This week in “Come, Follow Me” we will study the final days of the Savior’s life. Learn about Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane with Taylor and Tyler, study the Last Supper with Lynne Hilton Wilson, learn about Christ’s new commandment with John Hilton III, and learn the significance of the anointing of the Savior from Messages of Christ.
Come, Follow Me Insights
Learn about Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane this week with Taylor and Tyler.
Lynne Hilton Wilson
Learn about the Last Supper and Christ’s administering of the sacrament with Lynne Hilton Wilson.
John Hilton III
In the final week of His mortal ministry, the Savior washes his disciples feet. Learn more about the significance of this sacred event.
A New Commandment
“By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John 13:34–35
And I’m Tyler.
This is Scripture Central’s Come Follow Me Insights.
So we’re going to divide the these two episodes this week into two, two parts. The first part we’re going to be using all three of these chapters to talk about the experience in the upper room. And then the second episode for this week is perhaps one of the most important episodes of the entire year where we use Matthew and Mark, their account of Jesus going into Gethsemane. Next week, we will go back into the upper room from John’s teachings in John 14 through the intercessory prayer and then into Gethsemane from his account. And then the week after we’re going to go into Gethsemane again from Luke’s perspective. So three weeks in a row we’re going to be covering some of these concepts.
It’s an abundance of riches. The fact that we have four gospel writers means we get all this abundant treasure of resources about what Jesus did to show his love for us, to save us.
So let’s begin in Matthew 26 with this story of Jesus being anointed. Remember, in John’s Gospel, Jesus is anointed before his triumphantry by Mary at that feast with Martha and Lazarus. And Judas questions Mary’s wisdom in dumping the ointment on Jesus. In Matthew’s account, this happens well into this week of the atoning sacrifice. So then you see after Jesus has rebuked the people who have made in this story the woman feel bad about anointing him. The very next story in Matthew and Mark’s Gospel connects back to Judas being the one rebuked in John’s Gospel. Look at verse 14. Then one of the twelve called Judas ascariat went unto the chief priests and said unto them, what will ye give me and I will deliver him unto you. And they covenanted with him for 30 pieces of silver.
We talked in the Old Testament year about the 30 pieces of silver. Joseph was sold into Egypt for 20 pieces of silver. Essentially the price of a slave. The far ancient culture, the ancient Sumerians from the ancient Middle East, they had a proverbial statement to identify something as worthless. They’d essentially say it’s of 30 shekels worth. And for them that really was a weird way of saying something that has no value. And perhaps that’s one way that we read this, that the people who sold Jesus out saw him as of no.
Value, the cost of a common slave right servant of the day. And so from that time Judas sought opportunity to betray him. And then you come into the story of the Last Supper. Let’s pick it up from Mark’s account. He gives us a little better detail of this beginning part of the feast. In verse twelve it tells us and the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, his disciples said unto him, where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover. We need to just take a brief moment here and point out that for the Synoptic Gospel writers Matthew, Mark and Luke, jesus’s Last Supper experience was a Passover meal. For John’s Gospel, they’re eating a meal in preparation for the next evening, which would be the Passover meal. And so they don’t perfectly line up on the page. And again, we need to be okay with that because there’s beautiful symbolism either way.
Yeah, they’re trying to emphasize different things. John is trying to emphasize that Jesus himself is the Passover Lamb, that he’s being executed at the very time all the other Passover lambs. Whereas Matthew, Mark and Luke, their focus is different.
Their focus is on the sacrament, which is a sign of the Passover Feast for early Christians and for us today. And so their focal point is on how Jesus is taking a Passover meal and repurposing it in upgrading it, if you will, for the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as he introduces this beautiful symbol for us to be able to have this connection with Old Testament Passover Feasts. And we get to repeat it every week at the sacrament table. So verse 13 says he sent us forth two of his disciples and saith unto them go ye into the city and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water. Follow him. So they go into the city of Jerusalem, they find this man with the pitcher of water and wheresoever he shall go in, say you to the good man of the house. The Master saith, where is the guest chamber where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared there. Make ready for us. You might want to mark this upper room because it’s the second time in Scripture where we’ve gotten a Greek word Katalama.
So we see this word showing up in the story, particularly of Luke. Chapter two jesus is about to be born and his parents cannot find room in the guest chamber. And here Jesus does find room. So there’s these interesting contrasts. The beginning of his life. There isn’t space, things are not ready and prepared. Now at the end of his life, as he’s preparing himself and us by extension for his atoning sacrifice, the room is prepared and ready for him.
I love that there is now room in the in for Jesus. This, this upper room could have just as easily been translated here as in just like back in the Nativity story. They could have just as easily used the phrase upper room instead of there was no room for them in the in. They could have said there was no room for them in the upper room. Same word in Greek.
Now again, we know that this Passover meal becomes updated to become sacrament meeting. So I want you to consider for yourself there is always room for you at sacrament meeting at the sacrament table. It has always been prepared for you, just like it’s prepared here for Jesus and his disciples. By extension and symbolically, the sacrament is always prepared and available for you, meaning you can always access the atonement of Jesus Christ in your life.
Now let’s watch the events unfold in this cataloma, this upper room or guest chamber here. And we’re going to first go through Mark’s version of this upper room experience. And then we’ll go through John’s because they emphasize completely different things. Starting in verse 17 it says and in the evening he cometh with the Twelve. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, verily I say unto you one of you which eateth with me shall betray me. He didn’t say might. He didn’t say is capable of betraying me. He said, One of you shall betray me. And they began to be sorrowful and to say unto him one by one, is it I? I think this is an interesting contrast with with our society today, contrasted with the society back then. You see that to the man each individual asked him, lord, is it I? And another said, is it I? What didn’t they ask? Lord, is it him? I’m pretty sure it’s it’s got to be Judas. He’s been acting really strange lately. None of them are pointing fingers outwardly. They’re all asking very meekly, lord, is it I? Can I just recommend that that is a very profound lesson that we can learn from his apostles on that night that could be applied today is instead of looking to place blame on other people, what an amazing thing it is to be able to go to God in humble, meek, sincere prayer and say, Lord, is it I?
