Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Redeemer
Jesus Christ was divinely appointed to be the Savior of the world long before His physical birth (see Abraham 3:27; Moses 4:1–2). In the premortal existence, He worked under the direction of Heavenly Father to create the earth. He also proposed a plan whereby we could come to live on that earth and receive bodies of our own. His miraculous birth was foretold by prophets and awaited by many throughout the earth.
Our knowledge of Jesus Christ’s life and teachings comes from the New Testament records of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. We also read of Him in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. We believe each of these accounts to be authentic and truthful. From these books we learn that Christ shared messages of peace while He was on the earth. He healed those with ailments, performed miracles, and established His church.
In the third year of His ministry, Jesus Christ completed the Atonement. He suffered for the sins of all mankind in the Garden of Gethsemane so that we might return to live in God’s presence. In that garden, He felt the pain, anguish, and mistakes of every single one of God’s children. Having experienced our suffering for Himself, He is able to understand, comfort, and strengthen us in our struggles (see Alma 7:11–13; Isaiah 53:4–5; Hebrews 2:18).
After suffering in the garden, Christ was betrayed by His friends, arrested without rightful cause, and put on trial before biased men who sought to see Him wrongfully accused. He willingly suffered a cruel death by crucifixion and offered His life to atone for our sins.
We believe that Christ rose triumphantly from the grave and showed Himself to many, including the people in the ancient Americas (see 3 Nephi 11). Because He overcame death, we will all be resurrected one day. We look forward to the day when He will return to Earth in glory and reign over all people. We hope to live forever with Him, with God our eternal Father, and with our own families.
Though many BYU speeches bear testimony of Jesus Christ, these addresses focus on His life, Atonement, and role in our lives. We invite all to “come and see,” to come learn more of the Savior Jesus Christ through their words (John 1:39). We hope that as you read, you will be able to strengthen your faith in and love for the Savior.
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Who Is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ was miraculously born of Mary, a virgin, in Bethlehem of Judea. He is the literal Son of God. Though we are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father, Christ was the firstborn in the spirit and the Only Begotten Son in of the Father in the flesh. As such, He was uniquely qualified to be the Savior of mankind—a role He was called to fulfill even before earth’s creation.
Because Jesus Christ was the only sinless individual to ever live on this earth, He could atone for the sins of the world and make it possible for us to live eternally in God’s presence. That sacrifice makes it possible for each and every one of us to return to live in God’s presence. Indeed, we do believe it is “through the Atonement of Christ [that] all mankind may be saved” (Article of Faith 3).
During His life, Christ performed miracles, taught about Heavenly Father and our eternal destiny, and served others. In Gethsemane He also experienced the pain, suffering, and trials of each of God’s children. After suffering for the sins of all men and women, He died on Calvary’s cross. On the third day He rose from the grave and ascended into heaven, providing a way for us to overcome physical death and become glorious, resurrected beings.
Each of these talks speaks of Christ to help you learn and ponder more about our Redeemer. Who is Jesus Christ? He is our perfect example. He lives, and He is the Savior of the world.
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What Is the Atonement, and Why Do I Need It?
During the last week of His life, Christ would endure the Atonement for the salvation of all people. The week began with His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. He cleansed the temple, taught using parables, and instituted the sacrament before He made the journey to Gethsemane where He suffered for the sins and shortcomings of each of God’s children. Because sin separates us from God, we must be cleansed if we are ever to live in His presence again. This cleansing was not possible without Christ, who gave His sinless life for all mankind, submitting Himself to the will of the Father.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ enjoined His Father, “if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). The pain He experienced was unimaginable, and He sweat “great drops of blood” from every pore (Luke 22:44; see also D&C 19:18; Mosiah 3:7).
In that garden He felt every unpleasant thing anyone ever had or would feel. He knows what it feels like to lose a loved one. He knows how it feels to experience addiction, to be lied to, and to make mistakes. Because of the Atonement, Christ has felt your personal pain. He knows perfectly how to succor and strengthen you through your trials (see Alma 7:11–13; 2 Nephi 9:21).
Elder Christofferson explained why we need the Atonement when he stated the following: “We need a Savior, a Mediator who can overcome the effects of our sins and errors so that they are not necessarily fatal. It is because of the Atonement of Christ that we can recover from bad choices and be justified under the law as if we had not sinned” (“Moral Agency,” January 31, 2006). Christ suffered for our sins so that we do not have to.
These talks discuss Christ’s infinite yet intimate Atonement. They illustrate the majesty of His sacrifice and explain how we can more fully apply it in our own lives. They teach that Christ has already paved the road of repentance; all we need to do is follow it.
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”
How Can I Be a Disciple of Jesus Christ?
In Doctrine and Covenants 41:5, a disciple of Jesus Christ is defined as someone who has received Christ’s teachings and lives by what they know to be true. This means that being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not a passive process. In fact, Elder Bruce C. Hafen stated that we must “strain every spiritual muscle” in being Jesus Christ’s disciples (“A Disciple’s Journey,” February 5, 2008). We must put forth effort to learn Christ’s teachings and then consciously try to follow them throughout our lives.
The road of discipleship is straight, but we sometimes veer off the path. These detours do not necessarily disqualify us from being disciples of Christ. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knew that we would all make mistakes, so Christ suffered and atoned for our sins while He was on the earth. If we repent His Atonement allows us to joyfully return to the path of discipleship. In Matthew 3:2, Christ implores us to do just that. Jesus also instituted the sacrament. By taking the sacrament each week we can be strengthened to repent and to better follow Him.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said that “discipleship is a developmental journey that requires shared patience, understanding, and meekness. . . . [It is] disengaging from one world and preparing ourselves for another and far better world” (“Meek and Lowly,” October 21, 1986).
Read these talks to learn more about how you can become a disciple of Jesus Christ. This lifetime process can bring joy and eternal life.
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The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ
As a child, Jesus lived in Nazareth, a city near the Sea of Galilee. He was raised by Mary and Joseph. Some people questioned Christ’s divinity because He came from such an ordinary city and was raised by such ordinary people. But others like Simeon, Anna, and the Wise Men testified that He was indeed the Christ (Luke 2:34–38, Matthew 2:1–2, 9–11). There are not many stories about Jesus’s childhood in the scriptures, but the scriptures do tell us that even as a child, Jesus Christ was wise beyond His years (Luke 2:42–47).
Jesus’s public ministry of three years began when He was 30 years old. During this time, He was baptized to set an example, even though He was sinless. He taught others about the importance of humility, service, and prayer. He cleansed human souls, gave sight to the blind, healed the sick, calmed the raging sea, and raised people from the dead.
Jesus taught His gospel of peace while He was on the earth. He called apostles and gave them the priesthood—the power of God on earth—so that His church could continue after He was gone. He taught that through faith, repentance, and baptism, all can live with God again. He also taught the two great commandments: to love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, and to love all of God’s children as you love yourself (Matthew 22:37–40).
These speeches tell stories of Christ’s life and further discuss His teachings. Through His teachings, you can come to better understand your relationship with Heavenly Father.