Atonement of the Lord:
Do we know how much He went through?
Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi
Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional
October 28, 2008
Will Pay Divine Debt?
We now face, perhaps the worst financial and economic times since the depression. In uncertain times, the only way to find lasting peace, joy, and happiness comes from the Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”1 I want to discuss how to find the greatest, lasting peace, joy, and happiness. Jesus said, “I am the light and the life of the world.”2 Ultimate peace only comes directly from Jesus Christ. When we keep the Father’s commandments, then lasting peace and joy will come. When we come to know and understand the sacred mission of the Savior and His Atonement, why He came to this earth and why He loves us so much, then we will have everlasting peace and joy, and then we can embrace the Love of God3 which, “casteth out all fear.”4
President Brigham Young testifies,
“We can be redeemed, and return to the presence of our Father . . . It is beyond the power and wisdom . . . to prepare or create a sacrifice that will pay this divine debt. But God provided it, and his Son has paid it.”5
The Deepest Sacrifice
Let us consider the last few hours of His life from the Last Supper in the upper room until His Holy resurrection. When we understand His last few sacred and deeply atoning hours, we get a glimpse of His profound everlasting love for each one of us, and come to know Him better. We can then be blessed to have His peace.
Jesus Christ went through the deepest sacrifice for each one of us, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. We may not comprehend or understand much about His great suffering.
After the Last Supper, He took His eleven disciples to Gethsemane. In the Garden, with deep sorrow, He told His disciples:
“My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”6
Of the eleven remaining Apostles, He took three Brethren a little further; then He, alone, “Went a little further,”7 and fell on His face and prayed,
“Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”8
His physical painful torture and the poignancy, of mental anguish was unbelievable. His earnest and impassioned supplication lasted almost an hour.
More Than Man Can Suffer
When the Lord came back, He found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”9 Jesus went a second time, and prayed,
“O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”10
He went through His lonely vigil and individual struggle and implored His Father yearning petition. The Savior allowed His Disciples to rest, and then He prayed earnestly again while they were sleeping. Jesus returned to His sleeping Apostles, whose,
“Eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time.”11
King Benjamin foresaw this most overwhelming experience:
“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish.”12
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said,
“There is no language known to mortals that can tell what agony and suffering was His while in the garden.”13
No human eyes witnessed the depth of His suffering through the twilight and shadow.
Infinite and Eternal
Elder James E. Talmage testifies:
He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing.”14
“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
“And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”15
Little, at that time, did these Apostles realize or understand the Lord’s agony and the eternal and lasting impact of His suffering because of the human family.
“This is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.”16
I know these sacred hours of His atoning acts paid for the human family, occurred because of His redeeming love and blood. His suffering was far beyond our comprehension. His pain was far beyond His utterance. His emotional and physical struggles were beyond His endurance. He felt a horror of great darkness, loneliness, and fear. It was beyond our understanding. His endurance of this exquisite pain caused a medical condition known as HAEMATIDROSIS, which is exceedingly rare. Haematridrosis is explained as having blood coming through the sweat pores.17
Can You See His Face Upon the Ground?
President John Taylor testifies:
“As the Son of Man, He endured all that it was possible for flesh and blood to endure; as the Son of God He triumphed over all.”18
Our earth was chosen to be the place where the Savior was to be born. The Lord, Himself, came to this special small planet earth—to redeem the whole universe.
You and I cannot intrude too closely into this scene; it was so sacred, so profound, that no footstep may penetrate.
His Disciples’ senses were confused. Likewise, our perceptions may not be clear regarding His redeeming love. As I meditate and ponder the sacred mission of the Savior, and what He went through in the Garden, I too, am sometimes half-awake, half oppressed by my daily life, like an irresistible weight of troubled slumber.
Do His Atoning Cries Pierce Your Soul?
Questions: Can you see His face upon the ground? Can you hear His voice wailing? Can you see His fingernails scratching the bark of the olive tree, because it was so painful? Can you hear His murmurous and broken agonizing voices? Do His utterances of atoning cries pierce your soul? Do you feel the deep everlasting atoning love that He has for us? Are we ever grateful for His redeeming love through His atoning blood? Are we expressing our deep humility of reverence to His redeeming love? Can you show humble adoration for His mercy? Are our souls penetrated by His eternal grace?
