Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 5 - Thursday

According to Daniel H. Ludlow, “The scriptures give very few details of the events during the early part of Thursday, the fifth day. The indications are that sometime during the day Judas Iscariot had plotted with the “chief priests and the Pharisees” to betray the Christ and deliver him into their hands. (Daniel H. Ludlow, "The Greatest Week in History," Ensign, Apr 1972, 34)

How heartbreaking Judas’ betrayal must have been for the Savior! Here was one of his closest friends knowingly and willingly betraying him! I can’t even imagine what was going through Judas’ mind. Or the pain that that act alone must have caused the Savior.

The Lord also gave instructions to his disciples of where they would be having the feast.

As I read through each of the gospels about what happened at the last supper, I was a little surprised at how simple, and little information the first three gospels provided.

All talk of The Lord announcing that one eating with them would betray him. (Matthew 26:21, Mark 14:18, and Luke 22:21). I was impressed with the apostle’s response to this announcement. I think many would be inclined to start pointing fingers or conjecturing who it could be, but in both Matthew and Mark, we learn that the apostles’ horrified response was, “Lord, Is it I?” (Matthew 26:22, Mark 14:19). In the words of James E. Talmage, “Each of those who so inquired was more concerned with the dread thought that possibly he was an offender, however inadvertently so, than as to whether his brother was about to prove himself a traitor.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, pg. 594.) The only one not sincere in his inquiry was Judas, the true betrayer.

Each gospel also speaks of the Lord instituting the sacrament in remembrance of his sacrifice. What a great blessing this is. Each Sunday, we can partake of the sacrament and have our baptismal covenants renewed, washing away our sins once again, and renewing our commitment to uphold that covenant with the Lord.

Each gospel speaks of Christ announcing that all of them will be “offended because of [Christ].” Dear Peter exclaims that “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” (Matthew 26:33). Christ tells him that before the cock crows that he would deny him three times (Matthew 26:34). A prophecy that would be fulfilled in a matter of hours.

There are several other things mentioned in the first three gospels, but when I got to the Gospel of John I really felt like I was getting the “meaty” doctrine.

It is in John that we learn of the Savior washing the feet of the apostles, (John 13:4-5) and sweet Peter, not understanding the Savior’s actions, exclaiming that he wouldn’t have Christ wash his feet. When Christ responds that if he doesn’t, “thou hast no part with me.” (John 13:8), Peter goes to the other extreme and demands that not only his feet, but his hands and head be washed as well. The Lord explains to Peter that this is unnecessary and that with the washing of the feet, each is “clean every whit.”(John 13:10).

It is also in John that The Lord gives the New Commandment, “as I have loved you,…love one to another.” (John 13:34).

Christ speaks of many mansions and how he goes to “prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

He explains that he is, “the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by [him]” (John 14:6).

He also exclaims that “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

John 14 is a special chapter to me. It speaks of the comforter. Christ promises that he will send the comforter to his disciples. I have felt this comforter in my life so strongly that nobody can convince me that the Lord doesn’t love his children. If he sees fit to give someone as regular and unimportant as me such comfort when I needed it, I know that he would send the same help to any of his children that would turn to him for support.

In John 15 Christ gives the allegory of the vine and the branches. In John 16, he discourses on the mission of the Holy Ghost, tells of his death and resurrection, announces his own divine sonship, and says that he has overcome the world.

There really is more in the 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of John that I can adequately cover and I strongly encourage you to read those chapters and glean the doctrine for yourself.

In John 17 we learn that, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.”

In the same chapter, Christ offers the great intercessory prayer. James E Talmage describes the scene as follows: “with unfathomable love, the Lord pleaded for those whom the Father had given him, the apostles then present, who had been called out from the world, and who had been true to their testimony of Himself as the Son of God.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, pg. 610.)

Christ and his apostles went from the upper room to an olive orchard called Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. It was there that he took Peter James and John a little further with him and asked them to “Pray that [they] enter not into temptation,” (Luke 22:40) but still returned to find them sleeping over and over. He asked the father, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) As we all know, that cup did not pass from him, and “with his stripes, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).

In the Doctrine and Covenants, Christ describes his own suffering:

“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, 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.” (D&C 19:18)

Of the atonement, Bruce R. McConkie says:

“We do not know, we cannot tell, no mortal mind can conceive, the full import of what Christ did in Gethsemane.

“We know he sweat great gouts of blood from every pore as he drained the dregs of that bitter cup his Father had given him.

“We know he suffered, both body and spirit, more than it is possible for man to suffer, except it be unto death.

“We know that in some way, incomprehensible to us, his suffering satisfied the demands of justice, ransomed penitent souls from the pains and penalties of sin, and made mercy available to those who believe in his holy name.” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Ensign, May 1985,9)

Although I hate the thought of causing anyone to suffer as Christ did, I am SO grateful for his actions. It is only through His atonement that we, imperfect as we are, can repent and return to him.

When his suffering in the garden was done, he returned to his sleeping apostles and said, “Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.” (Matthew 26:46) And sure enough, with a last act of horrific betrayal, Judas turned his Master over to his enemies with a kiss.


Lori said...

Each of these days could be an entire sacrament talk!

Jenna and Daniel said...

Thank you so much for posting these blogs! I cannot believe how much I forget each year about what our Savior did for me! This is such a great reminder, and a great time to do some personal reflection. It is so great to hear your testimony through your blog!