Hope In Jesus Christ!


A new year is upon us but the most important message for mankind has been with us since the foundation of the world; even before! That message is that Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter’s son, is also the son of God, and the Savior of all mankind. I share with you this message  in hopes that it will resonate with your soul, bringing you to ponder on the immensity, magnitude, and impact that the life of Christ has on each of us.

At this time of year we celebrate the birth of the greatest individual who walked the face of this earth. His birth, life ministry, death and atonement permeate the universe for the eternities. Our church bears His name. Today I would like to share with you, on a more personal level, the true significance and meaning that His life has had on mine, and to put into sharper focus, not in a general way, but specifically the impact his life and teachings also has on your lives.

When I was a boy I looked at the year 2000 as some mythical magical time and event. Somehow I thought it held something special. Perhaps the Savior would come. I recall thinking back then, that in the year 2000 I would be 43 years old. “Wow!” I thought, “I will never be that old. Surely that day will never come” But it is now been over a decade since that supposed “magical year” of my childhood thoughts. And here I am. Still living, still breathing! As a child I never could have guessed I would live to be so old!

Do we have to live forever with being old?  When my wife and I were young we used to go out to dinner with our friends and our conversation centered around our babies; when they would walk, talk, and all the events surrounding their lives as they were growing up. Now, when we go out with friends the talk is about our cholesterol levels, diabetes, and the arthritis in my back. I am left to lament, “Is this the reward I get in the end? Will I ever get my young body back again?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Through the life and death of our Savior Jesus Christ all of us will live again. We will be resurrected and receive perfect bodies that will no longer be subject to pain and suffering. Many of you are still young but I assure you that you will become old with time. But with time also comes experience. That time gives to you the opportunity to experience both life and death, which inherently comes with this earthly existence.

“HAVE YOU EVER LOST A LOVED ONE?” I have. I stood beside the coffin of my sister, still in her forties, her body racked by the disease of arthritis. She was hardly recognizable. I stood by my Mother’s casket, she too ravaged by the same disease. I watched as they buried my brother, still in his fifties, a victim to cancer. I stood over the grave of my brother-in-law, taken early by a tragic car accident. I was notified of another brother-in-law; who complaining of stomach pain entered a hospital never to return home again. His life ended suddenly! HAVE YOU EVER LOST A LOVED ONE! I have! The pain is excruciating. It is never-ending! All that is left of them is a lifeless piece of clay. No light, no life left in their bodies. Where is the hope? There is hope! It can only be found in the story of Jesus Christ. He broke the bands of death so that all of us can live once more.

A couple of years ago my wife and I traveled across country to visit our daughter in Utah.  As we drove along on the Nebraska highway the morning dawn was breaking with the sounds of CCR, Credence Clearwater Revival on the radio. Suddenly we hit black ice and I lost control of the car. We kept spinning and spinning and spinning. I couldn’t get the car under control. It happened so fast. I felt the car start to go over the embankment. I thought to myself that for sure we would start to roll. Just as we started over the embankment I caught a glimpse of my wife’s eyes. As I looked into them, I thought to myself, “Is this it? Is this the end? Will I ever see her again?”  And at that moment, you see, you can’t do anything! You are powerless to change the course of what is happening. What then? What hope do you have?

The story of life of Jesus Christ is our only hope! We have no other options of hope! But how do I know He is real; that He lives and that I will also live again?

The day of separation for my wife and I didn’t happen that day! But that day surely will come. What then?

There stand testimonies, written, that bear witness to the reality of the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The prophets, from the beginning of time, as recorded in the Bible, testified that He would come in the meridian of time. And he did come! He was born, the carpenter’s son. He lived and died on the cross, but something else. He arose from the dead and appeared to Mary Magdalene. He appeared to the apostles, not once, but often. He had to show himself personally to Thomas, because he doubted. He was seen of others, forty!

It is also recorded at the time of Christ’s resurrection that

“…the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matt. 27:51-52)

So we know that others were also resurrected. The testimonies of the Bible have been around for hundreds of years, yet only 33% of the world’s population are followers of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I think, because the United States is almost 80% Christian, we forget how much work is left to be done.

For this reason the Lord provided a second witness in 1830, by bringing forth the Book of Mormon. It testifies of the visit of Jesus Christ to America. It stands as an additional testimony that He lives, that His story is true. That we can all live again because he broke the bands of death! You can’t get any more wonderful news than that! Hallelujah for that!

God also provided living prophets to testify of the reality of Jesus Christ.  Others have given their testimonies that He lives. They provide additional support that the resurrection is real. We will live again. There is hope! There is no other way or means offered to save our loved ones and ourselves. The Savior, when others had left him said, “…will ye also go away?” (John 6:67). They replied, “…to whom shall we go? (vs. 68) Indeed, to whom? We have no other way by which we can be reunited with our loved ones and live again.

Let me show you a mystery, as told by Paul to the Corinthians. He said:

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord”(1 Corinthians 15:51-58)

I add my testimony to that of all the others. I hold with all the belief and hope in my heart that Jesus Christ is the redeemer of the world. That through him and by him we will all live again and we will be able to be together as families for the eternities.

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