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Easter Book

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Easter Book - Page Text Content

FC: The Final Week The Atonement and Ressurrection of Jesus Christ

3: Jesus of Nazareth, the very Son of God himself, began the ultimate declaration of his divinity and entered the holy city of Jerusalem as the promised Messiah that he was. Riding on a young donkey in fulfillment of Zechariah’s ancient prophecy (Zech. 9:9), he approached the temple on a path that the jubilant crowd lined for him with palm leaves, flowering branches, and some of their own garments, thus carpeting the way properly for the passing of a king. He was their king; these were his subjects. “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they shouted. “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matt. 21:9) Howard W. Hunter, “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee" Ensign, May 1993 He went directly to the temple, and took note of what he saw and retired to Bethany for the Night. (Mark 11:11) The Triumphal Entry, remembered today on Palm Sunday, provides a joyful prelude to the many sad events that would intervene between this point and the miracle of the empty tomb. It represents one of the few times during his mortal ministry when Jesus was recognized as the King he is." Reflections on the Savior's Last Week by Eric D. Huntsman Every day of our lives and in every season of the year (not just at Easter time), Jesus asks each of us, as he did following his triumphant entry into Jerusalem those many years ago, “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he?” (Matt. 22:42)

5: Early the next morning Jesus went again to the temple and drove from the outer court area of the temple those who were trading and making money exchange from foreign currency. The money exchange was apparently sanctioned by the Jewish leaders; and by preventing the merchandising, Jesus was in effect challenging their leadership. The issue was clear: was the temple to be a place of worship of God or of pursuit of gain? As he cleared the temple courts, he said, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." (Matt 21:13) Again that evening Jesus returned to Bethany. The temple is literally the House of God and therefore requires our worthiness to enter, to receive revelation, and to make covenants. Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled, "Inspiration comes more easily in peaceful settings." He added, "Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit," and "Reverence invites revelation."

7: Jesus' wrath in the temple raised the issue of authority, and the priests were not about to let the incident pass. As Jesus came to the temple the next day, the priests challenged him: "By what authority doest thou these things?" and "Who gave thee this authority?" (Matt 21:23) Jesus responded by relating a series of parables that offended the religious leaders of the Jews. The Scribes and Pharisees challenged him again; Jesus openly denounced them and condemned them as hypocrites. From this point on, Jesus did not teach the public, but only the Twelve Apostles. Perceiving that Jesus had gained the upper hand in their confrontations, the Jewish leaders consulted again how they might bring about Jesus' death. They would have to move quickly before Passover to avoid a riot, since Jesus had become very popular with the Jewish people. How to bring about an arrest without provoking crowd reaction was the problem. An unexpected turn of events that took place aided their plot: one of Jesus' own disciples offered to betray him.

8: Jesus well knew of the plot. The fourth day was spent outside the city, perhaps at Bethany. The record of the gospel writers is silent on the proceedings of this day.

11: As the disciples ate the Feast of the Passover with Jesus, he taught them many important things. Soon after they began eating, he told them he would be betrayed. Then Judas left the group. (Matt 26:21-25) Following his departure, the Savior taught the disciples about the sacrament. (Matt 26:26-28) | Jesus had eaten the last supper, he removed his outer robe and put a towel around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and, one by one, began to wash and dry the Apostles' feet. (John 13:4-5). He taught them about serving others. (John 13:13-16). Jesus taught them about his death and prayed that they would be united and love one another. Peter said that he would go to prison or die with Jesus. Jesus, knowing what was to come, replied, "Before the cock crows in the morning, you will deny me three times." (John 13:37-38) Following the last supper and Christ's final teachings to the Apostles, the group sang a hymn and went to the Mount of Olives | Jesus then told the Apostles that he must soon leave them. They were grieved and wept, but Jesus promised that he would return. They wondered who would lead them when he was gone. After

13: At the entrance to the garden, Christ asked eight of the Apostles to wait for him. Then taking Peter, James, and John, he continued a little further. There, he left those three and went off by himself to pray. In the garden he pled with his Heavenly Father, "O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matt 26:39) | Christ returned to the three and found them sleeping. He spoke to them and then returned to the garden. Jesus returned two more times, only to find the disciples asleep. As Jesus prayed, he suffered "the pain of all men" (D&C 18:11) and agony so excruciating that it caused him to bleed at every pore. He was not left alone, but an angel came to the garden to strengthen him. (Luke 22:43) | Would we have stayed awake? Would we have betrayed him? Do we deny him each day in the things we choose to say and do? Are we willing to follow his example and say "...not as I will, but as thou wilt"?

