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Jesus Christ and the Sacrament

Jesus Christ and the Sacrament

As I reflect upon my youth, I remember partaking of the Sacrament at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon” church by the media). The young men, who held the Priesthood of God, would bless the broken bread and then pass it to the congregation; they then would bless the water and likewise pass the little small cups to those in attendance. I also remember my mom wisely putting away my crayons and handing me a picture book so that I could look at pictures of Jesus during this sacred time. I didn’t yet understand the symbolism behind the sacrament (in Catholicism, and in other faiths, it may be known as Communion, or Holy Communion), but I remembered thinking that the bread tasted better than any bread I could eat at home. Not even being old enough to be baptized (age 8 for Latter-day Saints) I tried to replicate this good tasting bread in my own kitchen, by pulling a slice of bread apart into small pieces like the ones I saw at church. Then... Read the rest of this entry »

The Law of Sacrifice Part III – In Remembrance

The Law of Sacrifice Part III – In Remembrance

The evening before the Lamb of God was to be crucified for the sins of the world and hours before He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus was sitting with his Apostles in a “large upper room” (Mark 14:15). It was here that He first instituted the sacrament: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples,” (Matthew 26:26). Then He said, “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” 1 Corinthians 11:24). Then, “After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:25). Thus, the purpose of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is to look back and remember Jesus the Christ and what He has done for each of us. Everything points “to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice [is] the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal” (Alma 34:14).... Read the rest of this entry »

The Law of Sacrifice: Part II – A Great and Last Sacrifice

The Law of Sacrifice: Part II – A Great and Last Sacrifice

The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ “embraces, sustains, supports, and gives life to all other gospel doctrines.  It is the foundation upon which all truth rests and all things grow out of it and come because of it.”1 “The wondrous and glorious Atonement was the central act in all of human history.”2 Because of these statements, all things also point to Christ and His atonement.  Those who lived before Christ looked forward to Him and His infinite and eternal sacrifice.  Those who live after Christ look back to this greatest of all events and “remember what was done.”3 There were many different ways in which the blood sacrifices before Christ were types and shadows of the great and last sacrifice.  Note a few of the details: First, like Christ, the [sacrificial] animal was chosen and anointed by the laying on of hands. (The Hebrew title Messiah and the Greek title Christ both mean “the Anointed One.”) Second, the animal was to have its life’s blood spilt. Third,... Read the rest of this entry »

The Law of Sacrifice: Part I – Looking Forward

The Law of Sacrifice: Part I – Looking Forward

The atonement of Jesus Christ is the central doctrine of Christianity, and all other Christian doctrines come out of and are appendages to it.1 Not only can these other doctrines be connected back to the Savior and His Atoning Sacrifice, but if they are not, “there will be no life nor substance nor redemption in them,” to use a phrase by President Boyd K. Packer, an apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.2 It is therefore not only important, but necessary, when studying any doctrine or teaching or appendage of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to connect it back to Jesus Christ and His eternal sacrifice. When Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden, they were commanded “that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord” (Moses 5:5).  Yet M. Russell Ballard, another apostle of the Church, has said that some have wondered, “How could the slaughtering of an animal upon an altar... Read the rest of this entry »

Why is Jesus Called the Lamb of God?

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Because Jesus’ name-titles are symbolic, one might analyze them in order to both gain a greater appreciation of and learn who He really is.  One of the titles of Jesus Christ that has a very profound level of symbolism is when he is called “the Lamb of God.”  I will attempt a basic explanation of what this name-title means, and why of all creatures, a lamb was chosen to represent the Savior. Long before the Lamb of God was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger, Isaiah likened the Savior of all men and women unto a lamb when he wrote, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).  The lamb is therefore a symbol of meekness, humility, and of willingness to submit to the will of the master.  It is true that Jesus is all of these (humble, willing to submit to the Father) but the level of symbolism goes much deeper than this. But... Read the rest of this entry »