How Sore You Know Not
In His glorious pre-mortal life, He created the extensive universe, with innumerable stars and galaxies. He created all life—beautiful lilies and all living creatures. During His ministry, He commanded the winds and the sea. They obeyed Him.
Questions: Why must He go through this? Can you see His anguish and the great drops of atoning blood, which were shed from His body? Under dark shadows of olive trees, you may not see Him clearly, as an angel supports Him to rise from those prayers? It is almost four hours of agonized failings of His heart. His fearful amazement and the horror of darkness almost brought Him down to the grave.
I cannot speak lightly of the price, which He paid for each of us. His redeeming act in the Garden and crucifixion is so deep and profound. I am confused at His mercy. It is so sacred. It is so deeply meaningful. This is such a solemn matter. It requires a sublime and holy spirit to feel His redemptive act for us.
The Savior personally described His painful moments to Martin Harris, through the Prophet Joseph:
“. . . How sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, AND TO SUFFER BOTH BODY AND SPIRIT—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink.
“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”19
I testify His atoning utterance cleanses our broken hearts and makes us contrite. I know His atoning blood and His eternal offering in the Garden and at the sacred altar Golgotha on the cross purify and sanctify our souls. I testify our Father offered His life on the Altar of Mount Moriah. I know He is the only source of PEACE. I testify His pure love now ransoms all of us. I know He is our Savior. He died for you and me.
His compassionate atoning act will purify us. “Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.’”20 Brothers and Sisters,
1. We must LOVE Him.
2. We must KEEP His commandments.
3. We must SERVE Him.
4. We must FOLLOW Him obediently with all of the energy of our souls—our might, mind, and strength.
Alma testifies to the people of Gideon:
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; . . . He will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. . . . He will take upon him death, . . loose the bands of death, . . . and . . . take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy.”21
There is no scriptural description, however, in the center of the universe, imagine our loving and kind Heavenly Father must have wiped His holy tears. Imagine the great gratitude of the Father for His and His willingness to give Himself for all the Father’s children. The Father could have sent multitudes of the hosts of heaven to rescue His Son from that awful situation in the Garden and on the tree. But our Father must have closed His eyes and ears in those final and eternal moments pass by, in order that you and I, and the other sons and daughters, could have HOPE for eternal life.
Guilty of Death—Crucify Him
The chief priests could not find any fault from the Lord. They spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands.
The people cried, “Let Him be crucified,”22 and “Crucify Him.”23
There also the chief priests vehemently, <vee he me nt lee> accused the Lord. “Crucify Him,”24 “His blood be on us, and on our children.”25
They stripped Him, and put on Him a purple robe and a platted crown of thorns upon His head. Soldiers, bowing their knees before Him, saluted Him and worshiped Him and mocked Him.26
The usual instrument was a short or long whip composed of several single or braided leather thongs or straps in which small ball or diamond-shaped pieces of iron or shattered sheep bone, were tied, at intervals on both sides.
Isaiah saw the day,
“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.27
He not only endured scourging by leather thongs or straps, but also had a crown of thorns on His head. The head is covered by many subtle small blood tissues and a nervous system. Wearing that thorny crown with plaited thorns would cause blood to stream down from those tissues all over the face. The head would feel as though the brain were caught by a burning fire.
To This End Was I Born
On this sacred altar, our Heavenly Father offered His Beloved Son as His eternal offering. By His holy grace and through His redeeming and atoning blood—which is His sacrifice for all of us—we may return to His presence once again. Jesus said,
There is a green hill far away.
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.
We may not know, we cannot tell.
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
There is no other good enough
To pay the price of sin.
He only could unlock the gate
Of heav’n and let us in.
Oh, dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too.
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do.29
I know He is our Savior. I know He loves us all. I know He knows each of you well. He is the only way for us to return to live with the Father.
A Sacred Mediator
Finally, our Savior was nailed to a cross and crucified. Doctors have explained the major pathophysiological effect of crucifixion was beyond the excruciating pain.
