Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 26 – “To This End Was I Born”

Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and accused of blasphemy; Peter denies Jesus three times.

John 18:10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

This illustrates Peter’s impulsive nature as well as his desire to protect Jesus.

11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,

Peter’s act was in opposition to what Jesus knew his Father’s will to be.

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A ‘band’ of soldiers was a cohort or tenth of a legion. This would have been 400-600 men. They would have been stationed at the Tower of Antonia to keep the peace in Jerusalem. The ‘officers of the Jews’ were the ‘temple police’ who protected the Temple Mount. The garden of Gethsemane must have been full of soldiers and temple police.

Mark 14: 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee?

‘The impressive silence, which our Lord preserved, while false witnesses were being sought against Him was galling to the pride of Caiaphas, who saw that nothing remained but to force Him, if possible, to criminate Himself. Standing up, therefore, in the midst (a graphic touch which we owe to St Mark alone), he adjured Him in the most solemn manner possible to declare whether He was “the Malcha Meschicha”—the King Messiah, the Son of the Blessed.’ (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou theChrist, the Son of the Blessed?

62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?

‘None but people of rank wore two tunics. The Greek verb here rendered “rent” implies violent dramatic action. The Jewish tunic was open under the chin, and large enough to receive the head, so that it could easily be placed over the shoulders, by inserting the head. When the wearer wished to give this sign of indignation or grief, he would seize the garment at this opening with both hands, and violently tear it asunder down to the waist. But it was unlawful for the high priest to do this in a private grief. Some of the Fathers think that by this action Caiaphas involuntarily typified the rending of the priesthood from himself and from the Jewish nation.’ (Pulpit Commentary)

‘Thus one of the greatest ironies in history occurred, for Jesus, the divine Son of God, the one person who could not have been guilty of falsely assuming the power of God, was found guilty of blasphemy! Also, the only person since the fall of Adam who had power over physical death was condemned to die!’ (Daniel L Ludlow, The Greatest Week in History,  Ensign, April 1972)

Matthew 26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

‘Thus, of divine necessity, the supporting circle around Jesus gets smaller and smaller and smaller’ (Jeffrey R Holland, General Conference, April 2009)

Matthew 26:58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

‘Peter followed afar off – By this he evinced two things:

  1. Real attachment to his Master; a desire to be near him and to witness his trial.
  2. Fear respecting his personal safety. He therefore kept so far off as to be out of danger, and yet so near as that he might witness the transactions respecting his Master.

‘Perhaps he expected to be lost and unobserved in the crowd. Many, in this, imitate Peter. They are afraid to follow the Saviour closely. They fear danger, ridicule, or persecution. They “follow him,” but it is at a great distance – so far that it is difficult to discern that they are in the train, and are his friends at all. Religion requires us to be near to Christ. We may measure our piety by our desire to be with him, to be like him, and by our willingness to follow him always – through trials, contempt, persecution, and death. John says that another disciple went with Peter. By that other disciple it is commonly supposed, as he did not mention his name, that he meant himself. He was acquainted with the high priest, and went immediately into the hall.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Matthew 26: 69 ¶Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.

70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.

71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.

72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.

73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.

74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

“To observers in Jerusalem of a former day, Peter may have appeared to be a small, useless weapon as he denied Christ thrice near the high priest’s palace (see Matt. 26:69-75). But when the converted Peter stood before the Jews on the day of Pentecost, he testified with the conviction and power of a gleaming sword, placing himself in the hands of God and winning the souls of three thousand people (see Acts 2).

“The mettle of the man Peter did not come automatically and without effort. Peter was subjected to trials and temptations and all else commonly referred to as the refiner’s fire. The heat of opposition did not consume him; it served only to burn out the impurities and weaknesses and leave refined and pure metal. Peter emerged from the furnace of affliction as a polished, strong sword of righteousness. His iron strength of character carried him through to the end of his mission.