What have I done that that could be that needs to be forgiven? And I’m pretty sure that there’s never going to be a time when we say, lord, is it I? Is there something I could do better? I don’t know that the Lord will ever answer that prayer with no, actually you just don’t change a thing. You just keep doing exactly everything the exact same way as you’ve been doing it. I think it’s a humble, beautiful pattern for us to follow to actually be open to hearing the Lord say, yeah, actually there are certain elements that you could fix. Now in this context, none of them is the one who is going to betray him. So the answer is no, it’s not you, nor you, nor you. How does he answer it? It is one of the Twelve that dippeth with me in the dish. And so verse 22 says and we’ll come back to that story in John’s account because he fleshes that out significantly. In verse 22 it says as they did eat, Jesus took bread and blessed and break it and gave to them and said, Take, eat, this is my body.
There are four verbs that he used there took, blessed, break and gave. Those are the same four verbs that are used in the story of the feeding of the 5000. That feeding event of that multiplying of the bread was a beautiful object lesson precursor to his implementing the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. And you’ll remember it’s in John’s Gospel right after the feeding of the 5000 where you get the people coming to him saying, okay, it’s the next day, we’re ready for our free lunch again. And Jesus gave the bread of life. Sermon. Remember how troubling that was? They said, this is a hard saying. Who is able to bear it’s? Because he told them, you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood or you have no place in the kingdom with my Father. The Bread of Life sermon was a serious division point among his disciples. And it’s all tied into this precursor of what was going to happen on this night with Him implementing the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
And then he goes to the next element of the sacrament and he took the cup and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them and they all drink of it. This word here, given thanks, shows up in the Greek as Eucharist. And the word is used in a variety of Christian traditions to talk about their Holy Supper or their sacrament meeting. It’s a really cool word. Eucharist literally means well received or good mercy. It means joy or thankfulness. And consider this when he is giving thanks and we receive his body, for us it is joyful, it is well received mercy. Really sacrament is about giving thanks to God for all that he’s given to us. He concludes this portion of the sacrament by saying verse 24. He said unto them, this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many. Now, it’s interesting, the word we have for covenant here is slightly different than what we have in the Old Testament. The Old Testament Hebrew word for covenant means to actually means to cleave, which both means to cut, like cutting a covenant or to come together just like a rock face.
You might have a cleave where a rock falls off from one part of the rock or rocks cleave together. The Greek word means like a last will or a last testament, almost as if I am now bequeathing my kingdom to other people. What’s beautiful is that we get both senses of the word covenant in the Hebrew and the Greek in what God offers us. And remember that God gave two really important covenants. He’s given many important covenants, but he gave one to Abraham. It was a promise to all of Abraham’s posterity that they would have prosperity, posterity, priesthood, and then the law of Moses. We had the covenant Mount Sinai, where God said to Moses, teach these covenantal instructions to everybody come the Ten Commandments law of Moses for people to show faithfulness to me. Now, what’s interesting is that when Jesus shows up, he is the fulfillment of the law of Moses. He is the new covenant, meaning the old has now been superseded. All those covenantal instructions have been taken care of in Jesus himself. And now we are supposed to look to him, not simply to look at Moses. Even though Moses can still provide us instructional ideas for how to follow God, we look to Jesus and follow him.
He is the one who has laid down his life and has fully secured our access to salvation. So these covenantal connections are quite powerful and quite amazing. And every now and then I wish that some inspired Bible editor had inserted himself and said, let’s lay out what’s going on covenantally in the text. Because the ancient Bible writers matthew, Mark, Luke and John and others from the Old Testament, they understood the covenant of context. It was so clear to them. They did not always explain it with clarity because it was the water they swam in. They knew it, and they just figured everybody else did as well.
Love it. So let’s look for a moment at these two elements a little more closely. You have the bread and the wine. And in the synoptic perspective, Matthew, Mark and Luke, these are significant parts of a Passover meal. You have unleavened bread and you have wine, you have harolset, you have bitter herbs and spices and lamb that has been sacrificed and you’re going on a journey back in through the story of Exodus. When you’re eating this meal, it’s a long, drawn out meal where you’re telling the story of bondage and deliverance from bondage through those ten plagues, culminating with the 10th plague, the Passover where the destroying angel passed over those houses. Now he’s taking two of those elements from the Passover meal where a lamb had to give its life, shed its blood, which blood would then be put on the two door posts in the lintel of the house so that the destroying angel would not come and kill. The firstborn symbolism is hauntingly beautiful here that Jesus is now minutes away. I mean, you could start measuring this very easily in minutes from the time when he’s going to enter Gethsemane and a matter of a few hours, by 09:00 the next morning, he’s going to be put on the cross.
According to Mark’s timeline, the sun has set, we’re having the meal. We’re within moments of all of these incredibly rich symbols that have been celebrated by the Jewish people for 1500 years. Now all of the symbols are going to be brought to fruition in the real Passover experience, the true Passover lamb who is going to begin this atoning sacrifice and give himself up and shed his blood for us to be delivered. So the irony of the only perfect firstborn who deserved to suffer the very least is moments away from suffering the very most so that we can take his infinite atoning sacrifice, apply it so that the destroying angel will pass us over. But the destroying angel did not pass over Jesus. He took our sins upon Him and he was punished to the full extent of the law. The firstborn of the Father is willingly laying down his life. Now you get the bread and the wine and he’s telling them very clearly, take, eat. This is my body. He’s giving it freely. And then take, drink. This is my blood. Are you noticing that these two aspects of Jesus’s atonement keep coming up over and over again in the Bible as well as in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine of Covenants and in the Gospel?
Is that the way Jacob in the Book of Mormon refers to it? As that awful monster, death and hell that are overcome by the Savior. So he lays down his life, his body goes into the grave and he sheds his blood to redeem us from death and hell. This perfect offering involving these two aspects to give us two salvations, so to speak, from that awful monster, two kinds of death, physical and spiritual death. It’s all tied in here. Now, what does this have to do with us? What difference does knowing all of these symbols and Old Testament combined with New Testament and Book of Mormon teachings have to do? I love the story of President Russell M. Nelson in the 2019 Mission Leadership Seminar. They had just partaken of the sacrament and he’s ready to begin his formal message. But he paused and he said, quote a thought has occurred to me that my making a covenant today is a lot more important than the message that I have prepared. I made a covenant as I partook of the sacrament that I would be willing to take upon me the name of Jesus Christ and that I am willing to obey his commandments.
