|Detail from the painting Christ and a Boy by Carl Bloch.|
The divinity of Jesus Christ is indisputable for all Christians. After all, the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten of the Father is, what makes us Christians and provides the foundation for our beliefs.
In this next lesson from Jesus the Christ, I have taken the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs from Chapter 1 to study. You can start the journey with Lesson 1 or catch up with Lesson 2 from last week. You don't have to go in order, though, as each lesson stands on its own.
The lesson is fully downloadable and printable here. It looks a lot nicer than how it cut and paste into the blog. The picture above is also available for free download. Just follow the link in the caption.
Jesus the Christ: A Family Study
Lesson 3: The Divinity of Jesus Christ
“As to who and what He was there are dissensions of grave moment dividing the opinions of men; and this divergence of conception and belief is most pronounced upon those matters to which the greatest importance attaches. The solemn testimonies of millions dead and of millions living unite in proclaiming Him as divine, the Son of the Living God, the Redeemer and Savior of the human race, the Eternal Judge of the souls of men, the Chosen and Anointed of the Father—in short, the Christ. Others there are who deny His Godhood while extolling the transcendent qualities of His unparalleled and unapproachable Manhood.
To the student of history this Man among men stands first, foremost, and alone, as a directing personality in the world’s progression. Mankind has never produced a leader to rank with Him. Regarded solely as a historic personage He is unique. Judged by the standard of human estimation, Jesus of Nazareth is supreme among men by reason of the excellence of His personal character, the simplicity, beauty, and genuine worth of His precepts, and the influence of His example and doctrines in the advancement of the race. To these distinguishing characteristics of surpassing greatness the devout Christian soul adds an attribute that far exceeds the sum of all the others—the divinity of Christ’s origin and the eternal reality of His status as Lord and God.”
- His Divine Birth: On [this] doctrine rest all other claims of Christianity.
- The paternity of Jesus Christ is one of the mysteries of godliness. It may only be comprehended by the spiritually minded. The Apostle Matthew recorded, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:18). Luke renders a more plain meaning to the divine conception. He quotes the angel Gabriel saying to Mary: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing [being] which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35; emphasis added). Alma’s testimony, given fourscore years before the Savior’s birth, beautifully reconciles the testimonies of Matthew and Luke: “He shall be born of Mary, … she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God” (Alma 7:10; emphasis added).
- Thus the testimonies of appointed witnesses leave no question as to the paternity of Jesus Christ. God was the Father of His fleshly tabernacle, and Mary, a mortal woman, was His mother. He is therefore the only person born who rightfully deserves the title “the Only Begotten Son of God.”
2. His ministry: He spoke as God, He acted as God, and performed works which only God Himself can do. His works bear testimony of His divinity.
- The entire ministry of the Master was characterized by His voluntary subordination to His Heavenly Father’s will. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38).
- He came to restore the fulness of a gospel which had been lost by apostasy. He came not to repeal Moses but to subordinate Mosaic law to the higher law of Christ.
- The hallmark of His ministry, as prophets before Him testified that it would be, was many mighty miracles—“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” (Mosiah 3:5).
3. His Great Atoning Sacrifice: Were it not for the power that Jesus inherited from His Father, His great Atonement would not have been possible.
- [In Gethsemane] He suffered the pains of all men, which suffering, He said, “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” (D&C 19:18).
- He suffered as only God could suffer, bearing our griefs, carrying our sorrows, being wounded for our transgressions, voluntarily submitting Himself to the iniquity of us all, just as Isaiah prophesied (see Isa. 53:4–6).
- It was in Gethsemane where Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world, in Gethsemane where His pain was equivalent to the cumulative burden of all men, in Gethsemane where He descended below all things so that all could repent and come to Him. The mortal mind fails to fathom, the tongue cannot express, the pen of man cannot describe the breadth, the depth, or height of the suffering of our Lord—nor His infinite love for us.
4. His Literal Resurrection: The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem is history’s most significant tomb—because it is empty!
- Of all the marks of Jesus’ divinity, none has greater support by the testimony of eyewitnesses than His literal, bodily Resurrection. Several women testified that they saw Him alive. Two disciples on the road to Emmaus dined with Him. Peter proclaimed himself an eyewitness to the Resurrection. There were many special appearances to the Twelve. In addition to these testimonies, over 500 saw Him at one time. And Paul certified that he saw the resurrected Lord.
- The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest historical event in the world to date.
5. His Promised Coming: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again” (John 14:2–3; emphasis added).
- Before He comes, the testimony of the servants of God will be rejected, by and large.
- The world will present a scene of conflict such as has never been experienced before. Still, men’s hearts will be hardened to the revelations from heaven.
- His coming will be both glorious and terrible, depending on the spiritual condition of those who remain.
- His first appearance will be to the righteous Saints who have gathered to the New Jerusalem. “And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion. And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another” (D&C 45:67–69).
- The second appearance of the Lord will be to the Jews. To these beleaguered sons of Judah, surrounded by hostile Gentile armies, who again threaten to overrun Jerusalem, the Savior—their Messiah—will appear and set His feet on the Mount of Olives, “and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake” (D&C 45:48). The Lord Himself will then rout the Gentile armies, decimating their forces (see Ezek. 38–39).
- The third appearance of Christ will be to the rest of the world. All nations will see Him “in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels. … And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly. And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire” (D&C 45:44, 49–50).
Questions to ponder:
- How are we divine: A Divine Nature and Destiny by Angel Abrea?
- “All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity” (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75], 4:203).
- The Family: A Proclamation to the World - All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. [Ensign, November 1995, p. 102]
2. Can we become like Christ: How Do I Develop Christ-like Attributes?
- Christlike attributes are gifts from God. They come as you use your agency righteously. Ask your Heavenly Father to bless you with these attributes; you cannot develop them without His help. With a desire to please God, recognize your weaknesses and be willing and anxious to improve.
