Easter Week

 

Easter Week PinEvery year for Easter my family participates in a tradition that helps us draw closer to the Savior by learning more of the events that took place the week before His Crucifixion and Resurrection.  Starting seven days before Easter, read the events and scripture verses listed for each day. Download a copy here: Easter Week (.pdf), Easter Week (.docx).

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Image from LDS.org

Sunday

Jesus walked from Bethany to Jerusalem. He rode into the city on a donkey, as a verse in the Old Testament said He would. People recognized Him as their King, shouting, “Hosanna,” and laying down palm leaves in front of the donkey to keep dust from getting on the Savior. Jesus visited the temple and then returned to Bethany.

Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1–11; Mark 11:1–11

Christ+Temple+Bloch

Image from LDS.org

Monday

Jesus saw people buying and selling things in the temple. Because He wanted the temple to be a “house of prayer,” He made them leave. Then He healed people who were lame or blind. The jealous priests were angry with Him.

Matthew 21:12–17; Mark 11:15–19

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Image from LDS.org

Tuesday

Jesus taught people in the temple and on a nearby hill called the Mount of Olives. The priests plotted to kill Jesus. One of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, agreed to turn Jesus over to the priests in exchange for 30 silver coins.

Matthew 25:31–46; 26:14–16

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Image from LDS.org

Wednesday

The scriptures do not say what Jesus did on this day. He may have spent the day with His disciples. You could read the parable of the ten virgins, a story Jesus taught to His disciples to help them prepare for His Second Coming.

Matthew 25:1–13

Gethsemane

Image from LDS.org

Thursday

Jesus’s disciples got ready for the Passover meal. During the meal, Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. Then, to help them remember Him, He gave them the sacrament for the first time. Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to suffer for our sins and to pray to God. People came with swords and arrested Him. The disciples ran away in fear.

Matthew 26:17–29, 36–56

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Image from LDS.org

 

 Friday

Jesus was taken to the high priest, Caiaphas. Jesus’s disciple Peter denied that he knew Him. Jesus was questioned by the governor, Pilate, and by the king, Herod. He was condemned to die on the cross. Jesus was crucified. A rich man named Joseph laid Jesus in his tomb. Jesus’s mother, Mary, and Mary Magdalene visited the tomb.

Matthew 26:57–72; 27:1–2, 27–37; Luke 23:44–46, 50–56

Image from LDS.org

Image from LDS.org

Saturday

Jesus’s body lay in the tomb. A large stone was put in front of the door. The wicked priests asked Pilate to have guards stand outside the tomb to make sure no one went inside.

Matthew 27:57–66

Image from LDS.org

Image from LDS.org

Easter Sunday

Jesus was resurrected! He had risen from the tomb. An angel descended from heaven and rolled away the stone. Jesus told His disciples to teach and baptize others and promised to always be with them.

Matthew 28

Adapted from lds.org, The Friend

He is Risen

 

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The Infinite Atonement

What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ? 

“To atone is to suffer the penalty for sin, thereby removing the effects of the sin from the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled to God.  Jesus Christ was the only one capable of making a perfect atonement for all mankind.  His Atonement included His suffering for the sins of mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane, the shedding of His blood, His suffering and death on the cross, and His Resurrection from the tomb (see Luke 24:36-39; D&C 19:16-19).  The Savior was able to carry out the Atonement because He kept Himself free from sin and had power over death.  From His moral mother, He inherited the ability to die.  From His immortal Father, He inherited the power to take up His life again.” – Seminary Study Journal.

One of my most beloved gospel teachings comes from a book entitled, “The Infinite Atonement” by Tad R. Callister.  Elder Callister’s ability to convey the meaning of the Atonement is powerful and has a lasting impact.  Below I have taken some of my favorite selections from the book to share.  I know these words can strengthen your testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, as they have mine.

