30 Nov 2008 Spiritual Insight
 |  Category: Inspirational

Today I was in the Orange Glen Ward of the Escondido Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In the High Priests quorum meeting (ick – I’m artificially aged!) the lesson was from the December Ensign, specifically the talk from Elder Neal A. Maxwell about consecration and the Atonement.  The teacher mentioned the passage wherein the Savior cried out, in the anguish of Gethsemane, “Would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink; nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” (that’s from memory and may not be the exact wording).  Normally when brought up, the conversastion includes commentary about how the Atonement was such an excruciatingly painful ordeal that the Lord cried out, and asked “Abba” (Daddy) to take the pain away – but, nevertheless, not the Son’s will, but the Father’s be done.  Today I thought of the passage differently than ever before.

“Would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink; nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done” (emphasis added).  Perhaps the purpose of the exclamation to His Father wasn’t due to the pain he endured per se — after all, apart from the later declaration on the cruel cross that “[He] thirst[ed],” when do we ever see the Savior express personal regard as opposed to intimate concern for others? — perhaps instead what He feared in those moments in Gethsemane and Calvary when the burdens of sin, sorrow, and pain were nailed upon His sinless soul is that He, as obedient, powerful, humble, strong, and good as He was, that even He would be insufficient to the herculean task at hand; that He, the very Son of God, would shrink during the final hours, that He would fail and that, by so doing, His failure would literally damn all of God’s children forever.

Perhaps His concern wasn’t that it hurt so much — and it must have been terrible beyond comprehension! — but rather His thoughts at that moment were on you, and me, that if He failed we’d be resigned to eternal misery and woe, to become angels to the devil (as Nephi describes in the Book of Mormon).  His fear and plea wasn’t that the awful pain be removed, but that He prove capable to the task given so that we have the chance to return to live with God.  His plea further stands as His declaration of faith in His Father’s plan, that it would be possible to succeed, that His Father’s will be done.

I suspect this doesn’t read as well as it came to me during class today, but hopefully it provides opportunity for the Spirit to teach us about the Atonement, myself included.  🙂

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