Often I hear the expression that we partake of the sacrament to renew covenants made at baptism. While that is true, it’s much more than that. I’ve made a new covenant. You have made new covenants now, in return for which he makes the statement that we will always have his spirit to be with us. What a blessing. Can you picture the significance of this? That you’re not just renewing covenants even though you are doing that, but you’re making a new covenant every time you go to the sacrament table. And here are these apostles sitting around this Last Supper setting with Jesus, making a new covenant with Him, committing that they’re willing to take upon them his name. And I love the fact that he’s using something so tactile, so hands on as a piece of bread and a cup of wine in that instance today, a cup of water to represent his blood. We take it in. There’s room inside of us for Him. We make that new covenant with Him. That we’re willing to do these things and we walk out refreshed. Don’t you love this word that we’ve used often to renew all of our past covenants?
But I love President Nielsen’s idea here. It’s to become new again. We make a new covenant again on that instance, and in this process, notice the word that keeps coming up in the sacrament prayers. Always remember him. Look at that word closely. Just I’m not a word expert. But to become a member again, a new membership in the body of Christ, a new member in that covenant with Christ. It’s the only ordinance that you perform or participate in for yourself repeatedly in life. And it’s such an amazing thing to contemplate how often we participate with a sacrament that if we were to apply what President Henry V iring shared if you want to make major change in your life, find things that you repeat often and make small, incremental improvements in those things, and over time, it will lead to big, wonderful changes and glorious outcomes. Well, the sacrament could be one of those things you contemplate. What could I do to make that experience more than just eating a little piece of bread and taking a drink of water and passing the tray on and giving no more thought to the price, the terrible, infinitely painful price that was paid to redeem my soul?
And now here’s the God of the universe who suffered all of that for me. And instead of being angry at me for causing all that suffering, I’m part of that bitter cup. But instead he’s turning to me with lovingkindness his Hessed from the Old Testament, this willingness to make a new covenant with me again, allowing me to become a member of his body again every week.
Some years ago, I learned an additional lesson about how we need to fully consume the sacrament symbolically, not just sip at it. Sure, it’s a small piece of bread, a small little drink of water. As I was saying, some years ago my family was out visiting a national park and we wanted to attend church, and there wasn’t an LDS church anywhere nearby, so my young daughter recommended a local Christian church. So we decided to visit and they offered sacrament and they happened to do bread and grape juice. My daughter was, I don’t know, six or seven at the time, and as she took that cup, she went and she just really sucked down all that grape juice. And of course it was loud, a little irreverent and distracting. But later I thought, that’s right. We should suck up everything that God is offering so freely that when we’re there at that sacrament experience, we should freely embrace every last drop of his love. And one final thought we hear in the Ten Commandments that we should not take the Lord’s name in vain. We definitely should not be saying God’s Name in anger or frustration.
Another way of looking at. This is when we participate in the sacrament. We are doing this in the name of the Lord, and the word vain means empty or without purpose. So when we go to the sacrament, we should do so with purpose and with intent. And that way we are fully taking upon ourselves the Lord’s name and not doing so with empty purpose.
He finishes in verse 25 by saying, verily, I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine until that day that I drink. It new in the kingdom of God. He’s basically saying, this is my last supper. This is the last I’m going to partake of the fruit of the vine, the foods and drinks of this world, until I come again and partake it new in the kingdom of God. Now let’s jump over to John 13 and pick up John’s account of the beginning phase of this Last Supper experience. And you’ll very quickly realize that John doesn’t cover the sacrament. He doesn’t have an account of Jesus introducing the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper like the Synoptics do. Let’s start in verse two and supper being ended, the devil now having or having now put into the heart of Judas ascariot Simon’s son to betray him. Let’s pause there for a minute, because in our King James version, the word is supper being ended. If you firstname.lastname@example.org and plug in John 13, verse two, you will see a wide range of interpretations of this Greek word. Instead of Supper being ended, that Greek word could also be interpreted very accurately as Supper being underway, it could be in the middle of the Supper.
And that very same Greek word could also be interpreted as Supper being ready to begin. It just totally depends on how you interpret the context of how the word is used and the King James translators interpreted it as Supper is now over. Which, if you combine it with the Synoptic accounts, would kind of imply that they’ve eaten the meal. Jesus has probably already introduced the sacrament, and now we move to the washing of the feet portion. In Biblehub.com, you’ll notice most of the English translations interpret it the other way. They interpret it as supper being ready or Supper just barely underway. And Jesus rises, gets a basin of water and now proceeds to wash their feet, which makes a whole lot more sense, quite frankly, in a Jewish first century context, they’re worried about cleanliness. The chief priests of the people have taught about cleanliness before one partakes of a meal, not at the end of a meal, especially when you’re talking about your feet. If you look at Michelangelo’s famous painting of the Last Supper or many of the other paintings that have been made depicting this event, it usually shows them sitting at a long table all in this row, which is great.
For art depiction. But in reality, if you read John’s Gospel, it’s pretty clear that they’re not sitting at a table with chairs like we might be more used to in a modern context that they’re reclining at a table and that’ll show up in a couple of different places here later on in this chapter. Many people have looked at this, and we have many examples of what you call triclinium tables that are shaped like this three sided tables where you have people who are reclined at the table because that’s what free people do. They’re able to recline at the passover. Back in Egypt, they were slaves. They never had the luxury to be able to just recline and take their time and enjoy a meal. But now we’re free and we’re celebrating that part of freedom. So this is one potential option for how the Last Supper is laid out, which makes it easy for those who are serving to be able to come in and replenish the bowls and the plates of food because they didn’t usually eat with your own individual serving. It was usually communal meals. And you can picture in a passover setting all of those different elements being laid out here.
