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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Cross and Gesthemane: A Mormon Misconception

This image is commonly seen in Mormon churches in America, and perhaps throughout the world. Its not just a nice picture based on what the Bible says about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his death: it is their belief that Jesus atoned for sins here, rather than on the cross. This is Mormon teaching that is largely based on Luke 22:44. "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." The LDS take this to literally mean that Jesus was sweating blood (when its actually a simile Luke the Physician used to explain how heavily Jesus was sweating due to his emotions) and that he was sweating blood because he was in pain while atoning for the sins of the world.

However, not only is this single reference used incorrectly, there's many many verses that show that Jesus took on our sins on the cross, not in the Garden. The simple explanation for this is that death had to be involved to erase sins, which is why animal sacrifices were used to atone for sins before Jesus' death.

Ephesians 2:16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
Colossians 1:20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 2:14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

The LDS see the cross as a sign of torture and shame, although apparently their belief in Jesus' pain and suffering in the Garden isn't seen the same way. You will never see a devout Mormon wear a cross or have one in their home or a Mormon church or especially a Mormon temple have the cross of Jesus in it, but you can see paintings and statuettes of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Yes, Jesus' death on the cross was a shameful, offensive, and horrific death.
Galatians 5:11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.

But more than that, the cross is the place of our salvation, of God's glory, of the ultimate expression of the love God has for us! That is beautiful! We should not see the cross as our shame, but as our hope in Jesus.

Let us not be the fools and the enemies of these verses, but instead accept and rejoice what happened on the cross for our salvation.

1 Corinthians 1:17-18 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Phillipians 3:18For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.

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