This article is a written transcript of a podcast, Linda’s Corner – 41 – The Living Christ. Click the button below to listen to the podcast.
Welcome to Linda’s Corner. My name is Linda Bjork.
For today’s podcast I’m going to talk about a single page document which is the most concise and yet amazingly comprehensive treatise about the life, ministry, and mission of Jesus Christ anywhere in existence. It is called the Living Christ: The testimony of the apostles. This episode is intended particularly for members of my faith, which is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but anyone is welcome to listen. The Living Christ was issued on January 1 of the year 2000 by the First Presidency and quorum of the apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a special commemoration to celebrate and honor the birth of Christ. This official declaration is so special for many reasons.
Some of these reasons are implied in the name of the declaration. First of all, The very name “The living christ” emphasizes that the death of Jesus Christ wasn’t the end of him. He died, but he was resurrected.
In the New Testament in the 24th chapter of Luke it says,
“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.”
Just the name “The Living Christ” is a witness of the reality of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is not dead. He is living. He is not just a thing of the past, but also of the present.
Some people don’t believe this or consider the idea irrelevant or insignificant or even just a fairy tale. I guess this shouldn’t be surprising because this is actually the same way the apostles responded when the witnesses at the sepulchre told the apostles what happened. To continue the story in Luke 24 it says,
“It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.”
And yet, they were true. And eventually each of the apostles received a personal witness that the things that these women told them were actually true.
So it’s pretty normal and natural not to believe, and it also seems that what goes around comes around. The apostles didn’t initially believe the witnesses who told them, and then the apostles were commanded to share this message with other people who in turn didn’t believe them. And yet these glad tidings that Jesus is not dead, but living was true and it is still true and this message is still being witnessed by his apostles today.
The subtitle of this document gives more insight, It says “The testimony of the apostles.” A testimony is a formal written or spoken statement, especially one given in a court of law, or a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience. This testimony kind of includes both of those definitions, since it’s a formal written statement that is a witness of the divinity of Christ which is definitely religious in nature.
The word apostle comes from the Greek word apostolos which means “a person sent” or “one sent forth.” It was the title Jesus gave (Luke 6:13) to the twelve whom he chose and ordained (John 15:16) to be his closest disciples during his ministry on earth and whom he sent forth to represent him after his ascension into heaven.
So in other words, an Apostle is a person who is called 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. As it explains in Acts 1:22 and also in modern day scriptures in the D&C 107:23. This is so exciting because having living apostles is a witness that the organization that Jesus Christ himself instituted during his lifetime has been restored to the earth. So we have living apostles bearing witness of a living Christ.
So just the title of this precious document “The Living Christ: The testimony of the apostles” shares a wealth of information. It is evidence that the good news of the gospel is not just a thing of the past, but also of the present and that is exciting.
The document also includes 16 titles of Jesus Christ which help us to understand his mission and ministry. Some of these names include: Jehovah of the Old Testament, Messiah of the New Testament, creator, Firstborn of the Father, the only begotten son in the flesh, the Firstfruits of them that slept, the Redeemer of the World, the Risen Lord, the Living Christ, the First and the Last, the Advocate with the Father, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Immortal Son of God, King Immanuel, and the Light, the Life, and the Hope of the World. Each of these names aren’t just randomly selected titles, they each have literal meaning and significance. Jesus Christ is all of those things and reading and studying this one page document and the scriptures that it references are excellent resources to answer the questions “Who is Jesus Christ?” or “Why should I care about him?” Or “What did he do for me?” And I think these are pretty important questions.
So, without further ado, this is The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.
He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. 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). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.
He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.
We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.
He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Eph. 1:10).
Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4).
Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).
We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).
We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa. 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.
We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.
I am happy and grateful to be a Christian. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ gives meaning, purpose, and direction to my life
In closing I’d like to share a quote from the New Testament in Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth
See you next time, on Linda’s Corner.
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