Jesus is my Savior. I love Him! I wish to take this opportunity, as we near Easter time, to testify of His reality, His divinity, and His majesty. This article will be unlike others I’ve written in the past. I seek to tell the story of the Son of God using scriptural statements almost exclusively. In doing so, I hope to convey not only the reality of His mission to redeem mankind, but something of my tender feelings for Him and His Gospel.
Jesus Christ is the “firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created. . . . And he is before all things” (Colossians 1:15-17). “I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn,” He has told us (Doctrine and Covenants 93:21). Our world “was made by him” (John 1:10). In fact, “worlds without number” were created, under the Father’s direction, “by the Son” (Moses 1:33).
Before He came to earth as the Redeemer, He sat “on the right hand of the Father” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:24). He was then known by His prophets and His disciples as Jehovah. The mortal Messiah identified Himself as the great “I am” whom Abraham saw, covenanted with, and worshiped (John 8:56-58). Ancient seers proclaimed of this Jehovah: “[T]he Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).
Speaking of the Lord’s future ministry on earth, holy prophets foretold: “And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary” (Mosiah 3:8). They emphatically prophesied: “[B]ehold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all – for behold, the time is not far distant that the Redeemer liveth and cometh among his people” (Alma 7:7).
The earth was made abundantly aware, centuries before it happened, that “God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people” (Mosiah 15:1). Mankind knew that Jesus’ mortal mother would be named Mary, that He would be born near Jerusalem, and that His earthly name would be Jesus. So many evidences existed before the events occurred that one prophet gushed in gratitude: “[T]he Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even as though he had already come among them” (Mosiah 3:13).
Jesus did come to earth as promised. He was the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power” (Acts 10:38). He said of Himself: “[T]he Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. . . . to comfort all that mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2). His ministry and purpose was to free, heal, bless, comfort, and save all those who would believe in Him.
A prophet explained His sacred mission this way: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities . . . the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance” (Alma 7:11-13).
Another solemnly witnessed: “[T]he Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. And he shall cast out devils . . . And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. . . . And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the childrne of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him. And he shall rise the third day from the dead” (Mosiah 3:5-7, 9-10).
A prophetic witness foretold: “And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else” (Alma 11:40).
An ancient convert to the Savior joyfully exclaimed: “For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name” (Alma 19:13).
And again, we read these inspired words about the Savior’s Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice: “And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law [of Moses], every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal. And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety . . . therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the eternal plan of redemption” (Alma 34:14-16).
Christ the Lord came to earth “to redeem those who will be baptized unto repentance, through faith on his name (Alma 9:27). He was and is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The Lord “washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5). We are, by lineage, the “children of God” and, thus, “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). It is through the Savior’s grace alone, however, that we may become kings and priests unto God and His Father” (Revelation 1:6). “[T]here shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. [Jesus] came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). We “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of god” and are in need of the Savior’s saving grace (Romans 3:23). Jesus is the Great Physician. Christ is the cure. We are “justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned” (John 3:15-18).
Did He not promise: “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47)? He figuratively explained that eternal life comes through Him the same as mortal life is sustained by bread: “I am that bread of life. . . . I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:48, 51).
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:13-14). “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). If we “believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, [we will] be glorified through faith in his name, and . . . through [our] repentance [we] might be saved” (Doctrine and Covenants 3:20). “The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants” (Psalm 34:22).
Jesus came to redeem us and to show us the correct path back to our Heavenly home. He has “set the example” before us (2 Nephi 31:9). “And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me” (2 Nephi 31:10). Jesus always leads from the front. He does not ask anyone to do anything He has not already done. Instead, He simply encourages: “[C]ome, follow me” (Luke 18:22). He invites: “Come unto me all ye ends of the earth” (2 Nephi 26:25). And He promises: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
When you come to Jesus, you can say as did Andrew: “We have found the Messias . . . the Christ” (John 1:41). You can repeat with Philip: “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth” (John 1:45). You can exclaim: “[T]hou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:49). “Of a truth [He is] the Son of God” (Mathew 14:33).
Jesus stands in Heaven pleading to the God of all in behalf of those who come to Him, believe in Him, and follow Him: “Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified. Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:4-5).
“And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (2 Nephi 25:29). “Behold, they will crucify [Jesus]; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 25:13).
The Lord came to earth to complete the Atonement that we may believe on His name, be forgiven of our sins, and have eternal life through His mercy. He suffered so much “agony” that He “sweat as it were great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). This 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” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18).
As gut-wrenching as it is, Jesus testified: “And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works” (3 Nephi 27:14). It was the Savior’s mission to be “betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:45), to be crucified wherein He would “bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24), and “rise from the dead, with healing in his wings” (2 Nephi 25:13).
Jesus is the Master Healer. By virtue of His Atonement, the Lord can extend mercy, healing, and comfort – both spiritually and physically – to those in need. He vowed: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. . . . Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:18). “Fear not to do good, my sons. . . . fear not, little flock” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34). “Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours. . . . if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:15, 30). “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36).
