Easter: “O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory?” (April 3-9)

Mary Magdalene Sees the Resurrected Christ

It’s Holy Week, and as Elder Gary E. Stevenson suggested on Saturday, it is an opportunity for us to celebrate the most important event in the history of the world and the central truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Stevenson suggested that we put as much effort into our Easter celebration as we do Christmas, and he quoted the following observation by New Testament scholar N. T. Wright:

Take Christmas away, and in biblical terms you lose two chapters at the front of Matthew and Luke, nothing else. Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament.

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, 2008

Elder Stevenson recommended that we incorporate the Book of Mormon into our celebration of Easter. Referring to the Savior’s ministry on the American continent following His death and resurrection, Elder Stevenson said, “The Book of Mormon shares the greatest Easter story ever told.”

Here are some ideas and blog posts to help you incorporate the Book of Mormon into each day of this important week:

Palm Sunday

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the enthusiasm shown by people in Jerusalem as Jesus entered for the last time. They shouted a passage from Psalm 118: “Hosanna…. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9). On the American continent, after the people felt the prints of the nails in His hands and feet, they shouted the same words. (See 3 Nephi 11:16.) Palm Sunday is a good day to welcome the Savior into our hearts and homes. Here are two blog posts that may be helpful:

Monday: Cleansing the Temple

On Monday, we commemorate Jesus cleansing the temple. Isaiah called the temple God’s “house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7). About a hundred years later, Jeremiah rebuked the people for turning it into “a den of robbers” (Jeremiah 7:11). Jesus quoted both of those passages as He cast out the people who were executing monetary transactions in this holy place. (See Matthew 21:13,  Mark 11:17Luke 19:46.)

Ultimately, the purpose of sacred spaces is to help us become more holy. What can we remove from our lives in order to grow closer to God today? Here are two blog posts on the topic:

Tuesday: Preparation Parables

During the last week of His life, the Savior shared some important parables about diligence and preparation, particularly preparation for His Second Coming. The parable of the Ten Virgins contrasts a group of women who were conscientious from a group who were less careful. (See Matthew 25:1-13.) The parable of the talents describes three servants entrusted with different sums of money. Two recognized the obligation to put these resources to use, while the third buried his talent out of fear that he would lose it. Just like the virgins, the day of reckoning came. The first two servants were rewarded, while the third one was rebuked. (See Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27.)

Here is a post about the second of these parables:

Wednesday: The Two Great Commandments

On Wednesday, we remember some of Jesus’ most significant teachings. During this week, He identified the two most important commandments, telling us that everything else we read in the scriptures builds on the foundation of those two imperatives: love God and love your neighbor. (See Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-34. See also Luke 10:25-28.)

Jesus also illustrated the interdependence of these two commandments with the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. After listing a number of ways that we can serve others, Jesus declared, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:31-46). This echoes King Benjamin’s affirmation, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).

Here are a couple of blog posts about these teachings:

Thursday: The Last Supper and Gethsemane

On the last full day of the Savior’s life, He shared a Passover Feast with His apostles, commonly known as the Last Supper. At that time, He washed the apostles feet (John 13:4-10), instituted the ordinance of the sacrament (Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20), and offered the Intercessory Prayer (John 17).

During His visit to the American continent, He also introduced the sacrament and taught the people to participate in it regularly. (See 3 Nephi 18:1-11, 3 Nephi 20:3-9.) And He offered a prayer similar in content to the Intercessory Prayer. (See 3 Nephi 19:16-36.)

Here are a couple of blog posts about these events:

After the meal, Jesus and His apostles walked to a nearby garden called Gethsemane. He prayed intently that He might not have to suffer, but expressed His willingness to do so if there was no other way. (See Matthew 26:39-44, Mark 14:35-39, Luke 22:42.) After that prayer, Luke tells us that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). The angel who appeared to King Benjamin clarified that this wasn’t just sweat which looked like blood in the darkness: “Behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people” (Mosiah 3:7).

Here’s a post about the significance of His suffering in Gethsemane:

Good Friday

Following His suffering in Gethsemane, Jesus was arrested, tried, and condemned to death. On Friday, we remember that He willingly gave His life on the cross. “I lay down my life,” He had told His apostles. “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:17-18).

The imagery of the cross was important to Book of Mormon prophets as well. Nephi saw in a vision that the Son of the Everlasting God would be “lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world” (1 Nephi 11:33). And his brother Jacob yearned for everyone to “believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world” (Jacob 1:8).

Here is a blog post about this important symbol of the Savior’s death:


One of the thieves who was crucified with the Savior made a desperate final request: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” In response, Jesus promised, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43).

Between the Savior’s death and His resurrection, He organized the spirits in paradise “and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:30, see also 1 Peter 3:18–201 Peter 4:6).

Holy Saturday is a good day to ponder the Savior’s work in the world of the spirits. Here is a blog post on this topic:

Easter Sunday

Mary Magdalene was the first person to see the resurrected Savior. (See John 20:11-18.) After that, many people saw Him including a group of about 500 people, according to the apostle Paul. (See 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.)

When Jesus visited the American continent shortly afterward, about 2,500 people saw Him and interacted with Him, and many more on the following day. (See 3 Nephi 17:25, 3 Nephi 19:1-3.)

The Book of Mormon provides additional information about why the Savior’s resurrection is so important and its implications for each of us. Here are two blog posts about this important doctrine:

Blog Posts: April 4-9

The Zeal of Thine House

Jesus felt strongly about treating the temple with reverence. When He drove out the moneychangers, His apostles remembered the words of David, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” Our reverence for the temple reflects our reverence for God.

How They Might Entangle Him

During the last week of His life, Jesus responded wisely to His antagonistic interrogators. He challenged their rigid categories, provided simple solutions to apparently complicated problems, and testified of simple truths with sincerity.

“That They May Also Be One”

Unity is very important to Jesus. At the Last Supper, He urged His apostles to be one. In His visit to the American continent, He made the same plea. His living representatives on the earth have also urged us to overcome contention and become one.

“He Opened Not His Mouth”

Isaiah prophesied that, like a lamb, the Savior would stand silently as He was afflicted. On the night of His crucifixion, Jesus was questioned several times. In some cases, He answered with extraordinary poise. In others, He said nothing at all.

In the World of Spirits

Between the Savior’s death and His resurrection, He went to the Spirit World, where He organized His followers to preach the gospel. How grateful I am that there is a place of happiness and that those who are not yet there can still enter!

He Is Risen

It is significant that Jesus didn’t simply go on living. He physically died and then was resurrected. We will all die, and His resurrection teaches us that everything bad, including death, is temporary. There will be light. There will be calm.

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