In our quest to find peace in this life and exaltation in the future, the next thing we need to learn, exemplify, and minister concerns the mission of Jesus Christ. We need to know who He is, what He has done for us, and why we need Him. We learn of Him as we read scripture. Reading and rereading the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament are especially informative. As we read, we experience the Savior’s compassion, love, wisdom, and goodness. We catch a glimpse into His intense suffering, “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink” (D&C 19:18).
As we read His words and the words of His prophets, we feel the magnificence of His Atonement, but what we sometimes miss is why we need Him. We take for granted the life He has made possible for us. We experience his grace and mercy daily and don’t stop to think about what life would be like without those blessings. As Jacob explains, if there had been no Savior, no Atonement, there could be no progression from misery to happiness, from death to life, and that would mean eternal bondage. “If the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself” (2 Nephi 9:8-9).
To really comprehend this, think about the very worst time in your life. Think about how terrible you felt, the darkness of the experience, the weight and horror of it. Now multiply those awful feelings by a hundred and that is what existence would be like always and eternally if there had been no Atonement.
Now think about the happiest experience of your life. Concentrate on the feelings of joy and light and love that happy experience brings to you. Savor it for a moment and then imagine how intense those feelings would be multiplied by a hundred. That is the light and joy of eternity that the Atonement of Jesus Christ made possible for us.
Without Jesus Christ our lives now and forever would be filled with darkness and misery. Because of Jesus Christ our lives are filled with grace, mercy, love, and peace. As we learn more about Him, live in a way that exemplifies what we know, and reach out to help others come to know Him, we grow in the very happiness He makes possible.