Christ's resurrection
Scheduled for study Apr 15-21, 2019. This week is a good time to spend pondering the blessings of Christ’s resurrection and your testimony of Christ’s calling as Redeemer. There are a lot of chapters to read, so get a head start on them if you can. This will help you get through them in a timely manner, as well as have more time to ponder what they mean to you or discover how you feel about them.

Day 1

Death and resurrection – This is my title for this section. I am addressing the two introductory paragraphs in the manual.

As you read the testimonies of the Savior’s Resurrection in this outline, make note of the feelings and impressions that come to you from the Holy Ghost.

One of the most fascinating features of the understanding of the apostles and disciples at this point in their spiritual development is their complete inability to grasp the concept of the resurrection. This is fascinating to me, because the resurrection of Christ is one of our most understood and talked about gospel features of the life of Christ. He isn’t fully the Christ without that last step in the atoning process, the rising from the dead.

When we talk of rising from the dead we all think of Jesus, so we have an example that is clear and well defined as to what it means to be resurrected. But what about the Apostles and the disciples? No one up to that time had ever been resurrected. Yes, there had been those who had been raised from the dead, but they always died again, so everyone understood that this was just a temporary condition. Those risen from the dead would still age and die someday.

To be resurrected is to not only receive one’s body back again, but to have a perfected body able to be glorified, one that will live for all eternity. As of yet no one had ever seen such a thing. It was beyond comprehension. The Apostles knew the words, but those words held little meaning for them. The followers of Jesus understood deliverance in the form of the slaves leaving Egypt. They had historical records that talked about their ancestor’s deliverance from the captivities by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. They understood that kind of liberation. But to be freed from personal sin, death, and to have everlasting life? Not so much.

As I understand it, the law of Moses did not personally free people from sins. In the burnt offerings the law transferred the sins to the animals, which were then sacrificed on the alter or driven into the wilderness, like the famous scapegoat that bore away the sins of all Israel each year. What Jesus taught was a whole new level of accountability and personal involvement in one’s own salvation, and it was going to take some getting used to by the people.

Who is this Messiah?

To the Jews, their Messiah was supposed to be someone who would come and lead them in battle to overthrow their captors. He was supposed to be a mighty man of valor. Then Jesus comes along and declares himself to be the promised Messiah, but he is meek, and lowly of heart. He preaches peace and forgiveness, obeying the laws and respect. This was very confusing to the people. This new definition of what a Messiah is supposed to be is accompanied by miracle after miracle, and was very alluring. But that didn’t mean they understood what he was teaching.

As you read the many chapters that talk about Christ this week, be sure to refer to all the JST references and all the GR (Greek) references in your footnotes. It will clear up many things people often ask questions about, and the JST references will change your understanding of some interesting teachings.

The resurrection is the greatest game changer in the gospel. Without the resurrection the events that took place in Gethsemane and on the cross would have been of zero value to anyone. Without the resurrection we would have all been doomed to dying and having only eternal servitude to Satan to look forward to. The resurrection makes the Atoning sacrifice of Christ an actual, usable opportunity to change and be different. It is the resurrection that allows Christ to become our judge and award us a kingdom of glory.

Yes, Israel was celebrating the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. They were remembering the symbols of their deliverance their forefathers painted on their door posts so the destroying angel would pass them by. They were preparing to celebrate their hasty Passover meal as they were about to be delivered from 400 plus years of bondage to a new age of freedom. At the same time the Jews were celebrating all these symbols of freedom and deliverance, Jesus was introducing the sacrament, paying for our sins in Gethsemane and on the cross, and rising from the grave in a newness of life that would open the doors of exaltation and eternal rewards for all mankind. They saw none of these things. They were blissfully ignorant of the monumental sacrifices and rewards being offered right under their noses.

What about us? This Easter season are we like those in Jerusalem that were blissfully ignorant of the magnitude of the mercies of God taking place all around them during the Passover? Are we like the disciples, who knew about what Jesus taught, but we still haven’t grasped its significance? Or are we searching the scriptures and praying for our spiritual eyes to be opened to the amazing blessings the Atonement and the Resurrection provide us, and how key to all our eternal happiness the resurrection of Christ is?

Day 2

Matthew 21-28 – Jesus Christ has power to help me overcome sin, death, trials, and weaknesses.

