Easter Sunday is the grand finale of the Holy Week. It is the day on which the Christian Church celebrates the resurrection of Christ, the Messiah. It is significant that the day of resurrection is also the day First Fruits in the biblical Jewish calendar. It falls in the first month of the biblical year, the month of Nisan. -The month of Passover.
The Exodus text sets out the commemoration of the Passover. This was to be one of the three most important commemorative sacraments in the biblical calendar. The Passover is the first most significant time in the biblical calendar (Exodus 23:14). God says to Moses and Aaron, “on the tenth of this month they (the people) are to take a lamb for each family.” This pure lamb was to be sacrificed as the Passover offering on the 14th day at about 3:00 PM, around the evening time of sacrifice. It is significant that Jesus was sacrificed on the second day of Passover, and at precisely the time when the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed, “Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.” (Matt. 27:45-50). At the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, John the Baptist pointed at him and exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
The second most significant time in the biblical calendar is the Day of First Fruits (Exodus 23:16). It is interpreted that this is the day when the Exodus community was provided resurrection from the Sea of Reeds, though Pharaoh and his army sought to kill them on the shores of the Sea. (Exodus 14). This day always fell on the Sunday of the Passover week. On this day, the people were supposed to bring the First Fruits offering from the ground- the resurrection offering from the ground (Leviticus 23:9-15). It is significant therefore, that on this very day, Jesus the Messiah rises from the dead. This is how the early church, the first followers of Jesus understood his resurrection. It became the most crucial encounter, and foundation of Christianity. For this reason, Paul exclaimed, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile . . . but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead- the First fruits.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-20).
The third most significant time in the biblical calendar is the fall Ingathering, during the seventh month of the biblical year (Exodus 23: 16; Leviticus 23:23-36). The Ingathering begins with the blowing of the Trumpets on the first day of the month. The most holy time is the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the month, when the Yom Kippur animal was sacrificed for the sins of the whole community. It is significant that Jesus the Messiah became both the Passover sacrifice, as well as the Yom Kippur sacrifice, in one person. In doing so, He enveloped the whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament in his own person. There is one crucial difference- he did not remain dead. He rose from the dead, as the First Fruits. His resurrection became the foundation of the Gospel. The early Christians exclaimed, “He is Risen! He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! This has always been the cornerstone of the first Christians, and will always be the cornerstone of the Christian Church. Hallelujah! Christ is Risen from the dead, the First Fruits!