Why do we have the Easter traditions that we generally all participate in year-after-year? Where did these traditions start and what do they symbolize?
Opening Song: “I Believe in Christ” Hymn #134
For Little Ones: We suggest the very simple lesson for little ones in the nursery manual, Behold Your Little Ones. Here is the link for the Easter lesson.
Christ’s last week of His mortal ministry: Excerpts from Church leaders on the events of this last week.
Riding on a young donkey in fulfillment of Zechariah’s ancient prophecy (see Zech. 9:9), he approached the temple on a path that the jubilant crowd lined for him with palm leaves, flowering branches, and some of their own garments, thus carpeting the way properly for the passing of a king. He was their king; these were his subjects. “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they shouted. “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matt. 21:9.)
Of course, that path so lovingly lined was soon to lead to an upper room and then to Gethsemane. (“Jesus, The Very Thought of Thee”, President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign: May 1993)
Passover & Last Supper (Tuesday)~
It began with the Paschal supper, or the Passover meal. Jesus made preparations for this meal in “a large upper room.” (Luke 22:12.) This Passover would officially close the requirement of animal sacrifices.
Jesus presided at this meal. That was significant because as the One who took the place of the family patriarch, He made a last symbolic sacrifice in preparation for the real sacrifice that He later offered. He understood this; the Apostles did not. By celebrating the Passover feast, He gave His endorsement to all those similitude, signs, and tokens of the past millennia that had prefigured His great sacrifice.
Significant, too, is the fact that the Son of God commenced His earthly ministry with an ordinance—baptism—and ended His ministry with an ordinance—the sacrament. Both bore record of His death, burial, and resurrection. (“Remembering the Savior’s Atonement”, Elder David B. Haight, Ensign, April 1988)
Atonement (Garden of Gethsemane)~
For children: Garden of Gethsemane story
Elder James E. Talmage
“Christ’s agony in the garden is unfathomable by the finite mind, both as to intensity and cause. … It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. No other man, however great his powers of physical or mental endurance, could have suffered so; for his human organism would have succumbed, and syncope would have produced unconsciousness and welcome oblivion. In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all the horrors that Satan, ‘the prince of this world’ could inflict. …
“In some manner, actual and terribly real though to man incomprehensible, the Savior took upon Himself the burden of the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of the world” (Jesus the Christ, 613).
Calvary & The
Elder James E. Talmage
“It seems, that in addition to the fearful suffering incident to crucifixion, the agony of Gethsemane had recurred, intensified beyond human power to endure. In that bitterest hour the dying Christ was alone, alone in most terrible reality. That the supreme sacrifice of the Son might be consummated in all its fulness, the Father seems to have withdrawn the support of His immediate Presence, leaving to the Savior of men the glory of complete victory over the forces of sin and death. …
“The period of faintness, the conception of utter forsakenness soon passed, and the natural cravings of the body reasserted themselves. The maddening thirst, which constituted one of the worst of the crucifixion agonies, wrung from the Savior’s lips His one recorded utterance expressive of physical suffering. ‘I thirst’ [John 19:28], He said. One of those who stood by, whether Roman or Jew, disciple or skeptic, we are not told, hastily saturated a sponge with vinegar, a vessel of which was at hand, and having fastened the sponge to the end of a reed, or stalk of hyssop, pressed it to the Lord’s fevered lips. …
“Fully realizing that He was no longer forsaken, but that His atoning sacrifice had been accepted by the Father, and that His mission in the flesh had been carried to glorious consummation, He exclaimed in a loud voice of holy triumph: ‘It is finished’ [John 19:30]. In reverence, resignation, and relief, He addressed the Father saying: ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit’ [Luke 23:46]. He bowed His head, and voluntarily gave up His life.
“Jesus the Christ was dead. His life had not been taken from Him except as He had willed to permit. Sweet and welcome as would have been the relief of death in any of the earlier stages of His suffering from Gethsemane to the cross, He lived until all things were accomplished as had been appointed” (Jesus the Christ, 661–62).