As you read the testimonies of the Savior’s Resurrection in this outline, make note of the feelings and impressions that come to you from the Holy Ghost.

This is a lot of reading to take in for one day’s study. So after you have read it all, give yourself some time to digest it. Look at the questions in the manual, as well as these questions below. Today’s study is all about self-reflection.

In your opinion, what do you think is the difference between overcoming sin, death, trials, and weaknesses, and being delivered from sin, death, trials, and weaknesses?

Referring to the question above, which of these two choices do you think the Savior does for you?

Is it even possible for Jesus to deliver us from trials? Why or why not?

How are we sometimes like the people during the Savior’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Sunday then like those same people four days later in front of Pilot? What do you think caused the change in their behavior?

What do you think gives Christ the power to help us overcome sin? (I don’t think there is a single correct answer to this.)

Can you draw any lessons about enduring trials or a discontented attitude between Peter and Judas Iscariot?

What would you classify as some of the hallmark differences between these two Apostles?

Can I learn anything about myself from the above comparisons?

Day 3

Matthew 28:1–10; Luke 24:13–35; John 20:19–29; 1 Corinthians 15:1–8, 55 – Many witnesses testify of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As you read the testimonies of the Savior’s Resurrection in this outline, make note of the feelings and impressions that come to you from the Holy Ghost.

It may be difficult to understand exactly what the Apostles and the disciples of Jesus were experiencing in the last 24 hours of his life, and during the next few days after his Crucifixion. I have been struggling with my efforts to see these experiences from their perspective. We don’t know how much of the plan of salvation the Jews actually knew about, but from the questions they asked Jesus, and their own expressed doubts, they obviously didn’t have all the pieces put together.

The disciples acted like the concept that someone could or even would rise from the dead was a completely foreign idea. I don’t know what they thought was going to happen after they died, but the idea of rising from the dead and living forever in a glorified resurrected body wasn’t on their mental menu. Over and over again Jesus told them he would die and rise again, but it was like one of the parables they couldn’t understand. It went in one ear and out the other with no stops along the way. They thought Jesus was just being, well, Jesus, evasive and elusive in his meanings. The notion that he was being literal never occurred to them.

The disciples knew Jesus had great power. They had seen it over and over again. They knew he taught that no one could kill him, that he had power over life and death. But then they were confused and frightened when, at the conclusion of the Passover he allowed himself to be captured, abused, tortured, then crucified. He died without a struggle, not even an expression of outrage. How could he let this happen? What were they supposed to do now? What would happen to them as his followers? Their leader and the one they looked upon as the Messiah, the deliverer of Israel, was dead and buried. What did that mean for them? Were his teachings going to be buried along with their teacher? Were they supposed to continue on without him? How could they do that?

At the end of the Sabbath, on the first day of the week (Sunday), some women went to the tomb to see if they could finish the job of making sure their Lord’s body was properly prepared for his eternal rest. Imagine their surprise when they found soldiers fallen to the ground paralyzed with fear, the stone rolled away from the tomb door, and two angels sitting on top of the stone! They were told that Jesus was not inside the tomb, because he had already risen from the dead and would meet his disciples in Galilee. They were to go and tell the Brethren that he was no longer dead. What a fantastical tale.

Never in the history of the world had such a thing happened. Who would believe it? No one raises themselves from the dead. But Jesus did. A couple of the women saw him and bore witness to the Apostles that he did, in fact, live, because they had seen and spoken with him. The Apostles ran to the tomb to verify what they were told, and sure enough, the body was gone, but there was no Jesus or angels in sight.

It is interesting that the Pharisees believed in a resurrection, but how that was to come about or when it was to happen, I don’t know. Their fear was that the disciples would steal the body of Jesus and claim he was risen from the dead. That is why they put soldiers to guard the tomb. But the angels came and opened his tomb for him anyway.

The scriptures aren’t clear as to how Jesus was resurrected. There are verses that claim the Holy Ghost raised him, verses that claim God raised him, and verses that say He raised himself. The modern prophets generally preach that Jesus, having the keys of life and death given him from our Father raised himself from the dead.

