On Saturday morning, the day before Easter, President Howard W. Hunter, acting president of the Council of the Twelve, delivered a powerful sermon on the resurrection of the Savior.
"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," said President Hunter Saturday morning.
He spoke while seated in a specially designed chair, which was rolled up to a portable lectern. Because of health conditions, President Hunter is in a wheelchair.
"In spite of the great importance we place upon the resurrection in our doctrine, perhaps many of us may not yet have fully glimpsed its spiritual significance and eternal grandeur," said President Hunter.
"Surely the resurrection is the center of every Christian's faith; it is the greatest of all the miracles performed by the Savior of the world. Without it, we are indeed left hopeless."
He quoted Paul, who said, " . . . if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." (1 Cor. 15:17.)
President Hunter reviewed some final scenes in Jesus' mortal life. He recounted that the Savior had healed the sick, raised the dead, and expounded the scriptures, including those prophecies of His own death and resurrection.
As Jesus and His apostles met to celebrate the Passover, they partook of the sacramental emblems that He initiated in the Last Supper, and then they went to the Mount of Olives.
"Always the teacher to the very end, He continued His discourse on the theme of the sacrificial lamb . . . and that they would be scattered as sheep without a shepherd," said President Hunter.
He told of the Savior's suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and His crucifixion. "Think of it," said President Hunter. "When His body was taken from the cross and hastily placed in a borrowed tomb, He, the sinless Son of God, had already taken upon Him not only the sins and temptations of every human soul who will repent, but all of our sickness and grief and pain of every kind.
"He suffered these afflictions as we suffer them, according to the flesh. But He suffered them all first. He did this to perfect His mercy and His ability to lift us above every earthly trial."
President Hunter said Jesus broke the bands of death to make the resurrection certain and universal. President Hunter related how the two Marys discovered the tomb was empty when they went to it on the third day.
"In the days following His resurrection, the Lord appeared unto many," said President Hunter. "He displayed His five special wounds to them. He walked and talked and ate with them, as if to prove beyond a doubt that a resurrected body is indeed a physical body of tangible flesh and bones. Later He ministered to the Nephites."
President Hunter continued, "It is the responsibility and joy of all men and women everywhere to `seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have [testified]" (Ether 12:41) and to have the spiritual witness of His divinity.
"It is the right and blessing of all who humbly seek to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness of the Father and His resurrected Son."
President Hunter concluded his address by bearing testimony that Jesus lives.