Resurrection of Jesus

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Question: How would your life be different if you did not believe in the Resurrection?

Answer: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so fundamental to Christianity, one might say that without it there is no Christianity. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)

“Contemplation of the Atonement—by which I am assured of resurrection and given opportunity, through faith and repentance and faithfulness unto the end, to obtain remission of my sins— moves me to the most intense gratitude and appreciation of which my soul is capable, and I respond unstintingly to the theme: ‘Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me, Enough to die for me.’” (Marion G. Romney)

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1 Corinthians 15:12-14, 19-22

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (In other words, you have been taught that Christ was resurrected from the dead, so why is it that some of you don’t believe in the resurrection?)

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen (if there were no resurrection from the dead, then Christ couldn’t have resurrected):

14 And if Christ be not risen (was not resurrected), then is our preaching vain (our preaching is worthless), and your faith is also vain (of no value).

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ (if our belief in Christ only serves to give us hope during mortality, but is not based on eternal reality), we are of all men most miserable (we are to be pitied more than any other people because we have been so badly fooled).

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead (but, the truth of the matter is that Christ was indeed resurrected), and become the firstfruits of them that slept (and he was the first person from the earth to be resurrected, of all who had died up to the time of his resurrection).

21 For since by (because of) man (Adam) came death, by man (Christ) came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ (because of Christ) shall all be made alive (all will be resurrected).

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Marion G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency:

My dear brothers and sisters, at this Easter season, I am grateful for this opportunity to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus and to set forth, in part at least, the basis upon which that witness rests.

“He is risen; he is not here.” (Mark 16:6.) These words, eloquent in their simplicity, announced the most significant event of recorded history, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus—an event so extraordinary that even the Apostles, who had been most intimately associated with Jesus in his earthly ministry and who had been carefully taught of the coming event, had difficulty grasping the reality of its full significance. The first accounts which reached their ears “seemed to them as idle tales” (Luke 24:11)...

When we speak of Jesus being resurrected, we mean that his premortal spirit, which animated his mortal body from his birth in the manger until he died on the cross, reentered that body; and the two, his spirit body and his physical body, inseparably welded together, arose from the tomb an immortal soul.

Our belief is, and we so testify, that Jesus not only conquered death for himself and brought forth his own glorious resurrected body, but that in so doing he also brought about a universal resurrection. This was the end and purpose of the mission for which he was set apart and ordained in the great council in heaven, when he was chosen to be our Savior and Redeemer.

Concerning his earthly ministry, his role as Redeemer required of him four things:

First, that his premortal spirit be clothed with a mortal body, the accomplishment of which was heaven-announced when to the lowly shepherds the angel said, “Fear not: … For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11.)

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Second, that he suffer the pains of all men, which he did, principally, in Gethsemane, the scene of his great agony. He himself described that suffering as being of such intensity that it “caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.” (D&C 19:18–19.)

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Third, that he give his life. His death on the cross, after having been rejected and betrayed and after having suffered appalling indignities, seems not to be in dispute, even among nonbelievers. That he gave his life voluntarily, with the express purpose of taking it up again in the Resurrection, is not so universally accepted. Such, however, is the fact. He was, it is true, maliciously slain by wicked men, but all the while he held the power to stay them. “I lay down my life,” he said, “that I might take it again.

“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17–18.) This power was inherently his by virtue of his being born of the virgin Mary (a mortal), and being the Son of God (an immortal, celestialized being).

Having thus taken upon himself mortality, having suffered in Gethsemane for the sins of all men, and having given his life on the cross, there remained for him but to break the bonds of death—the fourth and last requirement—to complete his earthly mission as Redeemer. That the whole of his mortal life moved toward this consummation, he had repeatedly taught. It was foreshadowed in his statement about laying down his life and taking it up again. To the sorrowing Martha he had said, “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25); and to the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19)...

The evidence that Jesus was resurrected is conclusive. Five times on the Sunday following his crucifixion on Friday afternoon he revealed himself.

First to behold him was Mary Magdalene. Early in the morning Peter and John, having verified the report that the body of Jesus was not in the tomb, went away. But Mary lingered in the garden weeping. Turning back from the empty tomb, she “saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

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“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith, … 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.” Recognizing his voice, “she turned herself” as if to touch him, saying, “Rabboni; … Master.”

Tenderly restraining her, he continued, “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 20:14–17.)

Later, about sunrise, Mary the mother of James, and Salome and other women went to the tomb with spices to prepare the body for final burial. (See Mark 16:1.) They found the tomb open and the body gone. To their consternation, they were met by two men in shining garments who said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5–6.) As they went to tell his disciples, Jesus himself met them, saying, “All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.” (Matt. 28:9.)

Later the same day, as Cleopas and another journeyed to Emmaus, Jesus, unrecognized, drew near and went with them. When he inquired into the nature of their conversation, they repeated to him the reports of the women. At their seeming doubt he said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” Then opened he their understanding of the scriptures concerning him. Tarrying at Emmaus, “he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.” (See Luke 24:13–31.)

In the evening as the disciples heard the reports that Jesus had appeared to Simon and to Cleopas, “Jesus himself stood in the midst of them.” To quiet their fears and give assurance that he was not a spirit, he showed them his hands, his feet, and his side, saying, “It is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

“And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

“And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish and of an honeycomb.

“And he took it, and did eat before them.” (See Luke 24:36–43.)

Thus, on this eventful day, did his former associates behold his glorious resurrected body. Not only did they see him, but they heard his voice and felt the wounds in his hands, feet, and side. In their presence he handled food and ate of it. They knew of a surety that he had taken up the body which they themselves had placed in the tomb. Their sorrow was turned to joy by the knowledge that he lived, an immortal soul.

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For forty days he ministered among his disciples in the Holy Land. He appeared unto his disciples again at Jerusalem, when Thomas was present (see John 20:26–29), and on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias, where he directed them in casting for fish, invited them to dine, gave them food to eat which he himself had prepared on a fire of coals, and instructed them in the ministry (see John 21:1–14). On a mountain in Galilee he commissioned the eleven to teach the gospel to all nations. (See Matt. 28:16–18.) And finally, after he had blessed them at Bethany, they saw him “carried up into heaven.” (See Luke 24:50–53.)...

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Sources: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 139; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 2, Volume 3, by David J. Ridges, 180; Excerpts from General Conference, April 1982, “The Resurrection of Jesus,” by Marion G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.