Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ! He has been called King of Kings, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind. He is the only Begotten Son of God, who through his atonement, crucifixion and resurrection, conquered sin and death for all of mankind. He did this so we may live together in perfection and purity with our Heavenly Father again. He offered himself, a perfect sinless soul, so we would not have to endure the pain. He did this because of a pure love he has for us all.
I have a strong testimony of my Savior and the love He has for me and for everyone who has ever lived. My testimony has deepened over the years as I have learned of my personal worth to Him. I used to doubt, but I’ve witnessed too many personal miracles to deny His love for me. But it wasn’t always this way.
We can overcome rebellion through repentance
Like Judas, I too had lived through times of rebellion against my Savior. Who hasn’t at one time or another in their lives? As we negotiate this life we have a daunting mission. We are expected to balance the freedom to choose with the available choices in life. We must temper our emotions with common sense and civility. And we should do all this with a positive and good-hearted nature.
This can be a frustrating task. Frustration can lead to rebellion. Open rebellion against the Savior can happen to anyone in any family if we fail to keep our eye single to the glory of God. But the atonement can make up for this failure as well. Judas did not repent of his rebellion in this life, but we do not know what miracles are working in his heart in the spirit world. For us, we can overcome rebellion through repentance.
When I’ve carried anger and pride for too long, when I’m too weak to keep doing things “my way” which is always the harder way, when I’ve ignored the sweet peace of the gospel for too long, I find myself on my knees, asking God for forgiveness. And when I do, my sins are forgiven and I am clean again.
If Peter can be forgiven, so can we
Like Peter, there are times in my life where I deny my Savior. I feel the pressures of the world around me and give in. Perhaps you have felt that way too—during trials in your life when you felt alone. You may have been embarrassed to side with Christ, especially when the world is moving further and further away from him.
Peter denied Christ three times during the night before His crucifixion. He wept bitterly because of it. But after His resurrection, Christ sat with Peter and entrusted his church to him. If Peter can be forgiven, so can we.
If Mary who was a sinner could see the Savior, then so will we
Like Mary Magdalene, there are times in my life when I sin. No one lives a perfect life, not the scholarly or those that appear more pious than others. Some sins are bigger than others, but no sin can go unaccounted for.
The Savior paid the price for all sins, past, present and future; mine, yours and Mary’s. She was the first to see the resurrected Christ. On the Sunday after His death, Mary went to tend to his body in the tomb, to apply oils and new dressings. When she saw the stone had been rolled away, she wept for Him, fearing the guards had taken His body. As she cried, the Savior came from behind her and called to her. She did not recognize his voice at first.
When He called her by name, she knew it was Him. Hearing her own name being spoken by her Savior was familiar enough to her. She turned to see Him in his resurrected form. She wanted to hug him, but he bade her not, for He had not yet returned to His father. But she saw Him—she was the first to see him, even before his apostles and other disciples. If Mary who was a sinner could see the Savior, then so will we.
If Thomas can have doubts and still have eyes to see, so can I
Like Thomas, I have doubted. Thomas was not there when Christ showed himself to the other apostles. He heard about it later when they came to him and testified of what they had seen. He didn’t believe.
I think his heart ached to believe, but he needed more of a witness. So happily, Thomas got his wish. The Savior appeared to the apostles again, this time with Thomas in the room.
He felt the wounds in His hands and feet. He knew of a surety that this was the Christ. If Thomas can have doubts and still have eyes to see, so can I. Christ shows me through personal revelation, through Priesthood authority on the earth, through loving kindness of others.
Easter is a time when I stand in awe of my Savior for his infinite atonement. I realize that first Easter morning signifies a rebirth for all of mankind. No matter how many times we rebel, deny, sin, or doubt, we can be forgiven. We will live again because Jesus overcame death. We will be made clean and pure again because Jesus overcame the effects of sin.
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.