“After the day of Pentecost, Peter was a man with a cutting edge. He exhibited a sharpness of mind that enabled him to bear witness of the risen Christ. It is recorded that on one occasion his words ‘cut to the heart’ (Acts 5:33) those who sought to slay him. Undoubtedly such sharpness of mind was the result of much study, fasting, and prayer.” (Carlos E. Asay, The Seven M’s of Missionary Service: Proclaiming the Gospel as a Member or Full-time Missionary, chap. 4)

Jesus is sentenced to be crucified.

Luke 23:6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilæan.

7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.

Pilate seizes on the mention of Galilee as an opportunity to shift the problem to someone else.

The Herod in question was Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great. This was the same Herod that put John the Baptist to death.

8 ¶And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.

9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.

‘A murderer of the Prophets, who was living in open and flagrant incest, and who had no higher motive than mean curiosity, deserved no answer. Our Lord used of Antipas the only purely contemptuous word which He is ever recorded to have uttered (Luke 13:32).’ (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

Luke 23:11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

‘A gorgeous robe – A white or shining robe, for this is the meaning of the original. The Roman princes wore “purple” robes, and “Pilate,” therefore, put such a robe on Jesus. The Jewish kings wore a “white” robe, which was often rendered very shining or gorgeous by much tinsel or silver interwoven. Josephus says that the robe which Agrippa wore was so bright with silver that when the sun shone on it, it so dazzled the eyes that it was difficult to look on it. The Jews and Romans, therefore, decked him in the manner appropriate to their own country, for purposes of mockery. All this was unlawful and malicious, as there was not the least evidence of his guilt.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Luke 23:18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)

20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.

21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.

23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.

24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

‘Thus the Jewish rulers demanded the release of a notorious villain, who had really been guilty of the crime whereof they had falsely accused Jesus; had made an insurrection with some accomplices; and had also committed murder in the insurrection, a crime which, though their impudence exceeded all bounds, they durst not lay to Christ’s charge. For this infamous creature the people likewise begged life, preferring him to the Son of God, who had always made it his whole study to do them good!’ (Benson Commentary)

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“Pilate’s capitulation to the chief priests of the Jews is a classic example of caving in to the curse of respectability, notwithstanding his wife’s warning and his own personal discernment that Jesus was a just man without fault. The washing of his hands after delivering the Savior to the mob is an example of what President Marion G. Romney describes as ‘serving the Lord in such a way as not to offend the devil.'” (Spencer J Condie, Your Agency, Handle with Care [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 42.)

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

“As He began to feel the awful weight of the approaching Atonement, Jesus acknowledged, ‘For this cause came I into the world’ (John 18:37). We too, brothers and sisters, came ‘into the world’ to pass through our particularized portions of the mortal experience. Even though our experiences do not even begin to approach our Master’s, nevertheless, to undergo this mortal experience is why we too are here! Purposefully pursuing this ’cause’ brings ultimate meaning to our mortal lives. And we are greatly helped if we enter with faith that pavilion of perspective-the plan of salvation. Then the search for meaning is ended.” (Neal A Maxwell, “Apply the Atoning Blood of Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 22)

Jesus is scourged and crucified.

Luke 23:34 ¶Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 ¶And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

‘To respond in a Christlike way cannot be scripted or based on a formula. The Savior responded differently in every situation. When He was confronted by wicked King Herod, He remained silent. When He stood before Pilate, He bore a simple and powerful testimony of His divinity and purpose. Facing the moneychangers who were defiling the temple, He exercised His divine responsibility to preserve and protect that which was sacred. Lifted up upon a cross, He uttered the incomparable Christian response: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Some people mistakenly think responses such as silence, meekness, forgiveness, and bearing humble testimony are passive or weak. But to “love [our] enemies, bless them that curse [us], do good to them that hate [us], and pray for them which despitefully use [us], and persecute [us]” (Matthew 5:44) takes faith, strength, and, most of all, Christian courage.

