“He Is Not Here, for He Is Risen”

Lesson 27 – Matthew 28; Luke 24; John 20

Introduction

 

Elder James M. Paramore:  “Many years ago … a writer for a newspaper was asked an important question, ‘What would be the most important news the world could receive?’ ”  Elder Paramore continued: “[The writer] thought and thought about the question, he talked to many people, and read all he could in an effort to find an answer for himself. And finally, he printed his answer, ‘To know that Jesus Christ lives today would be the most important news the world could receive. In fact, if He lives today, then we too will live eternally as He said’ ” (Ensign, Nov. 1990, 64).

The disciples’ sorrow at Christ’s death was replaced with unspeakable joy at his Resurrection. We too can rejoice in the knowledge that Christ was resurrected.

 

Mary Magdalene and other women were witnesses of the resurrected Lord.

 

Matt. 27:57-60; Luke 23:50-53; John 19:38-42 After Jesus was crucified, his body was wrapped in clean linen cloths and placed in a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, one of Jesus’ disciples. This was done quickly because the Sabbath was about to begin. The morning after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and other women returned to the tomb with spices and ointments to more thoroughly anoint and embalm Jesus’ body.

Matt. 28:1-4; Luke 24:1-4 Mary Magdalene and the other women, when they came to Jesus’ tomb, found angels at an open tomb. (The Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 28 states, as Luke does, that there were two angels. See Matt. 28:2, footnote 2a.)

Matt. 28:5-7; Luke 24:5-8 The angels told the women that 1) they knew the women sought Jesus, 2) Jesus was not there, but had risen from the grave, 3) they should look for themselves and see the empty tomb, 4) they should go quickly to tell his disciples of the resurrection, 5) they should expect to see the risen Lord in Galilee, and finally, 6) the angels had discharged their responsibility in delivering this message.

Alma 11:42-45 (see also Bible Dictionary, “Resurrection,” 761.)  When the angels said, “He is risen”, they meant that Jesus had been resurrected. Alma explains what it means to be resurrected—that the spirit and body are reunited again in its perfect form and in an immortal state, not being subject to corruption again.

1 Corinthians 15:22, 50-58; Alma 11:42-45 Blessings we will receive because of Jesus’ Resurrection include the blessing that we will all be resurrected and be given immortal bodies.

President Howard W. Hunter said that the words “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6) “contain all the hope, assurance, and belief necessary to sustain us in our challenging and sometimes grief-filled lives” (Ensign, May 1986, 15-16).

Consider how your testimony of the Atonement and the Resurrection has helped you through difficult times.

Matt. 28:8; Luke 24:8-9 After the angels finished speaking, the women departed quickly, feeling a combination of fear and joy, to tell his disciples of the resurrection.

As foretold by the angels, Mary and the other women were the first of many people who saw Jesus Christ after he was resurrected

2 Corinthians 13:1 It was important that the resurrected Lord appear to earthly witnesses to provide proof of his resurrection and to fulfill prophecies about his atonement and resurrection.

 

Two disciples on the road to Emmaus were witnesses of the resurrected Lord.

 

Luke 24:13-24 Cleopas and his companion were sad as they walked along the road to Emmaus because Jesus had been crucified and they had expected him to redeem Israel—which, it seems, in their opinion, had failed to come to pass.

Luke 24:25-27 The resurrected Lord taught them as they walked that all of this had been the subject of numerous prophecies—which he then expounded to them as they walked.

Luke 24:32 The two disciples felt their hearts burn within them as Jesus taught them.  This feeling was the influence of the Holy Ghost. Consider your own experiences as you have received a witness from the Spirit while studying the gospel or hearing someone teach it. Didn’t your heart burn as you felt the truth of gospel teachings?

 

The Apostles were witnesses of the resurrected Lord.

 

Luke 24:36-37 The Apostles thought they were seeing a spirit when the Savior appeared to them on the evening of the day he was resurrected.

Luke 24:38-43 Jesus reassured them that he was a resurrected being, not a spirit, by inviting them to feel his hands and assure themselves that he had a body of flesh and bone.

John 20:24-25 Thomas responded to the other Apostles’ testimonies that the Lord had been resurrected with some disbelief.

John 20:26-29 Thomas came to believe that the Lord had been resurrected by seeing the risen Lord with his own eyes. Sometimes we may show the same weakness as Thomas and fail to believe the testimony of others.

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said:  Have you not heard others speak as Thomas spoke? ‘Give us,’ they say, ‘the empirical evidence. Prove before our very eyes, and our ears, and our hands, else we will not believe.’ This is the language of the time in which we live. Thomas the Doubter has become the example of men in all ages who refuse to accept other than that which they can physically prove and explain—as if they could prove love, or faith, or even such physical phenomena as electricity. … “To all within the sound of my voice who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: ‘Be not faithless, but believing’ ” (Ensign, May 1978, 59).

John 20:27 Consider carefully how you can more fully follow the Lord’s admonition to “be not faithless, but believing”. What can you do this week to accomplish that?

 

Some of the Apostles saw Jesus again at the Sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee).

 

John 21:4-7 The resurrected Lord showed himself again to seven of his Apostles as they were fishing. They came to realize it was Jesus on the shore when he directed them where to fish and they suddenly caught an abundance of fish after previously fishing in vain.

John 21:15-17 After they had eaten, Jesus ask Peter and the other Apostles to feed his sheep.

Today, we are also charged with the responsibility to feed the Lord’s sheep through actively serving in our callings and giving selfless service outside our formal Church callings.

John 20:30-31 John’s reason for writing down some of the things that the resurrected Jesus said and did was to help us believe in Christ.  Consider carefully how you have benefited from studying the scriptural accounts of Jesus’ Resurrection and pondering these great events.

 

Other witnesses of the resurrected Lord

 

In addition to the many witnesses mentioned in the Gospels, others who saw the resurrected Lord include:

Stephen (Acts 7:55)
More than 500 brethren (1 Corinthians 15:6)
The Apostle James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
The Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8)
2,500 Saints in the ancient Americas (3 Nephi 11:8-15; 3 Nephi 17:25)
The Prophet Joseph Smith (Joseph Smith—History 1:17; D&C 76:22-24)
Sidney Rigdon (D&C 76:22-24)

 

Conclusion

 

Jesus Christ was resurrected and because of him we will also be resurrected. This testimony and knowledge of the Resurrection brings us strength and comfort.

 

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