בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לזְּמַן הַזֶּה.

Bārūch atāh Adonai Elohênū melekh ha`ôlām šeheḥeyānû veqîmānû vehigî`ānû lazman hazeh

Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who hast given us life and sustained us and brought us to this season

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Readings for Easter Sunday

 

Episodes

  • The Women and the Empty Tomb (Mark 16:1–8; parallels Matthew 28:1–10; Luke 24:1–11)
  • Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the Beloved Disciple at the Tomb (Luke 24:12; John 20:1–10)
  • Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord (John 20:11–18; Mark 16:9–11[Longer Ending])
  • Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–35; Mark 16:12–13[Longer Ending])
  • First Appearances to the Disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36–48; parallel Mark 16:14[Longer Ending]; John 20:20–25)
  • Jesus Later Appears to Thomas (John 20:26–29)
  • The Purpose of the Gospel according to John (John 20:30–31)

 

 William-Adolphe Bouguereau, "Women at the Tomb"

The Women at the Tomb: Mark 16:1–8; Matthew 28:1–15; Luke 24:1–11

Because of the important contributions of each of the Synoptic accounts of the empty tomb, we have included all three here. The earliest account from Mark is also—at least in the most secure manuscript traditions—the shortest, leaving the women who came to the tomb fleeing it amazement. Matthew’s version provides the additional detail of an angel descending to remove the stone that blocked the tomb’s entrance, frightening the guards. It also records an appearance of the Risen Lord as the women went to tell the other disciples that the tomb was empty. In many ways Luke’s is the most refined, and it also includes an element that we will see is common to John’s account, that of Peter’s visit to the empty tomb.

See the discussion in Greater Love Hath No Man, 212–218.

Mark

16

1Now when the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. 2Then very early in the morning on the first day of the week, after the sun had risen, they came to the tomb. 3They began to say to each other, “Who will remove the stone from the entrance of the tomb for us?” 4Yet when they looked up, they saw that the stone—which was very large—had already been dislodged. 5Then after they had gone into the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a long white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen and is not here! See the place where they laid him. 7Now go, tell his disciples, and Peter, that he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8Then, having gone out of the tomb, they fled, for they were out of their wits with amazement, and they did not say anything to anyone, because they were afraid.

 

Matthew

28

 1After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week dawned, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2Then look, a great earthquake occurred! For an angel of the Lord, who had descended from heaven and come to the tomb, dislodged the stone and sat on top of it. 3Now his face was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4The men who were on guard were shaken out of fear of him, and they became like dead men. In response, the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here, for he has risen just as he said. Come, see the place where he lay! 7Now go quickly and tell his disciples that he has been raised from the dead, and look, he is going ahead of you into Galilee! There you will see him. Look, I have told you!”

8Then after they had quickly left the tomb, with both fear and great joy they ran to make the proclamation to his disciples. 9Then look, Jesus met them, saying “Rejoice!” When they came up to him, they took hold of his feet and worshipped him. 10Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go, proclaim to my brothers that they should go to Galilee. There they will see me.”

11Now as they were going, look, when some of the guard had gone into the city, they reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12After the chief priests had gathered with the elders and made a plan, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13saying, “This is what you should say: When his disciples came during the night, they stole him while we were sleeping,’ 14and if this is heard by the governor, we will reassure him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So after they had taken the money, they did as they had been directed, and this story has been spread widely among the Jews until today.

 

Luke

24

 1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices that they had prepared. 2Then they found that the stone had been dislodged from the tomb. 3Yet when they entered it, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were uncertain as to what this meant, look, two men in gleaming clothing suddenly stood near them. 5Now while the women were afraid and were bowing their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why are you looking for one who is alive among the dead? 6He is not here but has risen! Remember what he said to you when he was still in Galilee, 7saying, ‘The Son of Man must be handed over into the power of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’” 8Then they remembered his predictions.

9When they had returned from the tomb, they proclaimed all these things to the Eleven and all the others. 10Now they were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them—they told the apostles, 11but these reports seemed to them to be nonsense, and they refused to believe them. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb, but when he stooped down to look, he only saw the linen wrappings. Then he went home, wondering to himself about what had happened.

