We have just come through the season of Passover and Easter here in Jerusalem, which is one of the most joyous times of the year because the story of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his Death, Burial and Resurrection, gets experienced and/or celebrated by tens of thousands of people in this city.
But there’s something else that also goes on at this time of year, as these two holidays have become a point of often fierce acrimony among Believers especially if, like in 2017, the dates for Easter and Passover coincide. It really hurts my heart a lot and I dare to speculate that it also DEEPLY grieves the Holy Spirit.
The commentary one hears most often in the course of these discussions can be summed up thusly;
“Easter is pagan! There’s no bunny in the Bible! Easter Eggs come out of pagan fertility rites. It’s a SIN to paint Easter eggs with your children! You’re leading them into HELL!!!! God HATES it when you do that!!
A corollary which often but not always accompanies these screeds is that Passover is a Biblical Feast and that’s what we’re commanded to observe and anyone who fails to do that isn’t really walking with the Lord and if they, instead (or even in addition) celebrate Easter, than they’re really messing up.
Implicit in all of this is that those people who make such statements feel themselves to be the TRUE followers of Yeshua who are, OBVIOUSLY, not only entitled but mandated to (ahem) inform, teach and instruct these other poor, misguided souls on the error of their ways.
I beg to call everyone’s attention to a passage of Scripture which speak DIRECTLY to this very issue.
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it simply DOES NOT get any more straightforward than that!
If the Bible tells us not to let anyone else judge us regarding these things, it’s quite logical to extrapolate that the Bible doesn’t want us to BE one of those people who judges other Believers for these things either.
So I am, with tears in my eyes, begging EVERYONE who might be reading this, to stop doing the Enemy’s job of accusing, scolding, hassling, and otherwise tearing down the Church of Jesus Christ over this nonsense.
Stop abusing each other. Stop hurting each other. Stop damaging each other.
Chocolate bunnies and painted boiled eggs are silly but harmless traditions that don’t do one single solitary BIT of harm to anyone. If a child grows up building happy memories of engaging in these activities with their parents and their friends at Church during the Easter season, it’s all to the good. It will create emotional bonds with these people which God can use to keep them open for the stuff that’s really important when they’re old enough to receive it.
If on the other hand children grow up in Church and end up thinking that it REALLY IS all about the chocolate bunnies and the painted hard boiled eggs, then that individual’s parents, pastor and Sunday School teachers have a lot to answer for, because they didn’t take advantage of the emotional bonds that stuff created to introduce that child to the really important stuff when the time came to do so.
As for Passover, yes it is mandated in Scripture.
But there have been TONS of artificial traditions added to what the Bible commands over the centuries (much of it influenced by various forms of paganism practiced by the inhabitants of the nations Jewish people found themselves living in after the Roman exile) and there are today literally hundreds of different Hagaddahs used in the Seder meal by various streams of Judaism, as well as in different languages, cultures, countries, etc. that include all kinds of nonsense that has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible.
So if you’re observing Passover by eating anything during your Seder meal that isn’t mentioned in connection with it in the Book of Exodus, or if you’re using almost ANY Hagaddah published in the last 1,800 years you’re almost certainly participating in traditions and activities that are just as un-Biblical and perhaps even “pagan” as anything you see being done in connection with Easter.
So it’s not only not your place to hassle your neighbor for painting boiled eggs and/or eating chocolate bunnies and jelly beans with their children at this time of year, you also have no moral/theological leg to stand on for the purposes of criticizing them about it.
The only thing you accomplish by doing that is to create strife, division, heartache, bitterness and anger within the Body of Messiah.
The Lord bless you.