Acquainted with Grief

Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3, Mosiah 14:3) The word translated “sorrows” in this passage—makobot (מַכְאֹב֖וֹת)—means literally “pains,” and the word translated “grief”—choli (חֱלִי)—means “sickness,” so the passage is as much about physical suffering as it is about emotional anguish. Alma’s reference to this passage in the city of Gideon translates these words more literally:

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.

Alma 7:11, italics added

Jesus was acquainted with physical suffering not only because of the pain He experienced in Gethsemane and on the cross, but also because He came face to face with human suffering throughout His mortal life. A healer attracts people who need to be healed:

Great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:

Matthew 15:30

Isaiah testified that Jesus would not only experience suffering, but that He would also alleviate it. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4, Mosiah 14:4), which might also be rendered, “Surely he hath borne our sickness [choli] and carried our pains [makobot].”

Could it be that a willingness to “mourn with those that mourn” goes hand in hand with the ability to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9)? As we experience pain firsthand, we are in a position to succor other people who are also suffering. (See Alma 7:12.) And as we help others who are experiencing adversity, we are better able to endure our own afflictions.

Today, I will be grateful for a Savior who is “acquainted with grief,” who understands our suffering, both from firsthand experience and from providing relief to many people. I will strive to follow His example of courageous endurance and of compassionate service.

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