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Who Was Jesus Christ?

In the Bible, Jesus is called the King of kings, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of all humankind. Although born to a mortal mother, Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God the Father.

4 roles of Jesus Christ:

Christ’s mission was to teach obedience and reverence to God, to be a moral example of how to live, and most important, to make it possible for us to be cleansed of our sins and also live again with our Heavenly Father. Although Jesus was killed, He was resurrected and lives today. So perhaps the better question is not who was Jesus, but rather who is Jesus?

Jesus Christ: The Son of God

Jesus was the only person to be born of a mortal mother, Mary, and an immortal father, God the Father. That is why Jesus is called the Only Begotten Son of God. The birth of Jesus had been foretold by prophets for millennia because His role on earth was central to God’s plan of happiness for His children. 

Jesus’s birth was made known in miraculous ways.

The birth of Jesus was so important that prophets throughout the Bible spoke of the coming Messiah. Jesus’s birth was also signified by the appearance of angels (see Luke 2:13) and a new star seen around the world (see Matthew 2:2; 3 Nephi 1:21). God wanted all people to know that His Son, the promised Savior, had been born.

Jesus performed miracles.

Because of His divine authority, Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and even brought the dead back to life. More important, He frankly forgave people of their sins. This was shocking and blasphemous behavior to the Jewish priests who did not believe Jesus could be the Messiah. But Jesus continually reminded people that the works He did were aligned with God’s will—so “that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

Jesus was widely recognized as a prophet.

Jesus’s miracles convinced many that He was a prophet or representative of God. But when He asked His disciples, “Whom say ye that I am?” Simon Peter correctly answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15–16). Jesus explained that Simon Peter’s knowledge did not just come as a result of what he had seen but that it had been revealed to him from another power (see Matthew 16:17). That revealing power comes from the Holy Spirit, and it is the same way you can know for yourself that Jesus is the Son of God.

Jesus Christ: The teacher

Jesus came to be known as “a teacher come from God” (John 3:2), a role He understood and fulfilled even as a boy. When He was just 12 years old, Jesus was found “in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:46–47). Jesus similarly spent His adult life teaching people God’s truths through scripture, sermons, and stories.

Jesus taught God’s commandments.

Before Jesus’s ministry, faithful people followed the Mosaic law—the laws of the Old Testament, such as the Ten Commandments. With the coming of Jesus, the law changed. As He explained, “I am not come to destroy [the law], but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). He taught a new gospel and a higher law—that we should be meek, merciful,  pure in heart, and forgiving (see Matthew 5:5–8; Mark 6:14–15), that we should pray to God always (see Luke 18:1; Matthew 6:5–13), and that we should love one another (John 13:34).

Jesus taught the only way to God.

The ultimate teaching of Jesus is that you and all people “might have life, and that [you] might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). It is by faith in Jesus and obedience to His teachings that you may live with God again and have eternal life. As Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus Christ: The example

As the Son of God, Jesus lived a perfect life, free from sin. This allowed Him to fulfill His role as Savior, but it also made His life the perfect model for the rest of us.

Jesus was baptized as an example of obedience.

As a perfect man, Jesus did not need baptism to wash away any sins. But He followed this commandment to show His obedience to God and to show to us that baptism is required by all “to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). 

Jesus was an example of compassion.

It’s one thing to say you love others. But Jesus showed love to everyone. He gave to the poor. He welcomed and healed lepers so contagious they were not allowed among society (see Luke 17:12–19). He saved a woman who would have been stoned for adultery (see John 8:4–11). Even when tired from travel and teaching, Jesus refused to turn away little children, choosing instead to show His love to them and bless them (see Matthew 19:13–14).

Jesus was an example of forgiveness.

By His own example and through parables like that of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11–32) and the unmerciful servant (see Matthew 18:21–35), Jesus taught that we must forgive. Even as He died on the cross, Jesus forgave, showing mercy in his ultimate role as Redeemer.

Jesus Christ: Our Savior

The Hebrew name for Jesus is Jeshua, meaning “Savior.” And as promised by prophets, Jesus fulfilled this role through His Atonement and Resurrection.

A Savior from our sins.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). In the Garden of Gethsemane, God the Father gave to Jesus all the weight and knowledge of every sin and wrongdoing ever known to humankind. If you’ve ever felt ache and anguish from wrongdoing, you know in small part this misery. Jesus suffered for every sin. For every person. For you. Through Jesus’s willing act, God’s requirement for justice and His desire for mercy were balanced. And through faith in Jesus Christ, personal repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost, you can receive God’s grace and be free of sin.

A Savior for eternal life.

Jesus was taken by Roman soldiers and crucified to pacify angry Jewish leaders who feared His power. “I lay down my life,” the Lord said, “that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17–18). And take it again He did. Three days after His death, Jesus’s body had disappeared from its tomb—and the resurrected Lord soon appeared to His friends and followers. He was the first to be resurrected, where His spirit was reunited with His perfected physical body. And His Resurrection paved the way for yours: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). One day, we will all be resurrected, just as Christ was.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). It is by coming to know Jesus Christ as the Son of God, understanding His teachings, following His perfect example of being baptized and obeying all commandments, and accepting His Atonement in your life that you may enter God’s kingdom. Through Jesus, you can “have life, and . . . have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).


Learn more about Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.

Study the life and role of Jesus in the scriptures. Request a free Bible or Book of Mormon.

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