“To This End Was I Born”

Lesson 26 – Matthew 26:47-75; Matthew 27; Mark 14:43-72; Mark 15;

Luke 22:47-71; Luke 23; John 18

 

Introduction

 

Turn to the map “Jerusalem in Jesus’ Time” (map 17 in the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible).  This lesson focuses on the Savior’s Crucifixion and the events in the hours that preceded it. These events occurred at places found on the map. Locate the following sites: (1) the Garden of Gethsemane, (2) the house of Caiaphas, (3) the court of the Gentiles, (4) Fortress Antonia (the house of Pilate), and (5) the Hill of Golgotha (Calvary).  When you have located the Hill of Golgotha, that is the location of the crucifixion. Imagine a small child looking at a picture of the crucifixion and asking, “Why did Jesus need to die?” Ponder what you would say to the child.

 

Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and accused of blasphemy; Peter denied Jesus three times.

 

John 18:10 records Peter’s hostile response to the men who came to the Garden of Gethsemane to take Jesus away.

Luke 22:51-53 and John 18:11-12 tell us how Jesus responded to these men.  He was submissive and healed the servant’s wound that Peter had inflicted.

Matt. 26:53-54; John 10:17-18 Jesus allowed himself to be taken so that Heavenly Father’s will could be accomplished—that Jesus would lay down his life for us.

Mark 14:64 The chief priests and elders of the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death. Blasphemy is being irreverent toward God or claiming to be equal to God.

Mark 14:60-63 The chief priests and elders thought it was blasphemous for Jesus to proclaim himself as the Christ.

Matt. 26:56 As Jesus was led from the garden, most of his disciples “forsook him, and fled”.

Matt. 26:58; John 18:15 However, Peter and John continued to follow him; it is assumed that the unnamed disciple in John 18:15 is John.

Matt. 26:69-74 When people outside Caiaphas’s palace said that Peter knew Jesus, he denied it.

Matt. 26:75;(see also Matt. 26:33-35) Peter wept bitterly when he recognized that he had denied Jesus three times.

Some of us, like Peter, sometimes deny our faith when severely tested. Consider what we can learn from Peter’s life after he denied the Lord as you read the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley: “My heart goes out to Peter. So many of us are so much like him. We pledge our loyalty; we affirm our determination to be of good courage; we declare, sometimes even publicly, that come what may we will do the right thing, that we will stand for the right cause, that we will be true to ourselves and to others.  “Then the pressures begin to build. Sometimes these are social pressures. Sometimes they are personal appetites. Sometimes they are false ambitions. There is a weakening of the will. There is a softening of discipline. There is capitulation. And then there is remorse, followed by self-accusation and bitter tears of regret. … “… If there be those throughout the Church who by word or act have denied the faith, I pray that you may draw comfort and resolution from the example of Peter, who, though he had walked daily with Jesus, in an hour of extremity momentarily denied the Lord and also the testimony which he carried in his own heart. But he rose above this and became a mighty defender and a powerful advocate. So, too, there is a way for any person to turn about and add his or her strength and faith to the strength and faith of others in building the kingdom of God” (“And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly,” Ensign, Mar. 1995, 2-4, 6).

 

Jesus was sentenced to be crucified.

 

Luke 23:6-7 When Pilate learned that Jesus was from Galilee, he sent him to Herod, who was a governor over Galilee.

Luke 23:8 Herod was “exceeding glad” to see Jesus because he knew of Jesus’ reputation and hoped to see a miracle performed.

Luke 23:9 The Savior responded with silence to Herod’s questions. (compare this verse with the prophecy in Isaiah 53:7)

Luke 23:11 After Herod and his men accused and mocked Jesus; they sent him back to Pilate.

Luke 23:13-17: see also Luke 23:4 Pilate’s judgment of Jesus was that he was without fault.

Matt. 27:15-24; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:18-25; John 19:1-16 Pilate gave in to mob pressure and sentenced Jesus to be crucified.  Consider how we might, like Pilate, sometimes try to avoid responsibility for difficult decisions.

To one of Pilate’s questions about whether Jesus was a king, Jesus replied, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37).

 Ps. 24:10; Isaiah 44:6; Rev. 11:15; Rev. 15:3; 2 Nephi 10:14; John 18:36  Jesus is a King, but his “kingdom is not of this world”.  According to these scriptures, Jesus is the king of Glory; the king of Israel; the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord; he is the king of saints; the true Messiah; and his kingdom is not of this world.

 

Jesus was scourged and crucified.

 

Matt. 27:27-44; Luke 23:34-39 After he was sentenced to be crucified, people mocked Jesus and persecuted him. 

1 Nephi 19:9 Jesus allowed the people to persecute him because of his loving kindness and long suffering towards the children of men.

The scriptures record seven statements that Jesus made while on the cross.

1. Luke 23:34. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

From the Joseph Smith Translation we learn that when Jesus said this, he was praying for the Roman soldiers who had crucified him (Luke 23:34, footnote 34c). This reveals his loving nature. Of course, the worldly way to respond to people who hurt or offend us is to seek revenge or retribution. But as we know, we are blessed when we follow Jesus’ example of love.

2. Luke 23:43. To the repentant thief: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

3. John 19:26-27. To his mother, Mary: “Woman, behold thy son!” To John: “Behold thy mother!”, thus revealing Jesus’ thoughts of the needs of others during his painful ordeal.  We can learn from this to be less self-centered and more focused on others needs.

4. Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Jesus’ experience on the cross enabled him to understand and help us when we feel alone—because he has been alone in grief and pain. It is important to know that the Savior can bear not only our sins but also our loneliness, grief, and fear.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “Because he must ultimately tread this winepress of redemption unaided, can he endure the darkest moment of them all, the shock of the greatest pain? This comes not with thorns and with nails, but with the terror of feeling utterly alone: … ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34). Can he bear all of our sins and our fear and loneliness too? He did and he does and he will” (Ensign, Nov. 1989, 26).

5. John 19:28. “I thirst.”  Despite all that Jesus suffered, this was his only mention of physical discomfort. He was given vinegar when he said that he was thirsty. (See John 19:29.)

6. John 19:30. “It is finished.” According to the Joseph Smith Translation, Jesus said, “Father, it is finished, thy will is done” (Matt. 27:50, footnote 50a).

2 Nephi 9:5; 3 Nephi 27:13-16 The Savior had to die in order to accomplish Heavenly Father’s will of having all men become subject to his Son and be their Redeemer.

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “He needed to die, that he might open the graves of all men as his own tomb was opened. Without the deep darkness of the crucifixion hour, there could have been no spring of coming from the grave” (Ensign, May 1975, 4).

7. Luke 23:46. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

 

Conclusion

The Savior’s first recorded premortal words were “Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27). Among his first recorded mortal words were “I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). Among the last words he spoke in mortality were “Father, it is finished, thy will is done” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 27:54; see Matt. 27:50, footnote 50a). Jesus never lost sight of his Father’s will or his own mission. He could have called upon legions of angels to rescue him, but he did not (Matt. 26:53-54). Despite the agony, he never faltered in his humility and his willingness to accomplish the infinite Atonement.