The most important event in the history of mankind is the death of Jesus Christ. Some might wonder why such a sad and heart-wrenching event can be considered important. Why does it matter to you, in your life? It is because when Jesus died, He fulfilled the purpose He came here for—“to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through him all might be saved.”
What is the atonement? It is the Lord’s sacrifice that changes everything for us. It started in the Garden of Gethsemane where the Savior bled from every pore, not only because of the weight of our sins, but also our burdens, sorrows, and all our infirmities. It ended upon the cross at Calvary where He died the most painful and cruel death at the hands of His own people. There has been no greater suffering than His. He paid the price for our souls so that, if we will, we can repent, be cleansed, and return to the Lord’s presence.
Jesus Christ was the only one who could perform such a sacrifice. Because He was sinless, He was not subject to spiritual death and because He is the Only Begotten Son of an immortal God, He had power over physical death. With His unique birthright, Jesus Christ’s Atonement brought to pass two gifts—the gift of immortality, which will be received by all, and the gift of eternal life, which can be accessed only through the condition of repentance.
Because He died, all of us will live again. Our bodies and spirits, which now can be separated by death, will one day be reunited again, to “die no more,” and we will become immortal beings. All who have ever lived on Earth will one day be resurrected—“both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous.” Every person you have ever loved and lost to death—grandparents, parents, siblings, spouses, children, friends—all will be able to be resurrected, and you will see them again. The Savior’s atonement takes away the sting of death, because it is no longer permanent.
The Savior’s Atonement also enables all those who believe in Him to be saved from sin and receive eternal life. It is important to note that Jesus Christ’s death does not automatically free us from our sins. In order for us to receive the gift of eternal life, we need to believe in Him and the healing power of the Atonement, repent of our sins, be baptized in His name, receive the Holy Ghost, follow His commandments, perform essential ordinances, and make covenants with the Lord.
With the Atonement centered on saving us from sin, one might think that it is only about healing us from sin. But the power of the Atonement has no bounds. It can heal us from all the pains that we will ever experience, comfort us in our sorrows, succor us in every suffering, and give us hope and peace during troubled times. It also gives us the strength to forgive those who have wronged us and show compassion to those in need. Because the virtue behind the Atonement is charity, which is the pure love of Christ, the power of the Atonement also increases our capacity to love like Christ.
Because of the Atonement, we can be assured that we never have to walk this life alone, that the Savior knows the depths of our sorrows and will send help to lift burdens off our shoulders, and that He knows whatever we are going through—good and bad.
The power of the Atonement is available to all those who reach out for the hand of the Savior with faith. When we do so, we will find that His hands are already stretched, reaching out to us with love.