Looking back over the history of the world, we see one shining moment in history that changed the course of man forever.
Before Jesus Christ came into the world, Adam and Eve were commanded:
But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. (Abraham 5:13)
Adam and Eve did put forth their hands and partake of the “fruit of that tree” and man fell from immortality and the Garden of Eden into our mortal probation. In previous blogs I have discussed the Garden of Eden and roles of Adam and Eve in the lives of all who descended from them, which is every human being who has ever lived, is alive and will ever live on the face of this earth. It sufficeth me to say that Adam and Eve hold a place of honor, admiration and immense gratitude in my heart.
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25)
Had Adam and Eve not made the choice they did we would not be here today. But because they did make that choice, all man born to the world from that point forward were caught forever in their sins because no Savior had yet been born to redeem them.
Enter Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, our Lord and Redeemer.
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; (Abraham 3:23-24)
And that One who was like unto God was Jesus Christ. Two stepped forward after Heavenly Father presented His plan of salvation, one was chosen and one fell taking a large number of the hosts of heaven with him. (Revelations 12)
From that moment a sacrifice beyond compare was agreed to and Jesus Christ, under the explicit and loving direction of His Father in Heaven, was born into the world in the meridian of time. Thirty years passed before He took up the mantle of godhood and began preaching His Father’s Word.
At the culmination of His great mission where miracle upon miracle was performed, the great and precious truths which had been lost until He taught them again in the synagogues, homes, streets and hills of Israel. Those who had previously been cast aside, those who preached at the pulpit, those who fished in the waters of Galilee, those who carried water from the wells were all taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, His Father’s word.
Then on that night in Gethsemane when Jesus Christ first took upon the weight of all the sins, sorrows and illnesses of all the children of God, no matter where or when they lived it caused even God, the greatest of us all, to bleed from every pore. This painting by artist, Derek Hegsted, shows the moment of greatest despair in the Savior as His robe was drenched in blood and His physical body weakened by the ravages of sin.
Throughout the night as He lived up to His promise to His Father in Heaven and to each of us, wave upon wave of agony was poured out upon Him as He descended below the lowest of us all and paid the price for our redemption. Justice was satisfied and mercy magnified on that night so long ago in a garden of Israel.
Of this astounding and boundless act of godly love Andrew C. Skinner said:
The Atonement of Christ is so great in its effects and so far-reaching in its consequences that it easily qualifies as the most important occurrence in time or in all eternity. Nothing ever has or ever will surpass in its significance. Nothing is greater in the entire universe or in the history of created things than Christ’s Atonement. … “When the prophets speak of an infinite Atonement, they mean just that. Its effects cover all men, the earth itself and all forms of life thereon, and reach out into the endless expanses of eternity.” McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 64) (Andrew C. Skinner, Gethsemane, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2002 11)
This sacrifice beyond compare was, is and ever will be the single most critical and redeeming moment in the history of the children of God.
This article was originally published in February 2008. Minor changes have been made.