This lesson can help students understand some of what Jesus Christ suffered as part of His Atonement. Additionally, students will come to understand some of the reasons why the Savior suffered for us.
Ask students to silently ponder the following questions:
Have you ever felt that no one understands you or what you are going through?
Have you ever felt that you cannot be forgiven of your past sins?
Invite students to look for truths as they study Mark 14 that can help someone who might have these feelings.
Invite a student to read Mark 14:32–34 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior felt in the Garden of Gethsemane.
How did the Savior feel in the Garden of Gethsemane?
After students respond, write the following phrases on the board: sore amazed, very heavy, exceeding sorrowful.
Explain that these phrases refer to the suffering Jesus Christ experienced as part of His Atonement.
What do these phrases teach us about the Atonement of Jesus Christ? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: As part of His Atonement, Jesus Christ suffered and sorrowed in the Garden of Gethsemane.)
To help students understand this doctrine, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“In Gethsemane, the suffering Jesus began to be ‘sore amazed’ (Mark 14:33), or, in the Greek, ‘awestruck’ and ‘astonished.’
“Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds, ‘astonished’! … He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fulness, it was so much, much worse than even He with his unique intellect had ever imagined! No wonder an angel appeared to strengthen him! (See Luke 22:43.)
“The cumulative weight of all mortal sins—past, present, and future—pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive Soul! All our infirmities and sicknesses were somehow, too, a part of the awful arithmetic of the Atonement. (See Alma 7:11–12; Isa. 53:3–5; Matt. 8:17.) …
“In this extremity, did He, perchance, hope for a rescuing ram in the thicket? I do not know. His suffering—as it were, enormity multiplied by infinity—evoked His later soul-cry on the cross, and it was a cry of forsakenness. (See Matt. 27:46.) …
“The wondrous and glorious Atonement was the central act in all the human history. It was the hinge on which all else that finally matters turned. But it turned upon Jesus’ spiritual submissiveness!” (“Willing to Submit,” Ensign, May 1985, 72–73).
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Mark 14:35–42. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior did because of His intense suffering.
What did the Savior do because of His intense suffering? (Help students understand that Jesus’s suffering was so severe that He asked if it were possible for Him not to experience it.)
Write the following phrase on the board: Jesus Christ suffered … so that He …
Explain that other scripture passages can help us understand Jesus Christ’s suffering and why He would be willing to suffer for us.
Write the following references on the board: Isaiah 53:3–5 and Alma 7:11–13. Divide students into pairs, and invite them to read the verses together, looking for what the Savior suffered and why He suffered. Ask students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals how they would complete the phrase written on the board using what they learn in Isaiah 53:3–5 and Alma 7:11–13. (You may need to explain that the word succor in Alma 7:12 means to hurry to give relief or to go to someone’s aid.)
After sufficient time, invite several students to report how they completed the phrase. Their answers should be similar to the following: Jesus Christ suffered our pains, afflictions, temptations, sicknesses, infirmities, and sorrows so that He would know how to succor us. Jesus Christ suffered for our sins so that He could blot out our transgressions. Remind students that the Savior’s suffering for the sins of mankind began in Gethsemane and continued through and culminated in His Crucifixion on the cross.
How might knowing what the Savior suffered and why He suffered help you as you face trials, pains, and afflictions? (See D&C 45:3–5.)
When have you felt the Savior succor you in a time of pain, sickness, or sorrow?
What feelings have you experienced as you have repented and felt your sins blotted out (or erased) through the Atonement of Jesus Christ?
Summarize Mark 14:43–16:20 by explaining that Jesus was taken to an illegal trial before the Sanhedrin (Jewish leaders) and condemned to die. After the Savior died on the cross and was resurrected, He appeared to His Apostles and sent them forth to preach, promising them that signs would follow those who believe. (Note: The death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ were previously covered in detail as the students studied Matthew 27–28.)
Ask a student to read Mark 16:15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the commission the Lord gave to His Apostles.
How can you help to fulfill the commission to preach the gospel to “all the world” today and in the future?
You may want to conclude by testifying of the truths you have discussed today.
Ask students to ponder if they have ever wondered if they can be forgiven of their sins. Explain that as they study Luke 5:1–10:37 in the coming week, they will learn about the Savior’s willingness to forgive their sins and what they can do to be forgiven.