11 And 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.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Alma 7:11-12
This scripture created more questions in my mind than answers. For example:
- Why was it necessary that Christ suffer for our pains and afflictions. Wasn't it enough to suffer for our sins?
- How could he have suffered for our sickness? Is this just talking about spiritual sickest, or physical sickness also? If all things are spiritual, then maybe it doesn’t matter, because in God’s eyes they are the same.
- Was it necessary for Christ to come and take upon him our infirmities so that he could be filled with mercy? Was he not full of mercy before?
- How does our own personal suffering help us know how to succor others?
Thus, the Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us.There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14) He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Elder David A. Bednar, "Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease”, April 2014 General Conference)