On this Easter day I've been reflecting on two people. The first is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The second is my grandfather. Easter is a time to remember and so I remember the following about each of these remarkable men.
First, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is the week where we celebrate the last week of his life. It started with the Passover where he ate with his Apostles. At this dinner two major events happened. The first was the institution of the Sacrament. This ordinance is representative of his sacrifice for us. The bread representing His body which his sacrificed on the Cross. The Wine representative of His blood which he sacrificed in the Garden of Gethsemane. The second major event was the identification that one of the Twelve Apostles was about to betray Him to the Jews.
After the dinner Jesus led the Apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas Iscariot at this point had left. He left eight of the Apostles near the entrance of the garden and took Peter, James and John further in. At a point in the trail He asked the other three Apostles to wait and pray for one hour with Him. He went a ways further and prayed to the Father. This is the point in time where he began His Atonement for our sins. He prayed that if it be possible not to perform the task then to have it be so. However, He knew that if it was the Father's will then He would do what was necessary. The sacrifice in the garden was so intense that blood came from every poor as He paid the price to redeem us from our sins. The Atonement allows all men to repent and to come unto Christ and receive His mercy.
After the sacrifice in the garden, Judas Iscariot appeared with the leaders of the Jews. Jesus boldly asks who they are looking for and Judas betrays the Son of Man with a kiss. Jesus goes with these men (even though this violates Jewish law). He is brought before the leaders of the Jews and is falsely accused and convicted. He is then brought to Pilot who sends Him to Herod. Herod does not even merit an answer from the Lord and is sent back to Pilate. Pilate cannot find anything that Jesus has done wrong, but because of the pressure of the Jews decides to allow the Jews to choose a man to set free. The Jews choose Barrabas and Jesus is sentenced to be flogged and crucified.
The Romans carried out the sentence mercilessly, taunting Jesus, placing a crown of thorns on His head and then making Him carry the cross beam to the hill called Golgotha. Here Jesus was lifted up on the Cross and the Crucifixion began. The Romans gave Him vinegar when thirsty. At length there came a time when even the Father could bear no more and hid Himself from the Savior. Not long after Jesus cried out "Father it is finished, into Thy hands I commend my spirit". His sacrifice complete, Jesus gave up His life.
He was buried in sepulcher provided by Joseph of Arimathea and the ritual was hurried because of the hour of the day. A huge stone was rolled in front of the tomb. Three days pass and on the first Easter, Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected. This was the victory over Death that had been promised. Because of His resurrection all mankind will be resurrected.
The second remarkable man is my grandfather. He passed away last September. Today would have been his 92 birthday. I have thought a lot about him this week. I miss him. There is no other way to describe it. Tears come to my eyes when I think about him. He was a man who taught me many lessons, showed me how to love a family and gave me love. I miss golfing and fishing with him. I miss talking sports, playing games and getting birthday cards. I miss him being here to hear about my family and the way his great-grandchildren are growing.
I remember him as the branch manager of our local bank. I remember him driving the boat on Lake Chautauqua and on Port Charlotte. I remember him doing yard work. I remember his laugh. I remember his smile.
Thanks to the first man, even Jesus Christ, all that I remember about my grandfather I will experience again. Because of the Atonement of our Lord our loved ones are not lost at death. Because of the resurrection we will all get to hold one another and be able to do things together. Because of the sacrifice in the Garden we can repent and live together as family again.
On this Easter I remember two remarkable men. Men who are linked to me and also allow me to be happy. I will see each of them, the one I've known in this life and the one who died so I might live.