What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Cor. 15:55)
The gospel is so simple that it can be expounded in one, yet so complex and enriching that it can fill volumes of books. One of the fundamental underpinnings of the simplicity of the gospel and the Lord’s Church is the resurrection.
C. S. Lewis stated the importance of the resurrection in relation to other facets of the gospel in the days of the early Church:
…to preach Christianity meant primarily to preach the Resurrection… The Resurrection is the central theme in every Christian sermon reported in the Acts. The Resurrection, and its consequences, were the ‘gospel’ or good news which the Christians brought: what we call the ‘gospels’, the narratives of Our Lord’s life and death, were composed later for the benefit of those who had already accepted the gospel. They were in no sense the basis of Christianity: they were written for those already converted. The miracle of the Resurrection, and the theology of that miracle, comes first: the biography comes later as a comment on it. (C. S. Lewis, via Quoty)
The main message that Jesus’ apostles carried to the world after his mortal ministry was the reality and importance of His resurrection. That event constitutes the “good news” of the gospel, more than any other element contained in the scriptures.
Joseph Smith likewise commented on the central importance of the Resurrection:
If the resurrection from the dead be not an important point, or item in our faith, we must confess that we know nothing about it; for if there be no resurrection from the dead, then Christ has not risen; and if Christ has not risen He was not the Son of God; and if He was not the Son of God, there is not nor cannot be a Son of God, if the present book called the Scriptures is true; because the time has gone by when, according to that book, He was to make His appearance. (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 62)
Were it not for the resurrection of our Lord, the plan of the Father would have been frustrated. Christ’s resurrection was and is of supreme importance to the gospel. Without it, there would be no victory over temporal death, and while able to be cleansed of sin through Christ’s atonement, we would merely be sinless spirits whose bodies continued to decompose and dissolve back into their natural, individual elements. Without it, Christ would not have visited the boy Joseph Smith and began the restitution of all things, founding His Church and guiding it personally.
The ramifications of the resurrection are widespread and permeate the gospel. Without this glorious event, our faith would be in vain, as Elder Wirthlin has taught:
The Resurrection is at the core of our beliefs as Christians. Without it, our faith is meaningless. (Joseph B. Wirthlin, via Quoty)
Paul taught likewise:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (1 Cor. 15:14)
Thank God that His Son is risen. He lives, and because He lives, we too shall live.
That is most certainly good news.