So you can see how with feet sticking out from the table, how easy it is to now get to those feet to do the washing. So he makes his way around the group and verse six says, then cometh he to Simon Peter. And Peter saith unto him, lord, DOST thou wash my feet? Now, I don’t know about you, but if you picture feet in most settings, most contexts and cultures today, we live in a fairly clean, hygienic society today compared to the first century when they’re wearing sandals, walking in dusty, dirty roads and paths, and there’s a lot of other things on those paths that they’re walking on. The feet would have been very unpleasant to interact with. And here’s Peter. You can picture him pulling his feet in, saying, no, Lord, you’re not going to touch my feet. That is an assignment that is reserved for the lowliest of servants to do. Did you catch that? That’s something that usually the lowliest of servants would do. Now, here’s Jesus, who’s the greatest of all, who condescends and makes himself into the lowliest of servants as an amazing symbol object lesson for what he’s about to do when he’s going to go into Gethsemane shortly and then onto the cross the next morning.
So Jesus said to him, What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. And Peter’s response is, thou shalt never wash my feet. And Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. It’s at this point where Peter realizes, oh, this is an ordinance. And so he says, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. I love that. Jesus said to him, he that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every wit and ye are clean, but not all. So there’s still somebody sitting at the table. The implication is that all of them got their feet washed including Judas, ascariat that night. So let’s look a little closer at this lesson that he shares with them. In verse 14 or 13 and 14 ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am. If I, then your Lord and Master have washed your feet ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. And then verse 16 verily, verily, I say unto you. Thy the servant is not greater than his Lord neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. Once again. That’s the difference between a wise man and a foolish man. The wise man hears the words of the Lord and does them. The foolish man hears the words of the Lord and doesn’t do them. So happy are we if we’ll just do those things. And then he makes this prophecy. He’s troubled in the Spirit and he says, one of you shall betray me. And then the disciples looked on one another, doubting of whom he spake. Look at verse 23. Now there was leaning on Jesus’s bosom one of his disciples whom Jesus loved. Can you see how in this kind of a reclined seating arrangement that would be perfectly natural for John to be able to be in the bosom of Jesus as opposed to sitting at a table? And so Simon beckoned to him that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then, lying on Jesus breath, saith unto him Lord, who is it? And Jesus’s response was he it is to whom I shall give a SOP when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the SOP he gave it to Judas.
Ascariat the son of Simon, I could be wrong on this, but it seems that if you’re reclining at a table with food here and he takes a piece of maybe unleavened bread and dips it in corroset the SOP that you’re not able to reach very far to give that piece of bread to people. You could give it to the person sitting in front of you. But we know who’s sitting in front of him because John is leaning in the Savior’s bosom. So John’s right in front of him. I guess you could lean around John if Judas were in front. But for me, the most likely place for Judas to be at this point to be able to take the SOP from Jesus in this reclined position would be right behind him which is symbolically the perfect place for Judas to be on that night. He’s got the back of the Savior. It’s this I’ve got your back. The ultimate backstabber. The betrayer is right there. And Jesus hands him the SOP. At which point some of you are wondering why didn’t the rest. Of the apostles just gang tackle Judas and beat him up and say, no, you’re not going to betray Jesus.
John gives you the answer. Let’s go to verse 27. And after the SOP Satan entered into him, then said Jesus unto him that thou doest do quickly. Now, no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought because Judas had the bag, he’s the treasurer, he’s taking care of their budget, that Jesus had said unto him, buy those things that we have need of against the feast, or that he should give something to the poor. Remember, in John’s gospel, the Feast of the Passover is going to be the next night. So John or Judas, go and make some purchases for our feast of the Passover tomorrow night. And so all the other apostles are around the table going, okay, that’s what’s happening.
And you got to realize these disciples have all been together now for many, many months, and we don’t have any hint that any of them had ever seen that Judas at any point was angry or mad at Jesus around what Jesus was doing. Sure, the disciples had questions. At times they were confused. So it was only in retrospect that the disciples could see the patterns that Judas had exhibited. And there’s been some speculation about what would have motivated Judas Ascariat. And one of the proposals, I think is kind of interesting at this time of the Jews, there were many Jews who felt that Rome needed to be violently overthrown and out of power in Israel by military force. And so if you are a Jew who believes in that kind of a Messiah, imagine a disciple, possibly someone like Judas, who thinks that the Messiah which he has found should be a military hero. And yet what is he hearing? More and more, this humility of serving and loving? And I’m not here to militarily overthrow anybody. You might feel like you’ve been deceived or that this is a false Messiah and it’s time to remove this Messiah.
And this gets back to something we’ve said in other episodes. What we think about people will be true for us, about them. And if we think God is a merciful God, we will experience that. If we think that he’s just mean and just, that’s probably all we’re going to see, if that’s all we choose to see. And I wonder if Judas ascariat had failed to really see the full characteristic of Jesus and instead only that Judas only saw what he wanted to see and he didn’t like what he saw, and therefore he decided to take action, which is for me, I think. Where in my life do I create narratives about other people or institutions or situations and act on that without really verifying? Are my assumptions correct?
So look at John’s conclusion to this little part of the story, verse 30. He then, having received the SOP went immediately out and it was night. John is signaling a lot more than just the fact that it’s now dark outside. It was night. This is a dark moment where Judas is scared, is going out into the night to now work with those chief priests and scribes to betray Jesus. And so it’s possible, we don’t know. But if you were to take the synoptic accounts of Jesus implementing the sacrament with John’s account not covering the sacrament, but the washing of the feet and they don’t cover the washing of the feet over in Matthew Mark and Luke if you were to put them together. It’s possible that while Judas had his feet washed, it’s also possible that he didn’t get the sacrament at its first introduction to the apostles that he’s gone. And now you could possibly insert the sacrament, but at the end of the day, we don’t know for sure. Look at verse 33. Now little children, yet a little while I am with you, ye shall seek me. And as I said unto the Jews, whither I go, ye cannot come.
So now I say unto you. So he’s saying, I’m going to go somewhere where you can’t come. You can’t follow me immediately, but I’m going to say to you something very important. Verse 34 a new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. In closing, know that the Lord loves you beyond anything he could describe. So lest we forget the the price he paid for the love that he has for you, he invites us to come and partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper that he has provided his body and his blood for us every week. So in the first episode we covered those events in the Upper Room in the experience with the Last Supper with all of John chapter 13 and the first half of Matthew 26 and Mark 14. So today we’re going to pick up Matthew and Luke’s accounts of going into Gethsemane to begin that process of his infinite atonement. What a fitting place to start that process. If you look in Matthew 26, verse 36, it says, then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane.
