Gerry Avant, LDS Church News
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the most remarkable event in the history of the world — created a way for all people to receive eternal life. Also, it transformed a band of frightened, worried disciples into a dynamic group of fearless missionaries who changed the world.
“The events of that day have the potential and power to do the same for every servant of the Lord,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf declared in an Easter message on April 20.
President Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke to an assembly of some 1,400 gathered in the Lorenzo Snow Building on the campus of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Thousands of other missionaries watched by satellite broadcasts in training centers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, England, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Spain. Missionaries in training centers in New Zealand and the Philippines viewed the broadcast on a tape-delayed basis.
President Uchtdorf quoted scriptures telling of the events of those days in which Jesus went through the Atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane, His trial and death by crucifixion on Calvary.
“The disciples huddled together afraid, perhaps in disbelief that their Master was really dead,” he said. “I can imagine them looking into each other’s eyes and feeling confusion, anger and, perhaps most of all, a profound and consuming grief.”
He spoke of an angel rolling away the stone from the tomb; the proclamation, “He is risen;” and the Resurrected Lord’s appearance, first, to Mary Magdalene and His instruction to her: “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, ‘I ascend unto my Father, your Father; and to my God, and your God.’”
President Uchtdorf told the missionaries they all knew the story of what happened next: how the Savior appeared to His disciples, invited them to touch Him and see for themselves that He lived, tarried among His followers, taught from the scriptures the things concerning Himself and appeared to more than 500 people.
“It is remarkable to me how things changed after that day,” President Uchtdorf said of the first Easter. “Before His death, Jesus’ disciples were mostly in the role of witnesses and followers. They observed and learned, and they witnessed the Savior’s acts and teachings.
“But everything changed for them after Christ rose from the tomb.”
President Uchtdorf spoke of Peter. “What do we see in this ‘rock’ of a man prior to the Resurrection? Among other things, we see fear.”
He quoted scriptures describing Peter’s courageous steps in the water toward the Savior but how he called out in fear as he began to sink when his faith failed him. Also, President Uchtdorf spoke of how fear overtook Peter, causing him to deny knowing Jesus on the night of His trial.
“Peter later wept and agonized over that betrayal,” President Uchtdorf said. “With broken heart he pleaded with God for forgiveness. How could he have been so weak? How could he have allowed fear to make him deny the man whom he knew as ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God?’
“But from the moment Peter saw the risen Christ, he was transformed. He was a different man. Along with James and John, he was a true leader.
“No longer was he afraid. From that moment on he boldly testified that, ‘This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses’” (Acts 2:32).