See also: Isaiah 53; 3 Nephi 8:17; Moses 7:48; D&C 88:25-26
President Spencer W. Kimball described the impact of the storm described in 3 Nephi 8.
“A great storm came ‘such an one as never had been known in all the land’ [see 3 Nephi 8:5], certainly since Noah’s 40-day pouring, and perhaps drowning more people than since the deluge, and terrible tempests, thunder, and sharp lightnings, and whirlwinds of tornadic and hurricane proportions, swift enough to carry away people never to be heard of again – twistings, foldings, whirlings, slidings, faultings, and tremblings of hours of duration to cause landslides burying great cities perhaps more extensive than the Bali’s, Iran’s, Assam’s, and Chile’s, perhaps interring in a few hours more people than ever in the history of the world. Tidal waves swallowed entire communities, and fire consumed many cities and human bodies. The labors of centuries were embalmed in ashes to a greater degree than Pompeii and Herculaneum; and earth convulsions of such intensity and prolongation that ‘the face of the whole earth was deformed’ [see 3 Nephi 8:17], these earth spasms being a revolt by the created earth against the crucifixion of its Creator.” [See also Moses 7:48 and D&C 88:25-26.] — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1963, pp. 64-65
Jesus Christ made seven statements while on the cross:
1. (Luke 23:43) “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”
2. (Luke 23:34) “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
3. (John 19:26-27) “Woman, behold thy son!” “Behold thy mother!”
4. (Matt. 27:46) “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
5. (John 19:28) “I thirst.”
6. (John 19:30) “It is finished.”
7. (Luke 23:46) “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
— The Bible
I ask you, what father and mother could stand by and listen to the cry of their children in distress . . . and not render assistance? I have heard of mothers throwing themselves into raging streams when they could not swim a stroke to save their drowning children, [I have heard of fathers] rushing into burning buildings to rescue those whom they loved.
We cannot stand by and listen to those cries without its touching our hearts. . . . He had the power to save, and He loved His Son, and He could have saved Him. He might have rescued Him from the insult of the crowds. He might have rescued Him when the crown of thorns was placed upon His head. He might have rescued Him when the Son, hanging between two thieves, was mocked with, “Save thyself, and come down from the cross. He saved others; himself he cannot save.” He listened to all this. He saw that Son condemned; He saw Him drag the cross through the streets of Jerusalem and faint under its load. He saw the Son finally upon Calvary; he saw His body stretched out upon the wooden cross; he saw the cruel nails driven through hands and feet, and the blows that broke the skin, tore the flesh, and let out the life’s blood of His [Only Begotten] Son. . . .[He] looked on [all that] with great grief and agony over His Beloved [Child], until there seems to have come a moment when even our Savior cried out in despair: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
In that hour I think I can see our dear Father behind the veil looking upon these dying struggles, . . . His great heart almost breaking for the love that He had for His Son. Oh, in that moment when He might have saved His Son, I thank Him and praise Him that He did not fail us. . . . I rejoice that He did not interfere, and that His love for us made it possible for Him to endure to look upon the sufferings of His [Only Begotten] and give Him finally to us, our Saviour and our Redeemer. Without Him, without His sacrifice, we would have remained, and we would never have come glorified into His presence. . . . This is what it cost, in part, for our Father in heaven to give the gift of His Son unto men.
He, . . our God, is a jealous God – jealous lest we should [ever] ignore and forget and slight His greatest gift unto us– the life of his Firstborn Son. (Melvin J. Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, pp. 136-38) — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “I Stand All Amazed,” Ensign, August 1986, pp. 71-72
I turn now to the conclusion of Jesus’ mortal Messiahship. Luke reported Jesus’ sweating in Gethsemane “as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). This fact is fully validated in the “other books” of restoration scripture (1 Nephi 13:39-40): “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, . . . to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit – and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink” (D&C 19:18).
The necessary but awesome shedding of Jesus’ blood thus occurred not only in the severe scourging, but earlier in Gethsemane. A recent and thoughtful article by several physicians on the physical death of Jesus Christ indicates that “the severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a preshock state.” (We all recall, of course, that a dramatically weakened Jesus needed help to carry the cross.) “Therefore, even before the actual crucifixion, Jesus’ physical condition was at least serious and possibly critical. . . . Although scourging may have resulted in considerable blood loss, crucifixion per se was a relatively bloodless procedure” (Journal of the American Medical Association, 21 Mar. 1986, pp. 1458, 1461).
In addition to the consequences of scourging, how Christ’s lifeblood had already flowed in Gethsemane! Remember, he suffered “both body and spirit” (D&C 19:18). Declared King Benjamin, Christ would suffer “even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish” (Mosiah 3:7).
Having bled at every pore, how red His raiment must have been in Gethsemane, how crimson that cloak!
