And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and he sweat as at were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
(Luke 22: 43--44)
The Atonement of Christ was and is a voluntary act. The Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ voluntarily took upon him the sins of all mankind and laid down his life and took it back up again to satisfy the eternal demands of Justice, which required his infinite atonement. The Saviour himself said ‘I lat down my life for the sheep…Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it up again. No man take it from me, but I lay it down of myself’ (John 10:10-18)
As Latter Day Mormons we understand that Christ could choose to live or die. He was always the master of life and death. Jesus had the power to die, he received that from his mother, and she was mortal therefore endowing Christ with the ability to die. Due to his mother being mortal Jesus had blood within his body just as you and I have blood within our bodies, blood is the life of our mortal body. As our hearts pumps the blood it circulates around our bodies giving us life. We must bare in mind that Christ, Jesus father was not a mortal man but rather an omnipotent being, a God. We do not have power to pay down our lives and take them up again. But Jesus had power to lay down his life, and he had power to take it up again, and when he was he was put to death on the cross, he gave up his life on his own accord. When he was nailed to the cross he meekly submitted, but he had the power within that he could have resisted, but he chose not to and therefore submitted himself to the atonement. Christ came in to the world to die that we might live, and his atonement for sin and death is the force by which we are raised to immortality and eternal life. We may not fully understand how is was that this was done or why he was required to perform the work for us by the shedding of his blood, but this is the case, and we are owe all to him for he bought us through the shedding of his blood.
As Latter Day Mormons we must understand that the atonement only works when we are prepared to accept it in our lives and that acceptance is found in repentance. Christ does not and will not redeem any man for his individual sins who will not repent and who will not accept him. All of those that refuse to accept him as their personal Saviour and refuse to turn from their sins will have to pay the price for their continued sinning and shunning of the atonement remember is was Christ who said ‘For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent’ (D&C 19:16-19)
It must be made clear that Christ took upon himself the burden and weight of sins of the whole world past, present and future. It can sometimes feel hard enough for us to carry the weight of our own sins let alone those of the whole world form the beginning of time to the end of time. It is something that we can just not comprehend. The suffering of Jesus Christ, the mental and spiritual condition is something that we can not and indeed should not for us as mortal beings it is unfathomable to understand the passion of the Christ and the effort that went in to doing what he did for us.
There are many people in Christendom that believe that when he was hosted upon the cross and the nails driven in to his hands and feet that this was the greatness of his suffering that that all was accomplished upon the cross. However as Latter Day Mormons we believe that his great suffering took place before he was placed upon the cross and that it took place in the
It was in the garden that of garden of Gethsemane Gethsemane that
the blood shed from every pore that an angel was sent from the courts of the
Father to aid him and give him comfort because the pain and suffering was so
intense. Christ revealed to us in these Latter Days just what he went through
in the garden when he says ‘Which suffering
caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of the 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’ (D&C 19: 18) Christ tells us
here that this wasn’t upon the cross but in the garden of Gethsemane. Now it must
be understood that we do not take away from the cross and place all of the
atonement in the garden, for the cross was where he spoke unto the father and
where the Father cried from heaven for his loss and where Christ fulfilled
scripture and became like unto us and took upon himself death and therefore
gained the resurrection. But it must be remembered that the pain and agony of Gethsemane was so intense so powerful that Christ the Cod
of this world called unto his father and asked ‘If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I
will, but as thou wilt’ (Matthew 26:39).
Christ paid an infinite price for us and it is therefore impossible for us mere mortals to understand or comprehend fully the extent of the suffering of the Son of God. We cannot realise the price he had to pay, however it is within our grasp to understand and know that the excruciating pain and agony of his sacrifice has brought us great blessings which are beyond the power of mortal men to give to accomplish and to endure. So let us always remember that there has never been a sin committed that has not been atoned for. Christ paid the debt of my sins and your sins on the condition that we believe in him and keep his commandments. Christ did that for you and all mankind, but he never paid for any of those debts upon the cross or before the cross for the sins of any one of us if we remain rebellious and do not submit ourselves to him. This is the key to having this great blessing work in our lives; we have to be willing to give our lives fully to him who gave so much for us.