Monday, March 24, 2014

The Savior's Suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane

A few Sundays ago, Sister Beard gave the most wonderful lesson in Relief Society about the Sacrament!  Her inspired message was just what I needed to hear.  Ever since she gave her lesson, I have been pondering over the Sacrament and the Atonement of the Savior.  I chose to do my scripture study focusing on the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane to help me have a better understanding about these topics.

These are the words and phrases that I found that described the Savior’s suffering in the scriptures and in the Institute manual: 
·       Sorrowful & very heavy
·       “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.” 
·       “let this cup pass from me”
·       He prayed that, if it were possible, let the hour pass from Him.
·       “take away this cup from me”
·       “remove this cup from me”
·       He shall suffer temptations, pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue.
·       His anguish will be so great that he will bleed from every pore.
·       He shall suffer pains, afflictions, and temptations of every kind.
·       He will take upon Him death.
·       He will take upon Him the infirmities and the sins of everyone. 
·       He suffered both body and spirit.
·       Profound grief
·       Indescribable anguish
·       Overpowering torture
·       “He bore the weight, the responsibility, and the burden of all the sins of men…”
·       “He had struggled against the powers of darkness that had been let loose upon him there, placed below all things, His mind surcharged with agony and pain, lonely and apparently helpless and forsaken, in His agony the blood oozed from His pores.” 
·       “It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore, but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing.” 
·       “In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all of the horrors that Satan, ‘the prince of this world’ could inflict.  The frightful struggle incident to the temptations immediately following the Lord’s baptism was surpassed and overshadowed by this supreme contest with the powers of evil.” 
·       “In some manner, actual and terribly real though to man incomprehensible, the Savior took upon Himself the burden of the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of the world.” 

It is an interesting parallel that the name “Gethsemane” means “oil-press.”  Just as olives are squeezed so that oil can be taken from them, the Savior was also mentally, physically, and in every other way squeezed to the point that drops of blood came out of every pore of his body.  If olives were living beings, they would undergo intense suffering and pain when oil was extracted from them, just as Jesus suffered there in the Garden of Gethsemane.
While the Savior was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, His disciples were sleeping.  The Savior then taught His apostles that they need to watch and pray always because the flesh is willing, but the spirit is weak.  This example of the Savior to go to Heavenly Father in prayer teaches me that I also should do what it says in Doctrine and Covenants Section 10 Verse 5: “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.”
            The Savior was motivated to “drink the bitter cup” because His will was swallowed up in Heavenly Father’s will.  In other words, the Savior was willing to do whatever it was that Heavenly Father wanted Him to.  That is such a good example to me!  Sometimes I have a hard time accepting what it is that Heavenly Father wants me to do. 
            Even though the Savior initially asked for the bitter cup to be taken from Him, He still submits to His suffering by saying that He will do whatever it is that Heavenly Father asks Him to.  In order to submit one’s will to the Father in this way, no matter how painful or difficult the outcome might be, it would take immense faith and trust in Heavenly Father and in the fact that this period of time here on earth is a small moment in comparison to the eternities. 
            A few months ago, I went through a very hard trial that I asked to be taken from me.  I was told that it would not pass from me, because I needed it to help me be the person that Heavenly Father wanted me to become.  While I have had extremely difficult days as I have gone through this trial, especially knowing that it is a trial that will follow me throughout all my life, I have also felt closer to the Lord because of it. 
            When the Savior’s agony became more intense, His prayer became more earnest.  I definitely feel more like praying when I am suffering than when I am not, because that is when I feel that I need my Heavenly Father’s help the most.  Sometimes, unfortunately, that is why we go through trials – so that we are compelled to be humble and to seek God instead of forgetting to pray consistently.  When I turn to the Lord earnestly in prayer, especially when I am suffering, I almost always feel immediate peace; as though a burden has been lifted from off of me.  I am so grateful for the wonderful blessing of prayer! 

            I think the thing that I can learn from my study about Jesus’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane is that I need to always submit my will to Heavenly Father’s will and that I need to make sure that I am consistently saying my prayers.  By doing those things, I know that I will feel less burdens upon my back and I will also be living a life that is more pleasing to my Heavenly Father.  

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