The story of Jesus is more than mere legend. Latter-day Saints believe the events describing the life of Jesus Christ in the King James Bible to be historical fact. Jesus Christ stands at the head of our Church and is the center of our faith. The real name of what many refer to as the Mormon religion is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We worship Him as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Since He committed no sins, Mormons study the story of Jesus as a perfect template from which to try to model our own lives. The canonized story of His life in Israel can be found in the New Testament, in the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Mormons believe that the Nativity, or the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, marks a midpoint in the timeline of human existence on Earth. Because His Son would bring truth and salvation to the entire human family, the Father sent Jesus at what the scriptures call “the meridian of time.” His birth had been foretold by prophets since the time of Adam, and believers looked forward to His arrival with joy for thousands of years. Mary was chosen to be the Savior’s mother for her pure heart and her bloodline of obedient servants of God. In the humblest of worldly circumstances, in a dirty stable surrounded by farm animals, the King of this world came to experience life just as we do. Angelic choirs and a new star in the sky announced His arrival, and both lowly shepherds and esteemed scholars came to visit the new baby.
The story of Jesus tells us that when Jesus reached the age of thirty—the age at which His Jewish culture would allow Him to become a rabbi or spiritual leader—He began to proclaim His true identity as the Son of God. This announcement caused quite a stir among the Jews who did not recognize Him as the very being they worshipped. Although their own sacred writings prophesied of a Messiah, they expected a military leader who would free them from Roman rule. Others, however, watched Him perform miracles that helped people, felt the truth of His words, and followed Him.
For three years, Jesus traveled the land of Israel and spread a new ideology about love and forgiveness to a people steeped in the vengeful tradition of “an eye for an eye.” His words changed their hearts. He displayed His divine power as He walked on water, calmed storms, healed the sick, and even raised the dead. Thousands flocked to hear Him.
The traditional Jews hoped their Messiah would possess political power and brute strength, but Jesus’ mission was much bigger than simply toppling a paltry human government. His war was with evil itself.
Just before his capture by Jewish leaders, Jesus undertook the most crucial act in human history. Mormons refer to the event as the Atonement, though it is also known as the Passion. Knowing that His Father could not accept sinful beings in His presence, Jesus offered Himself—an innocent man—as the final sacrifice, and He paid the price for our mistakes. As He knelt in an olive garden, Jesus willingly took our sins upon Himself.
In those grueling hours, our Savior felt the agony of hell, and remorse for each crime or misdeed anybody would ever commit. He also felt the physical torment of disease and the desolation of the abused. The mental anguish was so severe that His body also suffered, and He bled from every pore. Only a deity could have endured the immense burden, and only a man could have felt the pain exactly as we do.
The LDS church teaches that this was the reason Christ came: to save the world from sin. Jesus suffered for our sins so that we don’t have to. If we are willing to repent of our sins and believe in Christ, the Father will accept His son’s sacrifice on our behalf, and admit us into heaven.
Death and Resurrection
As part of His atonement, Christ allowed Himself to be taken by the Jews and crucified. For centuries, His death had been foretold and symbolized over and over again in the Jewish religious practice of animal sacrifice, wherein only an unblemished, firstborn animal was sacrificed to absorb the sins of a family.
According to the story of Jesus, three days after He had been confirmed dead, Jesus came back to life. In a renewed and glorified body, He left His tomb to bless and heal people again. Mormons believe this Resurrection to be the crowning event of the Atonement. His resurrection unlocked death for the rest of us. He offers resurrection as a free gift for everyone, regardless of belief or obedience, and we believe that all people will regain their own renewed bodies after death.
Jesus Christ is our ultimate hero. He taught us how to live peacefully, He sacrificed Himself for our happiness, and He conquered death. Mormons believe that we should use His gift not only at the final judgment but also in our daily lives. When we are baptized into His church, we are cleansed from all our sins. When we sincerely repent of each mistake, we allow Him to free us of the burden of guilt so we can live with joy.
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“The Story of Jesus” was written by Natalie Conforto. The subject “The Story of Jesus” is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you would like to know more about Mormons with no obligation, please click on the following links: