the early spring, it honored the pagan Saxon goddess Eastre. When the early missionaries converted the Saxons to Christianity, the holiday, since it fell around the same time as the traditional memorial of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, was merged with the pagan celebration, and became known as Easter.
The meaning of Easter was also changed to reflect its new Christian orientation. Today, the meaning of Easter, for millions of Christians, is that of honouring and recognizing Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and His glorious promises of eternal life for all who believe in Him.
That’s the theological part of Easter, but what does it mean to us as a nation? Tanzanians are beholden to brotherhood and a life of peace with each other.
Indeed, it’s quite easy to pick any pair of them in a foreign country; invariably, they will be speaking Kiswahili and possibly buying each other a drink – a gesture rare among other societies unless there’s a ‘real’ reason for buying that someone a drink. So as our Christian brothers and sisters celebrate the resurrection this Monday, let’s all toast to peace, the hallmark of this nation.