If you grew up in the Christian church, you may have observed that churches have some interesting ideas about why Jesus Christ came and what his purpose was. I would like to defer to Jesus’ own teaching regarding his purpose for coming, which can also help to explain the context for Easter as well as the various Christian holidays of the year.
Jesus said that he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. This would mean that we don't have life and that Jesus is coming to bring us life. Hopefully, then, in some way we will be resurrected from the state of death to the state of life. Jesus’ own explanation as to why he came is an amazing metaphor for Easter. Basically, Jesus is saying that we are like dead people, zombies. Even though we raise families, go to work and feed ourselves, we are not really alive without the spirit. Jesus represents the spirit, and his reason for coming is to bring us to life and awaken us: his verbal teachings, sacrifice on Good Friday, metaphysical actions, and all the things he did were to that end.
Unfortunately, the churches haven't done their job and taught in the way that Jesus himself instructed. Instead of reflecting his exact meaning and points, they are reemphasizing nonessential issues. When we begin to understand his teachings correctly, we will be able to enter into Christ's spirit and receive his blessings. His teachings, whether physical rupa teachings, such as his oral transmission, or spiritual blessings of the Holy Spirit, are to bring us to life.
In a proper church we should study the scriptures, learn Jesus’ verbal statements and try to understand them. Some are secondary teachings on how to be a good person. Others are esoteric teachings of the mystical reality of the universe and our relationship with God. Some are cloaked in metaphor or parable, but again, those teachings are to awaken us to this new life and revive us out of this zombie-like death state that we are in. These are Jesus' own words.
Good Friday—the death of Jesus, the crucifixion of Christ—is the sacrifice of the rupa or form. Our most prized possession is our body, and he was willing to offer that and show the ultimate unimportance of that body. Now we come to what may be a touchy subject, but provocativeness can be good. What does Easter represent? It doesn't really represent the resurrection of that body. It represents that despite the crucifixion of the physical Jewish carpenter man that occurred on Good Friday, spiritually Christ lives on and that event didn't really kill him. There was no death in an ultimate sense.
Jesus taught in many different ways. He gave verbal teachings, which we commemorate on Exposition Day. Good Friday is a physical rupa teaching of Christ, where he gave his own body and it's gone. It's emptiness now, but that emptiness is inseparable from the fact of eternal spirit, and this is exemplified in Easter. The metaphysical teaching of Christ begins in full force on Easter. However, it's important to understand that Christ came back no longer limited to the ordinary body of the Jewish carpenter with a beard, but instead wielding a body as a metaphysical display.
The disciples have already been introduced to metaphysical realities through various healings and even the bringing back to life of Lazarus. Even though these acts have already been done, the disciples are still not able to fully comprehend metaphysical reality.
Even if the raising of Lazarus or miracles are performed, those in and of themselves are not necessarily the complete lesson. Usually teachings have to be repeated many times for people to understand. The disciples couldn't really penetrate the full meaning, even with Jesus standing right in front of them, because their samskaras, their thought forms of reality, were too stiff. How about us? Would we able to see Jesus if he were standing right in front of us?
Easter is the most famous of the metaphysical holidays, but remarkably, it's not the most important. Jesus shows how to express properly sunyata, emptiness and form, through his teaching of how to have life. He demonstrates it in rupa ways, through teaching orally and by dying on the cross, and then he teaches it in metaphysical ways by coming back to life in a new body, and through the Ascension and the Pentecost.
These Christian holidays are equally important and meaningful. The spirit of Christ is going to come into the disciples. It hasn't really touched them yet. Even though Jesus has risen, they continue to have obscurations. Jesus has not finished his teaching on Easter, and there are more incredible metaphysical teachings still awaiting. These special days are yet to occur.
May all beings be benefited and blessed, and may they have life and have it more abundantly.