Making Easter a Time to Remember the Savior
April 2023

“Making Easter a Time to Remember the Savior,” Liahona, Apr. 2023.

Making Easter a Time to Remember the Savior

Here are some daily devotionals—suggested scriptures, art, and music—to help you prepare spiritually for Easter.

the resurrected Christ with disciples

Christ the Consolator, by Carl Bloch

For many of us, celebrating Jesus’s birth at Christmas comes more naturally than commemorating His suffering, death, and Resurrection at Easter. The familiar and joyful traditions of Christmas begin early in December. Yet we ought to remember what President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught: “There would be no Christmas if there had not been Easter. The babe Jesus of Bethlehem would be but another baby without the redeeming Christ of Gethsemane and Calvary, and the triumphant fact of the Resurrection.”1

More recently, on Palm Sunday in 2021, President Russell M. Nelson invited us to make the week before Easter more holy:

“After all that Jesus Christ did for you, I invite you to do something this week to follow His teachings. …

“This Easter, I encourage you to focus on the Savior.”2

What follows are some suggestions to help you focus on the Savior during the week before Easter. While scholars inside and outside the Church recognize that we cannot always be certain about exactly which days these events occurred on, what we have provided is a daily devotional schedule.3 It gives individuals and families something to study and remember for each day of the week leading up to Easter.

We have used these ideas with our own families for several years and have found them helpful. This is not an official Church program, but we feel that intentionally preparing for Easter can help us strengthen our faith and keep Christ at the center of the holiday. Combining a daily study of scriptures about the last week of the Savior’s life with pondering, prayer, music, art, and meaningful traditions can become an inspiring personal or family tradition.

Christ riding a donkey into Jerusalem as followers celebrate

Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, by Harry Anderson

Palm Sunday

The Sunday before Easter opens the final week of the Savior’s life by commemorating Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem when His followers waved palm branches and declared Him King.

As Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has observed, “It is fitting that during the week from Palm Sunday to Easter morning we turn our thoughts to Jesus Christ, the source of light, life, and love.”4 By recalling the one time in His ministry when many recognized Jesus as the King He actually was, we can look forward to His glorious Second Coming, when He will come to rule and reign over all the earth.5


Topic for Possible Discussion

  • How will we use this week to prepare for Easter?


  • Minerva Teichert, Christ Entering Jerusalem

  • Walter Rane, Triumphal Entry


  • “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” (Hymns, no. 69)

  • “Hosanna” (Children’s Songbook, 66–67)

Jesus walking by a fig tree

The Accursed Fig Tree, by James Tissot


Mark 11 records Jesus cursing the fruitless fig tree. By connecting this miracle with the cleansing of the temple, Mark may be suggesting the rejection of those who claim to be God’s people but do not bring forth fruit in their own lives. Reflecting on Jesus’s actions and teachings in the following scriptures prepares us to celebrate His triumph over sin and death and points our minds forward to His glorious return and future reign.

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “We rejoice with Christians all over the world in His glorious Resurrection and in our own promised resurrection. May we prepare for His coming by rehearsing these glorious events over and over in our own minds and with those we love. … I testify that He lives. ‘Come, O thou King of Kings’ [Hymns, no. 59].”6


Topics for Possible Discussion

  • In what ways do we see our lives bringing forth good fruit?

  • How can we hold Jesus Christ up as a light to the world?

  • What does the cleansing of the temple teach us about the importance of the temple?


  • James Tissot, Jesus Goes Out to Bethany in the Evening

  • James Tissot, The Pharisees Question Jesus


  • “Come, O Thou King of Kings” (Hymns, no. 59)

  • “Beautiful Savior” (Children’s Songbook, 62‒63)

  • “We Love Thy House, O God” (Hymns, no. 247)

  • “I Love to See the Temple” (Children’s Songbook, 95)

Jesus looking out over the city of Jerusalem

O Jerusalem, by Greg K. Olsen


Religious and political authorities in Jerusalem questioned Jesus, trying to find fault with Him. At about the same time, priests in the temple were examining lambs for flaws before the coming feast of Passover. Jesus also took some of His closest disciples to the Mount of Olives, where He prophesied of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the final destruction of the wicked at the end of the world.

Regarding judgment at that day, President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, has taught: “If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow … what would we do today? … I testify that He shall come, as He has promised. And I pray that we will be prepared to meet Him.”7


Topics for Possible Discussion

  • What do the parables of the ten virgins and of the sheep and the goats teach us about the things we need to do to prepare for the Second Coming?

  • How can we give our all to the Lord as we love and serve others?


  • Liz Lemon Swindle, The Widow’s Mite


  • “Jehovah, Lord of Heaven and Earth” (Hymns, no. 269)

  • “When He Comes Again” (Children’s Songbook, 82–83)

woman looking up at Jesus

For She Loved Much, by Jeffrey Hein


Mark 14 records the conspiracy of Jerusalem leaders against Jesus and Judas Iscariot’s agreement to betray the Savior. Between these two accounts, however, is the beautiful scene where a woman enters a feast in Bethany and anoints Jesus. Not only was she preparing Jesus for His coming burial, but she also seemed to have a testimony that He was the anointed King and the Savior of the world.

Regarding this woman’s act of service, President Linda K. Burton, former Relief Society General President, said: “May we … reach out in unity to help those in need as we are able and inspired to do so. Perhaps then it might be said of us, as the Savior said of a loving sister who ministered to Him: ‘She hath wrought a good work. … She hath done what she could’ [Mark 14:6, 8].”8


Topics for Possible Discussion

  • How can we remain faithful to the Savior despite opposition from the world?

  • What can we do to serve others in small, meaningful ways?


