The Living Christ, The Testimony of the Apostles
As our calendar changed to the 2000s, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints determined to “commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago” (first paragraph). They issued this document and titled it, “The Living Christ.” Consider the meaning and impact of that title. All fifteen men who signed their names to the document were called as prophets, seers, and revelators; and as of this writing, five of them are still living. This sacred writing sets down for all the world their united testimony and witness of Jesus Christ as a living, loving Savior and leader of His church.
Living apostles are uniquely qualified to testify of Jesus Christ. They are also sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators, and, like Matthias of old who was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot as an apostle of Jesus Christ, they are charged with gaining and declaring a personal witness of the living reality of the Savior (see Acts 1:12-15, 21-26; see also D&C 107:23).
The LDS Bible Dictionary states: “The calling of an Apostle is to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of His divinity and of His bodily resurrection from the dead.” And, President Ezra Taft Benson testified: “As one of those called as special witnesses, I add my testimony to those of fellow Apostles: He lives! He lives with resurrected body. There is no truth or fact of which I am more assured, or know better by personal experience, than the truth of the literal resurrection of our Lord” (New Era, Dec. 1980, p. 48).
“We Offer Our Testimony”
In addition to saying “we offer our testimony” (first paragraph), these special witnesses also expressed themselves thus: We solemnly testify; We declare; We testify; and We bear testimony (see the fourth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth paragraphs). Additionally, they quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith, who said, “He lives! For we saw him … and we heard the voice bearing record” (eighth and ninth paragraphs).
Names and Titles
In addition to “Living Christ,” the Brethren also used the following names and titles in referring to Jesus Christ. What do these names mean to you?:
Great Jehovah, Messiah, Creator, Firstborn of the Father, Only Begotten Son, Redeemer of the World, Firstfruits, Risen Lord, The First and the Last, He Who Liveth, He Who Was Slain, Advocate with the Father, Chief Cornerstone, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Immortal Son of God, Great King Immanuel, Light, Life, and Hope of the World.
For you, is there a favorite among these names and titles? Why?
- Consider reading, pondering, and marking the nine scripture references quoted in “The Living Christ.”
- Read this entire document several times, looking for:
- Teachings or truths about Jesus Christ.
- Things Jesus did.
- Things that happened to Jesus.
- Things He will yet do.
- Find statements in “The Living Christ” that pertain particularly to the Savior’s atonement. Consider three of the many great gifts that flow from Jesus Christ through His atonement: Forgiveness, Grace (“enabling power”), and Resurrection.
- The last line of this document declares: “God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.” Look for other sentences or phrases that have great meaning for you, or that reflect what you may have written.
- Write your own testimony of Jesus Christ. Consider sharing it with another person.
- Think of ways you can use “The Living Christ” as an inspirational tool for you and others as you celebrate Christmas (for example, this Christmas season, how can you “go about doing good”).