PROVO — Remembering all that the Savior has done for humankind is a powerful agent for each individual personally, Elder Gerald N. Lund, an emeritus general authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Saturday during the BYU Easter Conference.
During his address, Elder Lund spoke of the personal and universal importance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Drawing from the conference's theme, "My Redeemer Lives," and the four gospels found in the Bible, Elder Lund gave examples of how the Atonement affected the Savior as a mortal man.
"It wasn't just the son of God (who) went through that Easter week," he said. "Yes, Jesus was the son of God, but he was also a man. He had a body like ours that needed food and sleep. He had a personality and character traits. If he walked too far in one day, his feet would blister."
Focusing on the mortality of the Savior's life, Elder Lund shared the significance of the Savior's ability and willingness to use his agency to bend his will to God's will.
"One of the greatest blessings we have in life is agency," Elder Lund said. "We are free to follow our will. The Savior also had agency, but his will, his wants, his desires and his wishes always came second. As he said in the Garden of Gethsemane, 'not as I will, but as thou wilt.' "
Drawing from the gospel of Mark, Elder Lund spoke of the respectful manner in which the Savior addressed God in his prayer prior to the crucifixion. The wording shows the intimate relationship the Savior had with God, and his place as the Son of God.
"When we become the sons and daughters of God … then we become spiritually born again, and then we too shall have that same intimate but respectful relationship with our father, and it should be our privilege to call upon God as did the Savior," he said.
Elder Lund also spoke of the physical aspects of the Savior's death, explaining that after taking upon himself the sorrows and sufferings of all mankind, he died of a broken heart. Drawing from the words of the Apostle Paul, Elder Lund spoke of the metaphorical death individuals experience in their lives through repentance from sin.
"Godly sorrow is a deep realization that our actions have offended our Father and God," he said. "This very real mental and spiritual change is what the scriptures refer to having a broken heart and contrite spirit."
As individuals feel godly sorrow, they overcome tendencies of the natural man, Elder Lund said. As they do this, individuals follow the example set by the Savior of bending his will to God's will.
Elder Lund also spoke of the condescension of God and the Savior's willingness to undergo tremendous suffering because of his love for all.
"As we consider these various insights into what the Atonement meant for Jesus, personally we are led to exclaim, 'What could I ever possibly do to repay the Father and Son for all of this?'
"We can do nothing that would repay God and Christ," he said. "In the true meaning of the word repay, what could we give to God that he doesn't already have? How can the finite repay the infinite? It simply is not possible. But that does not imply that we can do nothing. There are offerings we can make that will be acceptable to them and received with joy."
Elder Lund gave four suggestions of how individuals can give offerings:
Acknowledgement: "How quick is mankind to blame God for the natural disasters and suffering you find in the world, but how slow to acknowledge his hand in the goodness of life," he said. Proper acknowledgement shows thoughtfulness and recognizes the goodness of God.
Acceptance: By accepting the gift of the Atonement, individuals recognize the sacrifice of Heavenly Father and Christ, bringing purpose to the Atonement.
Gratitude: "Gratitude that is expressed in both word and deed is another way of acknowledging what God has done for us and accepting the gifts which are extended to us," Elder Lund said.
Remembrance: "This is perhaps the most important of them all," he said. By remembering the Savior's infinite sacrifice, individuals are compelled to action and have the power to be a better person, Elder Lund said.
"When we remember all that the Father and Son have done for us, it rekindles and renews our love for them," he said. "And then that love becomes a powerful agent for our own personal life."