The suffering of Christ in atoning for mankind was not limited to spiritual torment, but was physical as well. The angel explained He would suffer “pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue” as part of His great ordeal. (Mosiah 3: 7.)
Alma explained this would include “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind.” It would extend into “the sicknesses of his people.” (Alma 7: 11.) All disease, even death were overcome by Him.
This was so the Lord could rise again, and with healing in His wings (2 Ne. 25: 13; Malachi 4: 2) be able to succor all our ills. (Alma 7: 12.) Because He has felt all of our “infirmities,” whether they are spiritual or physical, there is no limit to His ability to understand our plight and give to us His compassionate aid. (Alma 7: 12.)
This does not remove our own cup of suffering. Even the Lord’s most favored servants endure suffering, sometimes in perplexing magnitude that seems beyond our ability to endure. (D&C 121: 3-4.) Sometimes the way He consoles the suffering servant is to remind them the Master has endured more. (D&C 121: 8.)
He knows our limits, even if we do not. He protects us by limiting what the faithful endure to only that which we can handle. (1 Cor. 10: 13.)
The angel was sent to inform King Benjamin of this (and in turn his people and those who read the Book of Mormon) so we may understand the Lord’s purchase of us from death, hell, and torment. He wants us all to understand this so we can take advantage of it by repenting.
If we look upon His suffering and remain unrepentant, then we are left to endure the just punishment for our unrepented sins. According to Christ, who suffered those pains of sin, this is beyond our comprehension.
In pleading for us to repent and turn from our sins, the Lord could only inform us: “how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; 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 of the bitter cup, and shrink–” (D&C 19: 16-18.) Any who have looked upon the suffering of our Lord are moved beyond words at what He endured.
In Come, Let Us Adore Him there is a chapter on Gethsemene. The Lord’s sufferings came in waves, and included all that mankind has done to one another, all mankind did to Him. This suffering gave Him the right to claim each of us through His victory. It was a hard won victory. It means nothing if we do not repent. How foolish it is to believe you can escape the claim of justice on your own failings. You cannot. The only way to escape is through the mercy provided by Christ through the price He paid. (Alma 34: 15.) As explained by Alma, the redemption which comes from faith in Christ empowers our repentance, so we can take advantage of His atonement by forsaking our sins. (Id.) This is a difficult process, involving constant attention to His mercy which redeems you. (Alma 34: 18-27.)
The angel who visisted King Benjamin taught the same truths about our Lord as Isaiah: “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa. 53: 5.)
So why would we reject the invitation to repent? Why in our pride would we talk of God’s great favor and blessing of us all? Why would we claim to be chosen, royal and better than others around us? Why would we ever trust for one moment that all is well and we are Zion? Why would we refuse the mercy offered to us by Christ? Why do we prefer pride and self-sufficiency? Why would we claim some man with “keys” can relieve us of our suffering for sins when the Lord has taught us otherwise? What difference does any ordinance, or ordination, or blessing or promise make if we fail to satisfy the demands of repentance in order to lay claim upon them? The realization of all blessings depends upon your faithfulness. It is only if you are true and faithful that you may later be called up and given more than an invitation through a man. Why do you also harden your hearts so that you also cannot enter into God’s presence? (D&C 84: 23-24.)
The sermon from the angel to King Benjamin encompasses the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it seeks to teach us how to be redeemed from our sins and enter into the rest of the Lord.