Viewpoint: Celebrate Everlasting Easter Each Sabbath Day
Contributed By the Church News
Easter is the everlasting season.
Although this year’s calendars note Easter observance as March 27, Latter-day Saints “observe Easter” throughout the year. Except for the Sundays on which we attend general and stake conferences and, in various locales, temple dedications, we partake of an ordinance Jesus Christ introduced during the last days of His mortal ministry.
After Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the time of Passover, He met with His Apostles in an upper room where He initiated the sacrament:
“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19–20).
Some refer to that solemn occasion as “the Lord’s Supper” or “the Last Supper.”
We eat and drink at the table of the Lord as we partake of the sacrament. In doing so, we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and acknowledge Him as the Only Begotten Son of God who offered Himself in the great atoning sacrifice that Christianity observes at Easter.
Jesus said to the brother of Jared: “Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. … In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name” (Ether 3:14).
Jesus taught His disciples: “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. … That every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:38, 40).
“The central figure in [Heavenly Father’s] plan of salvation is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” said Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in his April 1996 general conference address. “His atoning sacrifice for all mankind is the centerpiece of the history of our Father in Heaven’s children here on earth. Each of us who accepts the divine plan must accept the role of our Savior and covenant to keep His laws that our Father has developed for us. As we accept Christ in spirit and in deed, we may win our salvation” (“Sacrament of the Lord's Supper”).
President Joseph F. Smith wrote: “The sacrament was instituted by the Savior in the place of the law of sacrifice which was given to Adam, and which continued with His children down to the days of Christ, but which was fulfilled in His death, He being the great sacrifice for sin, of which the sacrifices enjoined in the law given to Adam were a similitude” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. , 202).
On April 6, 1830, at the formal organization of the Church, the sacrament was reintroduced in this dispensation.
“The Restoration of the gospel clarified the use and meaning of the sacrament, which, through dark periods of the Apostasy, had suffered many perversions,” Elder Perry said in the address referenced above. “By revelation, the members of the Church were counseled, ‘It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus’ (D&C 20:75).”
After He instituted the sacrament nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He endured pains beyond mortal description. After that, He felt the harsh whip of scourging, the piercings of a crown of thorns, the physical taxation of carrying His own cross, and then the cruelty of that cross. Hours of agony passed before He cried with a loud voice, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” We are told that “having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46).
Jesus completed His mortal mission on Calvary’s cross. However, the glorious Resurrection from the tomb still lay ahead.
The scriptural record explains that on the third day women went to the tomb to anoint His body with spices “and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”
Angels appeared and said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:3–6).
President Thomas S. Monson, in an April 2010 general conference address, said: “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.
During the April 2015 general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, declared:
“On Easter Sunday we celebrate the most long-awaited and glorious event in the history of the world.
“It is the day that changed everything.
“On that day, my life changed.
“Your life changed.
“The destiny of all God’s children changed.
“On that blessed day, the Savior of mankind, who had taken upon Himself the chains of sin and death that held us captive, burst those chains and set us free” (“The Gift of Grace”).
As we partake of the sacrament on Sundays throughout the year, we remember—even commemorate—that first glorious Easter morning.