Monday, April 24, 2017

2017-04-24 President's Message

Dear Elders and Sisters,

Imagine the heartbreak, distress and sorrow felt by the followers of Christ as they watched His arrest, judgment, torture and death. There was no last-minute miracle to save Him. Many of them were puzzled that someone who could heal any sickness, perform any miracle and even raise the dead would end His life in such defeat and ruin.
Imagine then the shock, joy, disbelief and rejoicing of His followers when His tomb was found empty and an angel standing by to give them the news of his resurrection. "And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word." (Matthew 28:8)
The resurrection of Christ gives us great Hope.
His resurrection opens the door for the rest of mankind to likewise receive a body again after death.
His resurrection means that He is truly alive and that He will be our Friend and Advocate with the Father.
His resurrection means that all of His promises, including His atonement for our sins, are real and true.
His resurrection symbolizes and teaches that each of us can be changed from carnal, worldly people into new and godly creatures.
In October 2006, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin talked in General Conference. His dear wife of 65 years, Elisa, had died recently and his heart was tender--but his faith was strong:
"She was my strength and my joy. Because of her, I am a better man, husband, and father. We married, had eight children, and walked together through 65 years of life.
I owe more to my wife than I can possibly express. I don't know if there ever was a perfect marriage, but, from my perspective, I think ours was.
When President Hinckley spoke at Sister Wirthlin's funeral, he said that it is a devastating, consuming thing to lose someone you love. It gnaws at your soul.
He was right. As Elisa was my greatest joy, now her passing is my greatest sorrow.
In the lonely hours I have spent a great deal of time thinking about eternal things. I have contemplated the comforting doctrines of eternal life.
During my life I have heard many sermons on the Resurrection. Like you, I can recite the events of that first Easter Sunday. I have marked in my scriptures passages regarding the Resurrection and have close at hand many of the key statements uttered by latter-day prophets on this subject...
The Resurrection is at the core of our beliefs as Christians. Without it, our faith is meaningless. The Apostle Paul said, "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and [our] faith is also vain."
In all the history of the world there have been many great and wise souls, many of whom claimed special knowledge of God. But when the Savior rose from the tomb, He did something no one had ever done. He did something no one else could do. He broke the bonds of death, not only for Himself but for all who have ever lived--the just and the unjust.
I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark. Frightful storms lashed at the earth.
Those evil men who sought His life rejoiced. Now that Jesus was no more, surely those who followed Him would disperse. On that day they stood triumphant.
Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were both overcome with grief and despair.
On that Friday the apostles were devastated. Jesus, their Savior--the man who had walked on water and raised the dead--was Himself at the mercy of wicked men. They watched helplessly as He was overcome by his enemies.
On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled.
I think that of all the days since the beginning of this world's history, that Friday was the darkest.
But the doom of that day did not endure.
The despair did not linger because on Sunday, the resurrected Lord burst the bonds of death. He ascended from the grave and appeared gloriously triumphant as the Savior of all mankind. And in an instant the eyes that had been filled with ever-flowing tears dried. The lips that had whispered prayers of distress and grief now filled the air with wondrous praise.
EACH OF US WILL HAVE OUR OWN FRIDAYS--those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.
but I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death--Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.
No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.
I testify to you that the Resurrection is not a fable.We have the personal testimonies of those who saw Him. Thousands in the Old and New Worlds witnessed the risen Savior. They felt the wounds in His hands, feet, and side. They shed tears of unrestrained joy as they embraced Him...Many of the offered as a final testimony their own precious lives. they died as martyrs, the testimony of the risen Christ on their lips as they perished.
The Resurrection transformed the lives of those who witnessed it. Should it not transform ours?
We will all rise from the grave. And on that day my father will embrace my mother. On that day I will once again hold in my arms by beloved Elisa.
Because of the life and eternal sacrifice of the Savior of the world, we will be reunited with those we have cherished.
It is my solemn testimony that death is not the end of existence. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." Because of the risen Christ, "death is swallowed up in victory."
Elders and Sister, as you go out this week to teach the gospel of Christ, be sure to teach and testify of the Great Hope of the gospel. For "...they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb...God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Revelation 7:14,17)
May the Lord fill you with hope and strength and testimony. And may He bless those you teach that they will be filled with the same hope.
Mahal ko po kayo,
President Creg Ostler