Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and Savior of mankind.
The human race needed a Savior with power to help them return to the presence of God because it was born into a fallen world away from the presence of God and without a way to return to God’s presence. Jesus agreed to save mankind and provide a way for mortals to return to God’s presence.
Born in Bethlehem
Two thousand years ago in Nazareth, the angel Gabriel appeared to a virgin named Mary. Gabriel told Mary she would be the mother of this Savior. The New Testament says Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceived a son she was to name Jesus.
Nine months later, Mary and Joseph (the man she was engaged to) traveled from Nazareth to their ancestral town of Bethlehem for a Roman tax and census count. As they neared Bethlehem, Mary felt labor pains. They tried to find lodging in Bethlehem inns, but other travelers filled the available rooms. They found space where the animals were kept. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a lowly stable.
A heavenly host appeared to shepherds, declaring the Christ child’s birth. And the shepherds left their flocks to find Jesus lying in a manger.
Wise men, magi, from an eastern land noticed a new star in the sky. Recognizing the star as a sign of the Savior’s birth, the magi followed the star to Bethlehem where they found and worshipped Jesus and gave Him frankincense, gold, and myrrh.
Hearing the news of a king’s birth in Bethlehem, the local Judean king, Herod the Great, sent an army to kill all children aged two years old and younger. An angel warned Joseph of the impending disaster and Joseph, Mary, and Jesus escaped to Egypt where they stayed until an angel told them Herod had died and they could return to Judea. Instead of returning to Bethlehem, they went to Nazareth.
Teaching in the Temple
When Jesus was 12 years old, His family went to Jerusalem for Passover. Instead of returning to Nazareth with his family, Jesus stayed in Jerusalem teaching Jewish leaders in the temple about their spiritual law. They were astonished at His wisdom and understanding. Mary and Joseph realized Jesus was not in the group returning to Nazareth and returned to Jerusalem and found Jesus teaching in the temple. He told Mary and Joseph He was doing His Father’s work. Jesus returned to Nazareth with them and Jesus became a carpenter like Joseph. Jesus lived a sinless life.
Baptism and Ministry
At 30 years old, Jesus began His ministry by being baptized by John the Baptist. After He was baptized, a voice from heaven declared that Jesus was God’s Beloved Son and then the Holy Ghost descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove.
Jesus began spreading His gospel and organizing His church by calling apostles and other disciples to travel and teach His doctrines. That doctrine included the commandments to love God and fellowman, to do justly, to look for heavenly deliverance and rewards, to be honest and generous, and to keep promises made to God, family, and community. He based the foundations of His church on divine authority, called priesthood, ordinances performed by that authority, like baptism and sacrament, and offices, like apostle, bishop, and priest, organized through that authority to bless the church as a whole.
Through His divine power, Jesus ministered to individuals. He traveled the roads of Judea casting out devils, curing the lepers, healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, recovering hearing and use of limbs, and feeding multitudes with a few loaves of bread and fish. Jesus also forgave the penitent’s sin, which outraged those who did not believe He was the Son of God with authority to forgive sin.
But Jesus was the Son of God and did have the authority to forgive sin. One of His most important life purposes included liberating souls from sin and death. Every time we sin against God or others, justice requires full retribution be made to those sinned against. As the sinless Son of God, Jesus did this by offering Himself as a ransom to pay the price of sin and death, a debt demanded by the eternal law of justice.
Garden of Gethsemane
In a way incomprehensible to understand, in the Garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary’s cross, Jesus suffered for sin and broke the bands of death, bleeding at every pore, and pleading that if it was somehow possible, He wouldn’t have to drink the bitter cup. But He deferred to the will of God and did suffer, and bleed, and die to redeem mankind.
After suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, one of His apostles betrayed Him to the Jewish leaders. Armed men met Jesus in the Garden and took Him to judged by the Jewish Sanhedrin, the religious and political leaders.
