Before this writer pens another article, it seems fitting with Easter coming that this one be dedicated to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. No doubt there will be some who will read this and be offended. To them, this writer says, “Too bad.”
God knew even before the earth was created and man was placed here to care for it, tend it and fill it with families that there would be a need for a Savior to redeem people from their sins. He had a plan for all of us from the beginning and when the time was right, He sent his Son, Jesus Christ to the earth to atone for the sins of mankind. He did this that they and all of mankind might be forgiven of their sins and have the opportunity to return someday and live with Him for eternity as His sons and daughters.
With the murder of Abel in the days of Adam and Eve by his brother, Cain, the world became a place filled with wickedness and there were all kinds of corrupt and immoral acts from those who loved Satan more than God.
Indeed, there was a need for a Savior, but that would require someone special with divine power from God and a mortal body subject to all the pains and suffering that mankind could suffer as mortal beings.
Being the loving Father that He is, and knowing that there was only one who could atone for the sins of the world---His Son, Jesus Christ, He gave His beloved Son to the world knowing that He would be ridiculed, scorned, spat upon, beaten, mocked and crucified by the very people He would serve and love so much.
His was a life of love, compassion, mercy, patience, humility and obedience to His Father’s will. He knew He would have to suffer for the sins of all mankind from the beginning of the world to the end thereof.
During His ministry on earth, Christ taught by setting examples for those He taught. He also taught with parables to help the people understand what He was teaching them. The parables were a way of teaching divine truths by comparing them with material things. Because of the power given Him by His Heavenly Father, He was able to bring about mighty miracles. As He went about from town to town and city to city preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, He healed the sick, made the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear and raised the dead.
When people heard He could perform miracles, they came with their sick, feeble and afflicted so that they might be healed.
Christ’s atonement would do two things. Because He suffered unspeakable pains and torment in the Garden of Gethsemane; He having taken upon Himself the sins of all mankind, made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins upon condition of true repentance. Second, after our physical death, our souls would live on forever and would one day be reunited with our bodies (resurrected) just as Christ was resurrected.
The time came that Jesus foretold His death and resurrection to His disciples that He might prepare them for that time. He said, “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
When Jesus and His disciples sat that evening to eat, He said, “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” They were sad at His words and asked, “Lord, is it I?” He answered and said, “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.” Then Judas Iscariot said, “Master, is it I?” Jesus answered him saying, “Thou hast said.” (Matthew 26: 20-25)
It was at this time that Jesus instituted the sacrament as He partook of His last meal with His disciples. Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, “Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-29) The Savior gave us the sacrament to help us remember His sacrifice and to have the opportunity each time we partake of the bread and water, representing His body and blood, to repent and be forgiven of our sins and renewed in the spirit.
Jesus said to His disciples, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. Peter answered and said unto Him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”
Then said Jesus unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. (Matthew 26:31-35)
Then Jesus went to a place called Gethsemane and said to his disciples, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.”
As He prayed there in the garden, He suffered pains and anguish unfathomable to the human mind as He took upon Himself the sins, pains, sorrows and sufferings of all mankind from the beginning of the world to the end thereof. This act caused his body to bleed from every pore and yet His suffering was not over.There in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ prayed, “Oh, my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
When he returned to where He had left his disciples, they were asleep and He said unto Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He went back to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed, “Oh my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” He came again unto his disciples and found them weary eyed and He left them again and went and prayed a third time uttering the same words. When He had finished praying and had sweat great drops of blood, He returned to His disciples and said-----behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (Matthew 26: 38-45)
Judas came with men armed with swords. The sign Judas gave them to know who was Jesus was a kiss of betrayal. As he came to Jesus, he said, “Hail master” and kissed him. (Matthew26:46-50)
Jesus was taken before Caiaphas the high priest. It was their hope to find some reason to put Him to death, but they could find none.
Jesus was bound and brought before Pontius Pilate accused and condemned to death. They questioned Jesus, but He said nothing. When Pilate asked Him if He was the King of the Jews, He answered, “Thou sayest.” He stood before his accusers alone because his disciples had all fled and forsook Him.
Of course, before the cock crowed, Peter denied Christ three times. When Judas saw that Jesus had been condemned to die, he went to the chief priests to give back the thirty pieces of silver, but they refused to take it. He threw the thirty pieces of silver in the temple and went away and hanged himself.
No answer did Jesus give to his accusers so they knew not what to do. It happened, however, that it was the feast of the governor and it was the custom to release to the people one prisoner whom they desired.
Pilate spoke to the crowd that was gathered and asked, “Whom will ye that I release unto you?” Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?”
The chief priests and elders persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. When the governor asked, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, “Barabbas. Then he asked, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified.”
Because he did not want the blood of an innocent man on his hands, Pilate washed his hands thinking that would absolute him of Jesus’ death.
