Jesus Christ, Holy One of Israel

All nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shall dwell safely in the Holy One of Israel if it so be that they will repent.”

1 Nephi 22:28

The Holy One of Israel is a name used mainly by Isaiah and by Nephi. The latter makes sense since Nephi delighted in the words of Isaiah. This name of Christ seems to pull it all together. He is the Son of the Holy God. He is our perfect example of how to be holy. His Atonement is what makes us holy. When we make covenants with God, we are showing that we are supportive of the Holy One of Israel and that we are not going to trample Him under our feet (Helaman 12:2). Instead, we want Him to reign over us forever (1 Nephi 22:24-26).

Now some quotes from 2 Nephi 9 (this is actually Jacob speaking):

“And the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.” verse 12

“All men…must appear before the judgment seat of the Holy One of Israel.” verse 15

“O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil.” verse 19

“And where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement.” verse 25

“Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel.” verse 40

“Come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel.” verse 41

“Come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not.” verse 51

PLUS, one of my favorite promises in all of scripture:

“But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their JOY shall be full forever.” 2 Nephi 9:18

We all have crosses to bear and endure in this life. They will be there no matter what. But if we trust in Christ – the Holy One who delivered the children of Israel from famine, from Egypt, and from so much more – we can be sure that He will deliver us. Hurrah, hurrah for Israel!

 

Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd

“And [they] that will hear my voice shall be my sheep;”

Mosiah 26:21

Last spring, I went on a study abroad in Spain. One of my favorite places that we visited was San Sebastian, a coastal city found in Basque Country. The cathedral there was called the Catedral del Buen Pastor, or the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd. Instead of having the crucified cross above the altar, this cathedral had a statue of Christ with a sheep (see picture above). This was such a refreshing change to the many crucifixes that we saw in the past and would continue to see. Christ not only died for us, but He also lives to lead and guide us.

The title of Good Shepherd gives such a good example of the character of Christ. As shepherd, He leads His flock to the best places for them. He provides everything that His sheep might need (see Psalm 23:1-3). And when one is lost, He goes to find it and rejoices when He has (see Luke 15:4-7).

Two important things stand out in the Book of Mormon when talking about Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd: (1) the importance of hearing His voice and (2) the numbering of His sheep.

First, the Good Shepherd calls to us in His own voice. Alma tells us that He calls us by His name (Alma 5:38). This makes sense because when we’re baptized and when we partake of the sacrament, we promise take His name upon us. If we are the sheep of the Good Shepherd, then we will hearken to His voice. Why? Because we know who the Good Shepherd is and what He has done for us. We also know how He speaks to us through the Holy Ghost. And even if we cannot understand everything at this moment, we can at least recognize the voice well enough to know what is right and what is wrong.

Second, the Good Shepherd numbers His sheep (1 Nephi 22:25). He knows exactly who we are and where we are. Sometimes, we get so hung up on not focusing too much on the numbers because we do not want to “forget” the people who the numbers represent. I am fairly certain that Christ does not forget the people He numbers, but I am also certain that He is ok with reporting 100% home teaching or the one baptism that a missionary had that week. Because He loves us, we do not feel like we are just numbers in the numberless sea of God’s children. Perhaps, if we continue to develop and express Christlike love, then those who we serve will not feel like a number but will feel like a fellow sheep in the fold of God.

Jesus Christ: Firstborn, Only Begotten Son, and Son of God

When the ancient prophets spoke of the Messiah, some of them spoke of Him as being the Son of God. Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [with us is God].” Throughout His earthly ministry, Christ referred to His Father in any conversation that He could. But perhaps the most inspiring moments were those when the Father recognized His Son. Matthew 17:5, “behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Now, in the latter-days, we have many more revelations regarding Christ’s relationship with the Father and how that relationship can help us. D&C 93:21-23, “I was sin the beginnings with the Father, and am the Firstborn; and all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father.”

As a first child myself, I feel that this is one of the ways that I can relate to our Savior. The firstborn is the one who leads the way for all other siblings, the one who takes on responsibilities in a different way from the other siblings. I mean, I was the first one to go to school, the first one to babysit, the first one to learn how to drive. TJ was the first one to leave on his mission, but I followed behind shortly (and that would not have been the case if the missionary age change had happened earlier). Throughout it all, I hope that I have been an example to my brothers, and I’d like to say that I have close relationships with each of them.

In thinking about this and thinking about the council in Heaven, is it any wonder that we chose Jehovah to be our Savior? When God was explaining His Plan of Salvation and the need to send a redeemer, Satan asked to be the one so that he could receive all the glory. But the Father had something else in mind. Moses 4:2, “But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me – Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.” He was our Elder Brother, and He knew things better than any of us. Is it any wonder that He would be willing to sacrifice everything for us? The purpose of the Son is to lead us to the Father. How grateful I am that the Firstborn of the Father was humble enough to do His Father’s will. I hope that we will be able to do the same.

Jesus Christ, Exemplar

Exemplar: noun. One who serves as a model or example.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

“Come, Follow Me”, we sing more often than not in church. We know that Jesus Christ walked the path that we should follow (John 14:6). We know that He is perfect (3 Nephi 12:48). But what does that mean for us? Do we just sit back, saying He already did all of that and there is no way that we could be remotely like Him? NO!

After describing His gospel in 3 Nephi 27, Christ said, “The works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day…. Therefore, what manner of men [and women] ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Nephi 27:21-22, 27) Not only is it possible for us to follow in His footsteps, it is absolutely essential for our well-being!

Now, this doesn’t mean that we go all-out crazy trying to be “perfect” (cough, cough guilty). We don’t need to be perfect in this life; we need to be Christlike. This means that we start where we are at and make small, daily adjustments so that we are headed in the right direction. This doesn’t mean that we all have exactly the same journey. In fact, as a past institute teacher said, there will be more diversity in heaven than there is in hell. We are not meant to be the same. God does not want a “robot people.” He wants a people that care for each other and for their God, despite their differences.

Case in point: my roommates.

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Aren’t we adorable?! #wifeus

They are all incredible in their own beautiful ways. And the way that they each follow Christ is inspiring. Jenna brings the Spirit into our apartment through her daily morning listening to General Conference. Kayla still has her missionary fire and a love for the Lord that she is not afraid to share with those around her. Jess knows where to turn when the going gets tough, and she’s not afraid to help those around her when they find themselves in similar situations. Deb isn’t afraid of showing how much she cares for everyone (in fact, there’s not a lot that she is afraid of). Taylor is so willing to help others (even if it means very little sleep for her) and is one of the funniest people you will ever talk to. Every one of them is Christlike in her own way and I love them!!

One more thought before closing: I love watching the young men bless and pass the sacrament. It is literally the most Christlike thing we can experience every week. “And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them [the apostles], saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) It is so powerful to see these young men (particularly my brothers) follow in Christ’s footsteps. They are providing a service for us just like Christ would do if He were there. How grateful I am for those Priesthood-holders!

As we think about fulfilling our purpose here in this life, may we not forget the help that our Savior has offered to us. He is only a prayer away. “Sincere prayers offered in the holy name of Jesus Christ are an expression of our devoted love, our eternal gratitude, and our steadfast desire to pray as He prayed, to do as He did, and to become as He is.” (Carol F. McConkie) He is our exemplar, and He will lead us safely home if we let Him.