The work is sweet. Just a few days ago in far-away Mexico, Sister Hammond and I picked up the telephone and heard the voice of a little child begin to sing, perfectly on key and angelic to our ears, “I’m trying to be like Jesus,” and sweetly continued:
(Children’s Songbook, p. 78)
To that precious grandchild, one of many, and to everyone else who is trying to be like Jesus, we congratulate you and express our deepest affection for you. Today, I desire to bring us nearer to Jesus. I would like us to love Him more than we do now. Will you listen as I tell you about Jesus Christ and His infinite love?
It was Christ who in the premortal state presented Himself to become the Savior of men, saying, “Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first” (Abr. 3:27). From that time forth it was proclaimed that the Son of Man would come to earth to sacrifice Himself as an atonement for the sins of all men (see Mosiah 3).
As the day of His mortal birth approached, Nephi heard the voice saying, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, … on the morrow come I into the world” (3 Ne. 1:13).
Thus, on the next day in Bethlehem of Judea, a tiny babe lay in a manger while an attentive mother gloried in the presence of her newborn son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, a God come to earth.
“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).
In succeeding years “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). At the age of thirty, He began His ministry, teaching the great plan of happiness—faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end (see 3 Ne. 27).
Being obedient to the commandment, He was baptized by immersion in the River Jordan by John the Baptist (see Matt. 3).
Later twelve men were called and ordained as His Apostles. Some of them were humble fishermen. He invited them to come “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). Immediately they left their nets and followed Him, as all who are called should willingly do.
The fame of His glory and power spread throughout the land. To a father who mourned the death of his dear, young daughter, He said, “She is not dead, but sleepeth” (Luke 8:52), and He took her by the hand and she rose from the dead.
To a poor cripple He spoke, “Take up thy bed, and walk” (John 5:8). And miraculously it was done!
He rebuked all sinners. The guilty plotted to take His life. He reminded the Twelve of the awful fate that awaited Him: “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified” (Matt. 26:2).
On that eventful last night in the upper room, He knelt meekly and humbly before each Apostle and tenderly washed their feet (see John 13:3–17).
He instituted the sacred ordinance of the sacrament. Blessing bread and wine, He gave it to each one and commanded them to eat and drink in remembrance of His body and His blood, which was shed for them (see Matt. 26:26–28).
After Judas, the betrayer, had gone out into the night, the Savior instructed the remaining eleven with these familiar words, saying:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34–35).
Then Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and the quiet, lovely Garden of Gethsemane. There He knelt down and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). The law demanded a perfect Lamb for the atoning sacrifice. He alone could qualify. His love for us was so great, so intense, that voluntarily He suffered both body and spirit until blood came from every pore to pay the price of sin (see Mosiah 3:7). Somehow we must try to understand and internalize the ransom that He actually paid for each one of us.
Betrayed by a traitor’s kiss, condemned to die at foreign hands for a crime He did not commit, He humbly submitted Himself to the ugly lash and was nailed by His hands and feet to a wooden cross. Yea, the greatest of all of God’s children was left to die on a horrible cross. When finally all things were accomplished, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30) and “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Jesus Christ was dead. The spirit had fled. The body was placed in a borrowed tomb.
And then, on the third day, in mighty power He arose, the bonds of death to break. The spirit had returned to reclaim the flesh. His victory over death was complete!
For forty days He tarried on the earth, showing Himself to many and instructing them in “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Finally, from Bethany He rose from their midst and ascended into heaven (see Luke 24:50–51).
The faithful Apostles continued vigorously with their ministry. But with their passing came a rapid decline of spirituality. The sacred ordinances were changed, priesthood authority was lost, and spiritual darkness enveloped the earth. Mankind had ceased to know God.
Then in the spring of 1820, to a fourteen-year-old boy, Joseph Smith, Jr., the voice of God the Father pierced through the blackness: “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS—H 1:17). Pure light emerged, and darkness fled. God had spoken to man again.
Once again the fulness of the gospel, as found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other sacred scriptures, is flooding the earth. The holy priesthood has been restored to man. The sacred ordinances are being administered to every worthy soul who will receive them. All this to prepare the world for the glorious Second Coming proclaimed by the Savior Himself (see D&C 29:11).
Humbly I testify to you that He will come again in glory, and on that day He will manifest Himself to mankind, saying: “I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God” (D&C 45:52). Then He will reign forever and ever, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Now, during these last few minutes we have focused on Christ’s love. Did we feel His Spirit burn within us? Have we felt a greater love for Him? Are we really trying to be like Jesus? If so, may I ask each one of us to think of the following questions as they relate to our love for Him.
First, do we love Jesus Christ enough to follow His chosen prophets and Apostles, giving heed to their counsel and guidance as if it came from His own mouth? (see D&C 1:38.)
Second, do we love the Savior enough to forsake our lovely home, our precious family, and accept a call to proclaim His gospel in any part of the world?
Third, do we love Christ sufficiently that we will be true to our mates, casting out all our unclean thoughts and never betraying their sweet love for us?
Can we do too much for the Lord? Certainly we all love Him. Therefore, I implore us, keep His commandments and become more like Him. Come unto Christ, eat the bread of life, drink the living water, and feast on His limitless love. He is our Savior, our Master, of whom I bear my humble witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.