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Monday, April 25, 2011
This was a letter that I wrote to the California Santa Rosa Missionaries:
I hope you enjoyed your Easter Sunday yesterday. I hope you were able to reflect on the life of Christ, and feel the power of His sacrifice throughout that day. It was a very special Easter for me this year.
These last few weeks have been hard for me. I have been struggling within myself with feelings of inadequacy. It seems my weaknesses have been magnified to me lately. (This isn’t a bad thing to get my pride levels lowered a little bit…) I have felt a drain on my strength to combat these demeaning thoughts that continued to be placed in my head. I have been praying this last week especially that I could regain control, and once again have the further degrees of joy and strength that we experience as we become truer disciples of Jesus Christ.
This Easter Morning I awoke at 6:30, tired, but I had joy in my heart. Throughout this day, I have felt the spirit powerfully. In our drawn-out sacrament talks, our mediocre Sunday school lessons, our unorganized priesthood read-a-conference-talk lesson. All of these, for me, carried the spirit…strong. I was almost moved to tears throughout the entire 3-hour meeting.
This feeling has lasted even up until the letter I am writing to you.
President asked me to write to you about the Savior and the Easter events. Some of you might be thinking “and you went and told us all of this why?”
Jesus Christ when he was in Jerusalem, went about to people, teaching them, giving them peace and hope. He healed them. My mind rests on the event in Luke 5 where in v.18-20 “men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay before Him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when He saw their faith, he said unto him Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
Jesus Christ new that the men wanted the man healed. But he saw what the man truly yearned for. Peace in his soul.
Bruce R McConkie gave a talk in the April Conference of 1985 where he talked about the Atonement and suffering of Jesus Christ.
They took Him to Annas, to Caiaphas, to Pilate, to Herod, and back to Pilate. He was accused, cursed, and smitten. Their foul saliva ran down His face as vicious blows further weakened His pain-engulfed body.
With reeds of wrath they rained blows upon His back. Blood ran down His face as a crown of thorns pierced His trembling brow.
But above it all He was scourged, scourged with 40 stripes save one, scourged with a multi-thonged whip into whose leather strands sharp bones and cutting metals were woven.
Many died from scourging alone, but He rose from the sufferings of the scourge that He might die an ignominious death upon the cruel cross of Calvary.
Then He carried His own cross until He collapsed from the weight and pain and mounting agony of it all.
Finally, on a hill called Calvary—again, it was outside Jerusalem’s walls—while helpless disciples looked on and felt the agonies of near death in their own bodies, the Roman soldiers laid Him upon the cross.
With great mallets they drove spikes of iron through His feet and hands and wrists. Truly He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.
Then the cross was raised that all might see and gape and curse and deride. This they did, with evil venom, for three hours from 9:00 a.m. to noon.
Then the heavens grew black. Darkness covered the land for the space of three hours, as it did among the Nephites. There was a mighty storm, as though the very God of nature was in agony.
And truly He was, for while He was hanging on the cross for another three hours, from noon to 3:00 p.m., all the infinite agonies and merciless pains of Gethsemane recurred.
And, finally, when the atoning agonies had taken their toll—when the victory had been won, when the Son of God had fulfilled the will of His Father in all things—then He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and He voluntarily gave up the ghost.
Our Brother, Lord, and Savior, suffered limitless pain. He suffered “ Which suffering caused… God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit”
He did that for us. For you, for me, for the man who suffered from palsy. I wonder if we will ever be able to understand such an act of love. Because he has done this, there is hope. He drank the dregs of the bitter cup. His part is finished. Now my Brethren and Sisters, we need to choose Christ. We need to take His hands that are reaching out for us. We need to make a decision every day to do better, to try harder, and to follow closer. No more are we distracted by the things of the world. No more do we care about watching movies, playing video games and other distractions of the world.
We have given our minds, we have given our might and strengths. It is now time to turn over our hearts. Christ dedicated his life for us, He lived, died and rose from the grave, for our personal joy in the eternities. He has granted us peace in our darkest moments. He has cured the incurable wounds of our souls. He has brought light to where there was none. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, but these are just words unless I turn my heart to Him.
Rededicate yourself today, to serve Christ with all your heart. Remind yourself what He means to you, and then work like it. I know I have fallen short many times even in this past week. But I look forward with hope to the coming weeks months and years of faithful service to my Master.
I love you all and I know that the greatest peace, joy and happiness can come from selfless dedication to the one who loves us most. So I urge you…Dedicate.
Elder Nathan Steven Hancock – Servant of Jesus Christ