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Thank you for this good article on Good Friday, which was a beautiful Easter offering. I loved your teaching that Jesus “was in full control.” It is a wonderful testimony of the Plan of Salvation and of Christ’s voluntary submission. There was no coercion on Jesus but, as Nephi taught, he “yieldeth himself . . . into the hands of wicked men” (1 Ne. 19:10). The Savior submitted himself to the pains of the atonement which began in the garden and ended on the cross. Thank you for your wonderful testimony of the Christ and of the Plan of Salvation, of which the crucifixion was such a central part.
Jesus’ death was also the result of the voluntary actions of many others, whom you listed, and even the “whole ‘world’” would “kill their God.” As you noted, “it took everyone.” It seems to me that the list of perpetrators should also include Satan himself, who entered into Judas and put it into his heart to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3; John 13:2, 27). As you pointed out, the Jewish and Roman leaders who put Jesus to death could find some justification in their laws at the time, but what was Satan’s justification? Why did he so forcefully seek the death of Jesus, which was so fundamental to the Plan of Salvation? Satan had participated in the premortal council where Jesus—not Satan—had been chosen to be the Savior and Redeemer (Moses 4:1-4; Abr. 3:27-28). Perhaps Satan did not fully understand from his experience on that council that the Plan required the death and atonement of the Savior. Maybe he mistakenly believed that he was thwarting the Plan by tempting Judas to betray Christ. Instead, as it turned out, he was helping the Plan to move forward since it was necessary that Christ be crucified.
What a wonderful 3-day study project this article has turned out to be … I also read 3 of your footnoted articles, “The Trial and Death of Jesus”, “Miracles, Maleficium…”, “The Legal Cause of Action….” What a wonderful scripture review. Once again the BoM hits the nail on the head… Mosiah 3:5, 9.
One question. On pg 6 of “The Trial…” in reflection 5 you mention Matt. 27:51-53. You indicate that “holy spirits” came forth out of the ground… instead of “bodies” I checked the online Greek Interlinear and the Greek for our current KJV indicates “bodies”. Please advise your reference for “holy spirits”.
Reading your articles was very timely. My wife & I have put considerable time into studying the events of Christ’s final week, as part of our CFMe study. I had concluded that the final charges/ legal reasons primarily were blasphemy for the Jews and sedition for the Romans. Thank you for providing the wonderful scripture chains on “fear” and Christ’s amazing powers (Matt. 28:10, etc) in addition to his wonderful healing miracles. Christ as a maleficius is important added knowledge for me.
One event you didn’t mention (John 18:3-7) is one of my favorites and now makes more sense in light of Christ reputation as a miracle worker and the associated “fear”, “..as soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward and fell to the ground.” I have pictured this event for many years as Christ raising his voice slightly and asserting his true authority, causing them to fall to the ground. Now I picture it more as a fear response. Christ didn’t flee. He probably took a few steps towards the “band of men” causing fear of what he might do!
This article and footnotes have been a beautiful capstone to a wonderful week of study. Thank you!
I’m very glad you enjoyed this paper.
Regarding the “holy spirits” (instead of “bodies”) that came forth out of their graves at the time of the death of Jesus (who apparently went quickly to unlock the gates of death and hell), I realize that the Greek literally reads “many bodies [somata] of the having-slept saints [hagion, holy ones] were raised up” and appeared to many in the holy city. In 3 Nephi 23:9-13, however, Jesus just says that “many saints did arise and appear . . .” and indeed when the text of Samuel the Lamanite was corrected it reads “. . . and many saints shall appear unto many.” (Helaman 14:25). Since Jesus did not speak of “bodies” coming out of the tomb at that point, I thought it best to just call these “holy spirits” (as I say both in this article and in my notes on Matthew 27 on the ScripturePlus App).
Since we believe that spirits have spirit bodies, that may be the kind of bodies that Matthew had reference to when he spoke of “bodies.” It is possible that special people were physically resurrected at that time, but Matthew doesn’t say that people touched those bodies, just that they appeared to many. Spirits are visible, of course. So maybe these were just beings in their spirit bodies.
Maybe I was too cautious here. I will be sure to explain my reasoning on this more in my full commentary on Matthew.
You are correct that I did not list here the “fear factor” of the arresting party when they fell back when Jesus healed the ear of the High Priest. That would have been stunning! You can find that discussed in my article on the “Fear Factor in the Trial of Jesus” (in an RSC volume) and also on the chart in the book Charting the New Testament (in the BMC Archive) that includes it along with other numerous instances of fear in connection with the trial of Jesus. Indeed, fear was a dominant and pervasive factor. Everyone was scared. When people get scared, they don’t always act rationally, of course.
With best regards,
This is a truly wonderful essay. I hope that it gets wide attention.