We are in the Easter season, a time set aside to commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior who paid the great price the Atonement required as He suffered and bled in Gethsemane and died on Calvary. With Palm Sunday observed by many Christians on March 24 and Easter March 31 this year, our thoughts naturally turn to the Savior's last days of His mortal ministry and the grand event of His Resurrection.
In the New Testament, we read:
"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
"And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
"His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
"And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
"And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
"And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you" (Matthew 28:1-7).
The door to the stable in which Jesus was born has been called "the hinge of history." The empty tomb is the hope of all ages.
In an address during the April 1975 general conference, President Spencer W. Kimball said, "The name Jesus Christ and what it represents has been plowed deep into the history of the world, never to be uprooted. Christ was born one of the sons of God and His Only Begotten, His birth is of supreme importance.
"The ministry of Christ — nothing in all the world approaches these three pivotal years of His ministry as did those three years.
"The crucifixion came. He needed to die, that He might open the graves of all men as His own tomb was opened. Without the deep darkness of the crucifixion hour, there could have been no spring of coming from the grave. 'For in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive'" (1 Corinthians 15:22).
Because the Savior paid the incalculable price for the sins of the world, we come to the Easter season with rejoicing. We blend our voices with that of Apostle Paul: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (Corinthians 15:55).
"Easter is that sacred season when the heart of each devout Christian turns in humble gratitude to our beloved Savior," said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve in his April 2010 general conference address. "It is a season that should bring peace and joy to all who love Him and show it by obeying His commandments. Easter brings thoughts of Jesus, His life, His Atonement, His Resurrection, His love. He has risen from the dead 'with healing in his wings' (Malachi 4:2; 3 Nephi 25:2). Oh, how we all need that healing the Redeemer can provide."
President Thomas S. Monson, during the April 2010 general conference, spoke of the moments leading to the crucifixion of the Savior — how He was accused and cursed, had a brow-piercing crown of thorns placed on His head and was scourged with a whip into whose multiple leather strands sharp metals and bones were woven.
"Rising from the cruelty of the scourge, with stumbling steps He carried His own cross until He could go no farther and another shouldered the burden for Him, …
"Finally, on a hill called Calvary, while helpless followers looked on, His wounded body was nailed to a cross. …
"At the last moment, the Master could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things. His lifeless body was hurriedly but gently placed in a borrowed tomb.
"No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when, on the first day of the week, they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord. Spoke the angel:
" 'Why seek ye the living among the dead?
" 'He is not here, but is risen' (Luke 24:5-6).
"Our Savior lived again. The most glorious, comforting, and reassuring of all events of human history had taken place — the victory over death. The pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary had been wiped away. The salvation of mankind had been secured. The Fall of Adam had been reclaimed."
A year later, as he concluded the April 2011 general conference, President Monson recited a poem to describe his feelings for Easter:
The linen which once held Him is empty.
It lies there,
Fresh and white and clean.
The door stands opened.
The stone is rolled away,
And I can almost hear the angels singing His praises.
Linen cannot hold Him.
Stone cannot hold Him.
The words echo through the empty limestone chamber,
"He is not here."
The linen which once held Him is now empty.
It lies there,
Fresh and white and clean
And oh, hallelujah, it is empty (Emily Harris, "Empty Linen," New Era, April 2011, p. 49).
During this Easter season and always, Latter-day Saints bear testimony that Jesus Christ — who lived a perfect life and conquered death as He atoned for our sins — lives. The gladsome message proclaimed by angelic voice nearly 2,000 years ago reverberates through the ages: "He is risen!"