The Prophet Joseph Smith demonstrated this courage throughout his life. Though he “suffer[ed] severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious” (Joseph Smith—History 1:27), he did not retaliate or give in to hatred. Like all true disciples of Christ, he stood with the Savior by loving others in a tolerant and compassionate way. That is Christian courage.

When we do not retaliate—when we turn the other cheek and resist feelings of anger—we too stand with the Savior. We show forth His love, which is the only power that can subdue the adversary and answer our accusers without accusing them in return. That is not weakness. That is Christian courage.’ (Robert D Hales, General Conference, October 2008)

‘They triumph over him as if they had conquered him, at the time that he was conquering sin and death for them! They challenge him to save himself from the cross, when he was saving others by the cross!’ (Benson Commentary)

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

“Today there is much controversy and contention among the doctrines and philosophies of men relative to the requirements for entrance into the kingdom of God. Many have been deceived by the teachings of men that works and obedience to God’s commandments are not essential, and some base their contention on scriptures. For example, Paul said, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ (Eph. 2:8-9.)

“The resurrection and immortality are gifts from God, through Jesus Christ, and not from the works and efforts of mortal men.

“Many try to justify their claims with the statement of Jesus to the thief on the cross, when the thief said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom,’ and Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ (Luke 23:42-43.) Jesus and the thief went to paradise. There are those who teach that paradise and heaven are one and the same place, but this is not according to the teachings of the holy scriptures.

“After mortal death the spirit goes to paradise and remains there until the appointed time for its resurrection into immortality and eternal life.

“Heaven, which is the kingdom of God, is where those who have been obedient to God’s plan of life and salvation go after judgment and the resurrection.

“The spirit of Jesus, after his death, went to paradise and not to the kingdom of heaven. It was not until after his resurrection that he mentioned returning to the kingdom of heaven. You will recall his words to Mary as she stood by the sepulcher weeping: ‘Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.’ (John 20:17.) His spirit had been to paradise, but he had not yet ascended to his Father in heaven.” (Bernard P Brockbank, “Entrance into the Kingdom of God,” Ensign, Jan. 1973, 44)

John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

‘He now sees standing by the cross her who. by His death will be left without son as well as without husband, for the silence of the history can only be accounted for on the supposition that Joseph was already dead; and in the tenderness of His love He commits her to the care of him whom He Himself had loved beyond others’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

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Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

“Is it possible that the Heavenly Father had really forsaken him? Could God have abandoned him in this most sacred and terrible hour? Yes, indeed. For Christ had become guilty of the sins of the world, guilty in our place. What happens to the rest of us when we are guilty of sin? The Spirit of God withdraws from us, the heavens turn to brass, and we are left alone to stew in our guilt until we repent. In Gethsemane the best among us vicariously became the worst among us and suffered the very depths of hell. And as one who was guilty, the Savior experienced for the first time in his life the loss of the Spirit of God and of communion with his Father.” (Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, 119.)

John 19: 28 ¶After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

‘To a doctor of medicine, this is a very meaningful expression. Doctors know that when a patient goes into shock because of blood loss, invariably that patient—if still conscious—with parched and shriveled lips cries for water.’ (Russell M Nelson, General Conference, October 1996)

John 19: 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

‘It is finished – The sufferings and agonies in redeeming man are over. The work long contemplated, long promised, long expected by prophets and saints, is done. The toils in the ministry, the persecutions and mockeries, and the pangs of the garden and the cross, are ended, and man is redeemed. What a wonderful declaration was this! How full of consolation to man! And how should this dying declaration of the Saviour reach every heart and affect every soul!’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Luke 23:46 ¶And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

“Jesus the Christ was dead. His life had not been taken from Him except as He had willed to permit. Sweet and welcome as would have been the relief of death in any of the earlier stages of His suffering from Gethsemane to the cross, He lived until all things were accomplished as had been appointed. In the latter days the voice of the Lord Jesus… ‘For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.’ (DC 18:11)” (James E Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 613)

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