Next week in those two episodes we’re going to cover the remainder of the teachings of Jesus during His Last Supper in the Upper Room and the sermon as he’s walking up the Kidrin Valley, followed by his intercessory prayer.
So Tyler, we talk about the name as a lesson. And this might be one of those cases where you have this name, Gethsemane or Got, shemen. What does that mean?
Yeah, so Shemen is this oil and gath in the Old Testament or in Hebrew is a press. So it’s to press oil. So Gethsemane is the English form of the Greek word Getsemani and comes from this Hebrew root where we’re going to press those olives in such a way that they symbolically bleed from every pore. They get crushed under the weight. Now, this is a two step process. So here you see pictured a millstone. These are very large and they’re very heavy and very effective at their crushing job. So what happens is you pick the olives, you throw them in this stone basin that you can see here, and then you have an animal hooked up to this pole, or servants or members of your family, whoever you can get, to push this pole in a circle and just walk in a circle. And that giant millstone will just sit there and crush all of those olives that are in this basin, leaving it with this mash. It’s this mixture of skin and pulp. And the pits, the stone pits that have been kind of crushed, pulverized, combined with the water and the oil. And then phase two, you come and you scoop this out.
You put it into wicker baskets.
It’s a form of a mesh bag. And then you put it in one of these presses. There’s a couple of ties, but you have a screw press. You can put enormous pressure and keep twisting that screw to make it press harder and harder on the olives.
So you’ll notice that as that pressure weighs down on those bags or the burlap sacks that contain this mash out oozes the oil, the water, and the more runny pulp. And then it drips down this front edge to be kind of collected in the first bin to separate out the pulp.
So years ago, I was a student at the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center. And they have outside in the garden area, they have replica a place to crush and press olives. I was there in the autumn time. So we harvested olives and we crushed them, and then we put them into a press, one of the actually the Byzantine presses from the after the time of Jesus. And I came walking up a staircase where this was happening, and I remember just being shocked, almost lost my breath and fainted because when I saw the oil pouring out, it was blood red and it was pouring over this beautiful white Jerusalem limestone. And it was shocking to me. I had always associated olive oil with this beautiful golden hue. I’d seen Oliver oil used and priesthood blessings. I had used it. So I was shocked. Like, my immediate thought was somebody’s bleeding. I thought that without even thinking. It was just like the most subconscious thing. And then I realized, no, it’s the olive oil. And what was so impressive to me was suddenly I came to understand why olives and olive oil are such a powerful symbol for the atonement of Jesus Christ is because, among other things, when they are pressed with extreme pressure, they bleed out from the pores and the olive oil looks like blood.
So this is one of the critical features of a village in the first century, an oil press type facility. Now we get to see how it actually functions.
This big, massive, crushing stone that is so heavy. You got this leverage here. And let’s see if we could move this thing a little bit. It’s actually quite a bit of work. So sometimes they would put an animal, like a donkey or something that would turn this thing around. It’s a lot of work to crush the olives. And we have some olives here, so let’s get some on here and crush them.
Let’s try it out. So let’s begin with just a single olive in the press, more representative of the savior going into gethsemane that oil press anciently.
You can hear that thing crushing. You can see the oil that’s been pressed out there.
Okay. Yeah, we’ve just done one.
We just done one. You can picture what would happen if you dump a whole set of Oliver in here. They all get crushed and it turns into a mash. Let’s go over and see the result of that.
So here we have a basket already of crushed Oliver.
So you have in here the pits, the stone or the skin, the pulp, the water, the oil all mixed in together and leaves. It’s pretty hard to get the oil any other way than by pressing it at this point. So we’ve crushed it all open. Now we need to put it in the press.
We put it into these special bags that allow the oil to seep through, and we’ll put it into this screw press here. Now, this press is a couple of centuries later than the time of Jesus, but it still has the same effect of allowing the oil to be processed. And we’ll just take opposite sides here, and you can see the oil will start to pour out, dripping and then coming down into this container.
So the sludge stays behind and only the oil and water finish that journey and they drop into the same container. And as you know, oil doesn’t like mixing with water, floats to the top. And so as this container here fills up more and more and more, the oil at the top now can be drained off through this little channel. And what you get in this other collecting bin is the pure olive oil. And it is valuable to those people. They use it in their cooking. They use it for medicine, they use it for light. A society back then uses olive oil for lots and lots of things.
So in some ways, oil, ancient and modern, becomes this foundational product that makes so much of what we enjoy in society possible. And Jesus goes to the epicenter of where that product is produced. And he himself is the foundation of everything in our lives that we care about that brings us joy, light, healing, happiness, transportation, whatever. Like Jesus is at the source. So the symbolism here, I just could not imagine a more powerful symbol to represent what Jesus is doing for us than right here in the garden of Gethsemane.
Yeah. So he comes in with them to a place called Gethsemane. So this oil press, you’ve seen the process now of how we get the oil to show kind of the significance of the location where he begins this process. And he says to his disciples, eight of them, because we’ve lost Judas from the Last Supper, he is now gone to conspire with the priests. And so he takes his eleven apostles, leaves eight of them here at the beginning place of the Gethsemane. So it’s inside of a cave like this where there was actually a functioning oil press in the first century. Now keep in mind this is passover time period, so that means it’s the first full moon after the spring equinox. So this oil press isn’t going to be functioning as an oil press in the spring. It’s just in a cave. As all oil presses back then were they were either in caves or inside of a structure. They never did it out in the open air. It was always inside enclosed. And it’s possible that he leaves the eight apostles here. There are other places in the New Testament where we see that he was often going to the Mount of Olives to spend the night.
It’s probable that he has spent many a night in the cave. The grotto of Gethsemane, protection from the elements, a place to spend the night when you’re from out of town and.