 

Harry Anderson, "Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord"


Mary Magdalene, the Empty Tomb, and the Risen Lord: John 20:1–18

John’s account of the events at the empty tomb that first Easter morning is different enough to warrant particular attention. First, it portrays Mary of Magdala coming to the tomb alone, without the other women. She informs the male disciples, which leads Peter and the Beloved Disciple to come to the tomb (although we have seen that Luke preserves an independent memory of Peter visiting the burial site). Second, it records the moving encounter of Mary with the Risen Lord, a unique scene with particular power and significant interpretive potential.

See the discussion in Greater Love Hath No Man, 218–224.

John

20

1On the first day of the week, early in the morning Mary of Magdala came to the tomb when it was yet dark, and she saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2She ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

3So Peter and the other disciple set out and came to the tomb. 4Now the two had been running together, but the other disciple ran more quickly than Peter and arrived at the tomb first. 5After he had stooped down to look, he saw the linen wrappings lying there, though he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who had been following him, arrived, went into the tomb, and saw the linen wrappings lying there 7as well as the face cloth, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who had arrived at the tomb first, also went in, and he both saw and believed, 9for they had not known before this time the scripture that he must rise again from the dead. 10Then the disciples went back to where they had been staying.

11Mary, however, remained standing there outside the tomb, mourning. As she mourned, she stooped to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you mourning?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

14After she had said these things, she turned herself around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you mourning? Whom are you looking for?” She, thinking that he was the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” After she turned towards him, she said in Aramaic, “Rabbouni!” that is to say, “My Master!” 17Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to me! I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God.’

18Mary of Magdala went, proclaiming to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord” and the things he had said to her.

 

 J. Kirk Richards, "Road to Emmaus"

Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus: Luke 24:1335

Unique to Luke is the episode about two disciples who encounter the Risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. This account is significant because, like the story about Mary of Magdala, it emphasizes the witness of everyday disciples rather than just the special apostolic witnesses of the remaining members of the Twelve.

See the discussion in Greater Love Hath No Man, 224–28.

Luke

24

13Now look, that same day two of them were traveling to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and they were talking together about all these things that had happened. 15Then it came about that while they were talking together and discussing it, Jesus himself, after he had come up to them, started walking with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17He said to them, “What are these things that you are discussing as you walk along?” Then they stood still, looking downcast. 18One of them, Cleopas by name, said to him in response, “Are you only a visitor in Jerusalem, one who does not even know what has happened these past days?”

19Then he asked them, “What sort of things?” They answered him, “All about Jesus from Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in deed and in word before God and all the people. 20Also, how our chief priests and rulers handed him over to a death sentence and crucified him, 21but we had been hoping that he himself was about to redeem Israel. Yet as it happens, it is now the third day since all these things happened. 22But now, some women from our group have confused us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning 23and did not find his body there, they came back, telling us they had even seen a vision of angels, who told them that he was alive! 24And some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and they found it just as they women had described, but they did not see him.”

25Then he himself said to them, “O, how foolish you are and slow in heart to believe all the things that the prophets have declared! 26Didn’t the Christ need to suffer these things to enter into his glory?” 27Then, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he began to explain everything about himself in the scriptures.

28Then they came up to the village where they had been heading, but he walked as if he would go farther. 29But they prevailed upon him, saying, “Please stay with us, because it is nearly evening and the day is waning.” So he went inside to stay with them. 30And it came about that while he was reclining at dinner with them, after he took some bread, he blessed it, and after he broke it, he gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. 32So they said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us as he spoke to us along the road, and as he opened up the meaning of the scriptures to us?”

33Getting up that very hour, they returned to Jerusalem and found the Eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34who told them, “The Lord has arisen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35And these men, for their part, related all the things that had transpired along the road, and especially how he was recognized by them in the breaking of bread.

 

Carl Bloch, "The Doubting Thomas"


First Appearances to the Disciples in Jerusalem: Luke 24:36–49; John 20:19–31

Only Luke and John provide accounts of a visit later that day to the disciples. In both versions he gives them tangible proof that he has bodily risen from the dead.

See the discussion in Greater Love Hath No Man, 228–232.

Luke

24

36Then, while they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood in the middle of them and said to them, “Peace be with you!” 37But they, alarmed and frightened, thought they were seeing a spirit. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why are doubts arising in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet, how it is really me! Touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40After he had said this, he presented his hands and feet to them.

