My wife and I got into a discussion a couple of nights ago which has stayed with me enough for me to mull over the questions at least a couple of times. I'm not 100% sure of the correct answer yet, so I thought I'd blog about it.
The topic at hand is a quite sacred one, so I'll treat it with as much respect as is possible.
The discussion we had was about the atonement of Jesus Christ, and the different aspects of it.
The more we talked about it, the more we realized there were multiple aspects of the atonement to consider. Two specific examples:
- The atonement exists in order to provide a way for the human family to repent, become "clean" and return to our Heavenly Father.
- It also exists so Jesus Christ can "succor His people according to their infirmities".
I always thought of those two aspects of the atonement to be one in the same, however, upon a bit of reflection, I realized that the 2nd example isn't necessary for us to get back to heaven. It isn't a "sin" to "break my arm", or "feel temptation", or (heaven forbid) be the object of someone else's sin (rape, incest, etc...).
So, why did Jesus Christ have to feel the physical, emotional, and mental anguish we all go through which isn't considered sin? Well... I believe it's because He needs to understand where all of us could possibly be at the lowest times in our lives in order to be able to express true empathy for us.
I believe it also takes out the whole argument of "Jesus had no idea what it felt like to be me. How can He possbly be my advocate
what it felt like to go through anything we can possibly go through in this life.
This is precisely what brings me to the point of this blog entry.
My wife and I argued different positions on what degree Christ knows our difficulties.
Describing the differing points of view might be a bit difficult, as we discussed it for 45 minutes before we even understood the point at which we differed in our opinions.
The best way to describe the difference is by asking the following question:
Did Jesus Christ actually experience the various maladies which afflicted him in the garden of Gethsemane? Or did He just feel the effects of said maladies?
Did Christ's bones actually break during the agony of the atonement, so as to succor to those who have had broken arms, or did he just feel the pain of a broken arm, without actually breaking it?
Since being tempted in and of itself is not sin, one might say that Christ was actually tempted with the "temptations of every kind
", such as suffering the temptation to lust, to steal, to commit adultery, etc... to the degree that each of us has felt the absolute worst possible - without actually giving in to the tempation.
Or one might say he only felt the effects of that temptation without actually being tempted.
I'd be interested to know various viewpoints on this subject, but please back up your claims with something other than opinions. Scriptural references are always a treat.
Anyway... Thanks for reading.