…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

He Is Full of Heaviness

The Breadth of the Atonement

By Rex Goode


Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

The following was written in 1995.

I have been pondering the wonderful concept that Jesus knows what it is like to be tempted, so that he can succor us in our temptations. This concept is epitomized in the following passage from Hebrews:

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)


Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2:17–18)

As profound as this concept is, I found myself less than comforted by it, when I thought, “He may know what it is like to feel tempted, but how can he understand the pain and difficulty in repenting of sin?”

As it said, he was “yet without sin.” That torturous road back from darkness into light is fraught with obstacles that seem impassable. How could one who never sinned, therefore never needed to repent, comfort me when I repent?

Over the last few days I have pondered this, and sought the scriptures for guidance. David, speaking Messianically, wrote concerning his own trials, but we may read it as if it were a prophecy about the Lord Jesus. He said:

Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. (Psalms 69:20, emphasis added)

At the atonement, he said:

My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death. (Mark 14:33)

Even then, his companions would not even stay awake with him. He was completely alone, laden down with the sorrowful burden of every human soul. There alone, not one of us took any pity on him. I, myself, laid my own burdens on those shoulders, providing him no comfort.

Does he know the pain of sin? Can he sympathize with the difficulty of repentance? Yes, more than anyone who has actually gone through it. We tend to forget that more than bear the punishment of our sins, he also bore all of our sorrows. We speak so much of the difficult path of repentance. I believe that the only difficult thing about it is the difficulty I have in committing to it. Once committed, he has already done the suffering. I need not, I must not suffer too.

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent. (D&C 19:16)

In asking myself whether Jesus Christ can fathom the pain of sin and the subsequent repentance, I know now that unlike him, I can look for one to take pity and find a comforter. It is he, himself, the one who received no pity or comfort who gives those same gifts to me.

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