41While they could hardly believe it because of their joy and were still marveling, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42So they gave him a piece of broiled fish. 43After he picked it up, he ate it in front of them. 44Next he said to them, “This is the meaning of the sayings that I spoke to you while I was still with you, how all that was written about me in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened up their minds so that they could understand the scriptures. 46He told them, “Thus it was written that the Christ must suffer and rise again on the third day 47and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, starting in Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49Look, I am sending what my Father has promised to you, but stay here in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

 

John

20

 19When it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, and when the doors of the room were shut where the disciples were because of fear of “the Jews,” Jesus came, stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy because they had seen the Lord! 21So he said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father sent me, I also am sending you.” 22After he had said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23Whosever sins you forgive will be forgiven for them; whosever sins you retain will be retained.”

24Yet Thomas, one of the Twelve, who was called “the Twin,” was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord!” He said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand in his side, I will never believe.”

26Then eight days later the disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were shut, Jesus came, stood in the middle of them, and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Bring your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand here and put it in my side. Stop being unbelieving but be believing!” 28Thomas responded and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Fortunate are those who do not see yet believe.”

30Now there were many other signs that Jesus performed in the presence of his disciples, which have not been written in this book. 31But these have been written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Easter or "Resurrection" Sunday

Risen with Healing in His Wings


Carl Heinrich Bloch, The Resurrection (Wikmedia Commons)
 
Because Easter is not a biblical term (and has pagan origins), some suggest that "Resurrection Sunday" would be a better term.  The actual word "Easter" only appears once in the King James Bible, at Acts 12:4, where is is better translated as "Passover." So significant was the event of that Sunday morning that Christians since have celebrated it as "the Lord's Day," and it has become our weekly sabbath, replacing the Saturday of the Old Testament. Still, for millennia the term "Easter" has come to be synonymous with resurrection, hope, and the joyful refrain "He is risen!" 

With the rays of the morning sun, the agony of Thursday, the pain and grief of Friday, and the separation of Saturday suddenly melted away in the joy of the first Easter.  For millennia the term “Easter” has come to be synonymous with resurrection, hope, and the joyful refrain “He is risen!”  So significant was the event of that Sunday morning that Christians since have celebrated it as “the Lord’s Day,” and it has become our weekly Sabbath, replacing the Saturday of the Old Testament.  As a result, while the week leading up to and including Easter is a wonderful time to commemorate and reflect upon the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is something we celebrate as a church family every week. Indeed, the covenants that we renew each Sunday enjoin us to remember him always.
The Herodian family tomb west of the Old City provides an idea of what Joseph of Arimathea's tomb would have looked like
The accounts of the resurrection in the four gospels serve as the foundation of our understanding of the rise of our Lord from the tomb.  They paint for us a dramatic story as the women found an empty tomb and heard the testimony of angels. The story crescendos as Peter and John confirm that the tomb was empty.  First Mary, then the other women, and then two disciples converse with Jesus on the way to Emmaus.  Finally the ten of the remaining eleven apostles see the Risen Lord.  These and subsequent appearances confirm that Jesus in fact rose from the dead “with healing in his wings,” and though he ascended again into heaven, the gospels leave us with the assurance that in a very real way he remains here with us.  (From God So Loved the World, 107–108)



Scriptural Accounts: Matt 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20:1–18


William Bouguereau, The Three Marys at the Tomb, 1876.

Episodes for Personal Study

  • The Women and the Empty Tomb (Mark 16:1–8; parallels Matthew 28:1–10; Luke 24:1–11)
  • Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the Beloved Disciple at the Tomb (Luke 24:12; John 20:1–10)
  • Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord (John 20:11–18; Mark 16:9–11[Longer Ending])
  • Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–35; Mark 16:12–13[Longer Ending])
  • First Appearances to the Disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36–48; parallel Mark 16:14 [Longer Ending]; John 20:20–25)
  • Jesus Later Appears to Thomas (John 20:26–29)
  • The Purpose of the Gospel according to John (John 20:30–31)
  • For my fresh translation of the day's texts, see Readings for Easter Sunday

Holy Week Lectionary: A collation of the New Testament gospel texts for each day from Palm Sunday to Easter morning.

