In 1965, after several false production starts, the movie “The Greatest Story Ever Told” played in theaters throughout the United States. The epic (gulp) three-hour and 15-minute film retells the account of Jesus Christ from his birth to ministry to crucifixion to the resurrection to ascension. Swedish-born Max von Sydow portrays the Savior with Charlton Heston as John the Baptist and Telly Svalas as Pontius Pilate. Pat Boone, Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters and even The Duke made quick credited appearances. When you consider this is a Hollywood production, it portrays the subject quite well, although it moves at a much slower pace than I am now used to.
The life, death, and resurrection of our Savior undoubtably is and will forever be “The greatest story ever told.” His mortal story, told in the first four books of the New Testament, is fewer than 200 pages. When read with the right spirit of mind and heart, those words can penetrate our souls to the point of bringing eternal life.
The Easter season serves us all as an annual reminder of “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” Others describe the joys of our Lord’s everlasting sacrifice much better than I can. Here are some of my favorite Easter quotes:
“Christ the Lord is risen today. Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.” – Charles Wesley
“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” – Billy Graham
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis
“The resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom… It is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven. The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.” – N.T. Wright
“A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf of springtime.” – Martin Luther
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures…” – The Apostle Paul
“We are adopted into God’s family through the resurrection of Christ from the dead in which he paid all our obligations to sin, the law, and the devil, in whose family we once lived. Our old status lies in his tomb. A new status is ours through his resurrection.” – Sinclair B. Ferguson
“Because of the empty tomb, we have peace. Because of His resurrection, we can have peace during even the most troubling of times because we know He is in control of all that happens in the world.” – Paul Chappell
“He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same; Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!” – Samuel Medley
Nearly two thousand years later, His life, death, and resurrection remain The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Charlie Roberts is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in Stansbury Park.