The temperatures are the same year round, year round. What’s also interesting to me from a symbolic standpoint is that Jesus is entering the earth. It’s like he symbolically is descending below all things to participate in the suffering. So beginning of his ministry, he gets baptized at the lowest place on earth that you can get to without going underground, which is right near the Dead Sea, the Jordan River. He descends below all things. In fact, the word Jordan means to go down. He goes down in symbolic death and comes back up and here he is doing that again, symbolically going in the ground.
So he goes with his apostles perhaps into that cave and says, sit ye here while I go and pray yonder. Sit ye here while I go and pray yonder is an interesting thing to say because keep in mind it was night when Judas left. Now they’ve come on this little over half mile hike up the Kidron Valley. He’s been discoursing to them in John 15 and 16. He’s given the intercessory prayer in John 17 that we’ll cover all of these stories next week. And then he’s come into this place called Gethsemane. So it could be as late as ten, 1112 at night, we just don’t know. But it’s late, they’ve just eaten a meal. They’ve come on a long walk and he says, sit ye here while I go and pray yonder. And then he turns to Peter, James and John and says, you’re coming with me. Verse 37 and he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. If you look at your Greek footnote there in 37 A, it says, began to be distressed and troubled. Can I suggest that in the history of the Gospels up to this point, I don’t know that we’ve seen Jesus distressed and troubled before.
I know we’ve seen Him in some very difficult settings, but he seemed to always be able to just weather the storms, whatever they may be. But this one, as it starts to descend, he’s distressed, he’s troubled, he’s deeply grieved.
So listen to some of the other words we can use to translate this Greek word lupeo, to distress, to grieve, to vex, to be in pain, to experience deep emotional pain, severe sorrow, severe grief. Very intense. And in fact, it may be that you can’t even find a word that really fully describes what Jesus was experiencing.
Yeah. So he’s used this word previously in the Gospels to refer to his disciples response to certain situations. He’s used it in parables, but the word has never been used to refer to Jesus Himself. This is the first time in the Gospels where we see Jesus being very sorrowful and very heavy. That’s symbolic of what is happening in this place called the place of the oil press. It’s as if he’s beginning to feel the weight come down upon him and it’s having an effect. So now verse 38 says, then saith he unto them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Mary ye here and watch with me. You can feel the magnitude of what we’ve just entered into in our scripture reading here. We’re now treading on very, very sacred ground. And here we are with finite minds and finite capacities and we’re starting to talk about things of infinite proportions. And it’s very difficult to talk about these in a way that is descriptive or all encompassing of what’s going on, because this is infinite agony that’s beginning here. This is sacred ground. And I think it’s important for us to acknowledge that.
When he turns to Peter, James and John and uses this phrase, my soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. I think what he’s saying here to them is this hurts so deeply, so profoundly. This agony is so intense that I’m not sure I’m going to survive this even unto death. It’s that idea of, oh, no, what have I gotten myself into? I know I covenanted, I know I promised to do this, but this is way harder than I thought it would be. And then his invitation. Mary ye here and watch with me. Pay attention. Not that Peter, James and John could take this suffering away, not that they could lighten the load, but have you noticed that when you’re intensely suffering, that it somehow makes the suffering a little more bearable when you know that you’re being watched over, when you know that somebody’s with you and is aware of your suffering. And thus begins this infinite agony process where Jesus doesn’t seem to get anything good or anything that would lighten the load. Even the three apostles here are going to fall asleep on three occasions this night during this process.
And culturally, the Passover night is a time when people would often stay up late talking about the glories of God’s salvation, of how he has liberated people from oppression in Egypt and at other times. And they’d all be wanting to share these stories and stay awake to share those stories with one another. And here’s the greatest act of deliverance ever happening, and Jesus needs that community with Him. He wants that that they can experience and see and support Him as he produces that final deliverance that we all need, and they can’t stay awake.
So verse 39 says, and he went a little further and fell on his face. You’ve seen many depictions, artistic renditions of the suffering in Gethsemane, many of them like this famous painting by Harry Anderson that has been used for years in the church. And it’s a good painting. We’re not picking it apart. But the problem is, many depictions of Gethsemane have shown Jesus kneeling down next to an Oliver tree or next to a rock and looking up to Heaven. Matthew and Luke and Mark, give us this added dimension that he didn’t go a little further from Peter, James and John and kneel down. He went a little further and he fell to the ground on his face. I don’t know if there was another time in the history of the life of Christ where you see this level of humanity, this level of Him falling to the ground where he can’t go in and stand under the weight. He can’t go in and kneel under the weight. He goes in and he falls to the ground under the weight again. I feel silly even trying to talk about it because it’s such a significant moment and I feel so unqualified to even say anything about this.
But I can imagine what it might have looked like from a premortal up in Heaven angelic perspective if we were allowed to see this event unfold that night in Gethsemane and the next morning on the cross, if we were allowed to see it happen. I can imagine Him going into that garden a little further and falling to the ground on his face. I can picture maybe a collective gasp of surprise or what’s going to happen now. I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of thing from Jesus as an adult on the Earth, and we surely didn’t ever see that kind of thing with Jehovah in the premortal councils up in heaven with us. This is new ground. And then here comes his prayer now. You can turn over to I love Mark’s version of the prayer. He gives us a little more detail here. If you go over to Mark, chapter 4014, verse 36, his prayer is worded like this and he said, abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee. Take away this cup from me nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. Now, you’ll notice how quickly I just read through that.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think that Jesus offered that prayer the way I read it, just barely. I don’t picture Him him very quickly working his way through phase one and phase two in this plea. Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee. Take away this cup from me nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. I can picture a long, painful, drawn out moment of silence when he’s on the ground and in Matthew and Luke’s account, not just on the ground, but on the ground, on his face, and he’s pleading, abba Father, all things are possible. Remove this cup for me. You’ll notice he’s saying what he wants. And what he wants is for the suffering to end. He wants it to stop. Almost as if to say on one occasion, I believe it was Elder Maxwell who said it’s as if he’s saying, if there’s any other possible way that we can fulfill this promise that I made, let’s do it that other way. And then I can picture this long, drawn out moment of silence waiting for an answer. And when the suffering was not removed, then comes what has since become my personal favorite word in the English language.
