This week is leading up to the Easter Holy Day, and it’s amazing to me how I keep coming across things in my reading that keep that in the forefront of my mind.
Today in my reading I came to these words from the prophet-king, Benjamin, in the Book of Mormon. Benjamin led his people in righteousness, and influenced them for good, and prophesied to them about the life of Jesus Christ and his saving power for those who seek him.
“5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. 6 And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men. 7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. 8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary. 9 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him. 10 And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men. 11 For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about addictions lately due to some family situations, and I read these words with those struggles in mind. And somehow it hit me afresh: Jesus Christ came so that we can be freed from the demons that torment us – whether it’s the demon of drugs, or alcohol, or porn, or the demon of pridefulness, or the demon of feeling inadequate, or the demon of envy, or the demon of a hasty temper, or the demon of discouragement, or any of a million other evils and temptations. It’s not anyone else who can step in and make those evil things go away, or matter less. Jesus can cast them out of our hearts.
Jesus suffered all the same temptations that you and I do. He suffered our same pain, and hunger, and loneliness, AND MORE. He suffered for my selfishness, my shortfalls, and my times of deliberate rebellion. He suffered for the people hurt in shootings, and their families, and for the ones who pulled the triggers. He suffered for war, and famine, ignorance. Jesus didn’t just suffer these experiences. He redeemed every single person from them. IF they reach out to him and lean on him hard.
On days like today, when I have had to make tough choices, I have to trust that Jesus has already covered my inadequacies and made provision for everyone of us involved, who are willing to turn to him. I have to trust him when he tells me to take his really big-looking yoke. He says it’s light, but it’s one of those things I think we have to trust and try before we actually find out that he’s telling the truth.
Trust. Atonement. Redemption. Life-changing concepts. Life-affirming concepts. #BecauseOfHim