Christ, Gethsemene and agency

In our lesson in Sunday School today, covering Hosea, our teacher had us read from D&C 19:15-19, focusing in particular on verse 18:

Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit–and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink–

The point the teacher made here was that Christ had been faithful and perfectly obedient throughout His premortal existence and His mortal life. But here, at the most critical moment of His existence, He does not want to go through with what He knows is facing Him.

The Atonement was not inevitable. It hinged on Christ — Jehovah — being willing to go through indescribable suffering voluntarily. Our eternal glory hinged entirely on Christ exercising His agency in the right way at that very moment — and, frankly, through every subsequent moment of the Atonement, even though He could have stopped it at any moment (“Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” — Matthew 26:53).

I suspect that one major factor in the pre-existent rebellion was a lack of faith that Christ would voluntarily go through with the Atonement. As for the rest of us, we are left without excuse for our own exercise of agency. We cannot look Christ — our Judge — in the face on Judgment Day and say, “But the choice I faced was too hard.” The Son of Man has, in fact, descended below all tests of agency we will or can face in this life, and He made the right choice, in spite of the unknowable pain and sufferng He knew would follow. He and His Father do not ask us to go through that ourselves — in fact, They ask us to avoid that suffering by accepting and following Christ.

It’s our choice.

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