Easter is the most important day of the year for Christians. It's the day they believe God raised Jesus from the dead after he was crucified on the cross 2,010 years ago.

Tens of thousands celebrated the day at the nation's largest church in Houston.

Nearly 16,000 people packed into the arena sized Lakewood Church for the 11a.m. Easter service, one of three for the day.

Easter marks the end of the 40-day season of lent and ranks above Christmas in religious significant and importance.

Last year, 61,000 people listened to Pastor Joel Osteen give Easter services at Lakewood.

This year's Easter message was about carrying on Jesus' legacy of compassion and love.

"As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, one thing we see is how Jesus went before us and paved the way to victory," Osteen told the packed arena-turned-church audience.

Osteen also touched on the traditional message.

"[Jesus] was crucified on the cross, they buried him in a grave and on the third day he came out of that grave and he said, 'because I live you can live also,"' said Osteen.

As a day when even mildly religious people attend church, nearly a third of the crowd raised their hands when asked who was visiting. But everyone was in the mood to be inspired and to share that inspiration.

"Jesus is the answer. It doesn't matter if you're deaf, it doesn't matter if you're crippled, it doesn't matter if you're sick spiritually, physically, financially, he is the answer," said Diane Carter, a sign language translator who translates the services.

This is Lakewood's first Easter as owners of its current church building. Earlier this week the Houston City Council approved the sale of the former Compact Center to Lakewood. The church has leased the facility for the past nine years.
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