As Christians we like to ask ourselves “What would Jesus do” when faced with temptations because we strive to become perfect like He is so that we can come closer to the Father.
This inevitably means we fail.
We fail to know exactly what Jesus would do in certain situations because he didn’t live in a world of fast-paced technology, endless entertainment, and instant gratification. We also don’t know how he would have dealt with three year old temper tantrums, spouses not agreeing with us, or rush hour traffic. We don’t know how his love would apply to every situation. We try our best, but we ultimately fail at being and doing like Jesus.
Whenever I study the scriptures, I love reading about Jesus’ Atonement. It’s humbling to remember His sacrifice for me and for all. Jesus Christ was perfect, free of sin despite being tempted, so that He could be the first to break the chains of sin and of death for all mankind, a power he was able to wield as the Son of God.
It’s heart-breaking to read about his suffering, trial, and crucifixion. How could they treat the Savior of the World so poorly and kill the Prince of Peace?
There are very few of us who will have to suffer death under false pretenses by a people we were sent to save. None of us will have nails driven through our flesh to be crucified on a hill.
But, there are things that we will experience that Christ also experienced while in mortality. Christ suffered much before his Atonement for sin and his conquer over death. He experienced many of the same things we all experience in mortality.
Jesus Christ’s Mortality
Jesus Christ had an earthly family.
He was the oldest of several siblings. He was trained by his father how to be a carpenter and lost him at relatively young age. His mother and his father didn’t fully understand him and often questioned things he did. He entrusted His mother to his disciple’s care upon His death.
Jesus Christ had close friends.
He considered his followers his friends, and said that “Greater love has no man than this, than he lay down his life for his friends.” He invited people to follow Him. Even though Christ is the resurrection and the life, he still was troubled, groaned in his spirit, and wept over the death of his friend Lazarus, whom He would soon thereafter raise from the dead. A woman washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and then anointed them, as well as His head. One of his apostles drew a sword and cut off a high priest’s ear to defend Him.
Jesus Christ was let down by his friends.
One of his closest friends and apostle, Judas Iscariot betrayed him with a kiss for 30 piece of silver. Peter denied he knew Jesus three times. And Thomas doubted His prophesied return from the grave because He didn’t see it for Himself. Frequently they doubted Jesus, misunderstood His words and the parables he spoke. Those He healed sometimes disobeyed His commands to not tell anyone about the miracle, and many forgot the return and thank Him. His disciples didn’t fully grasp who He was. In his hours of most desperate need while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, his three closest friends failed to stay awake and pray.
Jesus Christ had enemies.
From birth till death Jesus had those who sought His life. He was asked to leave villages and homes, even after performing miracles. Jesus was spat on, beat, accused falsely, and mocked. He was called names and talked about behind His back. He had people purposefully trying to trip Him up in His explanations, looking for someway to accuse him of blasphemy. He was constantly watched and plotted against.
Jesus Christ suffered physically. He fasted 40 days and 40 nights. He knew hunger and thirst. He was circumcised as a baby. He had sweat like great drops of blood come out of every pore. He carried a heavy wooden cross. He was whipped, beat, and had a crown of thorns placed upon His head. He had nails driven through his hands, wrists, feet, and ankles.
Jesus Christ experienced strong emotions. Despite having an earthly family, Jesus often felt homeless on Earth. He was also tempted to use His Godliness to curb his appetite, to show forth His power by throwing himself off the temple pinnacle and landing unharmed, and to have everything the world offered in exchange for His devotion. He was so angry at the money changers in the temple that he threw over their tables. He despised hypocrisy. He was saddened by the death of Lazarus. He was frustrated that His disciples didn’t know how or why things were done and that they lacked greater faith. He felt alone and abandoned by His Heavenly Father as He hung on the cross.
Jesus lived a full mortal life. He went through babyhood, toddlerhood, puberty, teen years, and young adulthood, and along the way learned much about what it means to live in a world full of sin, sorrow, grief, pain, misery, and disappointments. Just like we do.
All of us have earthly families, friends who love us, and friends who let us down. We all have enemies, suffer physically, and experience the wonderful and glorious range of human emotion.
Jesus Christ’s perfection doesn’t mean He never made a few common human errors or was free from heartache or strong emotions. It means he rose above them all so that we could too.
So, no, we don’t know exactly how Jesus would have handled toddler temper tantrums, spousal disagreements, or rush hour traffic, but we do know that He understands us and our trials.
He too has suffered mortal life. Jesus Christ is there for us so that we can cast our burdens onto Him, so that we can be lifted up when we are low. He will take away our sins so we can be free.
I know that if you call down the power of Jesus Christ’s atonement, and listen with your hearts, you will hear the Savior’s voice speak to you and tell you what to do.
His Spirit and voice will tell you how to best handle each and every situation in this life just as He would.
So, if you want to know “What would Jesus do?” listen with your heart to him speaking to you.
Easter is a celebration of Christ’s atonement for you and why He did it. He did it for you. May you remember that you are the reason Jesus Christ came to earth, and that he can help you find greater peace, greater joy, and greater purpose in your life here in mortality. He understands you.
#Hallelujah that Christ came to earth for you. May you always strive to #HearHim.