I’ve spent the last year rehabilitating my Father-in-law’s garden, pulling up a jungle of weeds, tilling the soil, making countless trips to collect truck loads of shredded wood chips offered freely in my community, mixing the chips with many bags full of lawnmower clippings, and creating compost over the summer and winter. And now that it has finally quit snowing (crosses fingers) and after many rainstorms, the sun has begun to finally shine for a while. I turned over one of the piles of compost that had been decomposing over the winter and with all the recent rainstorms, percolating all that natural goodness to the bottom, I discovered earthworms as fat as my thumb and at least twice as long doing their thing, making rich brown gold to spread all over the garden. I am eager to see how big our vegetables get this year! As I mowed the lawn today, to begin making new batches of compost, I thought about all those earthworms and how beneficial they are to soil. It’s an odd thing to think about how much life is created from death with last years lawn clippings, dead leaves, and dead tree trimmings that have been processed, etc. When you mix it all in just the right proportions, you get worms, flowering plants, bees, butterflies, vegetables, and so on.
And now Good Friday is upon us. This Friday, those who believe in Jesus Christ and follow Him, commemorate the day that His death brought about life. His death makes all things new (Revelation 21:4-5). The process of destroying and breaking down trees, grass, leaves, and other living things to create an environment where life can begin anew and thrive, although violent, is a beautiful thing to consider when you think about the new birds singing, bees buzzing, pollinating new vegetable plants, and flowers blooming. Jesus Christ suffered violently as He was broken down by Roman soldiers and unjustly condemned to die brutally on the cross. He did not deserve to die, yet He, an innocent man, paid a price that was not His to pay. Since the sixteenth century, Lady Justice has been depicted wearing a blindfold suggesting that justice should be applied regardless of one’s wealth, status, or power. This image suggests impartiality. But this only works properly in a moral society. In the case of our sinless Lord, justice had been robbed. Jesus Christ came into the world knowing it would be so.
Alma 34:9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.
11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.
12 But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world.
13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.
The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) but because Jesus was sinless, and being God, having eternal life, what was unjustly taken from Him was His life, which is eternal and infinite, having no end. And while God’s own justice must reject evil, which has no place in His kingdom, His own sacrifice makes possible His right of mercy. Justice can demand of us death, and rightly so, for the wages of sin is death. But Jesus Christ who is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) and our intercessor (Hebrews 7:25) with the Father can, in effect, hold back Justice and say, “my life was taken unjustly, which is endless and infinite. Therefore, in restoring to myself what is infinite, I can claim ALL life.” Justice is necessarily satisfied. And because He suffered all things in the flesh, including temptations, and all manner of afflictions (Hebrews 2:18, Alma 7:11-12), He is able to succor His people according to their infirmities.
This is how Jesus Christ has created the environment where life can begin anew and thrive just like the bees and butterflies and flowers in our gardens. Our lives begin anew as His children, for He is the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name…
Those who believe in Jesus and believe Jesus will keep His sayings and do His will (John 7:17). This is how we come to know Him–by doing His will. Those who do His will are those who love Him. Personally speaking, I love Him because He first loved me.
Ether 3:14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
Mosiah 15:1 And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.
2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—
3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—
4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.
5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.
It was necessary for Him to take upon Himself flesh, a son of man (Mark 10:45) with the capacity to die. And it was necessary for Him to die unjustly so that He could reclaim His life and all who believe in Him, repenting continually, drawing near to Him, becoming His children through His grace and mercy. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain! Worthy is the King who conquered the grave! He is worthy of our love! He is worthy of our discipleship! For while we were yet sinners, He died for us (Romans 5:8). This is amazing grace!