“He Is Not Here, but Is Risen,” Liahona, Apr. 2011, 4–6
First Presidency Message
He Is Not Here, but Is Risen
Today only ruins remain of Capernaum, that city by the lakeshore, heart of the Savior’s Galilean ministry. Here He preached in the synagogue, taught by the seaside, and healed in the homes.
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus took a text from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1; see also Luke 4:18)—a clear pronouncement of a divine plan to rescue the sons and daughters of God.
But Jesus’s preaching in Galilee had been merely prelude. The Son of Man had always had a dread rendezvous to keep on a hill called Golgotha.
Arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper, deserted by His disciples, spat upon, tried, and humiliated, Jesus staggered under His great cross toward Calvary. He progressed from triumph to betrayal, torture, and death on the cross.
In the words of the song “The Holy City”:
The scene was changed. …
The morn was cold and chill,
As the shadow of a cross arose
Upon a lonely hill.1
For us our Heavenly Father gave His Son. For us our Elder Brother gave His life.
At the last moment the Master could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things: the human race, the earth, and all the life that ever inhabited it.
No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:5–6).
With this pronouncement, those who have lived and died, those who now live and one day will die, and those yet to be born and yet to die had just been rescued.
As the result of Christ’s victory over the grave, we shall all be resurrected. This is the redemption of the soul. Paul wrote:
“There are … celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:40–42).
It is the celestial glory that we seek. It is in the presence of God that we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership.
Of Him who delivered each of us from endless death, I testify He is a teacher of truth—but He is more than a teacher. He is the exemplar of the perfect life—but He is more than an exemplar. He is the great physician—but He is more than a physician. He is the literal Savior of the world, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One of Israel, even the risen Lord, who declared, “I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:4).
“Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives!’”2
Of this I testify.