Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Often when I think about Christ and the Atonement, I find myself
wondering why he had to go through the trial, torment, and
crucifixion. If it was in the Garden of Gethsemane that He took upon
Himself all our sins, sorrows, pains, ailments, etc, why did He have
to endure the rest of it, too? Someone told me that compared to
Gethsemane; it was not nearly so bad. Granted, but it was no big
relief either. It was horrible! I know He had to die, but there are
many ways to accomplish that without additional suffering.

Recently, in Sunday School we watched a video depicting the last days
of Jesus' life. When they depicted His suffering in Gethsemane, it
was touching, sad, and meaningful. Some of us were moved to tears.
But when they got to the whipping, the crown of thorns, and especially
the nails, there was serious flinching all around, with many people in
tears and averting their faces. I don't think many people can
actually bear to look at the screen once they get out the nails. We
wince at the sound of the pounding and cannot bear to look – even
though I am pretty sure that the video doesn't show the pounding in of
the nails. Who among us knows? Not me. Why the stronger reaction
for that part than the garden?

I have thought and thought, and have come up with my theory.

I think that Christ knew that many of us can identify more intensely
with the sacrifice in allowing Himself to be crucified. We understand
that the atonement in the Garden was deeper and beyond any human
capacity to bear, but we viscerally comprehend the pain of the
crucifixion more. Even though we have not experienced anything like
it, our bodies recognize that kind of suffering very well.

I think He wanted us to know how much He loves us and how much He was
willing to take on for us. He wanted us to know our worth to Him. He
also wanted to give us good warning of how we will suffer if we do not
accept His atoning gift through repentance.

I think he went through that extra physical suffering as a big visual
aid to make sure we understand His sacrifice and love.

I also find myself wondering how people could do such things to any
one or any living thing, but for that I have no answer.

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