Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday.

A busy Easter. Started at 7:30 this morning setting up for my sunday school class. Then 8:30 administered a blessing to the Rivera baby Ricardo. He is having open heart surgury tomorrow in Las Vegas. My hometeaching companion Jorge Morrocho was recently ordained an Elder and performed his first blessing. 9:00AM choir practice for another one of Helen Jones' miracle performances. (A miracle performance is one where we never get right until we actually perform it in sacrament meeting.) 10:00 AM Sacrament Meeting. The choir sang twice and yes the nailed the song. Well we nailed the second song, screwed up the first one; the easy one. We sang "The Heavens are Telling "by Mendelson; one of my favorites but a very difficult tenor line. Right after the song, I was assigned to be the closing speaker. (Talk listed below)(Judy Keele was the first one.) While I was catching my breath from the song I was desperately trying to reduce my 20 minute talk down to 10. After Sacrament Meeting I taught the Gospel doctrine lesson on Joseph Smith. Then I fell asleep in the lesson for priesthood. We had Roy and Jonathan Rivera over to Mom Bailey's for lunch. They'll be staying with their aunt while their parents are in Vegas with Recardo but we'll be keeping an eye on them. Then home for a well deserved two hour nap.
The Resurrected Christ
I hold in my hand what is commonly know as a tuber. It is part of the root of an Iris flower. It was dug up out of our garden over a year ago and has sat in a bucket for most of the past year. It has been frozen several times and by all appearances is quite dead. Yet this tuber and its cousin the tulip and onion if planted in good soil and given an amount of light, heat and moisture will burst from the ground and grow into a beautiful flower. I do not understand the science of it. Perhaps Sister Gardner who is a biology teacher could explain it. To me it is a miracle. It is the dead coming back to life. I do not understand it and can not explain it. I have seen it happen every spring as the flowers and tree blossoms burst forth. I think it is significant that this is the time of year that the resurrection of Christ took place. This miracle of life renewed gives us hope that through the resurrection of Christ we too can have the miracle of life work in us and be resurrected as well.
Alma gives us a description of the process.
Alma 40: 23 The asoul shall be brestored to the cbody, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a dhair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and eperfect frame.

We can retrace the events of that first Easter Morn.

Those women who had been so devoted to Jesus were going to the sepulcher on the third day after his death. The Jewish Sabbath had ended and they were probably intent on a more thorough wrapping and embalming of the body. Matthew describes the scene.

Matthew 28: 1 aIn the end of the bsabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for athe bangel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 aHis bcountenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 aAnd the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is arisen, as he said. Come, see the place where the bLord lay.

The women went and informed the apostles and John and Peter ran to the sepulcher. The women followed. On verifying the Jesus was gone the women and apostles left the scene. Mary Magdalene lingered at the sepulcher. She was soon to become the first mortal to view a resurrected being.




John 20:
11 ¶ But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two aangels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto 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.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and asaw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 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.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, aMaster.
17 Jesus saith unto her, aTouch me not; for I am not yet bascended to my cFather: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my dFather, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Later that morning the resurrected Lord appeared to the other women. Then in the evening of that Easter day Jesus appeared to the assembled apostles.


19 ¶ Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were aassembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and bstood in the midst, and saith unto them, cPeace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his ahands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they bsaw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my aFather hath bsent me, even so csend I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
.

The Apostle Thomas was not present at that time. He was having difficulty believing all of the events that had transpired.

24 ¶ But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the aprint of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.


26 ¶ And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and athrust it into my side: and be not bfaithless, but cbelieving.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast aseen me, thou hast believed: bblessed are they that have not seen, and yet have cbelieved.
30 ¶ And many other asigns truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not bwritten in this book:
31 But these are awritten, that ye might bbelieve that Jesus is the cChrist, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have dlife through his ename.

The resurrected Jesus did not stay on a permament basis with the disciples but he made at least 11 documented appearances over a 40 day period. He ate and drank with them, helped them fish and prepared a meal, he taught them by the Galilee and in the mountain. On one occasion he appeared to over 500 disciples at once. One of those was the new replacement to the quorum of the 12, the Apostle Paul. He shared this with the Corinthians.

I Corinthians 15: 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ adied for our bsins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was aseen of bCephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was aseen of babove five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was aseen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

During his time as a resurrected being , the Savior organized the church with the leadership plan we still use today, he set up the church in various regions as communities or as we call them today, Wards. Bishops would be called, and the order of the Aaronic and Melchizedek were established. The apostles were tutored in the Celestial Law of Economics and the blueprint for a Zion Society or what we call the Law of Consecration was established. Instructions on Temples and Temple ordinances were given. Finally the Apostles were instructed about the apostasy and the restoration. Much of the instruction the apostles received is not recorded directly but we can draw a conclusion based on the work of the Apostles after the ascension of Jesus.

In the first chapter of Acts of The Apostles we read of his ascension.

Acts 1: 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was ataken bup; and a cloud received him out of their sight.


10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into aheaven? this same Jesus, which is btaken up from you into heaven, shall so ccome in like dmanner as ye have seen him go into heaven


If we had more time we could review the visit of the resurrected Lord to the Nephites, his “Other Sheep” in the Americas. It is a beautiful account and deserves serious study, but we have the witness that He appeared to around 2500 individuals.

Today we have the witness of 12 modern apostles, special witnesses to the resurrected Lord. On January 1, 2000 they published a document entitled “The Living Christ”. In part it reads:
He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).
Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4).
Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).
We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).
We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every

knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.
We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.
In 1985 I felt the witness of the spirit as to the reality of these modern day apostles as special witnesses of the Savior when Bruce R McConkie bore his testimony in April Conference, just three days before his death.
Bruce R McConkie: And finally, before an empty tomb, we will come to know that Christ our Lord has burst the bands of death and stands forever triumphant over the grave.
Thus, Creation is father to the Fall; and by the Fall came mortality and death; and by Christ came immortality and eternal life.
If there had been no fall of Adam, by which cometh death, there could have been no atonement of Christ, by which cometh life.
And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.
I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

2 comments:

Jesse said...

Busy day. Looks like your talk was REALLY good. I wish I could have been there. You did deserve that nap!

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