26. "To This End Was I Born"
Crucifixion of Jesus
In the scriptures are given prophetic witnesses that Jesus Christ would be crucified. Crucifixion was reserved for the vilest of criminals. It was designed to produce maximum pain and slow death. Scourging customarily preceded Crucifixion. The weakened victim was then made to carry a portion of the cross to the site of the crucifixion where large nails were driven into the wrists, palms, and feet. While Jesus hung on the cross he forgave the soldiers who had crucified him and voluntarily gave up his life, commending his spirit into his Father's hands.
The cross is a traditional Christian symbol. The symbol of the cross focuses the worshiper's attention on central elements of the Christian faith: the crucifixion the Atonement, the resurrection, and the Lordship of Christ. The symbol of the cross is not visually displayed among Latter-day Saints. "They are reluctant to display the cross because they view the 'good news' of the gospel as Christ's resurrection more than his crucifixion."
The Savior foresaw that Peter would deny him three times. Peter refused to believe that he would do such a thing. However, "the fear of men came upon him and the weakness of his flesh overtook him, and under the pressure of accusation, his resolution crumbled. Then, recognizing his wrong and weakness, 'he went out, and wept.'" President Hinckley likens Peter's denial of the Savior and his subsequent repentance to our own loss of faith and need to return to the truth.
"The Search for the Physical Cause of Jesus Christ's Death," by W. Reid Litchfield, BYU Studies, Volume 37, no. 4
The bible points to many clues of the physical cause of Jesus Christ's death. Theories include ruptured heart, asphyxia, cardiovascular collapse, aspiration, or fatal syncope. Reid Litchfield analyses these proposals and then makes his own argument that Jesus died of a cardiac arrhythmia. Litchfield believes that this diagnosis best matches the description given in the New Testament.
"Peter, My Brother," by Spencer W. Kimball, The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 1979
Much of the criticism of Simon Peter is centered in his denial of his acquaintance with the Master. "In lights of his proven bravery, courage, great devotion, and limitless love for the Master, could we not give him the benefit of the doubt and at least forgive him as his Savior seems to have done so fully." Peter was full of faith. He never faltered. From the day he forsook his nets and boats, his feet never turned away.
It is difficult from the New Testament record to determine what crime Jesus was accused of or what the motives of Pilate and Jewish leaders were. This article shows how fear provides the driving undercurrent that best explains all the irregularities and vagaries of the so-called trials of Jesus. All attempts to rationalize the trial of Jesus are doomed to failure from the outset because his trial was not a rational matter. In the end, which is also a beginning, Jesus was put to death by a relatively small group of people who became afraid mainly because of the mighty miracles He performed.
Jesus, as our great high priest, offered himself as a sacrifice for us: "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12). Understanding how and why he died makes the miracle of his resurrection on Easter morning all the more glorious and joyous.