Saturday, September 03, 2016

Jesus was Terrified and Astonished

The suffering of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane is a story with which most everyone in the world is familiar. We know this is where he took upon him the sins and sorrows of the world. We know that three times he went to his apostles, whom he had asked to "watch with me," and found them sleeping. We know this is the place where Judas betrayed him.

With all we know about this event, it is impossible for our finite minds to comprehend what it all really entailed. I gained some profound insights into the experience Jesus had through my study this week.

Sin affects our whole being; mind, body, and spirit. Something I had never considered before when thinking about the Atonement, was that this was something Christ had never experienced. He was perfect and had never sinned.

“And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy.”
Mark 14:33

 Not only was he taking on the sins of everyone, he was partaking of the experience of sin for the first time.

 “The Greek word translated as “sore amazed” means “terrified surprise or astonishment.[1]

Sin was such a new and unexpected thing for Jesus, a shock to his perfect body and spirit, it literally terrified him

Think about that!! 

Jesus Christ was terrified by the experience of sin.

What does this tell us about how we should react to sin? Why are we able to sin without being terrified?

I read some very interesting things in my study and wanted to share them with you; though a bit long, well worth the read.

“Being perfect, Jesus did not and could not know what sin felt like. He did not have the experience of feeling the effects of sin—neither physically, spiritually, mentally, nor emotionally. Not until Gethsemane, that is. Now, in an instant, he began to feel all the sensations and effects of sin, all the guilt, anguish, darkness, turmoil, depression, anger, and physical sickness that sin brings. All of this the Savior felt and much, much more.

The shock to the Savior at this moment must have been overwhelming. Because he was perfect, he was also perfectly sensitive to all the effects and ramifications of sin on our mental, emotional, and physical makeup. His makeup was such that it could not tolerate sin or its effects, just as our systems cannot tolerate poison, disease, extreme heat, cold, dehydration, or a hundred other harmful substances and conditions. More significantly, as Mark describes for us, the experience Jesus had of finally comprehending sin as well as the feelings that issue from sin were absolutely surprising to him. He had never experienced these sensations. Not only did it surprise him but it terrified him. For the first time in his eternal existence, the God of heaven and earth was experiencing the terrifying feelings associated with sin. Jesus felt something in Gethsemane he had never known before.  Perhaps that is the full meaning of Alma’s words that the Son of God, the Messiah, would be born as a mortal so that ‘he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people’ (Alma 7:12; emphasis added).

“Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote: “Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds, ‘astonished’! Jesus knew cognitively what He must do, but not experientially. He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fulness, it was so much, much worse than even He with his unique intellect had ever imagined!” (Ensign, May 1985, 72-73).” [2]

How much more do we now understand this plaintive plea: "Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou will."(Mark 14:36)

Beautifully summed up by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

"In that most burdensome moment of all human history, with blood appearing at every pore and an anguished cry upon His lips, Christ sought Him whom He had always sought—His Father. “Abba,” He cried, “Papa,” or from the lips of a younger child, “Daddy.”
"This is such a personal moment it almost seems a sacrilege to cite it. A Son in unrelieved pain, a Father His only true source of strength, both of them staying the course, making it through the night—together."[3]

[1] Verse by Verse The New Testament, Ogden and Skinner, pp 579-599, (emphasis added)
[2] ibid
[3] The Hands of the Fathers, Jeffrey R. Holland, April 1999 Conference, (emphasis added)

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