  • “O Love That Glorifies the Son” (Hymns, no. 295). This hymn includes the lovely lines, “O love that binds our family, / O love that brings my heart to thee, / Pure love that lasts eternally— / Come, fill my soul today.” This hymn’s references to love “that turns the bitter sweet” and changes “foe to friend” stand in contrast to Judas, who turned away from his friend that night.


  • James Tissot, Conspiracy of the Jews

  • James Tissot, The Meal in the House of the Pharisee

Jesus praying in Gethsemane

Christ in Gethsemane, by Dan Burr


The evening before He was crucified, Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples. At this meal, He instituted the sacrament, washed His friends’ feet, and delivered His final teachings. Then in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed earnestly to the Father, submitting to His will and taking upon Himself our sins, infirmities, heartaches, pains, and sorrows. After being betrayed by Judas Iscariot and abandoned by His friends, Jesus was arrested and taken to the high priest and other Jewish leaders, where He was questioned and abused.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called this “the loneliest journey ever made”9 and noted that “the hours that lay immediately ahead … change[d] the meaning of all human history. … The hour of atoning sacrifice had come. God’s own Son, his Only Begotten Son in the flesh, was about to become the Savior of the world.”10


Topics for Possible Discussion


  • Carl Bloch, The Denial of Peter

  • Walter Rane, This Do in Remembrance of Me


  • A favorite sacrament hymn (see Hymns, nos. 169–96)

  • Movements 9‒38 of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion

  • Beethoven’s Christ on the Mount of Olives

Jesus on the cross

Christ on the Cross, by Carl Bloch


On that last day of Jesus’s mortal life, He was questioned, examined, mocked, abused, and condemned to crucifixion. On the cross, Jesus completed His atoning sacrifice, laying down His life for us all. Finally, He was buried in a tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea.

Of these events, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “No one had the power to take the Savior’s life from Him. … He yielded Himself to scourging, humiliation, suffering, and finally crucifixion because of His great love towards the children of men (see 1 Nephi 19:9–10).”11


Topics for Possible Discussion

  • How we remember the Savior’s Crucifixion does much to shape our experience with Easter. Much can be done to set the tone by the art that is displayed and the music that is played in our homes on this day. While Latter-day Saints do not normally display many images of the suffering or Crucifixion of Christ, this is a day when displaying such art might be appropriate. We don’t dwell on the Savior’s death or on the cruel manner in which He died. Instead, we celebrate His victory over death.


  • Antonio Ciseri, Ecce Homo

  • Any of the scenes powerfully depicted by James Tissot

  • Renditions of the Crucifixion such as those done by Carl Bloch, Harry Anderson, or J. Kirk Richards


  • Movements 39‒68 of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion or all of his St. John Passion

  • Part 2 of Handel’s Messiah

  • Movements from The Redeemer by Latter-day Saint composer Robert Cundick

  • “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown” (Hymns, no. 197)

  • “Upon the Cross of Calvary” (Hymns, no. 184)

  • “Behold the Great Redeemer Die” (Hymns, no. 191)

  • “There Is a Green Hill Far Away” (Hymns, no. 194)


  • Visit BibleVideos.org to view depictions of the last day of Jesus’s life, including His trial and Crucifixion.

Jesus preaching in the spirit world

Christ Preaching in the Spirit World, by Robert T. Barrett


While Jesus’s body lay in the tomb, His spirit went to paradise. There He organized the spirits of the righteous to do missionary work among the dead. With temple work, that makes salvation possible for those who did not have a chance to accept the gospel in this life (see Doctrine and Covenants 138).

When we do family history and temple work, we join with Christ in His saving work. President Hinckley taught: “That which goes on in the house of the Lord … comes nearer to the spirit of the sacrifice of the Lord than any other activity of which I know. Why? Because it is done by those who give freely of time and substance, without any expectation of thanks or reward, to do for others that which they cannot do for themselves.”12


Topics for Possible Discussion

  • How did Jesus Christ’s death and Resurrection save us from a symbolic darkness similar to the darkness experienced by the people in the New World?

  • What did the Savior do in the spirit world while His body was in the tomb?

  • What plans could we make to do family history work and attend the temple?


  • James Tissot, The Watch over the Tomb


  • Movements from The Redeemer by Latter-day Saint composer Robert Cundick

  • Requiem by Latter-day Saint composer Mack Wilberg

Mary and the resurrected Jesus

The Resurrection, by Harry Anderson

Easter Sunday

Studying the accounts of the Resurrection from the Gospels, singing Easter hymns at church, and enjoying our various Easter traditions are treasured ways of celebrating Jesus’s conquest of death and the miracle of the empty tomb.

President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) testified: “On this beautiful and sacred Easter weekend, surely no doctrine will be the subject of more sermons nor the object of more praise than that of the atoning sacrifice and the literal resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. And so it should be at Easter and at every other season of the year, for no doctrine in the Christian canon is more important to all mankind than the doctrine of the resurrection of the Son of God. Through him came the resurrection of all men, women, and children who have ever been—or ever will be—born into the world.”13



  • Gather with loved ones for a family devotional and a special holiday meal.

  • Offer a family prayer and share testimonies about the Resurrection.

  • Go to church and partake of the sacrament.


  • Minerva Teichert, Touch Me Not

  • Harry Anderson, Behold My Hands and My Feet


  • “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” (Hymns, no. 200)

  • “He Is Risen!” (Hymns, no. 199)

  • Part 3 of Handel’s Messiah

We hope that these ideas will help you use the week before Easter to commemorate Jesus’s life, death, and Resurrection. Just as using scriptures, art, and music leading up to Christmas can help keep Christ as the center of that holiday, doing so at Easter can help us remember Him and strengthen our faith in Him.