The beginning of April seems to bring some important events. It is when we believe our Savior was born (April 6th), as well as the date of his resurrection, it is also when the church was officially established, and for me personally it also has some significance. My brother Thomas died April 3rd (same date as the death of our Savior), then three days later was his funeral, April 6th. I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t know why these things all fell on the same date, except to remind us of the renewal of life. The fullness of the gospel given life once again. A resurrection, if you will, of our Savior’s church. And for the death of my brother, a comforting reminder that because of my Savior, I will see him again. The knowledge of Jesus Christ’s atonement and His resurrection truly has removed the sting of death. Don’t get me wrong, it is still very painful, and even though my brother died 27 years ago, I still get teary eyed when I think of the event or his dimpled face, or even the thought of “what would he be like today?” Would he have a family? I would like to think I know what his personality would be like, but that is even hard to say.
What do we know of the resurrection? In Come Follow Me, it lists several references of the resurrection (see page 54-56). 2 Nephi 9:6-15 brought something to my attention that I hadn’t sat and pondered before. It explains that there must needs be a resurrection because there was a fall, but there had to be a fall because of transgression. This shows the truth that the resurrection was the plan from the beginning. It is an eternal law. In fact, 2 Nephi describes the atonement as an infinite atonement. It has no beginning and no end. This explains why the Nephites were able to have faith in an atonement that was yet to come, or why the Israelites sacrificed lambs in a symbolic reminder of the Atonement of Jesus Christ- a person they waited centuries for. My friends and I have a Come Follow Me discussion on Marco Polo every week. We discussed the faith it would take to hope and live for an atonement and their Savior that hadn’t come yet. We have historical writings of this person, testimonials of His atonement, and even some literal proof of his existence. So our faith may at times seem less than those who awaited his birth.
Jesus Christ’s infinite atonement also gives the greatest hope to us all because not only does it not have an end, but it is infinite in its capacity to heal. To heal us from ourselves, our choices, and the choices of others. No wonder the Lord commands us to forgive others, for truly when we do so we are allowing the atonement to heal our hearts and draw us nearer to Him.
The Atonement can overcome all death, both spiritual and temporal, however though the resurrection is a gift for all, it only breaks the bands of the temporal death. Our bodies will be reunited and restored to their perfect frame and reunited with our spirits. However, it is our Savior’s suffering on the cross that enables us to choose to overcome spiritual death. In Mormon chapter 9:14 it explains that when we are resurrected and faced judgement, that we will be who we were before. “And he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still.” Our Father in Heaven is all about choice. Agency is His gift to us, a gift so precious that he allowed us to fight for that right in the war in Heaven before coming to this earth. Therefore, though it probably gives him the greatest of pains when we choose contrary to the way of happiness, he has allowed it because he wants us to choose it for ourselves. Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can choose happiness even after we may have strayed from “the way of happiness.” That is truly an amazing gift.
The resurrection also reaffirms truths of the restoration. Luke 24:39, “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.” The truths of our Savior Jesus Christ and his father having perfect, immortal and eternal bodies of flesh and bone are reaffirmed throughout the cannon of scriptures, but this idea that they are some unimaginable, non descriptive being are not substantiated. In Joseph Smith’s account of his first vision, he describes our Savior and our Father in Heaven as two separate personages. “When the light rested upon me, I saw to personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— ‘This is my beloved Son, Hear Him!” Though I don’t know the exact date of the first vision, it would not surprise me if it was April 6th. Joseph Smith describes it “early spring of 1820.” What testimonies do you have of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?