Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

Physical Contact with the Emblems of Christ’s Suffering

Posted by Kerry on January 25, 2008

With credit and respect to Thomas Griffith (last I heard, a Stake President over one of the BYU stakes) for pointing out this beautiful gospel perspective, let me share a thought that has really affected me personally lately.

When the Nephites were visited by the resurrected Lord, immediately after introducing himself by saying “…I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world” (3 Nephi 11:9-10), the people responded:

When Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them.” (3 Nephi 11:12)

Remember, these weren’t a bunch of non-believers, but instead were “…the righteous remnant, those who had heeded the warnings of the prophets. They were prepared to meet the Lord.” (Griffith citation here) Yet after seeing the risen Lord and hearing him introduce himself, they fell to the earth. Why did they fall to the earth? Some of them probably recognized the Savior and humbly felt impelled to kneel, others may have not recognized Him but felt peer pressure to kneel down.

What happened next is probably one of the more sacred experiences that any human could have. The resurrected Lord invited each person to come forth and “…thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” Lucky for them, these people had the blessing of coming into physical contact with the emblems of the suffering and death of the Savior.

Now, what occurred next is VERY telling: “And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying: Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

On this second “kneel”, they cried out Hosanna AND they worshipped Him. Why was the second kneel different? 

“Although they had been obedient, perhaps they had not yet come to know Him as their Savior because they had not yet felt the need to be saved. They had led lives filled with good works. They knew Jesus as God and as Exemplar. But maybe they didn’t yet know Him as Savior. Their prayer wasn’t, ‘We thank Thee for having saved us in the past and reminding us of that by Thy presence today.’ No, the prayer was a current plea: ‘Hosanna!’ or ‘Save us now!’ That suggests to me that they were coming to know Him as Savior. What had turned them from good, obedient people to good, obedient people who now knew Jesus Christ as Savior? What had caused them to fall down at His feet to worship Him? It was physical contact with the emblems of His suffering(Griffith citation here).  

At first read, I think to myself: “Wow, what a cool experience to come into physical contact with the emblems of His suffering and death. That experience would surely change me.”

But I HAVE had that experience. In fact, I have it every week as I partake of the sacrament. The simple, yet beautiful, bread and water are in actuality emblems of the suffering and death of the Savior. I get to come into physical contact every week with those emblems.

“It is the wounded Christ who is the captain of our soul—he who yet bears the scars of sacrifice, the lesions of love and humility and forgiveness. Those wounds are what he invites young and old, then and now, to step forward and see and feel. All this we could remember when we are invited by a kneeling young priest to remember Christ always.”  Jeffrey R. Holland (see here)

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2 Responses to “Physical Contact with the Emblems of Christ’s Suffering”

  1. Jon said

    Thanks for this post Kerry. It’s especially a good read the night before church. I appreciate that I’ll have this thought to draw on as I take the sacrament. Now, if I could only get my 10 month-old to get in the mode… On second thought, maybe I’ll just focus on his love for the children, and how he blessed them one-by-one! 🙂

  2. Eric K said

    I liked that Kerry.

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