There is so much written and said about the events in these chapters, but this quote from Jesus the Christ is especially touching to me:
Elder Talmage writes: “It seems, that in addition to the fearful suffering incident to crucifixion, the agony of Gethsemane had recurred, intensified beyond human power to endure. In that bitterest hour the dying Christ was alone, alone in most terrible reality. That the supreme sacrifice of the Son might be consummated in all its fulness, the Father seems to have withdrawn the support of His immediate Presence, leaving to the Savior of men the glory of complete victory over the forces of sin and death.”
The videos put out by The Church that depict the events in Matthew 27 are so good that I wanted to begin this post with these three. The last video moves into the next lesson where Christ's Resurrection happens, but they all go together so well I wanted to include it.
This is one of the best articles I have read, especially with this lesson. It is written by Richard E. Bennett and part of a collection of essays put together in a book called Celebrating Easter. It had so many great things to say, so I want to share a few of my favorite quotes:
It was also an accomplishment in that Christ successfully took upon Himself the sins of all mankind, thereby obeying every word of His Father in Heaven. In the final week of Christ’s life, commonly referred to as the Passion Week, while men mocked and devils laughed, the master of deception was blinded by his own deceit. The central redeeming act of Christ’s mortal ministry and of man’s immortality and eternal life, made necessary because of Adam’s transgression, could no more have been left to chance than could the earth have been accidentally created. It was, in every way, a fulfillment of the plan of salvation as laid out before this world was created.
Clearly Christ was master of His own destiny. Knowing all things from the beginning, He knew He would have to enter into Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover; that so great an uproar must erupt in Jerusalem as to cause Roman interference; that Satan would enter into Judas, one of His own, who would then betray Him (see Luke 22:3); that evil men, full of jealousy and rage, envy and deceit, would betray and condemn Him and in so doing bring down judgment upon their heads; that He must die in full public view, at the hands of Roman guards outside the city and before the Passover upon a cross between two thieves; and finally, that He would die in such a way as to mask the fact that He gave his life, though it would appear to all that it was taken from Him.
Just as Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of all mankind, so must every accountable human being take upon himself or herself His sacrifice. The Crucifixion is not just a spectacle to behold on our way out of Jerusalem or a mere historical fact to pore over and analyze. Ultimately, it must become an integral, if not the essential, experience of our lives. We may live because He died and was resurrected on the third day. His Atonement is as intimate as it is infinite, as personal as it is universal. Though it is not part of our experienced memory, it must ever be engraved upon our minds and hearts and the very center of our souls.
You can read the full article here: "It Is Finished": The Divine Accomplishment of the Crucifixion by Richard E. Bennett
I loved this article by Bruce K. Satterfield that talks about how the Book of Mormon teaches us the reasons why the Savior's Atonement was necessary and what it does for us. There were a lot of good pieces to the article, and it's quite long but well worth the read. Below is one of my favorite quotes:
By experiencing our infirmities, he also comprehends perfectly each of our weaknesses and how to heal and strengthen them. Elder Maxwell observed: “Being sinless Himself, Jesus could not have suffered for personal sin nor known what such agony is—unless He took upon Him our sins, not only to redeem us and to save us, but also in order that He might know how ‘according to the flesh . . . to succor his people according to their infirmities.’ A stunning insight!” This makes him the perfect Savior because not only does he pay the penalty of sin but he also heals the sinner. It is the same as if a man, who did not know how to swim, fell into deep water and began to drown. Then a lifeguard dove into the water and saved the drowning man. Not leaving it at that, he stayed with the man and helped him learn to swim. So it is with the Savior; he jumps into the deep waters of our agony and lifts our souls to safety. Then he helps us to overcome the very infirmities that caused our troubles in the first place. The bearing of our infirmities gave the Savior the knowledge and power to perfect each man who comes unto him and accepts his divine help. Moroni exhorted his latter-day reader to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him” (Moro. 10:32). However, our becoming perfect is not a passive experience. We must do our part. The man being taught by the lifeguard to swim must do what the lifeguard tells him. He must move his arms and kick his feet or he will never overcome his infirmity.
Read the full article here: Gethsemane and Golgotha: Why and What the Savior Suffered by Bruce K. Satterfield
As usual, John Hilton III has also put out some great short videos this week that have some thoughtful messages:
“What do you do [when you’re in the position of those early disciples?] When it’s Saturday in your life, how do you react? When you are somewhere between yesterday’s tragedy and tomorrow’s triumph—what do you do? Do you leave God, or do you linger near Him?”
This goes along with the message I shared in my email about what we do when we are in the "waiting" stages of life, when things don't seem to be going as planned and we're waiting for things to get better. I love the message from Elder Wirthlin shared in the video.