He is risen!
Can you even imagine what it would have been like to hear those words spoken the first time from the tongue of angels or from Mary, John or Peter? How? What? How can that be? When?
No doubt our questions would eventually turn to the most important for all who will follow after him. Where is He?
For me, the childhood magic of Christmas has matured into the adult wonderment of Easter. Perhaps it is the season of the year and the welcome arrival of spring, or perhaps it is having lived through several deaths including my brother, my grandmas and grandpas, an aunt, two uncles, my father-in-law, my neighbor’s daughter and the wonderful older couple who lived next to us for a short while on Olive St in California. For me, Easter is now the season with the most reason to celebrate.
I belong to a Church that has been outcast from mainstream Christianity. Perhaps it is because we have not adopted the cross as our symbolic representation of Christ – choosing to emphasize the resurrection rather than the crucifixion. For whatever reason, I have found myself privately in the deepest of personal relationships with Jesus Christ, and publicly defending that I can be called a “Christian.”
At issue, is the core of our belief in Christ. Yes we proclaim that He is Risen, but we also ascertain that He lives. One is past tense, it proclaims a miracle that has come and gone leaving behind a much-disputed historical cannon of scripture. Our declaration is present tense, it is that He lives that He continues to speak as a resurrected God to His prophets and is present and active in providing guidance, direction to the children of God on the earth today. We even offer a second historical cannon (the Book of Mormon) as a second witness of Christ and making undisputable the fact that the Bible is the word of God.
Our testimony of Jesus Christ is that he is a living Christ. That he rose from the dead “to become the first fruits of them that slept” and then “visited among those whom he had loved in life.” But our testimony and historical cannon does not conclude there but goes on to add to the body of evidence of Christ’s resurrection. We testify that as a resurrected being, Christ also visited among his “other sheep” in ancient America and “that in modern times he and his father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised dispensation of the fullness of times.”
The message of Easter – that he is risen – is sweetened by the testimonies of other nations and modern witness whose update to that testimony is that he lives! Joseph Smith wrote, “and now after the many testimonies that 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 witness that he is the Only Begotten of the Father.” (Doctrine & Covenants 76: 22-23).
I love this video reminder of why we should care that Christ overcame sin and death.
I add my testimony to it, that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer – my Savior and Redeemer, that he is risen and that he lives. I learned this fact as a young boy as I knelt to ask God where my own brother had gone after his tragic death. I have had it confirmed in a sweet spirit of peace as I have participated in the holy experience of comforting others as they have prepared for death or have grieved for those they have lost to it.
He is risen – and only through Him, and assuredly through Him you and I will live again.
He lives – to guide us safely to Him, but only if and when we exercise the God given gift of agency to decide to seek Him.
I testify that “he is the light and 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.” (The Living Christ, http://bit.ly/1iBv9Uc).