The scriptures give us just a glimpse of the agony our Savior went through on that first Good Friday. His anguish began with the distress of the atonement in Gethsemane, followed by a painful betrayal at a friend’s hands, an unfair secret trial, the demand for His death by His own people, mockery and torment by soldiers who knew nothing of His mission or who He was, and finally a horrific death upon a cross. I would highly encourage you to read these chapters in each of the Gospels for your own personal understanding and insight of these events. (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19)
It is hard for me to put into words my feelings about these torturous last hours of my Redeemer’s earthly life. As I read talks, listened to music and watched videos to prepare myself for this post I found myself weeping with compassion for my Savior, remorse for my own part in His suffering, and gratitude for what He was willing to go through for each of us. His love-driven willpower is incomprehensible to me. As much as I know His Grace is an offering free of my earning it, it does make me want to prove my gratitude through my actions. I want to show my love to Him by using my time wisely and serving Him and those around me well. I think one of the other important ways for us to show our appreciation to Him for all He did for us is to accept the gift He has offered.
We must allow His atonement to be applied to us and not just believe in its effectiveness for other people, but to really believe we personally can be cleansed, sanctified, and empowered by it.
When I was younger and tried to picture the atonement made in our behalf, I would imagine Christ suffering for culminations of individual sins. For instance, first He would suffer for all the lies that were ever told, then for all the murders that were ever committed, then for all the impure thoughts that were ever considered, and so forth. A combination of study and spiritual growth over the years has given me a better understanding of the reason for what our Savior went through. He was willing to suffer for us because He loves us wholly and completely.
He loves us individually and wanted to understand us each perfectly so that He could succor us in the exact way we need to be attended to. I believe the atonement was much more personal than suffering for clumps of similar sins. I believe He suffered individually for each of us. I believe He knows every moment of my life, my joys, my sorrows, my strengths, my weaknesses, my sins, my sicknesses, and every burden I will ever carry. I do not know by what miracle this is possible, but I believe He is the God of the individual and this is the only way He could truly know me well enough to care for me in every way I need Him to. And I believe He did the same thing for each of you.
Even though Christ spoke of His impending death and resurrection many times to His closest followers, it’s clear that they did not fully comprehend what He was saying. It had never happened before. It was beyond their ability to understand. I am sure as they watched Him hanging lifelessly from the cross and then carefully transported His body to the tomb, they felt lost and hopeless, completely heart-shattered!
I can’t even fathom what went through the minds of the women heading to dress the Savior’s body that first Easter morning as the tomb came into view and they saw it opened with no guards in sight. What must the disciples have been thinking as they ran to verify what the women had told them. Did they remember the words Christ had spoken to them? Dared they hope?
I can, however, perfectly imagine the joy and exultation that must have flooded their hearts when He appeared to them face to face, spoke to them, ate with them, allowed them to touch and feel His resurrected body. He broke the bands of death. He redeemed us from our foolish and rebellious mistakes. He is our Savior, Lord, and King. He lives!!
The Primary Manual for Come Follow Me is perfect for families with young children!
April week 2: April 3–9. Easter: “O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory?” (churchofjesuschrist.org)
Click on the images below to print out these FREE coloring pages from Rising Moon Adventures that I created to go with this lesson:
Primary Insights for Come Follow Me videos –
(46) Rising Moon Adventures Scripture Story Time – YouTube
Song 1: Lay Down My Life by Sidewalk Prophets
Song 2: Hope’s Song