I’m going to ask you to pause for a moment and recall the feeling that you just had as you stood and joined in the singing of “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (Hymns, no. 196), as you looked upon our living prophet.
Never have I experienced the spontaneous outpouring of love that we witnessed during our singing of that great song. We felt the love taught by the Savior.
I hope that all of you will recall this experience, will remember it, will write it down. Perhaps you might say that words really cannot describe the way you felt as you looked up here at our prophet. Maybe you felt as I did—that my heart would burst. May that become part of your history.
In the hearts of all mankind, of whatever race or station in life, there are inexpressible longings for something they do not now possess. This longing is implanted in man by a loving Creator.
It is God’s design that this longing of the human heart should lead to the one who alone is able to satisfy it. That fulness is found only in Jesus the Christ, the Son of our Eternal Father in Heaven. Paul declared, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” (Col. 1:19.)
Jesus Christ was chosen and ordained to be the one and only Savior and Redeemer of the world. To the brother of Jared He said:
“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, 1982 edition.)
He 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.)
Today, much of the world is celebrating Palm Sunday—commemorating our Lord’s entrance into Jerusalem. The multitudes, as described by Matthew and John, “spread their garments in the way” (Matt. 21:8), and “took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him” (John 12:13).
It was the time of the annual feast of the Passover. For some time the chief priests of the Sanhedrin had conspired together to find an excuse for taking Jesus and plotted to put Him to death. They felt their opportunity had arrived.
The day preceding the eating of the Passover, Jesus instructed His disciples where to find a room so they could meet together and receive His instructions. In that room Jesus met with the Twelve, and they sat down to eat. After they had finished, Jesus taught them and ministered to them. He washed their feet and said to them:
“Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:13–14.) Then He taught them:
“Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. …
“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; …
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:31, 33–35.)
He continued to teach:
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
“And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1–4.)
But Thomas asked, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5.) The Savior replied:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
“If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:6–7.)
“I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:28.)
“Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (John 16:23.)
While in that upper room, Jesus, initiating the sacrament, picked up bread, brake it, prayed over it, and passed it to the disciples, saying:
“This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
“… This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:19–20.)
After introducing the sacrament, the Savior said to His disciples, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7.)
The Savior prayed to the Father for the Apostles and all believers:
“Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:1–3.)
After Jesus had finished His prayer to His Father, He left the upper room with the disciples and entered the Garden of Gethsemane to seek solitude and to pray:
“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39.)
Of His suffering in the garden, the Savior Himself has said:
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.” (D&C 19:18–19.)
“Behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.” (D&C 19:16.)
As the guards and Judas approached Him, the Lord said, “Behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.” (Matt. 26:46.)
Then Judas kissed Him on the cheek.
Jesus asked, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” (Matt. 26:50.)
“Whom seek ye?” (John 18:4.)
A guard replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
The Savior said, “I am he.” (John 18:5.)
The guards then led Jesus away to the Jewish rulers and then to Caiaphas, the high priest. (See Matt. 26:57.)
“I adjure thee by the living God,” said Caiaphas, “that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” (Matt. 26:63.)
“I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62.)
Jesus was then taken before Pilate, who asked, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33.)
Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.” (John 18:36.)
Pilate said to the crowd:
“I find in him no fault at all.
“But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:38–39.)
The crowd shouted, “No! No! Not this man, but Barabbas.” (See John 18:40.)
Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. (See Mark 15:15–17.)
Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man.” (Luke 23:4.)
The crowd shouted, “Crucify him. Crucify him. Away with him. Crucify him.” (See Luke 23:21.)
And they took Him, the Master—He whom Peter denied three times—and led Him forth. He carried His own cross. He began the long journey to the hill, past the crowds that lined the way, past the weeping women, past the murderous mob that had cried for His crucifixion and through the gates of the city, out to the hill called Golgotha—the “place of a skull.” (See John 19:17.) And there they crucified Him.
To the penitent thief hanging beside Him, Jesus said, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43.)
The last mortal words of Jesus:
“Woman, behold thy son!” (John 19:26.)
And then turning to John, “Behold thy mother!” (John 19:27.)
And then, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46.)
“It is finished.” (John 19:30.)
“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning,” women went to the sepulchre with spices they had prepared, and “found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.” (Luke 24:1–2.)
The voice of an angel asked:
“Why seek ye the living among the dead?
“He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:5–6.) This announcement proclaimed the most glorious event since the dawn of creation.
Mary heard a voice ask: “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?”
She said, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”
She heard someone say, “Mary.”
Then she knew Him and replied, “Master.”
“Touch me not,” He said, “for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (See John 20:15–17.)
Later Jesus appeared to the Apostles in the upper room where He had spent the evening with them prior to His death. They were frightened. Then they heard the voice of the Master:
“Peace be unto you. …
“Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
“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.” (Luke 24:36, 38–39.)
Later, on the seashore at Galilee, while the Savior and the disciples were eating fish together, Jesus asked Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?”
“Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”
“Feed my lambs.”
“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?”
“Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.”
“Feed my sheep.”
“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?”
“Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.”
And the Savior replied yet again, “Feed my sheep.” (See John 21:15–17.)
Three times Peter had openly denied the Lord. Now, three times Jesus drew from him the assurance of his love and loyalty.
The time had come for Jesus to ascend to His Father’s throne. Before His death He had declared to His Father, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:4.)
After His resurrection He tarried on the earth for some forty days, that His disciples might more fully comprehend His risen and glorified being and be instructed in matters of the kingdom of God.
Now He was ready to leave. The Apostles knew He was the Savior. His disciples would no longer associate Him with only the tomb. They would testify of Him as glorified.
As the place for His ascension Jesus chose the Mount of Olives, which He knew well; for nearby, on the slope of the mount at Bethany, He had found rest and affection with Mary and Martha and Lazarus. Also near was the Garden of Gethsemane where He had prayed and agonized alone. He chose the Mount of Olives to ascend from, and upon its summit His feet will rest when He comes again—not as a man of sorrows, but as a glorious and triumphant king.
There on the Mount of Olives the Savior instructed the Apostles and all who believe:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:19–20.)
I testify by the power of the Holy Ghost that this same Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, crucified for the sins of the world “to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;
He is our Redeemer, our Lord, our King. His kingdom is again established on the earth, which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This church, by divine direction, is preparing the world for His second coming—for He will come again—I humbly declare in His holy name, amen.
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