No wonder, when Christ comes in power and glory, that He will come in reminding red attire (see D&C 133:48), signifying not only the winepress of wrath, but also to bring to our remembrance how He suffered for each of us in Gethsemane and on Calvary! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Overcome . . . Even as I Also Overcame,” Ensign, May 1987, p. 72
As Jesus hung on the cross he “cried with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? That is to say, My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?” As I hear those words he uttered in the last moment of his pure life I wonder if from a distance, in his heavenly realm God observed the last dying struggles of his beloved son. Elder Melvin J. Ballard has said about this event, “In that hour I think I can see our dear Father behind the veil looking upon these dying struggles until even he could not endure it any longer; and, like the mother who bids farewell to her dying child, has to be taken out of the room so as not to look upon the last struggles, so he bowed his head, and hid in some part of his universe his heart almost breaking for the love that he had for his son. . . .” (SMS, pp. 151-155) To watch those terrible last moments and not rescue his son helps us to better appreciate these words: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son. . . .” (John 3:16) — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “None Were with Him,” Ensign, May 2009
I am a father, inadequate to be sure, but I cannot comprehend the burden it must have been for God in His heaven to witness the deep suffering and Crucifixion of His Beloved Son in such a manner. His every impulse and instinct must have been to stop it, to send angels to intervene – but He did not intervene. He endured what He saw because it was the only way that a saving, vicarious payment could be made for the sins of all His other children from Adam and Eve to the end of the world. I am eternally grateful for a perfect Father and His perfect Son, neither of whom shrank from the bitter cup nor forsook the rest of us who are imperfect, who fall short and stumble, who too often miss the mark. — Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Hands of the Fathers,” Ensign, May 1999, p. 14
Jesus suffered and was crucified for men’s transgressions. “But few details of the actual crucifixion are given us. We know however that our Lord was nailed to the cross by spikes driven through the hands and feet, as was the Roman method, and not bound only by cords as was the custom in inflicting this form of punishment among some other nations. Death by crucifixion was at once the most lingering and most painful of all forms of execution. The victim lived in ever increasing torture, generally for many hours, sometimes for days. The spikes so cruelly driven through hands and feet penetrated and crushed sensitive nerves and quivering tendons, yet inflicted no mortal wound. The welcome relief of death came through the exhaustion caused by intense and unremitting pain, through localized inflammation and congestion of organs incident to the strained and unnatural posture of the body.” — Elder James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 655; Old Testament Student Manual, 1 Kings – Malachi, pp. 197-98
Crucifixion – the horrible and painful death which He suffered – was chosen from the beginning. By that excruciating death, He descended below all things, as is recorded, that through His resurrection He would ascend above all things. (See D&C 88:6.) — Elder David B. Haight, “The Sacrament – and the Sacrifice,” Ensign, November 1989, p. 60; reprinted in Ensign, April, 2007, p.15
While, as stated in the text, the yielding up of life was voluntary on the part of Jesus Christ, for He had life in Himself and no man could take His life except as He willed to allow it to be taken, (John 1:4; 5:26; 10:15-18) there was of necessity a direct physical cause of dissolution. . . . The strong, loud utterance, immediately following which He bowed His head and “gave up the ghost,” when considered in connection with other recorded details, points to a physical rupture of the heart as the direct cause of death. If the soldier’s spear was thrust into the left side of the Lord’s body and actually penetrated the heart, the out rush of “blood and water” observed by John is further evidence of a cardiac rupture; for it is known that in the rare instances of death resulting from a breaking of any part of the wall of the heart, blood accumulates within the pericardium, and there undergoes a change by which the corpuscles separate as a partially clotted mass from the almost colorless, watery serum. . . . Great mental stress, poignant emotion either of grief or joy, and intense spiritual struggle are among the recognized causes of heart rupture.
The present writer believes that the Lord Jesus died of a broken heart. The Psalmist sang in dolorous measure according to his inspired prevision of the Lord’s passion: “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Ps. 69:20, 21; see also 22:14.) — Elder James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, Chapter 35, pp. 668-69
In that most burdensome moment of all human history, with blood appearing at every pore and an anguished cry upon His lips, Christ sought Him whom He had always sought – His Father. “Abba,” He cried, “Papa,” or from the lips of a younger child, “Daddy.”
This is such a personal moment it almost seems a sacrilege to cite it. A Son in unrelieved pain, a Father His only true source of strength, both of them staying the course, making it through the night – together. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Hands of the Fathers,” Ensign, May 1999
This was no miracle to him. He had the issues of life and death in his power; he had power to lay down his life and the power to take it up again. This is what he says, and we must believe this if we believe the history of the Savior and the sayings of the Apostles recorded in the New Testament. Jesus had this power in and of himself; the Father bequeathed it to him; it was his legacy, and he had the power to lay down his life and take it again. — Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 340-41