Jesus the Christ is the person that I chose for my VIP for this week. I am studying His life and ministry in my religion class and ponder His teachings often. I am also in the midst of mourning the death of a wonderful young man whose memorial service was today. I am immensely grateful for Jesus Christ, for His atoning sacrifice, and for His resurrection.
One day while Jesus was visiting with His twelve Apostles at Caesarea Philippi, He asked them, “Whom say ye that I am?” It is possible that Jesus was speaking to all the Apostles, but Simon Peter, the chief Apostle, answered the question and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16).
As the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ came to earth to live as a mortal man and to die as a God. He gave His life that all mankind might live again and enjoy eternal life. Because I believe strongly that Jesus Christ overcame death, I believe that my young friend will live again with his family for eternity.
President Boyd K. Packer, then Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, described the Atonement of Jesus Christ in these words.
Before the Crucifixion and afterward, many men have willingly given their lives in selfless acts of heroism. But none faced what Christ endured. Upon Him was the burden of all human transgression, all human guilt. And hanging in the balance was the Atonement. Through His willing act, mercy and justice could be reconciled, eternal law sustained, and that mediation achieved without which mortal man could not be redeemed.
He by choice accepted the penalty in behalf of all mankind for the sum total of all wickedness and depravity; for brutality, immorality, perversion, and corruption; for addiction; for the killings and torture and terror – for all of it that ever had been or all that ever would be enacted upon this earth. In so choosing He faced the awesome power of the evil one, who was not confined to flesh nor subject to mortal pain. That was Gethsemane!
How the Atonement was wrought we do not know. No mortal watched as evil turned away and hid in shame before the Light of that pure being. All wickedness could not quench that Light. When what was done was done, the ransom had been paid. Both death and hell forsook their claim on all who would repent. Men at last were free. Then every soul who ever lived could choose to tough that Light and be redeemed.
By this infinite sacrifice, “through [this] Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).
After His experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ was arrested and tried for blasphemy and sedition. He was hung on a cross on Golgotha and gave His life that all mankind might live. He was buried in a borrowed tomb but rose from the grave on the third day. Because of His resurrection, all mankind will be resurrected with each spirit joined to its body in such a way that they can never be separated again. This is the meaning of eternal life – never to die again. Because Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of all mankind, every person can receive forgiveness for all sins by believing in Jesus Christ and following His teachings.
I am grateful for my knowledge and testimony of Jesus Christ and of His atoning sacrifice and resurrection. I am grateful for the comfort and strength this testimony gives to me in such a time as this. I hope that my testimony brings comfort and strength to all who read this post. He is real, and He lives. He is the Son of the Living God!