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The Sound

The student news site of Gig Harbor High School

The Sound

The student news site of Gig Harbor High School

The Sound

Why Do We Celebrate Easter?


For many children, Easter is about a magical rabbit that brings little gifts and comes in the night, leaving behind jelly beans and marshmallows covered in sugar and eggs filled with candy. It’s represented by bunnies and bright, spring colors, birds singing and flowers blooming. For me, it means something a little bit more.

When I was in first grade, I woke up one Easter morning, thrilled to find a small gift basket, jelly beans, and my front yard covered with colorful eggs in every nook and cranny. Not only that, but the Easter bunny had eaten some of the carrots I’d left out! As my sister and I scrambled about collecting all the eggs, I couldn’t wait to collect and devour the candy inside. When our baskets were full, we began to open them, shaking each beforehand and identifying that the chocolate eggs made a deeper sound than the jelly beans, and so on and so forth. My sister shook one of her eggs and found that it made no sound, but when she opened it, she received a dollar!

You can imagine my excitement when one of my eggs likewise produced no sound, but when I opened it, I found nothing inside. In disappointment, I brought it to my mother and demanded to know why my sister’s egg had a dollar and mine was empty. That was when she planted a seed that grew into a very valuable lesson. “You have the best egg,” she told me, “Because the most important part of Easter is when Christ rose from the dead and Mary found the tomb empty. The empty egg is symbolic of the empty tomb.” I have learned that many of the things that we think of as ‘Easter’ are really just symbols of the greatest event in the history of the world. 

On Palm Sunday, two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ entered the gates of Jerusalem riding on a donkey, and the people of the city, “Took branches of palm trees and went forth to meet him and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel, the cometh in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13). Because they waved palm fronds, which were symbols of goodness and victory, the day that marked the beginning of the last week of Christ’s mortal ministry on Earth is known as Palm Sunday.

On Monday, Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem and, upon finding that the place of his Father’s worship was being used as a marketplace and not being treated with reverence and respect. In response to this, “Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves. And said unto them, It is written, my house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12-13). It’s important to Heavenly Father that we take care of important things. Just like neglecting the divinity of the house of God was something that Christ would not permit, he will never neglect us, because we are infinitely important to Him. Following the restoration of God’s house of worship, the sick and afflicted came to Jesus and he healed them.

On Tuesday, Jesus taught other people and prophesied his own death. “Veryly, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). Just like we cannot plant more wheat until the wheat has died, the atonement could not be complete until the Son of God suffered for all of our sins. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die” (John 12:32-33).

Wednesday was the day when one of Jesus’s disciples, Judas, was offered money in exchange for turning him in. “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought the opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude” (Luke 22:3-6). This was a horrible decision on his part that ended in extreme guilt and regret. It teaches us the importance of making good choices and being a good friend.

On Thursday, the fifth day, three extremely important events took place. First, the passover celebration, which was a tradition in remembrance of when the Jews were saved from the Angel of Death while in Egypt during Moses’s time. During this feast, Jesus predicted that one of the disciples was going to betray him and introduced them to the sacrament. “And as they did eat, Jesus took the bread, blessed it, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said unto them: This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many” (Mark 14:22-24).

Additionally, Jesus took his disciples aside and washed their feet. This was extremely significant and symbolic because washing feet was something done by a servant to his master, and Jesus was the Messiah, the teacher, the Son of God. He showed them, just like he showed us all later in the week, that even as Jesus Christ, loving one another and showing humility is so important. After he had performed this service for his disciples, he told them “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord, neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:13-17). To emphasize this, he gave us a commandment: the commandment to love one another. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). Just like he put himself in a lower position to serve others, we must also make sacrifices to show love to everyone. He has set the example for us. We can be kind to others that we don’t always agree with or are not always kind to us. We love others because he loved us first.

That night, Jesus went with his disciples to the garden of Gethsemane. He told Peter, James, and John to stay behind and keep watch while he went ahead. “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:41-44). At this time, Jesus suffered for all the sins of the world and felt all the pain of all those who will ever feel pain, sorrow, guilt, regret, etcetera. He knows every hard feeling that we will ever have because he has experienced it all himself, and while that was not something that was pleasant, he demonstrated incredible faith by telling Heavenly Father “not my will, but thine, be done.” And while what followed was not comfortable, and it was not fun, it was part of the greatest event in history, a testament of his perfect love and perfect understanding for us. 

Later that night, the disciple who had betrayed him, Judas Iscariot, came with the Romans and the Jewish leaders that he had been paid to betray Jesus to, and he was arrested.

On Good Friday, Jesus was brought to Pilate, a Roman authority, and demanded that he was guilty of calling himself a King above Caesar. “And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:3-4). The mob insisted that he was guilty, however, and so Pilate washed his hands of all responsibility and gave Jesus over to them.

Then began the crucifixion. Jesus Christ was whipped and tortured, crowned with thorns pressed to his head and nailed to a cross, where he was left there to hang until he died. His mother and friends watched while the chief priests mocked him.“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24). “And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into the hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:25-26). 

Jesus was then buried in a grave that was donated by another man. “And he bought find linen and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus beheld where he was laid” (Mark 15:46-47).

On Easter morning, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb of Jesus to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty, and she believed that his body had been stolen. She told the disciples, who came, saw for themselves, and left. However, Mary did not leave. “But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, and stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him” (John 20:11-13). When she said these things, she turned and found a man standing behind her, and, thinking he was the gardener, she asked him where Jesus had been taken. “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master” (John 20:16). Though resurrected, he had chosen to keep the scars on his wrists where he had been crucified as a reminder of his eternal love for us.

Many symbols of Easter that, as a child, I just thought were fun, are actually representations of very powerful, meaningful things. The rabbits, the flowers, the eggs and all the springtime colors are representative of new life, like he’s given us, but the empty egg is the most important of all. So, on that Easter morning when I received an empty egg and could not understand why this was a good thing, my mother helped me to understand it. I have learned that it was a symbol of the most incredible event in history. The egg was empty because the tomb was empty. The tomb was empty because He lives, and because he lives, we can all live again. Because he lives, death is not the end, we can try again and do better when we mess up, there is hope for the future always, and we will have someone who completely understands us to guide us at all times. Because of Him, an empty egg is made full with meaning and purpose, and an imperfect person can become better every single day. “But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).


Because of Him—Easter Video

About the Contributor
Maya Holmes
Maya Holmes, Writer
A freshman at Gig Harbor High School, Maya Holmes is a writer for The Sound. She is looking forward to recording the events and opinions of those at Gig Harbor. Holmes is a published author who loves to write, run, sing, spend time with family and friends, and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.