Atonement – Part 3


In a recent General Conference address, LDS Church President, Russell M. Nelson made a comment about the location of where Christ atoned for the sins of the world. under the talk titled: The Correct Name of the Church.  “In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Savior took upon Himself every pain, every sin, and all of the anguish and suffering ever experienced by me and by everyone who has ever lived or will ever live.  Under the weight of that excruciating burden, He bled from every pore.  All of this suffering was intensified as He was cruelly crucified on Calvary’s cross.”

In light of that statement, I have to mention that neither the Bible nor any Mormon Scripture specifically state that the atonement occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Because to have the atonement occur in the garden would be contrary to the narrative of the entire Word of God.

In Old Testament times, redemption was demonstrated through the ceremonial sacrifice of an animal.  God made it clear that forgiveness would be provided only through the DEATH of an innocent substitute that represented the payment for the penalty of sin. 

But never did an animal sit somewhere alone in a pasture and suffer as a substitute sacrifice for sin.  The LDS focus on the Garden of Gethsemane has absolutely no biblical connection to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament, which was a picture of the shedding of the Lord’s blood which occurred where?  On the cross. 

But the New Testament does say that He suffered great agony in the garden. 

The garden is where He suffered great agony in His humanity over the impending pain and suffering that would culminate with His death on the cross.  His will was to do the Father’s will, but His flesh was shrinking at the thought of being beaten and crucified.  Can you imagine how scared any of us would be if we were put in the same situation?

But it say’s here in Luke 22:44 that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.”  Isn’t that considered “shedding blood?”

The way it is written suggests that His sweat was so profuse that the drops of sweat were heavy like what great drops of blood would look like.  The fact that only Dr. Luke, the physician, records this account makes it more likely that he was using a figure of speech. 

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus prays in the garden three times to the Father that if it be possible, “this cup” – meaning His taking on our sin – would pass from Him, but that God’s will be done. 

Once Jesus was outside the garden facing the temple soldiers, Peter acts rashly by cutting off Malchus’ ear.  Jesus then says to Peter as recorded in John 18:11, “Put up thy sword unto the sheath; THE CUP which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

Jesus is implying to Peter, “I just overcame the temptation to follow My own will.  And now you are stepping in to impede what I was sent to do, which is to take away the sins of the world by drinking THE CUP.  Put away your sword and let me precede to the cross, that I may do my Father’s will.”