PASTOR COLUMN - Easter makes us reflect on Christ's sacrifice

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As we approach the Easter season, the hearts and emotions of Christians are mellowed by the sacrifice of the life and the Resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Shortly before Christ's betrayal, he lifted up his eyes to heaven in a pleading intercessory prayer for his disciples, whom the Father gave unto him. He uttered this profound statement: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3.)

To know God the Father and his Beloved Son Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, is life eternal. Do men truly know them - their attributes, characteristics and powers? Surely such knowledge can be had: otherwise, our Savior would not have made this statement.

Jesus, throughout His ministry, blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear and the halt and maimed to walk.

He taught forgiveness by being forgiving. He taught compassion by being compassionate. He taught devotion by giving of himself. Our lives should reflect the love of God and our fellow men by obeying all of His commandments and rendering service to our fellow men. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15)

If we believe in Jesus Christ, follow His teachings, and repent when we commit sins, His Atonement, or sacrifice, can wash us clean of our sins and make us worthy to return to God's presence. Christ's sacrifice and Resurrection also allow us to overcome physical death. Every one of us will be resurrected just like Christ was and live forever in perfected bodies after we leave this life.

To be forgiven of our sins, we need to repent and increase our faith in Jesus Christ throughout our lives.

We will not be saved simply because we get baptized or say we believe in Jesus Christ. It takes work, but the work we do doesn't only prepare us for heaven, it blesses us in this life too. "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father" (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

Our families will be happier, we'll get along better with others, and we'll feel more peace during hard times when we live according to Jesus Christ's teachings.

The gospel of Jesus Christ gives us hope. Through Him, and only through Him, we can have everything Heavenly Father wants to give us. He is our Savior and our friend.

He is our teacher and our perfect example. The closer we stay to Jesus Christ, the better we'll be able to face life's challenges.

By following the Savior and trying to do what He would do, we get to know Him and our Father in Heaven.

The hymn, "How Great Thou Art" testifies of Christ and His mission:

"And When I think that God, his Son not sparing, sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,

That on the cross my burden gladly bearing He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation, and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, "My God, how great thou art!"

Bishop Paul Crowther serves the Walla Walla 3rd Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312 or email her at catherinehicks@wwub.com

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