And it’s not a very pretty word to look at. It’s not a very nice word to say, it’s very clunky, it’s long, it’s complex. But, oh, what is contained in that word? When Jesus said nevertheless, oh, how I love that word because of that moment when all of eternity is weighing down on him, and when he’s just asked for the Father to remove that cup from Him, to to remove the suffering. And we need to pause there and say, why couldn’t that have happened? Why why didn’t that suffering get removed? If you look in the Book of Mormon, in two Nephi, chapter nine, verse seven and eight, the prophet Jacob, brother of Nephi, he gives us some detail into that question right there. Listen to what he says. Wherefore it must needs be an infinite atonement, save it should be an infinite atonement, this corruption could not put on incorruption wherefore the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its Mother Earth to rise no more. If Jesus doesn’t complete an infinite atonement, our bodies would rot and crumble to Mother Earth to rise no more.
Look at verse eight. Oh, the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace for behold, if the flesh should rise no more, our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the eternal God and became the devil. To rise no more. Are you seeing the haunting symbolism here? Jacob just taught you what would happen to your flesh, your body and to your spirit if Jesus Christ doesn’t complete an infinite atonement in our behalf? And the four words that he uses to describe the outcome for both body and spirit, for us is to rise no more. That is the ultimate definition of death and hell. So Jesus is on the ground pleading for this cup to be removed. And I can picture this tension of, oh, no, it can’t be removed, because if it’s removed, if we don’t complete an infinite atonement, we’re in trouble. And you’ll notice there’s no mention of any response from the Father at this point that he’s praying to abba Father, all things are possible. Remove this cup for me. Elder Neelie Maxwell gave a talk many, many years ago to seminary institute teachers, where he talked about the significance of this, where he spoke of the idea that there was never a more faithful son, there was never a more obedient child than Jesus was all growing up.
And all through his adult life up to this point, everything he’s ever done has been for the glory of the Father. He’s always deferring to God the Father. What would thou have me do? That will I do? When anybody tried to compliment him, he would reflect that compliment to God the Father. There was never a person who deserved to suffer less than Jesus. And now, in this moment, in that garden, on that ground that is now holy and sacred, he’s pleading to His Father to remove it. Wow. The significance of that moment, and then with that silence, with the pain not being removed, and then that word never the less. The other way that we could word this is always the greater. William Tyndale is credited with making up that word. It’s to take two phrases, phrase A and B, and to say in spite of A or despite a happening, nevertheless it’s a cause counter effect, with a greater emphasis, always the greater emphasis on what is to follow the word. So let’s unpack this for a minute over here. Phrase A is, remove this cup for me. It’s what he wanted. Stop the suffering.
Now, nevertheless, emphasis is taken off of his will and put onto the Father’s will. Oh, how I love the Lord for this moment that he didn’t get up and walk out of the garden and say, no, this is too hard. He stayed there and allowed his will to be swallowed up in the will of the Father. Now, the question here is what exactly is in that millstone that is weighing him down so powerfully that he can’t even stand or kneel under it? What’s in here on that night for that lone symbolic Oliver to be crushed by this weight. And most would say, well, it’s clearly the sins of the world. And you’re right, the sins of the world would absolutely weigh him down. And if you stop and think about what are the natural consequences that flow from our sinful decisions and sinful actions, we’ve all experienced this. There’s regret, there’s remorse, there’s guilt and shame. Now, I need to pause here for just a moment. We’ve only listed four natural consequences that flow from committing sins. Jesus never having committed any sins. How many times in 33 years of life has he felt the human emotion of regret, of, oh, I shouldn’t have said that, or I shouldn’t have done that, or the human emotion of remorse or guilt or shame because of foolish decisions or choices that he’s made.
Not once has he felt that pit in his stomach of guilt for doing something that he shouldn’t have done. We would assume in this eternal moral law perspective, he is perfect as far as God’s laws are concerned. He doesn’t know what these feel like experientially. Now, the Book of Mormon teaches us that the Spirit knoweth all things. He could learn these, but he’s never experienced them. And now he goes from zero to infinite in a few steps in that garden. Is it any wonder that he would have turned to Peter, James and John and told them to sit and watch because his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death? As he starts feeling the weight and this is just the natural consequences, there are a whole bunch more. You feel alone, you feel isolated, you feel pain, you feel a loss of respect and loss of appetite, loss of energy, loss of will to keep going, depressed, anxious. The list just keeps going and going and going, and it is not a pleasant list. And now all of a sudden, he’s taking all of that. I love the fact that the Book of Mormon adds a lot more detail to this infinite atoning sacrifice event.
And to try to pinpoint exactly where and when and in what proportions all of this was felt, that’s impossible. This is an infinite atonement. But if you look at Mosaic, chapter three, verse seven, and Alma chapter seven, verses eleven through twelve, you get King Benjamin the words of an angel here, and you get Alma the Younger teaching us some additional aspects of what Christ would go through for us. So before we turn to those, look at two nine, verse 21. 1st he cometh into the world, that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice. For behold, he suffereth the pains of all men. Yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women and children, who belong to the family of Adam. Those are sobering words, the pains of every living creature. Now turn over to Mosaic 37. And lo, he shall suffer temptations and. Pain of body, hunger, thirst, fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death. For behold, blood cometh from every poor, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. So to our millstone we need to add pain, we need to add hunger, thirst, fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except to be unto death because of the anguish and the wickedness of his people.
And if you turn over to Alma seven, this is Alma the Younger, who had just given up his chief judge seat to go and be a prophet full time in the city of Gideon, and he’s teaching the people some profound truths here, verse eleven. And he shall go forth suffering, pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind. And this that the word might be fulfilled, which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. If we just extend this out, the idea being that anything physical, mental, emotional, that hurts, that isn’t quite right, that’s causing anguish, and then you throw in the mix temptations. In section 122 of the Doctrine of Covenants, verse seven, partway down he says this if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way and above all if the very jaws of hell shall gape, open the mouth wide after thee. Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good. Makes me wonder if he’s speaking to Joseph Smith from this very real, authentic, experiential perspective of what it’s like to have the very jaws of health gaping wide open, the mouth after thee when you’re in the middle of suffering all of the pains, hunger, thirst, fatigue, afflictions, sicknesses, not to mention all of the natural consequences that flow from wrongdoing, from sin.