Elder McConkie wrote,
“The effect of the draught was to dull the nerves, to cloud the intellect.”30
Will we ever understand why and how He did it for us? His eternal voice comes back to my ears thousands of times until I really understand His sacred At-One-Ment—to become one with Him. I testify that by His grace and mercy, we receive the honor to become ONE with the Father through THE SACRED MEDIATOR. I testify His holy redeeming love allowed us to be with the Holy Father once again. I know His Atonement brought to the universe the new birth—it is called holy resurrection.
Jesus Christ the Son of God
Elder McConkie testifies the mysteries of the Atonement to resurrection:
“Incomprehensible to us, Gethsemane, the cross, and the empty tomb join into one grand and eternal drama, in the course of which Jesus abolishes death, and out of which comes immortality for all and eternal life for the righteous.”31
I humbly testify Heavenly Father loves us. I testify that he wants all of us together to be in His presence. I testify that because of His love, Heavenly Father offered His Eternal and Infinite Love, who is His only Begotten Son. Why? Because Father loves us. The Savior, Himself, testifies,
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.”32
President Gordon B. Hinckley testified,
“The greatest salient truth of life is that the Son of God come into our world and atoned for the sins of mankind and opened the gate by which we may go on to eternal life.”33
Our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, testifies,
“With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift my voice in testimony today as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He loves us with a love we cannot fully comprehend, and because He loves us, He gave His life for us.”34
I testify, He conquers death. His triumphal resurrection gave us everlasting HOPE and courage to live. I testify, Jesus Christ is our HOPE. He is the only anchor of our peace. Jesus is our LIGHT. HE IS THE WAY!
Joseph Saw the Father and the Son
I know that Joseph and Sidney Rigdon both saw the glorious Savior on February 16, 1832, in Hyrum, Ohio, and testified,
“We saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father.”35
Joseph and Oliver saw the Savior again, on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple, in which Jesus, Himself, testified:
“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.”36
I know Joseph saw the Father and His Son.
“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
“When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”37
I know Joseph saw the Father and His Beloved Son, even the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ.
My Spirit Cries, “I will!”
I know He lives. He loves us.
I feel Joseph’s feeling as he listened to John Taylor sing, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” while in the Carthage Jail in 1847, just before Joseph and Hyrum died,
“In prison I saw him next, condemned
To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,
And honored him ‘mid shame and scorn.
My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,
But my free spirit cried, I will!”38
I know our Heavenly Father lives. I know Jesus is the Christ, because I know He is the Son of God. He is the only advocate with the Father. He is the Savior. He is the Redeemer! I know without Him, we cannot return to the Father. With His Redeeming love, we can be cleansed and purified. I testify that His atoning power is real. I know He loves you! This is His Church. I testify that President Thomas S. Monson is His Living Oracle.
1 John 14:27.
2 3 Nephi 11:11
3 1 Nephi 11:21-22.
4 Moroni 8:16.
5 Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954, p. 59.
6 Matthew 26:38.
7 Matthew 26:39.
8 Mark 14:35, 36.
9 Matthew 26:40.
10 Matthew 26:42.
11 See Matthew 26:43-45.
12 Mosiah 3:7, emphasis added.
13 Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, Vol. 4, p. 126-127.
14 James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1983, 568.
15 Luke 22:43-44.
16 Alma 34:14.
17 Stedman’s Medical Dictionary 25th Edition, 1989, 691)].
18 John Taylor, “The Mediation and the Atonement,” Salt Lake City: Deseret News Company, 1882. 151.
19 D&C 19:15-16, 18-19.
20 John 14:23.
21 Alma 7:11-12, Emphasis added.
22 Matthew 26:65-66.
23 Mark 15:13.
24 Mark 15:13.
25 Matthew 27:25.
26 See Matthew 27:27-28; Mark 15:20.
27 Isaiah 50:6.
28 John 18:37.
29 Hymns, no. 194.
30 Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, Vol, 4, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981, 210.
31 Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, Vol, 4, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1981, 224.
32 3 Nephi 98:15.
33 Gordon B. Hinckley, Charlotte North Carolina Regional Conference, Priesthood Leadership Session, February 24, 1996).
34 President Thomas S. Monson, “Looking Back and Moving Forward,” Ensign, May 2008, 90.
35 See D&C 16:12-14; 20-24.
36 D&C 110-1-4.
37 Joseph Smith—History, 1:16-17.
38 Hymns, No. 29.
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