Many prophets in the Book of Mormon refer to the Atonement as being “infinite.”  Jacob taught, “It must needs be an infinite atonement–save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption (2 Nephi 9:7).  Nephi taught that the atonement would be “infinite for all mankind (2 Nephi 25:16),” and Amulek declared, “It must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice . . . Therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world (Alma 34:10, 12).”  The prophets teachings express the idea of the completeness, the power to restore all that was lost – both spiritual and physical, as well to express the rank and dignity of him who would make the Atonement.  It covers all men, the earth itself and all forms of life thereon. It reaches out into all time and eternity.

“The Atonement is not a doctrine that lends itself to a singular approach, like a universal formula.  It must be felt, not just “figured;” it must be internalized, not just analyzed . . .The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most supernal, mind-expanding, passionate doctrine this world or universe will ever know.”

It is infinite in the divineness of the one sacrificed.

It is infinite in power.

It is infinite in in time.

It is infinite in coverage.

It is infinite in depth.

It is infinite in its degree of suffering endured by the Redeemer.

It is infinite in the blessings it bestows.

It is infinite in love.

Atonement

Image taken from LDS.org

“No matter how lost the world at large may be, no matter how depraved or degenerate it may become, there is yet a bright light of hope for those individuals who have faith in Christ.  Those who focus on him and his atoning sacrifice, who let these glorious truths rest in their minds continually, will find that Christ’s power to lift the human soul transcends even the weightiest burdens the world may thrust upon them.  There is certain spiritual buoyancy that attends the study of, and the reflection upon the Atonement.”

“As a result of his mortal experience, culminating in the Atonement, the Savior knows, understands, and feels every human condition, ever human woe, and every human loss.

He can comfort as no other.

He can lift burdens as no other. 

He can listen as no other.  

There is no hurt he cannot soothe, rejection he cannot assuage, loneliness he cannot console.  Whatever affliction the world casts at us, he has a remedy of superior healing power.”

Image taken from LDS.org

Image taken from LDS.org

As part of His Atonement, Jesus Christ not only suffered for our sins but also took upon Himself the pains, sicknesses, and infirmities of all people (see Alma 7:11-13).  He understands our suffering because He has experienced it.  His grace, or enabling power, strengthens us to bear burdens and accomplish tasks that we could not do on our own (see Matthew 11:28-30; Philippians 4:13; Ether 12:27).

Through grace, made available by the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, all people will be resurrected and receive immortality.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ also makes it possible for us to receive eternal life (see Moroni 7:41).  To receive this gift we must live the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes having faith in Him, repenting or our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring faithfully to the end (see John 3:5).  Read more on grace here.

Words alone cannot express my deep appreciation and gratitude of the Savior’s Atonement for me.  I know that I must exercise my faith daily in His matchless gift by repenting of my sins, receiving forgiveness and spiritually returning to Him.  Many of the blessings of the Atonement I have seen and felt in my life, but I know many more are still meant to be discovered.  The same blessings are available to all who follow Him.

Teaching Tip.  Consider using the following questions to create discussion for your Sunday class:

How does Christ’s Atonement provide the means to overcome physical and spiritual death?

Why did Christ suffer for you? (See D&C 19: 15-19)

What do you need to do to experience the full effect of the Atonement in your life?

How can your understanding of the Atonement help you exercise faith in Christ?

Read more on The Atonement of Jesus Christ.

 

What is Grace?

PetuniasMany years ago, shortly after Matt and I were married, my in-laws flew in from Washington for a visit to see our newly purchased home.  I had taken great care to ensure it was clean, neat and tidy upon their arrival, including planting fresh purple and hot pink petunias outside the front door in my small flower bed, knowing this was one of my Mother-in-Laws favorite flowers.  I remember sitting on the small porch with her one afternoon when she got up, walked over to the flower bed and began plucking off the colorful buds from EVERY stem.  I recall thinking, “What on earth is she doing to my perfect little petunias?!”  The flowers had just begun to open, bearing buds in time for their welcome.  As her fingers picked away, she explained the process of “Dead Heading” petunias.  Dead Heading, she taught, is removing flower buds from a plant to ensure greater growth and blooming in the future. Knowing she had grown many flower-filled gardens before, I listened…

Months later I recall studying a specific chapter in the Bible – John 15.  One of my favorite verses in that chapter reads, “Abide in me, and I in you.” (John 15:4)  Abide means to comply, to continue or stay.  Read John 15: 1-17, the parable of the vine and the branches in and ponder the following:

A fruit-bearing vine is the perfect workmanship of God.