The Sanhedrin found Jesus guilty of blaspheme for saying He was the Son of God and wanted Him to die. Since they did not have authority to carry out capital punishments, they sent Jesus to Pilate, who was Rome’s political leader in Judea. They told Pilate that Jesus was an insurrectionist stirring up discontent with Roman rule. However, Pilate could not find any fault with Jesus and recognized that the Jews convicted Jesus for envy.
Hoping to appease the Jews, Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged by Roman soldiers. The back of His body was whipped with leather straps 39 times. The Romans pushed a crown of thorns onto Jesus’s head and wrapped Him in a robe to mock His claim as a heavenly king. They took Jesus back to Pilate.
After trials and scourging, Jesus and Pilate still faced an angry Jewish mob crying, “Crucify him!” Pilate, fearful of losing position with the Jews himself, publicly washed his hands of the situation and condemned Jesus to death.
Crucified at Calvary
Roman guards ordered Jesus to carry a cross from the place of judgment outside of Jerusalem’s walls to Calvary. Weakened by suffering in Gethsemane and scourging, Jesus stumbled under the heavy cross. Soldiers grabbed a man named Simon out of the crowd and forced Simon to carry the cross the rest of the way.
At Calvary, soldiers pounded nails into Jesus’s hands and feet and stood His cross between two thieves also being crucified. On the cross, Jesus again suffered for the sins of the world. This combined suffering redeemed mankind from sin if they repent.
Jesus’s mother Mary, several other women, and His apostle John stood near the cross.
After six hours on the cross, Jesus cried out, “It is finished” and died. The sky grew black and an earthquake shook Jerusalem.
A Roman soldier thrust a spear into Jesus’s side to make sure He was dead. Then they removed His body from the cross.
Buried in a Tomb
A man name Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate to let him bury Jesus in his tomb. Pilate, surprised that Jesus died so quickly, agreed. Friends wrapped Jesus’s body and placed Him in the tomb. All of this was hurriedly done because the Passover approached and it was against the law to handle the dead on holidays like Passover.
At the Jewish leaders’ request, Pilate stationed some soldiers outside of the tomb. To ensure that Jesus’s body was secured in the tomb, they rolled a huge stone across the front of the tomb.
When Passover ended, three days later, some women went to the tomb to more carefully embalm Jesus, expecting the soldiers to roll away the tomb for them. When they arrived at the tomb, they discovered the tomb open and the soldiers missing.
When they looked in the tomb, Jesus’s body was gone. Two angels greeted the women and told them Jesus was not there, that He had resurrected as promised. The women ran back into Jerusalem and told the others. Two apostles ran to the tomb to investigate for themselves. They did not see Jesus’s body or the angels.
Mary Magdalene stayed behind as the others left the tomb again. She heard a man speak to her. Mary thought he was the gardener and asked the man if he knew where the body of Jesus was. When He called her by name, Mary realized the man was Jesus!
His spirit and body had reunited and He was resurrected. Part of Jesus Christ’s purpose was to overcome the bands of death. As the first resurrected person, Jesus burst the bands of death as a free gift for all who live on Earth. Everyone who lives on Earth can be resurrected, too.
40-Day Ministry and Ascension
Others besides Mary Magdalene saw the resurrected Christ. Jesus appeared to His apostles where they gathered. He ate fish and honeycomb with them. They touched the nail prints in His hands and feet and spear wound in His side.
Jesus Christ continued to teach His followers for 40 days following His resurrection. He taught them how to organize and lead His church and gave them the authority and ordinances to do that.
When His time with them ended, Jesus ascended before their eyes into heaven. Two angels descended and prophesied that as Jesus had ascended into heaven, He would again descend from heaven in the last days when He comes to rule and reign over the Earth.
Jesus Is the Christ
Jesus Christ became the Savior of the world by suffering and dying to ransom mortals from sin and death. Jesus totally conquered the grave as a resurrected being. He lives still and promises to return to Earth to rule and reign in glory.