- “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” 3 Nephi 27:27
- See the article highlighted at #2 for help developing faith, hope, charity, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience.
3. What qualities like His are in us now: Your Divine Heritage?
- In a world so filled with despairing souls lacking a sense of personal worth, it is most uplifting to know that each one of us is endowed from on high with at least one spiritual gift (see D&C 46:11–12). When we know our gifts, we can polish them, hone them, and use them to bless the lives of those about us.
For additional resources including videos, please see How Can I Become More Christlike?
For this activity you’ll need to print the list below which is taken from the Preach My Gospel manual. Rank yourself for each attribute using a scale from 1-5. 1=never, 2=sometimes, 3=often, 4=almost always, 5=always. Feel free to shorten it at will. Then you can print the name tags on cardstock. If you fold them in half horizontally they will fit over the edge of a shirt pocket. Otherwise they can be tucked in a pocket or purse as a reminder for how we should act. You could even write an attribute you want to work on for the week at the top as an additional reminder.
____1. I believe in Christ and accept Him as my Savior. (2 Nephi 25:29)
____2. I feel confident that God loves me. (1 Nephi 11:17)
____3. I trust the Savior enough to accept His will and do whatever He asks. (1 Nephi 3:7)
____4. I firmly believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can be forgiven of all my sins. (Enos 1:5–8)
____5. I have enough faith in Christ to obtain answers to my prayers. (Mosiah 27:14)
____6. I think about the Savior during the day and remember what He has done for me. (D&C 20:77, 79)
____7. I have the faith necessary to help make good things happen in my life or the lives of others. (Ether 12:12)
____9. I have enough faith in Christ to accomplish anything He wants me to do—even miracles, if necessary. (Moroni 7:33)
____10. One of my greatest desires is to inherit eternal life in the celestial kingdom of God. (Moroni 7:41)
____11. I am confident that I will have a happy and successful mission. (D&C 31:3–5)
____12. I feel peaceful and optimistic about the future. (D&C 59:23)
____13. I firmly believe that someday I will dwell with God and become like Him. (Ether 12:4)
____14. I feel a sincere desire for the eternal welfare and happiness of other people. (Mosiah 28:3)
____15. When I pray, I ask for charity—the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:47–48)
____16. I try to understand others’ feelings and see their point of view. (Jude 1:22)
____17. I forgive others who have offended or wronged me. (Ephesians 4:32)
____18. I try to help others when they are struggling or discouraged. (Mosiah 18:9)
____19. When appropriate, I tell others that I love them and care about them. (Luke 7:12–15)
____20. I look for opportunities to serve other people. (Mosiah 2:17)
____21. I say positive things about others. (D&C 42:27)
____22. I am kind and patient with others, even when they are hard to get along with. (Moroni 7:45)
____23. I find joy in others’ achievements. (Alma 17:2–4)
____24. I am clean and pure in heart. (Psalm 24:3–4)
____25. I have no desire to do evil but to do good. (Mosiah 5:2)
____26. I am dependable—I do what I say I will do. (Alma 53:20)
____27. I focus on righteous, uplifting thoughts and put unwholesome thoughts out of my mind. (D&C 121:45)
____28. I repent of my sins and strive to overcome my weaknesses. (D&C 49:26–28)
____29. I feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life. (D&C 11:12–13)
____30. I feel confident in my understanding of gospel doctrines and principles. (Ether 3:19–20)
____31. I study the scriptures daily. (John 5:39)
____32. I earnestly seek to understand the truth and find answers to my questions. (D&C 6:7)
____33. I receive knowledge and guidance through the Spirit. (1 Nephi 4:6)
____34. I love and cherish the doctrines and principles of the gospel. (2 Nephi 4:15)
____35. I wait patiently for the blessings and promises of the Lord to be fulfilled. (2 Nephi 10:17)
____36. I am able to wait for things without getting upset or frustrated. (Romans 8:25)
____37. I am patient and long-suffering with the challenges of being a missionary. (Alma 17:11)
____38. I am patient with the faults and weaknesses of others. (Romans 15:1)
____39. I am patient with myself and rely on the Lord as I work to overcome my weaknesses. (Ether 12:27)
____40. I face adversity and afflictions calmly and hopefully. (Alma 34:40–41)
____41. I am meek and lowly in heart. (Matthew 11:29)
____42. I rely on the Lord for help. (Alma 26:12)
____43. I am sincerely grateful for the blessings I have received from the Lord. (Alma 7:23)
____44. My prayers are earnest and sincere. (Enos 1:4)
____45. I appreciate direction from my leaders or teachers. (2 Nephi 9:28)
____46. I strive to be submissive to the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. (Mosiah 24:15)
____47. I work effectively, even when I’m not under pressure or close supervision. (D&C 58:26–27)
____48. I focus my efforts on the most important things. (Matthew 23:23)
____49. I have a personal prayer at least twice a day. (Alma 34:18–27)
____50. I focus my thoughts on my calling as a missionary. (D&C 4:2, 5)
____51. I set goals and plan regularly. (D&C 88:119)
____52. I work hard until the job is completed successfully. (D&C 10:4)
____53. I find joy and satisfaction in my work. (Alma 36:24–25)
____54. When I pray, I ask for strength to resist temptation and to do what is right. (3 Nephi 18:15)
____55. I keep the required commandments to be worthy of a temple recommend. (D&C 97:8)
____56. I willingly obey the mission rules and follow the counsel of my leaders. (Hebrews 13:17)
____57. I strive to live in accordance with the laws and principles of the gospel. (D&C 41:5)