The spiritual significance of Easter is centered on the death, Atonement, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Formerly, it was intended to commemorate the passing over of the people of Israel from slavery to freedom. At that time, the feast of the Passover was solemnized through ceremony, the rituals of which were fulfilled with the death and the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the Book of Mormon, Amulek prophesied that “the whole meaning of the law [of Moses]” was to point the people of Israel to the ultimate, great, and last sacrifice of Jesus Christ in Gethsemane and at Golgotha (see Alma 34:12–15).
In fact, to allow the people of Israel to come out of Egypt, the Lord decreed the death of all the firstborn of men and all the firstborn of beasts (see Exodus 11:5). He commanded them to strike the blood of a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses wherein they were to eat it (see Exodus 12:5–7).
As we reflect on the Easter celebration, the power of the Holy Spirit can help us to understand the reason for the death and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Also, we can realize the impact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on all the inhabitants of the earth.
The first time Jesus Christ solemnized the ancient Passover, He manifested His divine power by multiplying the loaves and fishes (see Mark 6:30–43). It was especially during His second and last Passover that the Lord gave a fuller meaning to this feast by instituting the sacrament ordinance (see Luke 22:19–20).
A few hours after He instituted the sacrament ordinance, Jesus was arbitrarily arrested, crucified, and His body laid in a new sepulchre (see Matthew 27:58–60).
Many people testified of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The scriptures tell us that after His burial, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. They found the stone of the tomb rolled to the side while the body of Jesus was no longer there. An angel of God told them that Jesus had risen as He had said. He recommended them to promptly go and inform His disciples. (See Matthew 28:1–10; Mark 16:1–12; John 20:11–18.) Also, before a great multitude of people in the land of Bountiful, the Lord Jesus Christ showed Himself unto them and asked each one of them to thrust their hands into His side “that [they] may feel the prints of the nails in [His] hands and in [His] feet, that [they] may know that [He is] the God of Israel, . . . and [has] been slain for the sins of the world” (3 Nephi 11:14; see verses 1, 14–17; Alma 11:40–45).
Today, Easter is the annual reminder that through the Lord’s Atonement and Resurrection, we can be redeemed from spiritual bondage (see 2 Nephi 9:6–9; 2 Nephi 8; Mosiah 13:35; 15:20; Alma 33:22; 40:3). It’s an absolute truth.
Regarding the magnificence of the atoning sacrifice, which made possible the Resurrection, the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) gave the following testimony:
“The magnificent expression of His love came in His death when He gave His life as a sacrifice for all men. That Atonement, wrought in unspeakable pain, became the greatest event of history, an act of grace for which men gave nothing but which brought the assurance of the Resurrection to all who have or would walk the earth.” (“At the Summit of the Ages,” Liahona, Jan. 2000, 87).
Through the spiritual testimony of President Gordon B. Hinckley, we can realize that:
• Easter is a symbol of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ therefore becomes an irrefutable testimony of the immortality of the soul.
• By His act of charity, our Lord Jesus Christ opened the way of eternal life to all who obey His commandments. The Firstborn of God has already offered Himself as an atoning sacrifice for the sake of the whole humanity. It’s an absolute truth.
• Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we thus have hope that we will all return to the presence of God to be judged.
• By the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, no injustice in the mortal condition will be permanent because the demands of justice have already been satisfied unto us (see Alma 34:15–16).
Referring to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, President Russell M. Nelson stated that “It is the Savior who delivers us from physical and spiritual death. . . . [Jesus Christ is the source of our] succor, healing, forgiveness, or power” (“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” Liahona, May 2017, 40). President Nelson’s statement denotes the importance of the Savior’s mission as emphasized by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who declared emphatically that “the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 54).
As we reflect on all that pertains to the Savior’s mission and His atoning sacrifice, we realize that through the Lord’s Atonement and Resurrection, we can be redeemed from spiritual bondage and be prepared to follow the way of eternal life as family.