At Easter we celebrate the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement overcame the burdens mortality has imposed on us: death, sin, and trials. Through His Atonement we can have any burden lifted from our shoulders. We can receive rest even if life seems restless.
Come Unto Me, All Ye That Labor
In Matthew 11:28-30 we read “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We all labor in life. We have challenges and trials, worries and fears. Life can seem very burdensome. However, in Jesus Christ we have been given the chance to lighten our burdens.
As I see it, we have three main burdens in this life: death, sin, and trials. Let’s examine how these are burdens and how Jesus Christ lifts them from our shoulders.
The Burden of Death
The first burden to discuss is the death of our physical bodies. Every person experiences mortality. Some of us live long lives, others short, and others somewhere in between. Death comes to all of us.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after giving up the ghost on the cross overcame physical death. It is something we need not fear nor worry about. The gift of the resurrection is given freely to all and we can, if we follow the commandments, look forward to our resurrection with joy and gladness.
Paul, knowing the resurrection to be universal, asks “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). The sting of death and the fear of not living again was removed when the resurrection of Christ came to pass. Death is no longer a burden we have to fear and we should not let it weigh us down with worry.
This is not easy to do at times. When we, or someone we love and/or know has an illness, or a terrible accident, we fear that they may die. It is natural for us to have these feelings as we don’t want to be separated from them. However, it is also a fact that if God calls them home, we will see them again and they will have a resurrected body. Life doesn’t end at death, and we can find comfort in that knowledge.
The Burden of Sin
The second burden is the burden of sin. Unlike death, we are not given a free release from the burden of sin. I believe that sin is the heaviest burden we carry in this life. Sin takes us away from God. It chains us down and makes us feel unworthy to be good.
Jesus Christ’s Atonement has given us a way to overcome sin. In the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, He paid the price for our sins. He took upon himself the agony that sin causes. He did so willingly so that we might have a way to overcome the burden of sin in our lives.
In order to avail ourselves of Christ’s Atonement, we must repent of our sins. I outlined the steps to repentance in Staying True When Imperfections Show. When we sincerely repent, Christ’s suffering pays the price for our sin, we are forgiven and that burden is lifted from our shoulders.
The Burden of Trials/Challenges
Finally, the Atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to call upon Him during times of trial or challenge to ease the burden placed upon us. We all have trials and they are not always caused by sin. The people of Alma experienced this as we read in Mosiah 23:19-22:
And it came to pass that they began to prosper exceedingly in the land; and they called the land Helam. And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam. Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless – whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.Emphasis added
It is important to note that trials and challenges are given us to try our patience and faith. Everyone’s trials are different. My trials and challenges are not the same as my family’s, friends’, and those I associate with. However, we have been given the key to have our burdens lifted. If we put our trust in Christ and His atonement, we will be “lifted up”.
Testimony of the Prophet
In “Overcome the World and Find Rest”, President Russell M. Nelson states:
As we strive to live the higher laws of Jesus Christ, our hearts and our very natures begin to change. The Savior lifts us above the pull of this fallen world by blessing us with greater charity, humility, generosity, kindness, self-discipline, peace, and rest.
Now, you may be thinking this sounds more like hard spiritual work than rest. But here is the grand truth: while the world insists that power, possessions, popularity, and pleasures of the flesh bring happiness, they do not! They cannot! What they do produce is nothing but a hollow substitute for “the blessed and happy state of those [who] keep the commandments of God.” [Mosiah 2:41].
The truth is that it is much more exhausting to seek happiness where you can never find it! However, when you yoke yourself to Jesus Christ and do the spiritual work required to overcome the world, He, and He alone, does have the power to lift you above the pull of this world.October 2022 General Conference Sunday Morning Session
The only way our burdens can be truly lifted is through Jesus Christ. Any other substitute for Jesus Christ might bring temporary relief, but that relief won’t and indeed cannot last.
For instance, my addiction appeared to provide relief and happiness in my life from the trials and challenges that I was facing. In reality, however, I was a slave to the addiction and every time I fell to its influences my self-esteem dropped, I felt worse than before falling, and continued to feel as though I would never be able to overcome the burdens that I was piled under.
I finally came to a point where I was willing to test the Savior’s words as found in Matthew. I came to Him, have taken His yoke upon myself and I finally found rest from that addiction. It is a lesson I have not forgotten and one that reminds me to continue to take His yoke upon me to overcome the burdens of sin and trials.
Jesus Christ is the way to lift all the burdens of our lives. Through His Atonement, the burdens of death, sin, and trials have been and can be overcome. When we feel weighed down, we only have to come to Him, take upon us His yoke, and learn of Him to ease our burdens. There is no other substitute that can be as lasting, or eternal. If we put our trust in Him our burdens will be lifted and that allows us to be “lifted up at the last day.”
Tips for Teaching
When teaching about having our burdens lifted, you may want to consider:
- Discuss how the Atonement overcomes the burdens of death, sin, and trials. Ask those in attendance to ponder on how the Atonement has blessed them and helped them to feel less burdened.
- Read the account found in Mosiah 23:19-22. Discuss why the Lord sees fit to try His people. Ask the class to recall times in their lives when they have been tried, even when they were obeying the commandments.
- Discuss President Nelson’s quote about finding happiness and rest. Ask the class what substitutes the world offers them and why those substitutes won’t last.
- Discuss what a yoke is and how it helps a team of oxen pull wagons. What might the Savior’s yoke look like to us? Why is His yoke easy?
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