Saturday, April 4, 2015

Gordon B. Hinckley on the relevance of Jesus Christ

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008.
"I reflected on the wonder of the quiet man of Galilee, whose life and teachings have ever-increasing relevance in our time—as great a relevance, I would like to say, as in the day that he walked the earth.
"In response to such a statement as this on another occasion, a straggly haired young intellectual asked, 'What relevance? Just what relevance has Jesus for us? Why, he's as out-of-date as the Roman legions who occupied Jerusalem when he was there.'
"'Relevance?' I replied, 'Ask my friends who tearfully watched the body of a beloved child lowered into the grave. Ask my neighbor who lost her husband in an accident. Ask the fathers and mothers of the thousands of good young men who have died in the steaming jungles of Vietnam. He—the risen Lord Jesus Christ—is their only comfort. There is nothing more relevant to the cold, stark fact of death than the assurance of eternal life.'...
"This, my brethren and sisters, is the assurance of Easter. This is the promise of the risen Lord. This is the relevance of Jesus to a world in which all must die. But there is further and more immediate relevance. As he is the conqueror of death, so also is he the master of life. His way is the answer to the troubles of the world in which we live....
"Is there relevancy in Jesus for our time? The world never needed more urgently the power of his example; the world never needed more desperately the vitality of his teachings....
"This is Easter. This is the season when we commemorate the most important event in human history. Millions upon millions through the ages have testified through the goodness of their lives and the strength of their courage of the reality of that event.
"To these testimonies we add our witness that we know that he was the Son of God, born in Bethlehem of Judea, who walked the earth as the promised Messiah, who was lifted up upon the cross, who gave his life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind, our Savior, our Redeemer, the one sure hope of mankind, the Resurrection and the Life.
"God bless us with increased faith in these great truths."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Wonder of Jesus", Improvement Era, June 1969, p. 74
Click here to read the full talk

President Hinckley's reflections on "the quiet man of Galilee" are even more relevant today than when he shared them almost half a century ago. Is Jesus relevant for our time? Does His message, His teachings, matter to us or apply to our challenges?

President Hinckley responded to that question by describing the critical relevance of the hope of life beyond death, provided by the "assurance of Easter." But there is another aspect that is more immediate, and very crucial to us.  Christ is not only "the conqueror of death," but so "the master if life":

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