Sometimes, however, when life beats us down, we do doubt, we do fear, and we stumble greatly. We feel so dejected and overwhelmed that we cry: “O my God, my soul is cast down within me” (Psalm 42:6). Fortunately, the Lord quickly responds: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10). “[C]all upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee” (Psalm 50:15). It is in these times that we must apply the counsel: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Often, the hard times we are put through have a divine purpose and are little more than Heaven-devised tests to gauge us, humble us, and mold us into better people. These types of tests are ever present when we are generally good people with sincere hearts. “The Lord trieth the righteous” (Psalm 11:5). “For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth” (Proverbs 3:12). He has said that “whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:1). It’s true that “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peacable fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).
The Lord never gives us a trial without a way to come through it strengthened and enriched. Peter testified that “the trial of y our faith [is] much more precious than of gold” (1 Peter 1:7). The “salvation of your souls” is the final reward of faithful endurance in the face of trials (1 Peter 1:9). The Lord prefers those who, like Himself, have been refined by trials. “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10).
There are times, of course, that trails and catastrophes strike which are not designed or desired by God. “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11). Because of our agency and free will, people at times reject God’s laws and do horrific things or have terrible things done to them. During these times of tragedy, heartache, violence, and pain, the Lord understands us perfectly. It is through suffering that “we may be also glorified together” with the Lord (Romans 8:17).
Through His Atonement, “he [took] upon him [our] infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor [us] according to [our] infirmities” (Alma 7:11). “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9). We must “turn unto the Lord [our] God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Joel 2:13). “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9). “He forgetteth not the cry of the humble” (Psalm 9:12). “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
In sunshine or rain, we should recall that “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5). In mortality, He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). Today, He continues to do good. “He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. . . . for he doeth that which is good among the children of men . . . and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female . . . all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:24, 33). “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God” (Moroni 7:12).
Yes, “God hath power to help” (2 Chronicles 25:8). Because “the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7) and “knoweth the thoughts of man (Psalm 94:11), He knows us intimately and perfectly. Everything we do is done “under the glance of the piercing eye of the Almighty God” (Jacob 2:10). The Son taught that “your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8). He loves us. And He rewards the faithful. Always. “Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:20).
When we need reminded that he God of Heaven really is on our side, we have His words to comfort us: “Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:37). Because He endured and completed the Atonement, and yet stands fully alive because of the power of the resurrection, He demonstrates His supreme power over all other forces. He “is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness” (Alma 7:14). When we look to Him, he saves us.
“I will not forget thee,” He promises. “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16). The crucifixion nail marks are forever etched in His perfect hands and feet. Thousands of people on multiple continents did go “forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come” (3 Nephi 11:15). The Lord retains these marks as a perpetual sign that He was “slain for the sins of the world” (3 Nephi 11:14) and that “redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:6). His purpose was “to bring salvation unto men” (2 Nephi 2:3). “[H]e hath given [salvation] free for all men” (2 Nephi 26:27). Yes, “salvation is free” (2 Nephi 2:4)!
We have the assurance of Jesus’ continued assistance because we know that “now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). The Lord was “the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). He confirmed: “I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25). No man, He said, had power to take His life, but “I lay it down of myself . . . and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18). He gave His life as “a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
After three days in the tomb, His immortal spirit joined with His resurrected flesh and He became a resurrected Being. He now has a perfected body of “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). Angels announced His resurrection with the unending declaration: “He is not here: for he is risen” (Matthew 28:6).
Because the Savior “destroyed” death (1 Corinthians 15:26), “the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darknened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death” (Mosiah 16:8). “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death” (Hosea 13:14).
Because the Lord abolished death and appointed a time for resurrection: “The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame. . . . And then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of God” (Alma 40:23, 25). The loved ones we have loved and lost aren’t not gone for long.
That man is eternal and will continue to live after his mortal body returns to the earth is an incredible truth. But as incredible as it seems, it is true. We may know with a perfect knowledge that Jesus lived, died, and rose from the grave that first Easter Sunday to claim His place as the King of kings. We can be so filled with testimony and truth that we can positively declare: “[I]n my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26). We can know the truth because “[Jesus] manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith” (2 Nephi 26:13). “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5).
I give my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives. I know He stands as “the keeper of the gate” to Heaven (2 Nephi 9:41) and that “redemption cometh through Christ the Lord” (Mosiah 16:15). “The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God” (Exodus 15:2). “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). “Who is a God like unto [Him], that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? . . . he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion on us” (Micah 7:18).
I know and bear witness that: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust” (Psalm 18:2). “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25). At that day, not too far distant, “every ear shall heart it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that Jesus is the Christ (Doctrine and Covenants 88:104). The whole earth will know and declare that “the Lord is King for ever and ever” (Psalm 10:16). “For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:28). Humanity will finally acknowledge “the majesty of the name of the Lord” (Micah 5:4).
Yes, I know that my redeemer lives! My witness is of the Holy Spirit and I can declare it independent of any other source. This knowledge is mine. It fills my soul. It gives me strength. It sustains me. It is “my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption . . . yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God. . . . this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever” (Alma 26:36-37).
To hear beautiful messages about Jesus Christ and His ongoing work of redemption, tune in with me on April 4 and 5 to watch General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Or visit https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/general-conference to explore the Conference archives and watch these inspired addresses at your leisure. They are evidence that God continues to love His children and that He still directs us through prophets as He did in former times.
May the Lord bless you and your family. May you draw closer to Him this Easter and remember to thank your Eternal Father in your prayers for the sacrifice and mercy and love of His Son, the Redeemer Jesus Christ.
March 29, 2020