Karen Ashton, “Sharing Time: Jesus Christ’s Atonement Is the Greatest Gift of Love,” Friend, Feb 1996, 36
“He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him (2 Ne. 26:24).”
Do you know that you lived with Heavenly Father before you were born? When Heavenly Father presented His plan for your life on earth and your return to Him, you shouted for joy! You wanted to receive a body and to make important choices and covenants. Heavenly Father knew that our earthly bodies would die and that we would make some wrong choices and sin. He loved us and wanted to make it possible for us to repent. He knew that someone would have to come to earth to free us from death and pay for our sins. To do this would be so difficult and so painful that only a perfect being could do it. We could not do it for ourselves. Jesus loved us so much that He asked Heavenly Father to send Him. He was willing to suffer pain for the sins of all people. He was also willing to give up His life to overcome death. He did not offer to do this because He wanted glory or honor but because He loved us and Heavenly Father.
How do we feel when we do something that we know is wrong? Sorrow and suffering result when we disobey the commandments or when we don’t do something we know we should. Heavenly Father chose Jesus to save us from our sins and our sorrows. To do this, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to be alone and to pray. As He prayed, He felt the sins and the sorrows and the pain of all the people who would ever live on the earth. He felt the pain and sorrow for the sins of each one of us. Jesus’ suffering was so great that blood came out of every pore of His body. We cannot imagine how great that suffering must have been. Because He suffered, we can repent. Jesus chose to do this for us so that if we repent, we can live with Heavenly Father again.
After suffering in Gethsemane, Jesus was arrested, bound, mocked, spit upon, scourged, and put to death on a cross. He suffered hours of intense physical pain, then gave up His life. Because He was a God and had power over death, He did not have to die. He chose to do it for our sakes, His spirit left His body. His body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a clean linen cloth, and placed in a tomb. A huge stone was rolled in front of it. On the following Sunday, when women came to anoint Jesus’ body, the stone had been rolled away and His body was not there. He had risen! He had taken His body again. Because Jesus broke the bands of death, after we die, we will also have our bodies again. This is called resurrection.
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be saved from our sins if we repent. Because of Jesus Christ, we will be resurrected and can return to live with Heavenly Father again. Jesus Christ loved us and gave His life for us. It was the greatest gift that has ever been given to us.