Divine Names and Titles of Jesus Christ

Divine Names and Titles of Jesus Christ

The divinity of Jesus Christ is indicated by the specific names and titles authoritatively applied to Him. According to man’s judgment there may be but little importance attached to names; but in the nomenclature of the Gods every name is a title of power or station. God is righteously zealous of the sanctity of His own name (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12; Deuteronomy 5:11) and of names given by His appointment. In the case of children of promise names have been prescribed before birth; this is true of our Lord Jesus and of the Baptist, John, who was sent to prepare the way for the Christ. Names of persons have been changed by divine direction, when not sufficiently definite as titles denoting the particular service to which the bearers were called, or the special blessings conferred upon them.* Jesus is the individual name of the Savior, and as thus spelled is of Greek derivation; its Hebrew equivalent was Yehoshua or Yeshua, or, as we render it in English, Joshua. In the original... Read the rest of this entry »

Why Did Christ Suffer in Gethsemane?

Why Did Christ Suffer in Gethsemane?

Of all the questions we ponder concerning Gethsemane, why the Savior suffered there is perhaps that which has most baffled scholars and saints. The Gospel writers tell us what happened at that crucial site, but they do not clearly address the question of why. In an effort to answer the question, some suggest that Christ suffered because He recognized the ingratitude of men who would not accept the Atonement He would make for them on the cross, or because He loved us and yet knew what we would commit or face in the future, such as sins, betrayals, denials, and persecutions. others offer that perhaps Jesus Christ suffered because He realized He had to yield up His divine nature and become obedient unto death, thereby becoming the “suffering servant” or be required to give up all the good that could fill His life. Some recommend that we understand Christ’s suffering in an eschatological context and view that which Jesus Christ endured and prayed to avert as the suffering... Read the rest of this entry »

The How and the Why

The How and the Why

To have any measure of appreciation and gratitude for what Jesus Christ accomplished in our behalf, we must remember these vital truths: Jesus Christ came to earth to do our Father’s will. He came with a foreknowledge that He would bear the burden of the sins of us all. He knew he would be lifted up on the cross. Christ was born to be the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind. He was able to accomplish His mission because He was the Son of God and He possessed the power of God. Christ was willing to accomplish His mission because He loves us. No mortal being had no power or capability to redeem all other mortals from their lost and fallen condition, nor could any other voluntarily forefeit his life and thereby bring to pass a universal resurrection for all other mortals. Only Jesus Christ was able and willing to accomplish such a redeeming act of love. Read the rest of this entry »  Read More →

Why Did God Abandon Jesus on the Cross?

Why Did God Abandon Jesus on the Cross?

Matthew and Mark, the only Gospels that record this incident in detail, note that Jesus Christ felt forsaken by God without explaining why (see Matthew 26: 46; Mark 15:34). Later, commentators began to explore the imponderable; suggesting a variety of explanations why Jesus Christ, innocent and guiltless, experienced complete separation from the Father at this horrific moment. Some scholars and theologians suggest that the Father could not bear to witness the death of his beloved Son and therefore, turned aside at the moment of Jesus’ final suffering. Others hypothesize that the Father had to leave, a divine fiat, so Jesus Christ could accomplish the atonement completely alone. Finally, some postulate that Jesus was completely abandoned by God the same as all sinners because Jesus Christ suffered and died in our place (see Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24). Read the rest of this entry »  Read More →

Finding the Messiah Today

Finding the Messiah Today

Now, . . . what do men and women find when they discover the true Messiah? Finding the Messiah is the greatest of all discoveries. If we were to discuss the most important thing about Jesus the Messiah, what would it be? If we were to go home today to our families and say, “We have found the Messiah!” what would we say about Him? What is the most important thing about Him that we could tell another person? Would it be His height or weight, the color of His hair, the style of His clothes, the tone of His voice? Everything about Jesus Christ is important any any true detail or concept would be worth knowing, but what would be the single most important thing to find out about Him? I could answer that with my own opinion, but let us take a cue from what the scriptures say about Christ. I think it can be summarized in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”... Read the rest of this entry »