His resurrection set off a chain of events. Graves were opened all around Jerusalem, and more than 500 people were seen raised from the dead by the people of Jerusalem. And though Jesus had walked publicly among all the people of Israel when he was mortal, after his resurrection he only showed himself to the faithful in the Church. He appeared multiple times to his Apostles, teaching them and helping them understand what it means to be resurrected, giving them a clearer understanding of the plan of salvation. He ate with them and let them feel his wounds so they could testify he was physically there in person.

The meaning of the resurrection

This is the testimony of the Apostles. Their witness is that Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer, and that he lives today. The importance of that resurrection is that his literal reunion with his body means that this same reunion will be given to each and every one of us at some point in the future. The glory and literal nature of the resurrection is the good news of the gospel Christ taught.

Without the resurrection there can be no repentance. Without the resurrection our “first judgment” would stand – we would become angels to the devil after our death in mortality. There is no hope for us in the eternities without the resurrection. I wrote an article on https://gospelstudy.us to be posted on April 18th, 2019 entitled “Resurrection – The Turning of a Key.” Feel free to refer to it for further thoughts on the resurrection.

Day 4

1 Peter 1:3–11 – Jesus Christ gives me hope and joy.

As you read the testimonies of the Savior’s Resurrection in this outline, make note of the feelings and impressions that come to you from the Holy Ghost.

In the scriptures we learn that God’s assignment to Jesus to testify of God’s love is the same as if we had heard from God, Himself. Jesus taught that there is absolutely no difference between whether God, Himself expresses His love for us or if Jesus, God’s representative expresses that love. Then Jesus teaches us that this is a pattern in eternity. He also sends out his servants to declare the truths of the gospel God gave us in the Council in heaven. And we are held just as accountable for that testimony, no matter who bears it with the Holy Ghost. In John 20:21 we read the Savior’s instructions.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

And as Jesus sent the Apostles, so they send us to preach the gospel of peace and salvation to all the inhabitants of the earth. Just as the Apostles preach of the resurrection and salvation offered by Christ, so we are commissioned as members of His Church to teach of Christ’s resurrection and the salvation his sacrifice offers us. In other words, we don’t have to have personally seen Jesus in his resurrected state. If we have obtained, through our faith, a testimony of that resurrection then we can bear that testimony to others and it is just as effective as if we had personally been there, for the Spirit bears the truth of our words to the hearts of those to whom we bear our testimony.

This means that the joy the Apostles and original disciples felt upon physically seeing their resurrected lord can be ours, because we have exercised belief in their testimonies of his reality. We each must learn to see with our spiritual eyes that which we will all one day see with our physical eyes. In Moroni 7:40–41 we learn that through faith in the atonement and the resurrection we can have just as much hope of the promise of eternal life as any of those who actually saw with their eyes the risen Lord. It doesn’t state it in direct terms, but that is the sentiment.

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?

41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

It is the promise of eternal life made by Christ that all those who are obedient to the covenants and commandments will be rewarded equally, whether living in the past, present, or future, that gives us the hope we need to exercise our faith in his promises. We can have the same hope of life eternal as Peter himself, because it doesn’t matter whether we have seen the risen Christ with our physical eyes or the eyes of our faith, the result of obedience is the same for all, and at any time in the earth’s history. This is the hope spoken of by the ancient prophets from Adam to the present day. This is the hope every person on either side of the veil grasps to give them faith to do what needs to be done to be saved in the kingdom of God.

Day 5

Improving Personal Study – Set manageable goals.

They say that a person who studies a subject with real focus just five minutes a day, every day for five years, will know at the end of that time as much as a person who goes to college and gets a degree in the subject. That may be debatable, but the point is good. When it comes to studying the scriptures it isn’t how much we can read in a short period of time, it is how much we can come to understand over the long haul that counts. We are studying the scriptures for comprehension and application, not for facts and figures.

This means that, like temple attendance, what counts is the consistency of our efforts, not how much we read. If we are only able to grasp one verse a week, but in the week’s time we really come to comprehend all the different ways to use the wisdom of that one verse then we will have mastered many eternal principles and practices at the end of our five years of study. The comprehension of eternal principles and knowledge can only come from the revelation of that knowledge to us through the Holy Ghost. So seeking the spirit as we study and ponder what is read is the most important part of our time in the scriptures. Consistency is the key.

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

New Testament 16