Dear friends, today was an Easter presentation in sacrament meeting due to next week being fast and testimony meeting and Easter Sunday it’s General Conference (yeah!). I was given an assignment to speak on the resurrection of Jesus, specifically when Mary Magdalene saw him and when He met Cleopas on the road to Emmaus. I’ve decided to share my talk with you. I hope you enjoy and feel inspired. #BecauseHeLives and see Easter week inspiration at mormon.org/easter
The prophet, President Ezra Taft Benson stated:
The greatest events of history are those that affect the greatest number of people for the longest periods. By this standard, no event could be more important to individuals or nations than the resurrection of the Master.
I remember that day, when the Master was resurrected, it made all the difference and we, His disciples, were glad.
I remember how the Sabbath after that Passover we were all so low in heart. We didn’t think it would end just like that – our Master, our Teacher, Jesus, betrayed by a friend, a so-called trial, whipped and then hung, nailed,on a cross, next to criminals. All He did was to love His people, love us,love our Father, His Father.
I remember how we knew He was the Anointed One, the Messiah, sent to redeem Israel, sent to save us. He had in many ways already redeemed us – He had forgiven us, healed us, loved us, shown us the way to live and to love. Maybe some of us were expecting more – redemption from the Romans. So, for it all to end with His death, just a few days after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, well, it was a shock. A great shock! So that Sabbath we were all very low.
I remember how a few of us women decided to go to the tomb and dress His body – it was all such a rush after the crucifixion. We planned to go early in the morning ‘when it was yet dark’ (John 20 v 1) – we thought the Roman soldiers, who were placed as guards, would be more likely to unseal the tomb for a small group of women.
I remember how as we approached, mournfully with the spices prepared, we saw no soldiers, no guards, and the tomb was no longer sealed – the large stone lay discarded to one side of the tomb opening.
I remember that two men were there; where we expected to find Jesus’ body, nothing, Jesus was not there, only neatly folded linen clothes. The men asked us, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…” (Luke 24 vv5-6). Our hearts were touched – I can’t explain how; I was sad, confused, angry but felt something exciting too. We were told to not fear but to “go quickly” and tell his disciples (Matthew 28 v 7). Mary, Jesus’ mother, seemed to sense that these were messengers from God so we did as they told us and went to tell His Apostles, returning with Peter and John. They also seemed to not fully understand and eventually I alone remained, outside the tomb, my confusion and tears my only comfort.
I remember someone asked me, “Why weepest thou?” Without really looking round, so I thought it was the gardener, and I asked, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20 v 15)
Then, I remember, He spoke my name, “Mary.” And instantly I knew, Jesus, and I turned.
I remember how my heart, my whole body surged with joy, with burning. “Rabboni; which is to say ‘Master,'” (John 20 v 16) I cried and I went to embrace Him, for with my own eyes I could see He was not a spirit; No!, He was real, He was flesh and I could touch Him. But He stopped me saying, “I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren” (John 20 v 17).
I remember how I didn’t want to take my eyes off Him, but I had to – to be obedient – and as I quickly went I realised iit’s OK, He’s always going to be here, He was alive again, never to be killed again; truly He is the Son of God.
And I remember how I was filled with hope more than I could ever imagine; hope, that I could not only be a better person, I was filled with the hope that I, you, we would live again, that death is not the end of life; that truly we all can literally live with our Father in Heaven again.
I remember how later that day, we heard of how Jesus walked and talked with two of the brethren as they travelled to Emmaus – but they did not recognise Him at first. Their hearts burned as He discussed and explained scripture with them concerning our Lord, even right from Moses. It was only as they all sat to eat and He broke bread that they recognised Him as Jesus, and then He was gone.
I remember the love I have for Jesus and how, knowing what I know, I do not want to let Him down. I want to do my part by living and sharing Jesus’ great message.
I remember how I walked with Jesus when He was a man, how I shed tears of sorrow when He died, and how my heart almost burst when I beheld Him as my God, to never die again.
The prophet, President David O. McKay said, “I think that there are many in this congregation … who have had their hearts ‘burn within them’ and I hope as their hearts have burned within them, that they realised the message that went into their hearts. I hope they have an inkling, at least, of the divine truth that they are sons [and daughters] of God, and that that burning within them was just a touch of harmony between them and the infinite, the Spirit of God which will enlighten our minds, quicken our understandings and bring all things to our remembrance.”