A fruit-bearing vine is the perfect workmanship of God.

Gardner/Pruner is our Heavenly Father

The “True” Vine is Jesus Christ

Branches define us, His disciples

I am the true avine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every abranch in me that beareth not bfruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he cpurgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the avine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without bme ye can do nothing. If a man aabide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye aabide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall bask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father aglorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.As the Father hath aloved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye akeep my commandments, ye shall abide in my blove; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your ajoy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye alove one another, as I have bloved you. Greater alove hath no man than this, that a man lay down his blife for his cfriends. Ye are my afriends, if ye do whatsoever I bcommand you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you afriends; for all things that I have bheard of my Father I have made cknown unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have achosen you, and bordained you, that ye should go and bring forth cfruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my dname, he may give it you.These things I command you, that ye love one another.

PHILIPLet’s return now to my parable of the petunias.  My Mother-in-law was simply continuing in the care and dressing of my flower garden that afternoon.  She saw something greater in the future of each of those flowers.  Liken this to our loving Heavenly Father.  When we have trials or hardships in life we must remember they are for our greater good.  We are being groomed by the Master Gardener, the one who knows us better than anyone else and wants us to achieve our greatest potential in this life.  I know as we remain strong and steadfast, despite the wind or rain that threatens us (just as harsh elements distress a growing garden), we will become closer to His Son, Jesus Christ.  I am a witness of this in my own life.  I have found I rely most on the Savior through times of trial.  I pray you will find this peace also as you faithfully continue to “Abide in Him.” This is my message for you today.  That you will not just come to the Lord, but that you will remain. Come with conviction and endurance. Come permanently, for your sake and the sake of all the generations who follow you.  Without Jesus Christ, we can do nothing. John 15:11 reads, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said, “Christ is everything to us and we are to “abide” in Him permanently, unyieldingly, steadfastly, forever.  For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must be firmly attached to Him, the Savior of us all, and to this His Church, which bears His holy name. He is the vine that is our true source of strength and the only source of eternal life. In Him we not only will endure but also will prevail and triumph in this holy cause that will never fail us.”

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Original Image – LDS.org

WHAT IS GRACE?  Divine means of help or strength; the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Grace comes BEFORE – DURING – and AFTER all we can do.  A life impacted by grace begins to look like the Savior’s life.  Consider posting one or more of the following questions on the board: What is grace?, What do the scriptures teach of grace?, How have you seen grace in your life? and, Do you believe you are saved by grace?.

Grace, defined in the Bible Dictionary, is a word that occurs frequently in the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul. The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.

It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by His atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.

Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible. This principle is expressed in Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches (John 15:1–11). See also John 1:12–17; Eph. 2:8–9; Philip. 4:13; D&C 93:11–14.

Additional references on Grace:

Young Women – Come Follow Me, What is grace?

Aaronic Priesthood – Come Follow Me, What is grace?

Sunday School – Come Follow Me, How can relying on the Savior’s grace help me become a better teacher?

“The Enabling Power of the Atonement,” David A. Bednar

1 Nephi 7:8-17 (Nephi breaks the bands his brothers tie him with)

Mosiah 24:8-15 (Amulon persecutes Alma and his people)

Alma 14:28-29 (Alma and Amulek leave prison)

2 Nephi 25:23 (Laboring diligently)

Book of Mormon Index  (Additional scriptures on grace)

Hymn #193 (I Stand All Amazed)MORONI JACOB

Repentance

Repentance means forsaking sin and turning the heart and will to God.

(Bible Dictionary, “Repentance,” 760)

True repentance is based on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Ezra Taft Benson, “A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 2)

If we do not repent, we must suffer the punishments spoken of by the Lord.

(D&C 19:17-20)

Repentance includes making proper restitution to the limit of one’s power.

