Discuss this article or ask questions at the LDS.net Forums.
"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (Luke 24:39). Those who hated the Savior and crucified Him believed that they had put an end to Him forever. However, this was the Son of God, and through His death came the Resurrection and the assurance of eternal life.
Mormons believe in the literal resurrection of the body.
- Jesus died upon the cross…His spirit was literally and actually separated from His body…and it was only by the power of God that it could be again brought to life. We believe that we shall in very truth die and that the spirit – that immortal part of man, which existed before the body was framed, and which shall exist and continue to live after that body has gone to decay, that spirit shall take upon itself again this tabernacle of earthly element, immortalized, however, and destined to serve it as a fit garment through all eternity."
No mortal can truly understand the agony which the Savior bore through His suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross. Those who loved Him, looked to Him for guidance, and received instruction at His knee, now lowered Him from the cross, laid His body in a tomb, and watched as a stone was rolled across the entrance, sealing it shut. Jesus had taught them of His forthcoming death and Resurrection, but they did not totally comprehend. Upon His death, they felt only hopelessness and confusion.
With the passing of the Jewish Sabbath came a new day, a day that was to be the Lord's Day – Easter. Saddened and fearful that the Lord had been taken, Mary ran to the Disciple Simon Peter. We read in the Bible:
- [The disciples] came running, and their fears were confirmed. Disconsolate, they looked and then “went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 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. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
- 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.
- Jesus saith unto her, 'Mary'. She turned herself, and saith unto him, 'Rabboni; which is to say, Master.'
- Jesus saith unto her, '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.'
She who had loved Him so much, she who had been healed by Him, was the first to whom He appeared. There followed others, even, as Paul declared, up to 500 brethren at one time. Now the Apostles understood what He had tried to teach them. Thomas, on feeling of His wounds, declared, 'My Lord and my God.'"
It is through this great event that we begin to understand the miraculous love and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God who, by His eternal power, overcame death. He is the Redeemer of the World who gave His life as a ransom for each one of us. Because of His everlasting love for each of us, He paid a tremendous debt that He did not rightfully owe - a debt that none of us could ever pay on our own. Justice demanded that a price was to be paid, and by His grace and mercy, He lovingly and willingly satisfied the demands of justice. He is our comfort and our sustenance in life and our hope as we or others approach the door of death. We can rejoice that the mortal body and spirit will again reunite and have the opportunity for eternal life because of His great atoning sacrifice and Resurrection. Said the Master, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19).
A wonderful hymn that is sung in Latter-day Saint congregations states it fully: "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me; Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. I tremble to know that for me he was crucified; that for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died. Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me, enough to die for me! Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"