And if you look at Doctrine and Covenant section 19, we get this additional insight when the Lord is speaking to Martin Harris through Joseph Smith. And it’s here where he says to Martin, repent, repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth and your sufferings be sore. How sore, you know not, how exquisite. You know not. Yea, how hard to bear. You know not. Did you catch that three times? You know not. You have no idea how painful this suffering is going to be. And yet we all know how painful these items are on our list in our millstone here. So it seems that there’s something going on that we don’t know. And he says in verse 16, for behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all that they might not suffer if they would repent. Now, have you noticed how you feel these emotions when you do repent? So there’s clearly something else going on in this infinite atoning sacrifice process that we’ve never experienced and don’t need to ever know about. But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I, which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit.
Are you catching that? Here’s your second witness of bleeding at every pour in Restoration Scripture, the first one being back in Mosaic 37. And I would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink. It was my will. I didn’t want to drink the bitter cup and shrink. I didn’t want to get partway through and fall short and give up. But he didn’t give up. He continued on. And then verse 19 says, nevertheless there’s my favorite word again. He just got through talking about the infinite agony that he endured for us. And then he says, nevertheless. So that’s going to put always the greater emphasis on what follows here. Glory be to the Father, and I partook and finish my preparations unto the children of men. You’ll notice he didn’t say, I did all of this for you, so give me the glory, give me the credit. The always greater emphasis is, give God the credit. Let Him have the honor for this. So now we’re left to wonder, what is this additional part of the infinite suffering that Jesus went through that we’ve never experienced and never need to? There are a couple of places in the Doctrine and Covenants where he hints at something, but he doesn’t ever dig down and give us more detail.
Section 76, verse 107 and section 88, verse 106, where he uses this phrase that is hauntingly beautiful. Listen to verse 107 in the 76 section when he shall deliver up the kingdom and present it unto the Father. Spotless saying, I have overcome and trodden the wine press alone. The wine press is a little different analogy or metaphor than the oil press, but it’s the same idea of trotting in that wine press alone, staining his garments with our blood. It says, even the wine press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. Can I suggest that the thing that he went through and suffered that you and I never need to know what it feels like is hell, the pains of a damned soul, to use the phrase from the Book of Mormon. And what is that? It’s to be completely cut off from the presence of God and to suffer Godly wrath, as he describes. There even the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. We don’t ever need to know what that is like, because he did it for us if we’ll but repent. So now, as we come full circle back into Gethsemane, contemplating the terrible price that was paid to redeem our soul, beginning in Gethsemane, going through the trials that we’re going to cover in subsequent weeks and onto the cross of Calvary until he gives up the Ghost, this infinite atoning process that begins here doesn’t end here.
It lives on and on and on in your life and in my life you see the bitter cup that Jesus keeps alluding to. Why was it so bitter? It’s because of what we did wrong. It’s because of Him taking our sicknesses and sorrows and our afflictions and our temptations upon Him, in addition to the natural consequences of our sin and the eternal ultimate consequences of our sin that he completely shields us from if we’ll just repent. And is it any wonder that we sing songs like How Great Thou Art and I stand all amazed and I need Thee every hour, and on and on and on it goes. This infinite atonement is so powerful that lest we forget, he gives us a sweet cup to partake of every week at the sacrament table, to remember the blood that was shed for us on the cross and hearing Gethsemane, lest we forget the price that was paid to redeem our soul.
And when I’m reminded of all these things, I actually feel to rejoice because the price has been paid, the victory has been won. Of course that will conclude and be fully fulfilled at the cross and the resurrection. And so we can remember these things and think about these things, but ultimately it’s to feel gratitude. Remember, we were taught in the Book of Mormon, god set up the plan of salvation, that we might experience happiness. So as we dwell on this, let it also turn our hearts to the deep joy that Jesus has freely done this on our behalf. And we can freely return to Him our love, our devotion. We can turn away all of our sins again, like we see in the Book of Mormon. We can give away all of our sins to know God and to know his never ending mercy and love for us. So ultimately I feel to rejoice when we read these, even though at the same time I deeply ache to think about all that he suffered on my behalf.
We will finish telling the rest of the stories that took place in Gethsemane in two weeks when we cover Luke 22 and John 18. But for now, we want to finish with this one verse that we didn’t cover in Alma seven, verse twelve. I love this verse says and he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people. If you just put the word so in front of that, it might be a little more clear as to what that word that is dramatically doing in that phrase. He will take upon him death, so that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people and he will take upon him their infirmities. That or so that his bowels may be filled with mercy according to the flesh. Why? So that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. It’s not generic, it’s not general, it’s very specific. According to their infirmities. Brothers and sisters, the promises are sure that there will be a day when every one of us will get to come into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ face to face.
And he won’t look at us with a questioning or curious look in his eyes and on his face, wondering what was it like to be you? And to go through the struggles and the trials and the pains and the combinations of afflictions, mental, emotional, spiritual, familial? What was that like? Jesus is the only one who perfectly understands you, who completely and infinitely sees you and knows exactly what you’re going through, because he went through it all alone. In that great talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in General Conference. And none were with him. He talks about the fact that Jesus walked that lonely road all alone for you, so that you would never have to be alone, you would never have to feel forsaken and cut off as he felt in the garden and through the trials and on the cross the next morning. So in closing, know that our testimony is that Jesus’s suffering was real and his mercy for you is real. Thank heaven that that suffering didn’t embitter Him. Elder Neely Maxwell said he partook of history’s bitterest cup without becoming bitter. Instead of turning to us with anger and revenge in his eyes, he turns to us with open arms and nothing but perfect love in his eyes.
And remember, when you sacrifice for someone, your capacity to love them increases. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the capacity to love. Perhaps that’s why Jesus Christ loves you so infinitely and perfectly is because he sacrificed and suffered so completely and infinitely in Your behalf. And in my behalf. How we love the Lord, and how we pray his richest blessings to be on all of us as we strive to move forward in this great effort in these the latter days is our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Know that you’re loved.