Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

He Is Risen!

                It is Easter once again.  All of Christendom rejoices at this Easter season as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  A miracle took place on that first Easter morning more than two thousand years ago in Jerusalem.  It was a miracle so magnificent that words cannot fully describe its magnitude.  This day was long foretold by prophets and looked forward to by Saints of God on earth, and spirits waiting in spiritual prison on the other side of the veil.  Yet His disciples were in despair.

                Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles recently described the “crushing sense of defeat and despair [that] enveloped His disciples as Jesus suffered and died on the cross and His body was placed lifeless in the tomb.  Despite what the Savior had repeatedly said of His death and subsequent rising again, they had not understood.  The dark afternoon of His Crucifixion, however, was soon followed by the joyous morning of His Resurrection.  But that joy came only as the disciples became eyewitnesses of the Resurrection, for even the declaration of angels that He had risen was at first incomprehensible – it was something so totally unprecedented.

                “Mary Magdalene and a few other faithful women came early to the Savior’s tomb that Sunday morning, bringing spices and ointments to complete the anointing begun when the Lord’s body was hastily laid in the sepulcher before the approaching Sabbath.  On this morning of mornings, they were greeted by an open sepulcher, the covering stone having been rolled away, and two angels who declared:

                “`Why seek ye the living among the dead?
                “`He is not here, but is risen:  remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
                “`Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again’ (Luke 24:5-7).
                “`Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
                “`And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:6-7).

                “As bidden by the angels, Mary Magdalene looked into the tomb, but it seems that all that registered in her mind was that the body of the Lord was gone.  She hurried to report to the Apostles and, finding Peter and John, said to them, `They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcre, and we know not where they have laid him’ (John 20:2).

                “Peter and John ran to the place and verified that indeed the tomb was empty, seeing `the linen clothes lying … and the napkin, that was about his head, … wrapped together in a place by itself” (John 20:5, 7).  John apparently was the first to comprehend the magnificent message of resurrection.  He writes that `he saw, and believed,’ whereas the others to that point `knew not the scripture, that [Jesus] must rise again from the dead’ (John 20:8-9).

                “Peter and John left, but Mary remained behind, still in mourning.  In the meantime the angels had returned and tenderly asked her, `Woman, why weepest thou?  She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him” (John 20:13).  At that moment the resurrected Savior, now standing behind her, spoke, `Woman, why weepest thou?  Whom sleekest thou?  She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away” (John 20:15).

                “Elder James E. Talmage wrote:  `It was Jesus to whom she spake, her beloved Lord, though she knew it not.  One word from His living lips changed her agonized grief into ecstatic joy.  “Jesus said unto her, Mary.”  The voice, the tone, the tender accent she had heard and loved in the earlier days lifted her from the despairing depths into which she had sunk.  She turned, and saw the Lord.  In a transport of joy she reached out her arms to embrace Him, uttering only the endearing and worshipful word, “Rabboni,” meaning My beloved Master’ (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 681).
                “Elder Christofferson continued, “And so this blessed woman became the first mortal to see and speak to the resurrected Christ.  Later that same day He appeared to Peter in or near Jerusalem (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5); to two disciples on the road to Emmaus’ (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13-35), and in the evening to ten of the Apostles and others, appearing suddenly in their midst, saying, `Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself:  handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have’ (Luke 24:39).  Then to further convince them `while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered’ (Luke 24:41), He ate broiled fish and honeycomb before them (Luke 24:42-43).  Later He instructed them, `Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).”

                The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explained that the Resurrection of the Lord “completed the process of the Atonement that included His sinless life, His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His death on the cross.  The Resurrection assured immortality for all, and the blessed Atonement provided a pathway to exaltation for those who will adhere to His gospel principles.
                “At this sacred season, we solemnly testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of all the world.  We know that He lives!  We know that because He lives, we too shall live again….”

                I too testify that Jesus Christ is our resurrected Lord and Redeemer.  Because He overcame both death and sin, we can live again too and walk back into the presence of Heavenly Father.  We must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end of our lives.  He is risen!  

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