For a complete document with all of my translation of the critical Holy Week and resurrections texts, go to Celebrating Holy Week through a New Look at the Gospel Texts




 

Suggestions for Families

  • If using an Easter Wreath, light the purple, red, and finally, the white Easter candle.
  • Read one of the resurrection stories, such as Luke 24:1–12. Then bear testimony of the resurrection; sing “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” (hymn no. 200), “He Is Risen” (no. 199), or “Jesus Has Risen” (Children’s Songbook, 70); and have family prayer.
  • Read or sing C. Austin Miles’ “In the Garden,” which recounts the experience of Mary of Magdala at the empty tomb (see discussion below).
  • Talk about the reactions of the different characters to the evidence provided them that first Easter: the stone rolled away, the empty tomb, the witness of angels, and finally appearances of the Risen Lord. How do we react to the news of the resurrection of Jesus? How does our testimony start with small evidences, is reinforced by the witness of others, and finally solidified by personal revelation?

 

Ideas, Traditions, and Activities for Younger Children

  • Traditional Easter activities, such as egg hunts and gathering Easter candy are not out of harmony with the spirit of Easter as long as the spiritual focus comes first and the “fun” second. Make an effort to explain some Easter symbolism, such as eggs representing the tomb, the new birth of resurrection, etc.
  • Charles Colson et al., “The Resurrection,” Christ in Easter, [53‒63].
  • Janet and Joe Hales, A Christ Centered Easter, 11‒12, 30‒34.
  • Wendee Wilcox Rosborough, The Holy Week for Latter-day Saint Families, 57‒63; note their “Conference Sunday: When Easter Comes during General Conference,” 65‒71.

 

Some Inspiring Art

  • Caravaggio, “Supper at Emmaus” and “The Incredulity of St. Thomas.”
  • Carl Bloch, “The Resurrection” and “The Doubting Thomas.”
  • James Tissot, “The Resurrection,” “Mary Magdalene and the Holy Women at the Tomb,” “The Disciples Running to the Sepulchre,” “Noli Me Tangere: Touch Me Not,” “The Pilgrims of Emmaus on the Road,” “The Appearance of Christ at the Cenacle,” and “The Disbelief of St. Thomas.”
  • Frans Schwartz, “Christ Showing Himself to the Disciples on the Eve of Easter.”
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau, “Women at the Tomb.”
  • Eugène Burnand, “The Disciples Peter and John on the Morning of the Resurrection.”
  • Harry Anderson, “Mary and the Resurrected Lord” and “Behold My Hands and Feet.”
  • Minerva Teichert, “Touch Me Not.”
  • Simon Dewey, “He Lives.”
  • Greg Olsen, “He Is Risen” and “The Road to Emmaus.”
  • Walter Rane, “He Is Not Here.”
  • J. Kirk Richards, “Garden Tomb” and “Road to Emmaus.”
  • Liz Lemon Swindle, “He Is Risen,” “Why Weepest Thou,” “Hope,” and “Emmaus”.

 

Uplifting Music

  • Handel, Messiah, Part III.

 

Walter Rane, He Is Not Here




 

Please consider taking an hour to watch the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square's 2019 concert, "He Is Risen!" In my 15 years with the organization, it is one of our best Easter offerings.




 

Brief Discussion of the Events of Easter Sunday



See the much longer discussion in
God So Loved the World, 107–119.
 All four gospels begin their resurrection narratives with an account of the empty tomb, preserving the wonder and awe that filled the women who came to the tomb that early morning to find the stone rolled away.
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, "Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?" And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, "Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him."  (Mark 16:16)



 

Scriptural and Musical Reflection: "In the Garden"


Eeugen Burnand, The Disciples Running to the Sepulchre, 1898.
The experience of Mary Magdalene in finding the tomb empty is much expanded in the account of John.  In the account of Jesus' burial in John 19:41, the sepulchre is specifically described as being in a garden.  It is in this garden that Mary's touching experience with the Risen Lord is then described in John 20:1–18.  In this account Mary came to the garden tomb alone, and, finding it empty, she ran to tell the disciples that Jesus' body was missing.  Upon hearing this news, Peter and another disciple, usually assumed to be John, ran to the garden, stooped to enter the tomb, and found in it only the linen cloths with which Jesus' body had been wrapped. (John 20:3–10).

