Perhaps you saw an article this week about a new book by a University of Cambridge professor in which he makes a case for the Last Supper that Jesus ate with the disciples being on Wednesday evening rather than the traditional “Maundy Thursday.” The writer attributes that difference to calendar differences between Jesus and the Jewish leaders, with the crucifixion still on “Good Friday.” F. LaGard Smith in The Daily Bible also puts the Last Supper on Wednesday evening, explaining that the Jews’ day actually starts sunset in what we would call the night before, so what we call Wednesday evening they would call the start of Thursday. Feel free to continue this study if you are interested, or if you just have trouble sleeping at night, and let me know what you come up with…
What I want to point out is that the Cambridge professor pinpoints a specific date for the resurrection (and therefore what we call Easter Sunday), saying it can be determined that it was April 5th. I suppose that if this became accepted (which I seriously doubt) people would begin celebrating Easter each year on April 5th, no matter what day of the week it fell on. Which would be unfortunate, because it would fall mostly on a day other than Sunday, the first day of the week, “the Lord’s Day” (see Revelation 1:10; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).
I recognize that dates are significant. Just forget your anniversary or your wife’s birthday one year. This week marked one month since Joyce’s father passed away. I remember my mother every year on September 14th, the date of her death in 1974, as well as her birthday in May and my father’s birthday in December. Yet there are two reasons why I hope this idea of celebrating Easter on a particular date each year does not catch on.
One is, I believe the Biblical teaching is that we should celebrate the resurrection every Sunday. I think that’s why we meet, to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, joyfully commemorating this incredible gospel through the Lord’s Supper and through our other activities as we assemble together. And secondly because, well, I like Easter Sunday! I like it that people think of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that this falls on a Sunday every year, and that people find encouragement during this time to “go to church” and worship the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. I’m grateful that hearts are turned to the Lord, and am thankful for the good that comes from that. Quite frankly I am grateful for anything that turns people’s attention to the incredible sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, “who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4). How can you not?