This week there is cause for much celebration. It is the Holy Week, when we reflect on the final days of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, culminating with His ultimate resurrection. Celebrate with us this week on www.RealLifeAnswers.org as we recount events that occurred hundreds of years ago — events that allow us, today, to be saved by Christ’s merciful sacrifice and Atonement.
Being from France, I never really understood the American Easter tradition of painting, decorating, and hunting for eggs, and most puzzling–the giant bunny? Where did he come from? How did this Judeo-Christian celebration turn into a frilly basket, stuffed bunny candy fest? I thought Easter was about the atonement?
If there’s one thing you need to know about the Mormon faith, this is it: Jesus suffered and died for the remission of our sins, weakness, and afflictions. We call this belief the atonement—that one man, a perfect man, saved mankind so that all can return to our Heavenly Father free from sin, affliction, and condemnation. The atonement is the crux of our religion, and every other tenet would cease to have purpose if it weren’t for this particular event in time of history.
This atonement, I speak of, commenced on the Thursday evening before the Easter/Passover weekend (like tonight) after Jesus had The Last Super with his disciples. Later that night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He summoned his disciples, Peter, James, and John to keep watch as He knelt near the Olive Tree and plead in prayer to God, the Father, imploring “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22)
What was this bitter cup that even the Son of God would tremble at its sheer weight? During those solitary moments in the Garden, while his circle of support became smaller and smaller, Jesus suffered pains and anguish beyond our comprehension. The burden was beyond what he had anticipated it would be, as He is described in Mark to be “sore amazed, and to be very heavy” (Mark 14:33). Numerous times, the Lord prayed for Heavenly Father’s intervention. Alas, Jesus knew that one man had to meet the demands of justice so that mankind could gain the mercy necessary for our return to Heavenly Father. But not just one man, one who was perfect. He had to drink the bitter cup. He had to bleed from every pore. And hence commenced our atonement. Jesus’ pain was not merely physical. He shared in D&C 19:18 (part of Mormon scripture), that He suffered both in body and Spirit.
This suffering continued when Judas greeted Him with a kiss—the kiss that denounced Jesus to the Roman authorities. There, in the Garden of Gethsemane, was one man who was willing to selflessly give Himself for the cause of mankind and another who had avariciously betrayed his master for self gain. After another altercation (which you read on your own here), Jesus surrendered to the Roman authorities, where His trials would commence in the morning.
One would think that His submission suggested the defeat in the battle in regards to His own divinity. However, He was and remained victorious because He was willing to pay the ultimate price that we could never afford–Salvation. As a result, He glorified Heavenly Father. What a tremendous cause to celebrate Easter!
This Easter Season; recalibrate yourselves! Hunting for eggs, is good light-hearted fun. I certainly enjoy the tradition. But do remember the true purpose of this joyous celebration! This celebration is all about the one thing you need to remember about Mormon belief: Jesus suffered and died for the remission of our sins, weakness, and afflictions! Now, that is the golden egg!