In his sermon to the people of Gideon, Alma testified that the Son of God would live a mortal life, subjecting Himself to the same challenges and constraints that we experience:
And he shall go forth,
suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind;
and this that the word might be fulfilled
which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death,
that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people;
and he will take upon him their infirmities,
that his bowels may be filled with mercy,
according to the flesh,
that he may know
according to the flesh
how to succor his people
according to their infirmities.
Notice that, in this passage, Alma not only lists a number of things the Savior would take upon Himself—pains, afflictions, temptations, sicknesses, infirmities, and ultimately death—but He also provides several reasons for this suffering: to fulfill prophecy, to initiate the resurrection, to empathize with us, and to better understand how to help us.
In the last General Conference, these verses were referenced five times. Here are some lessons we can learn from this passage:
1. We can have confidence in God’s ability to rescue and to heal us.
Because “God himself atoneth for the sins of the world,” the Lord’s Atonement can make whole not only what was but also what can be. Because He knows our pains, afflictions, sicknesses, our “temptations of every kind,” He can, with mercy, succor us according to our infirmities. Because God is “a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also,” the plan of mercy can “appease the demands of justice.” We repent and do all we can. He encircles us eternally “in the arms of his love.”
(Elder Gerrit W. Gong, “Hosanna and Hallelujah“)
2. We need not feel lonely in our suffering—the Savior can relate to what we are going through.
In addition to bearing the burden of our sins, the Christ took upon Himself our sorrows, infirmities, sufferings, and sicknesses and all the afflictions inherent in the mortal condition of man. There is no anguish, no pain or sadness that He did not suffer for us.
(Bishop Gérald Caussé, “A Living Witness of the Living Christ“)
3. The Savior has the power to help us overcome every difficulty we face.
As part of our Savior’s Atonement, He took upon Him all other mortal infirmities. This allows us to receive divine help and strength to bear the inevitable burdens of mortality, personal and general, such as war and pestilence.
(President Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan“)
4. The Savior can not only forgive our sins but can also overcome the effects of those sins on those we have harmed.
Although we do not fully understand the sacred mechanics by which the Savior’s atoning sacrifice heals and restores, we do know that to ensure a righteous judgment, the Savior will clear away the underbrush of ignorance and the painful thorns of hurt caused by others. By this He ensures that all God’s children will be given the opportunity, with unobscured vision, to choose to follow Him and accept the great plan of happiness.
(Elder James A. Rasband, “Ensuring a Righteous Judgment“)
5. The Savior has given us gifts that we could receive in no other way.
Each of us has received gifts that we could not provide for ourselves, gifts from our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, including redemption through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ….
Every time we use, benefit from, or even think of these gifts, we ought to consider the sacrifice, generosity, and compassion of the givers. Reverence for the givers does more than just make us grateful. Reflecting on Their gifts can and should transform us.
(Elder Dale G. Renlund, “Consider the Goodness and Greatness of God“)
Today, I will be grateful for the Savior’s willingness to suffer on my behalf. I will remember that His voluntary sacrifice has opened the way for me and all of God’s children to overcome every difficulty we experience in this life.