Q: I’ve heard that many Seventh-day Adventists think that we shouldn’t make a big deal out of Easter weekend due to its pagan traditions. Why would Adventists think that we should mention the crucifixion and resurrection throughout the year but that we shouldn’t recognize that on Easter weekend? — David, from the United States
A: David, Seventh-day Adventists certainly recognize the importance of Christ’s death and resurrection as essential to our salvation. Without the cross, there would be no life, and if there is no resurrection, there is no hope (see 1 Cor. 15). These important topics are worthy of our contemplation, study, and preaching at any time of the year.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we not only look back to the cross, we also look up to heaven, where the resurrected Jesus is even now ministering as our High Priest in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. We also look forward to the soon coming of the triumphant Christ, coming with the hosts of heavenly angels to take us to live with Him forever!
It is interesting that the Bible does not refer to the day of Christ’s resurrection with any special name such as “Easter” or “Resurrection Day,” but simply as “the first day of the week” to identify which day of the week Jesus rose. In 1 Corinthians 15:4, Paul calls it “the third day” to remind his readers that it was a fulfillment of prophecy (see Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 24:46). Some of the challenges facing Christian believers regarding Easter are pagan influences and commercialization that have crept into Easter activities.
Historically, the celebration of Sunday as a special day for Christians appears to have begun with the celebration of Easter in the second century. The only commemoration of Christ’s resurrection authorized by Scripture is baptism (see Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21).
In many countries where Easter is highly featured, Seventh-day Adventist churches use that period as a time for evangelistic outreach to the community — in essence, Total Member Involvement. During Easter and all year long, let us Lift up Christ, His Word, His righteousness, His sanctuary service, His saving power in the great controversy, His three angels’ messages, His health message, His last-day mission to the world and His soon Second Coming.