Jesus was then delivered to the soldiers of the governor who scourged Him before they stripped Him and put on Him a scarlet robe. Then they place a plaited crown of thorns on His head and placed a staff in His hand. Mocking Him, they bowed before Him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
When they were done mocking Him, they took off the robe and led Him to be crucified. He was made to carry His own cross, but having been weak from the scourging, a man of Cyrene named Simon was made to bear His cross.
They came to a place called Golgotha and there they gave him vinegar mingled with gall to drink. When He tasted it, He refused to drink.
It is significant to note that when He was on the cross, there was a moment when the Father withdrew His presence in order that Christ might be able to know what it was like to feel totally alone and without help and He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Here was a sinless man who did nothing but teach the truth, give help to those in need and perform many mighty miracles to heal the sick and afflicted and to bring the dead back to life. He led an exemplary life walking in humility all His days here on earth and spoke nothing but the truth. He had done so much good for the very people who now said, “Crucify him!”
For what crimes did He deserve to die? There were none and they knew it. Yet they sentenced Him to death by crucifixion. They put nails through his hands, wrists and feet causing Him to suffered great pain and agony. Yet He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
The scriptures tell us that it was necessary for an atonement to be made for man because it was part of God’s great plan for us. Had there not been an atonement made for our sins, all mankind would have perished and there would have been no way for us to ever return to live with our Heavenly Father in His eternal kingdom on high for death would have been the end.
As necessary as the atonement was to fulfill Heavenly Father’s plan for us, it was also necessary that it be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. That sacrifice could not be made by any mortal being. Because of Jesus’ dual parentage; an immortal Father and a mortal mother, He was the only one who could make that sacrifice. Without a mortal mother, He would not be able to feel the pains and anguish that come with living in mortality. It was requisite that He be able to experience mortality and all that it encompasses so that He could know our pains, fears, infirmities, and all that the human heart and soul can feel. To do only that, however would not have been sufficient; He had to have power given to Him through His immortal parent (God) to be able to break the bands of death by being resurrected from the dead. Thus, He made it possible for all of us to one day have our bodies and souls reunited in their perfect frame without blemish or infirmity, never to be separated again. This will take place when all men stand before the judgment bar to be judged of their works here on earth.
For three hours darkness covered the earth while Jesus hung there on the cross and when His sacrifice was complete, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
It is said that the Jews took His life but that was not so because He gave His life freely and willingly to atone for our sins. He could have saved Himself, but He did not because He wanted to be obedient to His Father and fulfill His eternal plan of redemption.
After Jesus died on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and requested the body of Jesus. He took Jesus’ body, wrapped it in linen and laid it in a sepulcher where no man had been laid. However, when the women came the following morning to prepare His body with spices and ointments, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. They beheld two men (angels) who said, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen---.”
What do Jesus Christ, His atonement and resurrection mean to you? Have you allowed His atonement to work in your life?
Growing up, I didn’t understand much about the atonement. There wasn’t any religion taught in our home. I had good parents; they just never talked about God or Christ. I’m sure they believed in God and Jesus Christ because they let me go to church by myself when I had the chance. What I was taught was confusing and I knew in the back of my mind there had to be something better. It took me until I was 24 and an unwed mother before I finally began to learn the importance of Christ’s atonement in my life. I learned that because He made the ultimate sacrifice for me, I am indebted to Him for all of eternity. He didn’t have to give His life but He did and He did it out of love for someone who is so unworthy of such a great sacrifice.
I know that three days after He was crucified, Christ arose from the dead and ascended into heaven.. He broke the bands of death so that we may also be resurrected and He suffered for all our sins so that we won’t have to if we sincerely repent of our sins and trespasses and live our lives in accordance with God’s commandments and laws.
I always try to keep my articles in the third person, but just for this one article, I pray you will excuse me for using the first person so I may express my love and appreciation for Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.
I know that my Redeemer lives. He has been my strength and beacon and has helped me numerous times to overcome difficult challenges in my life. He has helped me deal with physical, mental and spiritual challenges that I could never have gotten through without His divine help. Were it not for His atonement, I dare not to think of the consequences that may have come to me.
Jesus Christ is my Lord, my Savior, my friend and my elder brother because just like Jesus, we were all born in the spirit with Heavenly Father. I believe that we lived with Him before we came to earth to be born of mortal parents.
Jesus is all things good to me and He fills my heart with so much joy and peace even when the world around me seems to be spinning and filling with unrighteousness and evil. I know that when I pray with a sincere heart and contrite spirit to my Heavenly Father, repent, give thanks for all that I have, ask for His help in my daily life, pray for others, and invoke the Holy Spirit as my guide, He blesses me. When I follow in the footsteps of my Savior, I know I am living a good life. That doesn’t mean that every day, for me, is without its challenges and even heartaches.
