“The more we study, pray and ponder the awesome Atonement, the more we are willing to acknowledge that we are in His and the Father’s hands. Let us ponder therefore, these final things. When the unimaginable burden began to weigh upon Christ, it confirmed his long-held and intellectually clear understanding as to what he must now do. His working through began, and Jesus declared, “Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour”. Then whether in spiritual soliloquy or by way of instruction to those about him, he observed, “But for this cause came I unto this hour”.
In Gethsemane with the suffering, Jesus began to be “sore amazed”, or in the Greek “awestruck” and “astonished”. Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds astonished. Jesus knew cognitively what He must do, but not experientially. He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fullness, it was so much, much more worse than even He, with His unique intellect had ever imagined. The cumulative weight of all mortal sins–past, present, and future–pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive soul! All our infirmities and sicknesses were somehow, too, a part of the awful arithmetic of the Atonement. The anguished Jesus not only pled with the Father that the hour and cup might pass from him, but with this relevant citation, “He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me.” His suffering as it were, enormity multiplied by infinity, evoked his later soul cry on the cross, and it was a cry of forsakenness. Even so, Jesus maintained this sublime submissiveness as he had in Gethsemane. “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” While bearing our sins, our infirmities, our sicknesses, and bringing to pass the Atonement, Jesus became the perfect Shepherd, making these lines of Paul’s especially relevant and reassuring” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or feminine or nakedness or peril or sword?” Indeed, we are in His hands, and what hallowed hands! The wondrous and glorious Atonement was the central act in all of human history. It was the hinge on which all else that finally matters, turned. But it turned upon Jesus’ spiritual submissiveness. May we now, in our time and turn, be “willing to submit.”
Neal A. Maxwell
“As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice.
Of Him the Prophet Joseph also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father–
“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God”
We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth.
We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together”. He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.
We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles–that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.
The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles
Christmas Devotional – Diane Adair – December 13, 2011(Audio)