Messianic Judaism and Easter

This celebration of Easter rarely comes up in Messianic circles. There are people who criticize Easter in the same way they criticize Christmas. They carry on about pagan influences in these holidays and criticize those who celebrate Christmas or Easter and the need to get back to what is biblical. I do admit that I love Christmas music and the lights. They are beautiful. I don’t really find much appealing about Easter, but I do like chocolate bunnies and peeps.

Messianic Judaism doesn’t really celebrate Christmas or Easter. We respect our Christian friends who do, but Messianic Judaism is a Judaism, not Christianity with Jewish window dressing. We remember the birth of Yeshua either at Chanukah, or at Sukkot. We celebrate the death, burial and Resurrection of Yeshua in conjunction with Passover.

Normally this is not an issue, but this year, because it is a leap year on the Jewish calendar, Easter coincided with Purim, not Passover. Purim is a happy, joyous, festive occasion, but not as well suited to coincide with the Resurrection of Yeshua as is Passover. Because of the overlapping of the holidays, people found it strange that we were “partying” while they were being more somber.

The way to understand what is going on, is that we are working off of two different calendars. We mean no disrespect for the Christian Holy Days, but we are operating according to the Jewish calendar, and when the holy days fall according to that calendar.

The Gregorian calendar was devised based on the birth of Yeshua from the vantage point of the Church. The Jewish calendar was figured by Jewish reckoning from the day of creation. Both are probably not accurate, but they are the calendars their respective communities have elected to use. This is why Rosh Hashanah falls on different dates on the Gregorian calendar each year. For that matter, Chinese New Year falls on different dates from the Gregorian calendar for the same reason.

Recently, a Christian friend sent me a note, expressing his confusion because we were rejoicing and celebrating for Purim during Christian “Holy week,” which is more somber preceding the observance of the Resurrection. To Him, they were remembering Yeshua’s suffering and death, and we were throwing a party. I reminded him that for us, the commemoration of the Resurrection of the Messiah is not celebrated for another month, and it would be wrong to make an erroneous connection that we are either ignoring the resurrection, or partying on the eve of a somber day.   Messianic Jews and Christians are indeed brethren in the Messiah, but the way we worship and live out our faith may be different. The important thing is that we respect one another with our differences. Colossians 2:16 says, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,”

I respect and wish a blessed holy day to my Christian friends, and I know they wish the same for me on Jewish Holy Days.



6 thoughts on “Messianic Judaism and Easter

  1. As usual, you are right on point, and you have stated the situation lovingly and thoughtfully as usual.

    I would like, however, to pose a question: Given that we should respect each other’s choices as to times of celebration and/or remembrance, should we actually participate in, say, an Easter celebration when we know full well the timing and general atmosphere are wrong? By this, I mean should we get to church, celebrate the Easter Bunny, and all that, either voluntarily or if we are encouraged or pushed into it by a Christian friend? I say no. if that situation should occur we should lovingly decline to participate. Opinions?

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