We’re in a week celebrating the most significant event in the history of our world—the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
For something that big, we ought to take a little time to retell the story, and to do what we can to remember.
I’ve been checking in with some online resources provided by my Church, going through the Holy Week story. There is a lot of written information, as well as videos, going through each day. Too much to do more than just sample here. But I’ll share some of the videos. Some are portrayals of the events; others are descriptions and information. Most are brief, under five minutes.
Portrayal video “The Lord's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem”:
Explanation video of the “Triumphal Entry”:
Monday through Wednesday
Monday through Wednesday include the cleansing of the temple, as well as the teaching of several parables, and answering questions of those who were trying to trap him. I won’t cover all of these; there are many. But the portrayal of the Cleansing of the Temple and the explanation of some of the symbolism is worth seeing.
· Portrayal video “Jesus Cleanses the Temple”
· Explanation video “Leaven and the Cleansing of the Temple”
There’s a lot that happens on this day: preparations and then the Last Supper, the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, the trial.
· Portrayal video “The Last Supper”
· Explanation video “The Last Supper and the Passover Feast”
· Portrayal video “The Savior Suffers in Gethsemane,” covering also the betrayal, healing the centurion’s ear, and the arrest:
This next video, “Gethsemane,” explains some of the meaning of the name Gethsemane, and the symbolism that the Savior fulfilled. Did you know Gethsemane means “olive press”? And that the first press of the olives is a dark reddish brown appearing much like blood?
The illegal trials happen during the night. But the trial before Pilate, the choice to let Barabbas go free and to crucify Jesus were done early morning, before the crucifixion on Golgotha.
· Portrayal video “Jesus Is Condemned before Pilate”
· Explanation video “His Blood Be Upon Us”
· Explanation video “What Was the Crucifixion Like”
Saturday was a painful day for all who loved Jesus. It appeared that all hope had died. They hadn’t understood that He had told them He would die and rise again. And their only experience in the world was that death was permanent. As this explanation video points out, their agony on this day allows them to understand full joy once they encountered the resurrected Savior.
· Explanation video “Day of Agony”
Early in the morning, the women went to the tomb, carrying spices to anoint the body. They found the stone rolled away from the opening and guards gone. Angels tried to explain to them, but they hardly understood. They went and told the disciples, who mostly didn’t believe them, but Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves, finding the tomb empty. Puzzled, and not understanding, they went back home.
Mary Magdalene waited at the tomb. When a person approached, whom she assumed must be the gardener, she asked if he had taken the body. But then Jesus spoke her name.
So, it is Mary who is the first we have record of who saw the risen Lord. Then He appears to all the remaining apostles except Thomas. Later He comes again and Thomas sees Him, and feels the prints in His hands, and can thereafter testify that their Lord and Savior lives. Shortly after, He appears to others on the road to Emmaus.
· Portrayal video “Jesus Is Resurrected”
· Portrayal video “Blessed Are They That Have Not Seen and Yet Have Believed”
· Portrayal video “Christ Appears on the Road to Emmaus”
He appears to them later, on the shore near their fishing boat, and then calls them to the mission He has for them going forward. He spends 40 days with them, teaching them, before rising again into heaven.
Stephen, just prior to being stoned to death, saw Him (Acts 7:55). Ananias saw Him (Acts 9:10) and was directed to go take care of Paul, who had been a persecutor of the saints. Paul later saw Him (Acts 18:9; Acts 23:11). He was seen by more than 500 people (I Corinthians 15:6).
In addition, in my faith, we believe He later appeared to the people on this continent and taught them for three days, seen probably by about 2500 people (3 Nephi 17:25).
Two or three witnesses should suffice. It is hard for me to imagine thousands of people who thereafter lived with the purpose of promoting truth and goodness to have colluded together to lie about the Savior’s resurrection. Their testimonies and their lives testify that He lives.
His life was real—as clearly established historically as ancient historical person. The details of His life fulfill the hundreds of prophecies from all the Old Testament prophets. If we use simplest, most logical conclusion, it is not that He is an invention; it is that, indeed, He lives.
During the weekend, we’re going to do an Easter egg hunt with grandchildren and have a Sunday feast. I made chocolate eggs, and we’re going to decorate cookies and eggs. Many of those things seem frivolous, but underneath it all, we’re celebrating new life, and joy, and love.
So we will use this time to remember, He lives.