The disciples then left Mary weeping alone in the garden.  Soon she saw two angels in the tomb at the spot where Jesus' body had lain.  When they asked why she was crying, she said it was because she feared that someone had taken the Lord's body.  Then, turning, she "saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus."
Jesus saith unto her, "Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest 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."  Jesus saith unto her, "Mary." She turned herself, and saith unto him, "Rabboni," which is to say, Master.   Jesus saith unto her, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:1517)
Harry Anderson, He Is Risen
Mary thus became the first person to see the Risen Lord, and, obedient to his direction, she went and told the disciples all that she had seen and heard.  In this Mary serves as a model witness for all believers, but especially to women.  As I wrote in God So Loved the World, 114, "Given the restrictions on women in that time and culture, which allowed them to do very little without the permission, guidance, or direction of the men in their lives, Mary’s ability to gain a testimony on her own—without father, brother, husband, or guardian—provides an important and empowering image for women today. Just as the Beloved Disciple gained his testimony standing at the foot of the cross and in the empty tomb, so can Woman gain the surest witness possible directly from the risen Lord."

Yet Peter and John too serve as examples for believers, even when our witness is less secure than that of Mary.  When she had told them that the tomb was empty, they did not walk, they ran to the garden to see whether her report was true.  And though they did not see the Risen Lord at that time, seeing the tomb empty and the burial clothes lying there, they nonetheless believed.  Do we too run to find out whether the testimony of the resurrection that we hear and read from others is true?  And are we able to accept on faith its reality even when we have not yet seen the resurrected Christ?

The experiences of Peter, John, and above all of Mary provided author and composer C. Austin Miles (1896–1946) inspiration for a touching hymn that has become a Christian classic.  In April of 1912 Miles was reading from John 20 when he felt that he was drawn into the garden scene.  In what he described as a vision, he saw Mary and then the other two disciples as they discovered the empty tomb.  But above all, he saw Mary as she heard the voice of Jesus, turned to look at him, and cried out "Rabboni!"  It was under the influence of this vision that Miles wrote "In the Garden" (Osbeck, Amazing Grace, second edition, 113).

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses;
            And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.

He speaks, and the sound of his voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
            And the melody that he gave to me within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with him tho the nigh around me is falling;
            But he bids me go—through the voice of woe, his voice to me is calling.
Watch and listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square as they perform Ryan Murphy's arrangement of "In the Garden."


Through the words and the melody of this lovely yet simple song, we can picture ourselves in that garden scene, imagining what it will be like when we also have the privilege of seeing the Risen Lord.

With Samuel at the Garden Tomb, Holy Week 2011


 

Christ is Risen!


An early Greek tradition was to greet people Easter morning with the expression Χριστός ἀνέστη, meaning "Christ is Risen!" to which one responds Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη, "Truly he is risen indeed!"  Common now throughout the Eastern Orthodox world, it has been adopted by many Roman Catholics and Protestants in Western countries.

Even if this is not a custom in your family, the favorite Easter hymn, "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today," certainly catches the feelings of joy  that we share with Christians the world over at the Easter miracle.
Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the vict’ry won, Alleluia!
Jesus’ agony is o’er, Alleluia!
Darkness veils the earth no more, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia! (Hymn 200)





  

Subsequent Appearances


  • Jesus and Thomas (John 20:24–29)
  • Jesus Meets the Disciples in Galilee (John 21:1–14)
    • Jesus and Peter: Three-fold affirmation of Peter’s love (21:15–19)
    • Jesus and the Other Disciple (21:20–23)
  • The Forty Day Ministry (Acts 1:1–5)
  • Apostolic commission (Mark 16:15–18 [still in Jerusalem?]; Matt 28:16–20 [Galilee]; Acts 1:6–8)
  • The Ascension (Mark 16:19–20; Luke 24:49–53; Acts 1:9–11)
  • See also Paul’s list of post-resurrection appearances in 1 Corinthians 15:3–9 (Peter, the rest of the Twelve, over five hundred, James the brother of Jesus, "all the ‘apostles,’" and, last of all, Paul)
 