(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 29–30)

Chalkboard Activity NEW

Chalkboard Example #1

Introduce the Doctrine:  Before class begins, make a list of words on the chalkboard beginning with the letters “Re” that relate to the word “Repentance” (without telling students).  Ask class members to search the words, like those on Chalkboard Example #1, and discover what Church doctrine pertains to all. You can give them the hint, it also starts with an “Re.”  After a moment to think, have them share the word, then have several students give specific examples on how the words relate.  Erase the words and write the question shown on Chalkboard Example #2.

Chalkboard Activity 2

Chalkboard Example #2

Prayerfully study the suggested scriptures and resources in this month’s Come Follow Me outline, How can repentance help me everyday?.  Help the youth better understand the importance of repentance in their lives as you give them opportunities to study selected quotes taken from Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk “The Divine Gift of Repentance” and Elder Neil L. Andersen’s talk “Repent … That I May Heal You.”

Print off and pass the quote cards to members of your class.  Have them read through the message and answer the question at the bottom of the card given them.  Invite them to turn to their neighbor and share their findings, then ask class members to share as a group.

Sacrifice Sooner Triump Suffered I am He Procrastinate Progress Repentance Godly Sorrow Elements Daily Change Celebration Activities

“One of my favorite scriptural accounts that illustrates this important principle is found in Matthew chapter 14. As the disciples watched the Savior walk on the Sea of Galilee toward their boat, they thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus assured them that it was He and that they need not be afraid. Peter declared, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water” (verse 28). Jesus said, “Come.” Matthew then records, “And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus” (see Matthew 14:24–29).

The rest of the story is what I find most significant. I can’t relate to walking on water, but I can relate to what Peter experienced next:

“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

“And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

“Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God” (Matthew 14:30–33).

All of us have had, are having, or will yet have a Peter-like “sinking” experience in some way and will at some time (probably many times) cry out, “Lord, save me.” Even Peter’s strong fisherman arms were not strong enough to save him. He needed the rescuing arms of Christ, and so do we. Can you imagine Peter—choking, his head bobbing beneath the surface of the water—saying as the Savior extends His arms: “No, thank you. I will swim to shore. I sank myself, so I must save myself”? Of course not. How ridiculous! Yet we sometimes do just that.

We may know in our heads that our mortal arms and hands are deficient—in fact, utterly incapable of rescuing or redeeming us—but we sometimes resist, even recoil from, the outstretched arms of the Savior. Sometimes we spiritually drown ourselves because we won’t allow His arms to cradle us.  May I be bold enough to suggest that it is impossible for anyone who really knows God to doubt his willingness to receive us with open arms in a divine embrace if we will but ‘come unto Him.’ …

“I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands.” (Brent L. Top, “The Loving Arms of Christ”)

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

“All of us have had, are having, or will yet have a Peter-like “sinking” experience in some way and will at some time (probably many times) cry out, “Lord, save me.” EvenPeter in the Water Peter’s strong fisherman arms were not strong enough to save him.  He needed the rescuing arms of Christ, and so do we.  Can you imagine Peter-choking, his head bobbing beneath the surface of the water – saying as the Savior extends His arms: “No, thank you. I will swim to shore.  I sank myself, so I must save myself”?  Of course not!  Yet we sometimes do just that.  We may know in our heads that our mortal arms and hands are deficient – in fact, utterly incapable of rescuing or redeeming us – but we sometimes resist, even recoil from, the outstretched arms of the Savior.  Sometimes we spiritually drown ourselves because we won’t allow His arms to cradle us. May I be bold enough to suggest that it is impossible for anyone who really knows God to doubt his willingness to receive us with open arms in a divine embrace if we will but ‘come unto Him.’ …  I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands.”

I am a witness of his mighty arms offering comfort and security in my life.  My devotion to and testimony of him has been strengthened because of his atoning mercy and constant care for me.  It is my prayer you feel this matchless love in your own life.  Remembering that it is only through true repentance and taking the arms of our Savior that we can be saved.

Behold, [my arms] of mercy [are] extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me (3 Nephi 9:14).

Print an optional class handout here:

His Arms - Photo Handout