Wednesday, July 27, 2011

That For Me, a Sinner...

I first came to know the true meaning of this song back when I was in the Missionary Training Center.  I was really having a hard time, trying to keep up.  (For those of you who don't know, the MTC is located in Provo, Utah, and is the missionary equivalent of Boot Camp.  Depending on where in the world you serve, it's three-to-twelve weeks of intense language and doctrinal training.)  I was able to keep up for the most part with learning Spanish, but my testimony was suffering.  It really all came to a head when we came back to our classroom that first Sunday in the MTC.  We had just come back from a Sunday-night devotional, and we got to hear from Claudio R. M. de Costa, one of the general authorities in the church, and everyone was just glowing from feeling the Spirit, and chattering about how good a fireside that had been.  Everyone but me, that is.  I was feeling kind of hollow, to tell the truth.  Something was wrong.

When I talked to my district president, he had some advice: take a look at this song, and count just how many times it says the word "me."
 I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me
Oh, it is wonderful
Wonderful to me

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine
That he should extend his great love unto such as I
Sufficient to own, to redeem and to justify

(Repeat chorus)

I think of his hands, pierced and bleeding to pay my debt
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me
Secure in the promise of life in his victory
Thus ransomed from death I will live to my Savior's praise
And sing of his goodness and mercy through endless days.
All of a sudden, it really hit me, and still does.  Jesus suffered the worst torture that the devil could inflict.  Mental, physical, and spiritual anguish combined to form such a pain that it caused Him, the greatest of all, to bleed at every pore and shrink from the bitter cup.  He was beaten, scourged with a whip; people had been known to die from the beating alone. He was then lifted up on a cross, and cruel nails were driven through his wrists and hands.  He suffered thirst, was mocked, and then, after silently taking everything that the devil could throw at him, it was finished.  Jesus became the Christ, the anointed of the father, and the Savior of mankind.

All of this, for me.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, condescended to come to this earth and be spit upon for me.  Some of those drops of blood shed in the Garden of Gethsemane were because of--and for--me.  For me, he gave his life.  For me, he suffered all of this.

Because he loves me.

President Studdert also told me to go read 2 Nephi chapter 9.  While there, I found a series of verses that made me want to shout along with Nephi,
O, the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.
And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.
And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. ~2 Nephi 9: 19-22
Jesus is my Savior.  I know that he lives, and because he does, so will I.  If I will do all that he asks, I will have eternal life.  I can come to know him, and in the words of Bruce R. McConkie, "I am one of His witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in His hands and in His feet and shall wet His feet with my tears."

I know this to be true, and I say it in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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