The Gospel accounts make it clear that the risen Lord was seen, heard, and felt. To these accounts one can add Paul’s list of post-resurrection appearances in 1 Corinthians 15:3–9 (Peter, the rest of the Twelve, over five hundred, James the brother of Jesus, "all the ‘apostles,’" and, last of all, Paul). Much later the apostle John, referring both to the reality of the Incarnation and Jesus’ continuing physical reality wrote:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1–3)




Reflection


With my mother at the Garden Tomb, December 2011
Each of the resurrection narratives carries beauty and power, confirming our own testimonies that Jesus indeed rose from the dead and lives today. The fact that the first to actually see him were Mary Magdalene, the other women, and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus suggests that all disciples, not just the Twelve, can receive sure testimonies that Jesus lives. Nevertheless, we are grateful for such special witnesses, "to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs [Greek tekmēriois, "sure signs" or "tokens"]" (Acts 1:3).

For my final Easter message, however, I want to share the implications of his resurrection for us. Inasmuch as Jesus has overcome death, all shall live again . . . and as the Book of Mormon teaches, all will be restored to a perfect frame with imperfections corrected and challenges overcome (see Alma 11:42–44).

Mounting examples in this life of those who struggle with physical, developmental, and other challenges—including those of my own precious son—have caused me to see a new need for the hope of renewal, rebirth, and healing that are so marvelously illustrated in the reality of the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus’ own resurrection healed hearts as "grief turned to joy":
"A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." (John 16:20–21)
Mother, my daughter Rachel, and my niece Lindsay
The hope of the resurrection continues to heal many grieving hearts as well as bodies, giving new meaning to the prophecy "but unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings" (Malachi 4:2). Significantly, Jesus’ final commission to the apostles included the important injunction that they go forth not only to teach and baptize (Matt 28:19–20) but also to lay hands on the sick that should recover (Mark 16:18, 20). Certainly part of our discipleship should be that as Christ brought hope and healing, so should we work for these ends in our own small way.

"He is not here, for he is risen!"
Beyond this, however, is the hope of a glorious resurrection for those who accept him and are true and faithful to the covenants that they make with him. In recent years the deaths of grandparents, my father, my mother-in-law, and now last year my dear Mother have brought new meaning to this Easter message. Because He lives, so shall we . . . accordingly I close with the words of Paul that I shared at Dad's funeral:








 

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:14–17; see D&C 88:95–98)


 

 

Marking Easter

Although every Sunday is “the Lord’s Day,” commemorating Jesus’ rising from the tomb and serving as our Christian Sabbath, Latter-day Saint certainly ought to join with the rest of the Christian world in celebrating Easter Sunday. As President Hinckley taught,

Of all the victories in human history, none is so great, none so universal in its effect, none so everlasting in its consequences as the victory of the crucified Lord who came forth in the Resurrection that first Easter morning . . . No force beneath the heavens could now hold back the power of the Son of God. It was as if His Almighty Father could stand no more. The earth trembled. The guards fled. The stone was moved. The Lord of heaven and earth arose from the bier, shook off the burial clothes, and stepped forth to become the first fruits of them that slept. The empty tomb bore testimony of this greatest of all miracles.[1] §

 


[1] Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Easter Tomb Bore Testimony,” Ensign (May 1988): 66‒67.

  

 

For Further Reading

Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, A Lively Hope, 168‒191.

Eric D. Huntsman, God So Loved the World, 106‒115.

Julie Smith, The Gospel according to Mark, 820‒35.

——. “The Resurrection,” New Testament History, Culture, and Society, 377‒90.

Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment, “The Resurrection,” From the Last Supper to the Resurrection, 378‒97.

Robert J. Matthews, “Resurrection: The Ultimate Triumph,” in Jesus Christ: Son of God, Savior, ed. Paul H. Peterson, Gary L. Hatch, and Laura D. Card (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2002), 313–33.

George S. Tate, “The Resurrection as Olive Branch: A Meditation,” Behold the Lamb of God: An Easter Celebration, 165‒184.

Herman du Toit, “Picturing the Resurrection,” Behold the Lamb of God: An Easter Celebration, 185‒200.

 
 
 

 
 

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