14: For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent. But if they would not repent they must suffer as I; Which suffering 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. | Doctrine & Covenants 19:16-19 | "Having bled at every pore, how red His raiment must have been in Gethsemane, how crimson that cloak! No wonder, when Christ comes in power and glory, that He will come in reminding red attire. (D&C 133:48) Signifying not only the winepress of wrath, but also to bring to our remembrance how He suffered for each of us in Gethsemane and on Calvary!" | Elder Neal A. Maxwell | In Gethsemane, the suffering caused Jesus to be 'sore amazed' or in Greek 'awestruck' and 'astonished'. Imagine, Jehovah the Creator of this and other worlds 'astonished!' Jesus...had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fullness, it was so much worse than even he with his unique intellect had ever imagined! The cumulative weight of all mortal sins - past, present, and future - pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive Soul! No wonder an angel appeared to strengthen him! | Elder Neal A. Maxwell

15: "I think it is understood by many that the great suffering of Jesus Christ came through the driving of nails in his hands and in his feet, and in being suspended upon a cross, until death mercifully released Him. That is not the case. As excruciating and as severe as was that punishment, coming from the driving of nails though his hands and through his feet, and being suspended, until relieved by death, yet still greater was the suffering which he endured in carrying the burden of the sins of the world - my sins, and your sins, and the sins of every living creature. This suffering came before he ever got to the cross and it caused the blood to come forth from the pores of his body. So great was that anguish of His soul, the torment of his spirit that he was called upon to undergo. Are we not indebted? Yes. Are we ungrateful? Yes; unless we are willing to abide by every word that comes from the mouth of God, unless we are obedient, unless our hearts are broken, in the scriptural sense, unless our spirits are contrite, unless within our soul is the spirit of humility and faith and obedience." | Joseph Fielding Smith

17: As soon as Christ and his followers came out of the garden, they were met by a mob of people carrying sticks and stones. Judas approached the Savior and kissed him on the cheek saying, "Master." (Matt 26:47-48) The soldiers knew which man was Jesus by the prearranged sign - a kiss. (Matt. 26:48-50) Without resistance, Jesus submitted. Peter took his knife, and wanting to defend Jesus he cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. Jesus told Peter to put the knife away; he then healed the ear of the soldier. Christ was taken by the mob led by Judas. He was taken first to Annas, a very influential man. Annas had no authority to try such cases, but the Jews didn't care as they were simply looking for a way to find Jesus guilty so they could inflict the death penalty. He was questioned and struck. (John 18:19-23) Christ was then taken before Caiaphas. Here a maid recognized Peter, who then denied knowing Christ. Then another recognized him and again he denied. The third time, another person challenged him, and Peter replied, "Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately while he yet spake the cock crew. And Peter went out and wept bitterly." (Luke 22:59-62) For the Remainder of the night, the Jews taunted Christ. Many false witnesses testified against him, but because they were lying, their stories did not agree. A high priest asked, "Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God." (Matt 26:63) Jesus answered, "I am; and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mark 14:62) The high priest was upset and said, "What further need have we of witnesses? What think ye?" he asked the council. "He is guilty of death," they answered. (Matt 26:65-66, Mark 14:63-64) Some of the accusers spit in his face and struck him with the palms of their hands. The scriptures indicate that Judas was present when Christ was brought before Caiaphas. When he saw that Christ's accusers were really going to put Christ on trial for his life before Pilate, he was filled with remorse. He went before the leaders and offered them 30 pieces of silver saying that Christ was innocent. They would not take it. Judas' anguish was more than he could bear. He flung down the money and hung himself. Friday morning, Christ was brought to trial before Pilate. After questioning, Pilate told the people that he could find nothing wrong. The determined Jewish leaders took Him to Herod who mocked Jesus but also could find no charges. They returned once more to Pilate. Fearing he would incite the crowd to anger, Pilate consented to crucify Jesus.

19: After the Jewish soldiers had spit upon Jesus, crowned him with thorns, and mocked him as King of the Jews, he was led away toward the place of execution. As was custom, Jesus was forced to carry the cross. He was so weak that a stranger named Simeon was forced to help. He was escorted to Calvary. Priests and Pharisees mocked and shouted abuses at him. At a distance followed Mary, Mary Magdalene, Martha, his disciples and many of his followers. There on the top of the hill, Christ was nailed to the cross. Two thieves were executed on both sides of him. Pilate had made a sign and nailed it on the cross. It said, "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews." (John 19:19) The only thing that Christ uttered was, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) After some time, darkness covered the earth for 3 hours. Jesus then cried out, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46) | "Crucifixion was unanimously considered the most horrible form of death. Among the Romans, the degradation was a part of the infliction, and the punishment... and was only used in case of the vilest criminals...The place of execution was outside the city, often in some public road or other conspicuous place. Arrived at the place of execution, the sufferer was stripped naked, the dress being the prerequisite of the soldiers. The cross was then driven into the ground, so that the feet of the condemned were a foot or two above the earth, and he was lifted upon it, or else stretched upon it on the ground and then he was lifted up with it. It was the custom to station soldiers to watch the cross so as to prevent the removal of the sufferer while yet alive. This was necessary from the lingering character of the death, which sometimes did not supervene even for 3 days, and was at last the result of gradual benumbing and starvation...In most cases the body was suffered to rot on the cross by the action of sun and rain, or to be devoured by birds and beasts | James E. Talmage

