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, 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.

Jesus Christ, Creator

Creator: noun. One that creates usually by bringing something new into being.

Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

This week I was reading about Jesus Christ as the Creator. As the prophets said in the Living Christ, “Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. ‘All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made’ (John 1:3).” While studying the Book of Mormon, I learned some new things about what it means for us that Christ is the Creator.

For example, 2 Nephi 2:15-16 reads: “And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.” Christ is not only the Creator of the world where we live, He is the Creator of all the opportunities that we have in this life. He is the Creator of second and third and one hundredth chances. His grace, His enabling power, creates in our minds the vision of our eternal potential. Sure, we make our own choices, but without Christ, we would not have any choices to make.

Other sections of the Book of Mormon talk about the glory and redemption of Him who created us (Mosiah 4:12; Alma 5:15). This had me asking myself, “Do the things that we create add glory and power and redemption to God and to ourselves?” As we create things here, are we preparing for the life in the eternities? Just something to think about…

One of the most important principles of the Gospel is the knowledge that we were created in the image of God the Father and Jesus Christ (Ether 3:16). We are worth something to them because we are theirs. This is something that I think about every time I go outside. Or when I listen to the song “It Passes All My Understanding” by Cherie Call.

“It passes all my understanding all the beauty we have here,

from the majesty of the canyons

to a tiny baby’s ear.

And even when I can’t believe it, He still believes in me.

It passes all my understanding.”

There are many things that we don’t know in this life. We won’t have all of the answers until later. But we can feel confident in the things we do because someone showed confidence in us. We were worth being created and being atoned for. As we try to follow Christ, let us remember His role as Creator and let us create beautiful things and opportunities for those around us.

Jesus Christ, Advocate

Advocate. noun. One who pleads the cause of another, specifically before a judge.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/advocate

One of my favorite scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants is found in the forty-fifth section, which came as an answer to a prayer regarding the false stories being published that hindered the faith of investigators of the Church. It describes how the Day of Judgment will go for those who believe in Christ.

“Listen to Him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him-

“Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of Him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of Him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

“Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.” D&C 45:3-5

Jesus Christ being our advocate with the Father is particularly meaningful, because it gives a little more depth to the Atonement. The promise is that if we believe in Christ and in His Atonement, then we will be saved. He wants us to be saved!

Earlier this week, a friend of mine asked people in the ward what Jesus Christ meant to them. I replied that He is not only my healer, but also my biggest fan. He wants all of us to succeed, to make the choice to succeed, and that can only happen with His help.

Another scripture that stood out to me in my study of Jesus Christ as our advocate with the Father is found in Moroni, chapter 7. In this part, Moroni is writing the words of his father, Mormon, regarding the work of miracles. He says:

“For He hath answered the ends of the law, and He claimeth all those who have faith in Him; and they who have faith in Him will cleave unto every good thing; wherefore He advocateth the cause of the children of men; and He dwelleth eternally in the heavens.

“And because He hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.” Moroni 7:28-29

It is a cycle, a cycle of faith. We had faith in Him in the beginning that He would perform the Atonement for us. Then, He did so. Thus, miracles can happen which increase our faith in Christ and His Atonement, which makes it all real for us again. The cycle will continue and continue until that day when we will stand before God and Christ, and we will have a perfect knowledge of the things which we had been taught.

How grateful I am to know that Jesus Christ came down to suffer for us, to know what life was like for us, so that He could stand before the Father and say, “They did the best that they could. Please, let my blood and my sacrifice make up for the rest.” This is one of the most amazing parts of the Gospel of Christ.