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)
“Only a God could bring about this miracle of resurrection. As a teacher of righteousness, Jesus could inspire souls to goodness; as a prophet, he could foreshadow the future; as an intelligent leader of men, he could organize a church; and as a possessor and magnifier of the priesthood, he could heal the sick, give sight to the blind, even raise other dead; but only as a God could he raise himself from the tomb, overcome death permanently, and bring incorruption in place of corruption, and replace mortality with immortality. …
“No human hands had been at work to remove the sealed door nor to resuscitate nor restore. No magician nor sorcerer had invaded the precincts to work his cures; not even the priesthood, exercised by another, had been brought in use to heal, but the God who had purposefully and intentionally laid down his life had, by the power of his godhead, taken up his life again. … The spirit which had been by him commended to his Father in Heaven from the cross, and which, according to his later reports, had been to the spirit world, had returned and, ignoring the impenetrable walls of the sepulcher, had entered the place, re-entered the body, had caused the stone door to be rolled away, and walked in life again, with his body changed to immortality, incorruptible—his every faculty keen and alert.
“Unexplainable? Yes! And not understandable—but incontestable. More than 500 unimpeachable witnesses had contact with him. They walked with him, talked with him, ate with him, felt the flesh of his body and saw the wounds in his side and feet and hands; discussed with him the program which had been common to them, and him; and, by many infallible proofs knew and testified that he was risen, and that that last and most dreaded enemy, death, had been overcome. …
“And so we bear testimony that the being who created the earth and its contents, who made numerous appearances upon the earth prior to his birth in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is resurrected and immortal, and that this great boon of resurrection and immortality becomes now, through our Redeemer, the heritage of mankind” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 17–18).
The Easter Bunny is not a modern invention. The symbol originated with the pagan festival of Eastre. The goddess, Eastre, was worshiped by the Anglo-Saxons through her earthly symbol, the rabbit.
The Germans brought the symbol of the Easter rabbit to America. It was widely ignored by other Christians until shortly after the Civil War. In fact, Easter itself was not widely celebrated in America until after that time.
The Easter Egg
As with the Easter Bunny and the holiday itself, theEaster egg predates the Christian holiday of Easter. The exchange of eggs in the springtime is a custom that was centuries old when Easter was first celebrated by Christians.
From the earliest times, the egg was a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or, if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or petals of certain flowers. Today, children hunt colored eggs and place them in Easter baskets along with the modern version of real Easter eggs — those made of plastic or chocolate candy.
Activity~ Dye Easter eggs and have a Easter egg hunt.
Prep Time: 10 min (not including thaw time)
Bake Time: 15 min
- 12 Rhodes Texas™ Rolls, thawed but still cold
- 12 jumbo marshmallows
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- In a small bowl combine cinnamon and sugar.
- Roll out each roll into a 5 inch circle.
- Dip a marshmallow in butter and then in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Place one marshmallow in the center of each 5 inch circle.
- Fold each side of the circle over the marshmallow, and pinch together to close.
- Place on a sprayed baking sheet, with the seam facing down.
- Cover with sprayed plastic wrap, and allow to double in size.
- Remove wrap and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
*For those of you who are interested in the symbolism of Resurrection Rolls* Marshmallow – the body of Jesus Melted Butter – the oils for embalming Cinnamon/Sugar mixture – spices used to anoint the body Roll- the wrapping of Jesus’ body Oven – the tomb Cavity in roll – the empty tomb after Jesus has risen.
Photo and recipe credits for Resurrection Rolls: RhodesBread.com.
Makes 24 (1 cupcake) servings.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 package (18 1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1 container (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
Flaked coconut (about 1 cup for each desired color)
Candies for decorating, such as jelly beans or gum drops (optional)
1. Prepare and bake cake mix as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool on wire racks. Frost cupcakes.
2. Place coconut in large resealable plastic bag. Squeeze food color into coconut (use 5 to 6 drops desired food color to 1 cup coconut). Shake until color is evenly distributed.
3. Sprinkle frosted cupcakes with tinted coconut. Decorate as desired with candies.
Our last thoughts: We hope that you have enjoyed the selection of talks and other works for this lesson on Easter week.
Be sure to check out all the links for the excerpts for more on the incredible talks on these great events. All that we posted, doesn’t even give these sacred topics justice.
Challenge yourself, family or FHE groups/wards to study these topics throughout this week in preparation for Easter Sunday.
Share your thoughts with us by leaving comments below.