James taught me something beautiful in a letter this weekend. It was about Christ, personal revelation, and free agency. I had touched on this idea in an earlier blog, when I mentioned that even Christ lives by the same law that we all do, namely that of free agency. Christ chose to love all of us.
But James took this further, and I believe he is right. Christ was chosen, in the beginning, to be our Savior. Yet even He, during His earthly existence, could have failed! This is evident in the fact that the apostles chose to share in the scriptures that even Christ was "tempted in all things"; that His 40 day and 40 night fast in the desert was difficult for Him. I had always thought that that particular story didn't mean much; in my eyes, Christ was/is a God, and who was closer to our Father in Heaven than Jesus? I guess I had assumed that with the exception of the last few years of His life, that things were easy for Him. What a mistaken idea I had!
Even Christ had to accept certain revelations on Faith. How could He know that He would rise from the dead? He had to believe in His Father. Even He, during His agony in Gethsamanee, an agony none of us will experience, all because of His precious sacrifice, He asked the Father to stop the pain. He asked His Father to remove that bitter cup; and cried "Oh Father! Why hast thou forsaken me?"
Jesus Christ could have walked away from it all, but He didn't. He laid His life down on the basis of a revelation. He realized He had a divine mission, just as many of us do (although not as glorious and as important as His), and He willingly gave Himself so that we all might be resurrected, forgiven, and have the chance to progress and return to our Father in Heaven.
Yes, our Savior certainly was the epidomy of love, sacrifice, and revelation. Personal revelation comes through Him. Miracles come through Him. As James said to me, when He was taken, even His most faithful follower denied Him three times. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak".
Yes, my testimony of the Atonement is growing stronger day by day. I feel so much closer and a more personal connection with my Elder Brother and Savior. I am really beginning to realize that yes, He indeed understands me...it's not just words anymore...I can feel His love, better understand His sacrifice, and more fully comprehend the gloriousness of His Father's plan.
Christ was more like each of us than we know. This is why His sacrifice is truly an amazing, ultimately personal, gift.