There are times when my heart drifts away from the profound truth of Jesus’ teachings and I sometimes reap the consequences of bad choices. However, I know that because of my Savior Jesus Christ’s atonement, I can be forgiven and brought back into grace and forgiveness if I truly repent of my sins. That does not mean that I can choose to do wrong and believe that I will be forgiven automatically. Forgiveness requires that I take action to prove that I am worthy of forgiveness. Without my dear Savior’s atonement, I would not have that promise.
His atonement has lifted me up and brought me out of some of my darkest days. His message of love and forgiveness has brought me back from the brink of deep depression. Whenever clouds disperse in my life, I look at the pictures I have hanging in my apartment of Jesus. There is one that is a painting of what it might look like at the Savior’s second coming. I look at them and then I think about what He endured for my sake and how much indebted I am to Him for His great and eternal sacrifice.
Some people look at Jesus’ atonement as a time of sadness. Yes, I am sad to think about all that He endured in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, but I don’t think He wants us to think of it as a sad thing because it has brought so much happiness to a wicked world and has saved so many from their own destruction. He was happy to make the atonement even though He knew He would suffer unfathomable pains in body, mind and spirit. Can you even imagine any mortal man, if he could, be willing to do all that Christ did for all mankind. I know He had to make the ultimate sacrifice and when I read or listen to the story of His crucifixion and resurrection, the tears start coming. They are tears of deep gratitude for the abundant love that He has shown for me and all mankind.
He brings peace and joy to my soul and allows me to stay firmly planted and safe in the hollow of His hand. When I stumble, He helps me up, when I fall, He takes me in His arms and comforts me, when my heart fails and I’m in deep despair, He strengthens me, when I feel alone, He wraps me in the arms of His love, when all the world around me comes crashing down on me, He brings peace to my heart, when I falter and lose hope, He lifts me out of the depths of my sorrow. Of these things, I testify in the sacred name of my beloved, Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
A very good friend gave me permission to use his message and his name with his testimony about what Christ and His atonement means to him and I would like to share it with you now.
I used to think that having a couple of life-threatening illnesses caused me to 'come unto Christ'. I thought that almost being poisoned, being mugged several times, being hit by a car when I was riding my bicycle, or other 'close to death', experiences, cause me to 'come closer to the Lord'. Perhaps these may have been 'catalysts', but after reviewing the events of my life, I found I may have been incorrect. It wasn't my rationale. It wasn't my intellect. It wasn't the good deeds of others. It was the Lord working through all these. Most importantly, it was the undeniable testimony of the Holy Ghost 'searing' a witness to my soul of His truth, His divinity, His love, His forgiveness...and in some way I cannot comprehend, He will have healed me from all the 'woes' of mortality through His infinite atonement. Of course, He could have performed healing miracles on my personal journey on my own 'road to Damascus'. But I found that He schooled me, trained me, and made my testimony strong by NOT doing the immediate miracles, and making a more long-term series of miracles that made me 'stay on His side'. Even when I wasn't living the Gospel fully, I always felt His presence and His willingness to guide and direct me, despite my rebellion. I had to revisit many times the first principle of the Gospel, faith. But not JUST faith...but faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Of His ability to heal ME, as well as the entire world! Not only of the physical maladies but the spiritual ones as well. I had to allow Him to do these things according to my faith and choosing. I am so glad 'I have a friend in Jesus', and it's real, not just trite words. I know that He is a living reality, not just a nice picture on a wall somewhere, or a beautiful sculpture in a museum. As I have said on other occasions in other environments and circumstances, the two most important words in ANY language are: 'HE LIVES!'. Christmas we celebrate His birth, which is nice and fine. But Easter, Christians celebrate, not only His death for us, but His resurrection for us! This is sacred and holy, and deserves our UTMOST reverence. After almost three-fifths of a century, I admit that I am barely scratching the surface in developing the faith of a mustard seed. Whenever I attempt to ascertain my standing in relation to Him, I find that I cannot stand at all...I must kneel. He is incomparable in what He is, what He does, and what He has accomplished. All other events in human history pale in comparison to the events of that first Easter morn. I know He will come again. His truth is the only thing that will heal this world. I rejoice in the work of the Lord, and although I am the weakest link in all of Zion, I commit whatever time, talents, or whatever He has blessed me with or will bless me with to help build-up His kingdom, and the honor and glory is ascribed unto Him forever. In the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
May the Lord bless you and keep you safe in the hollow of His hand and bring you peace, joy, happiness, comfort and reassurance that Jesus is the Christ that was prophesied would come to redeem the world. He came to atone for our sins that we might enjoy eternal life someday with our Father in heaven. God be with each of you and may the light of Christ be at your feet to light your path throughout the storms of life.