Sunday, May 21, 2017

Resurrection Morning - The Part Less Talked About


Ever since Easter I have been wanting to write this post. As busy as life has been I knew if I didn't finally sit down and write it, it might escape my mind. So here we go :)

The Resurrection is a topic most celebrated around Easter, and maybe that's why I waited until May to write about it. It's a topic I seem to ponder quite often lately and some wonderful things have happened because of it.

When Easter rolls around each year, we can find plentiful movies available about Passover and the life of Christ. My favorites, are the films that depict the Resurrection. However, I have not been able to find a film that portrays what I would like to talk about today - and that is the Resurrection of all those who were resurrected along with Jesus on that beautiful Resurrection morning.

Can you imagine what that must have been like? The face expressions of all of those who did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, only to discover their deceased loved ones suddenly walking through town and greeting them on their doorstep? Their deceased loved ones, surely must have testified that Jesus was the Christ and because of Him they have Eternal Life. Think of all those who must have been converted to the Lord to have witnessed such an encounter!

This is the part of Resurrection morning that is less talked about. Wouldn't it be incredible to find the journals of those who experienced this? To read their words describing how it must have been to see graves open up, and the dead literally walking through town - no longer dead, but very much alive and well. Some probably unrecognizable being in a body that was now youthful and perfect.  Oh, how I would love for someone to make a movie about this, focusing on the personal lives and stories of regular people, believer and non-believer. Showing their lives during His ministry. Maybe families who had never met Him, and families in other parts of the world who had never heard of Him. Maybe those who had heard of Him, but did not believe or were unsure. And maybe those who met Him and were followers, but lost faith when He was crucified. To see how that first Resurrection would have changed everything would be priceless.

In Matthew 27:52 we read,

52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

This is the only account in the New Testament that speaks of the dead who were resurrected. It is very short with little detail. We learn that the centurion believed when he became afraid after witnessing these things.

I can't help but wonder, how could anyone NOT believe after witnessing the dead being resurrected? How could they not believe the testimonies of the disciples that Jesus had truly risen? After seeing so many others being resurrected and walking through town, testifying of Him, and ministering unto many, how could anyone NOT believe?

What did that look like? Did these resurrected sons and daughters perform miracles? How long did they stay? Where are these details? Were they recorded and lost? Were they destroyed? We can only wonder.

In the popular films that depict the Resurrection, we see the outrage of Caiaphas who learns that Jesus is no longer in the tomb, and anger towards the guards who believe He was resurrected. How could Caiaphas not believe? Didn't he too witness the graves opening and the resurrected dead ministering? How could any of this been kept under wraps? This detail is always left out of the movies. I can only imagine what it would have been like, had they had the internet during this time. Can you imagine people filming all of this with their phones and posting it to social media? The entire world would have been in awe.

So, the other day I was wondering to myself what it was like for the Nephites here in America during the Resurrection. Did they too, experience graves opening? I remembered all the other events and commotions happening but wondered about the graves. No sooner than I had that thought, it was as though the Spirit heard me. I happened to be reading in Heleman chapter 14 because that is where I last left off in my reading, when I came across verse 25;

25 And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many.

Samuel the Lamanite is prophesying unto the Nephites about Christ's birth, death, and Resurrection. He tells them that in five years Jesus will be born and then gives them the signs to look for. A day and a night and a day with no darkness and a new star in the sky. He then gives signs of His death - three days of darkness along with the following;

21 Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up;

22 Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath.

23 And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great.

24 And many highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become desolate.

25 And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many.

Samuel explains in verse 17;

17 But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.

We know this happened across the entire earth. How could anyone not believe? Those who didn't understand, didn't believe, or had not heard of Jesus must have been afraid and confused. We know that Jesus visited His disciples and ministered unto them for 40 days. He then came to America and visited the Nephites and ministered unto them. He explained to them that they were who He was referring to when He told His disciples in John 10:16;

That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (3 Nephi 15:17)

I wanted to learn more about the detail of the Resurrection here in America. As I searched I could not find anything. I saw that Samuel had prophesied of it, but where were the details? While writing this blog post the Spirit led me to this passage that sent the goosebumps all over my body :)

3 Nephi 23:9-13

9 Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?

10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.

11 And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?

12 And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.

13 And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.

Wow! All I can say is "wow". It's as though Jesus knew my thoughts in 2017. He knew the importance of this, He knew the powerful impact it would have on future testimonies. He wanted this recorded. He wanted future generations to know about it.

I can't help but wonder how many other tribes and nations the Savior may have visited and shared with them the good news! How exciting it will be to one day have these records, when all the tribes have been gathered in. To read these other accounts.

I just love pondering about this, and can't wait for the day when He returns again to the Earth and we witness the graves of our loved ones opening up. We too see that incredible Resurrection power in action!

Alma Chapter 40 goes into great detail about the process of the resurrection. It is very much worth the read.

I know that Jesus is Lord and Messiah over the entire Earth, and Universe. Because of Him, by Him and through Him, we are saved and can have everlasting life. I love what He has done for me and you, and will eternally be grateful. Death has no power over us. I say this in His holy name amen.

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