21: The death of Jesus occurred toward evening on a Friday. Since the Jews observed the Sabbath on Saturday, preparation for burial had to be done quickly. There was a law that funerals were not to be held during the Sabbath, and another law that the final burial must not take place on the day death occurred. Therefore, toward evening, the soldiers came to take the lives of those who were being crucified. After breaking the legs of the two thieves, the shock which was sufficient to kill them, they turned to Jesus but found that He was already dead. They thrust a sword into his side to assure he was dead. As soon as Christ was dead there came two people, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Joseph went to Pilate and asked permission to bury the body. This permission was granted. Nicodemus brought spices which were needed for preparation of the body. The two men then removed the body of Jesus from the cross and took it away. After preparing the body for burial, the two men gently laid the body of Jesus into the tomb of Nicodemus. They rolled the heavy stone in front of the tomb and went away. | "We must never forget that our Savior, our Redeemer, the Son of God, gave himself a vicarious sacrifice for each of us. For those who were there, the gloom of that dark evening before the Jewish Sabbath, when his lifeless body was taken down and hurriedly laid in a borrowed tomb, drained away the hope of even his most ardent and knowing disciples. They were bereft, not understanding what he had told them earlier...He who had spoken of everlasting life, he who had raised Lazarus from the grave, now had died as surely as all men before him had died. We can only speculate on the feelings of those who loved him as they pondered his death during the long hours of the Jewish Sabbath, the Saturday of our calendar." | President Gordon B. Hinkley

23: The chief Priests and Pharisees became worried that some of Jesus' disciples would steal his body and then publicly proclaim that Jesus was resurrected. They posted soldiers to guard the tomb and they sealed the stone door of the tomb.

25: On Sunday, very early in the morning, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of Jesus went to the sepulcher. They found the stone rolled away and Christ's body gone. They were worried and troubled. Suddenly, two angels appeared telling them "He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee." (Luke 24:5-7) The women left and told the eleven disciples the things they had seen. The disciples doubted what the women had told them. | After Peter and John went home, Mary stood weeping outside the empty tomb. She saw two angels in the sepulcher. They asked her why she was crying. She said, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." (John 20:11-13) Mary turned away and saw Jesus but did not recognize him. He asked her why she was crying. She thought he was the gardener and replied, "Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou has laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus then replied, "Mary." Mary turned, recognized him and cried "Rabboni," which means Master. (John 20:14-17) Christ also appeared to the disciples, showing them the wounds in his hands, feet and side (Luke 24:40-43; John 20:20)

26: Later that evening, the disciples were assembled together and Jesus came and stood among them, saying, "Peace be unto you." (John 20:19) He then showed them the prints in his hands and his sides. It wasn't until this moment that they truly began to understand what he had taught them saying, "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father... And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice." (John 16:16, 22) Jesus then directs the Disciples to go into the world and teach the Gospel "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." (John 20: 21) And as he promised, he gave them the Holy Ghost. "When the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16;13) | Thomas, one of the disciples, not being in the group when Jesus showed himself, did not believe that they had seen him. After eight days Jesus came again unto them and said unto Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing." Only then did Thomas believe. Jesus then counseled "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29) "Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that by believing ye might have life though his name." (John 20:31)

27: In the days that followed his resurrection, the Lord appeared unto many. He displayed his five special wounds to them. He walked and talked and ate with them, as if to prove beyond a doubt that a resurrected body is indeed a physical body of tangible flesh and bones. Later he ministered to the Nephites, whom he commanded to “arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. “And the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come” (3 Ne. 11:14–15). It is the responsibility and joy of all men and women everywhere to “seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have [testified]” (Ether 12:41) and to have the spiritual witness of his divinity. It is the right and blessing of all who humbly seek, to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness of the Father and his resurrected Son.

28: We are indebted to the prophet Alma for our knowledge of the full measure of His suffering: “He shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. Think of it. When his body was taken from the cross and hastily placed in a borrowed tomb, he, the sinless Son of God, had already taken upon him not only the sins and temptations of every human soul who will repent, but all of our sickness and grief and pain of every kind. He suffered these afflictions as we suffer them, according to the flesh. He suffered them all. He did this to perfect his mercy and his ability to lift us above every earthly trial. But there remained one more set of chains to be broken before the Atonement could be complete: the bands of death. The prophets of the Old Testament had taught that the Resurrection would be certain and would be universal. Also, the Book of Mormon prophets taught the doctrine of the Resurrection with great plainness. Nephi wrote: | On this beautiful and sacred Easter weekend, surely no doctrine will be the subject of more sermons nor the object of more praise than that of the atoning sacrifice and the literal resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. And so it should be at Easter and at every other season of the year, for no doctrine in the Christian canon is more important to all mankind than the doctrine of the resurrection of the Son of God. Through him came the resurrection of all men, women, and children who have ever been—or ever will be—born into the world. | “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12). | “Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Ne. 25:13). | President Howard W. Hunter, "He Is Risen," May 1988,

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  • Title: Easter Book
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