Lesson 1: Jesus Is the Living Christ

Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel Teacher Manual, 2015


Introduction

Modern witnesses have declared: “We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 3). Because the world seems to be unaware of the true nature of Jesus Christ and His relationship to God the Father, it is important to have faithful witnesses of God’s Beloved Son. This lesson will help students identify this need and learn how they may better testify of Jesus Christ to family, friends, and neighbors.

Background Reading

  • “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2–3.

  • Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 37–39.

Suggestions for Teaching

The Living Christ

Write the following question on the board:

Who is Jesus Christ, and why do you believe in Him?

Tell students that many people answer this question by bearing a testimony. One such testimony is expressed in the hymn “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (Hymns, no. 136). Provide the lyrics of this hymn to the class, and divide students into four groups. Assign a different verse of the hymn to each group, and ask them to read the words. After sufficient time, ask the following questions:

  • What words or phrases are used in this hymn to express who Jesus Christ is and what He does for us? (Answers should include “my everliving Head,” “my kind, wise heav’nly Friend,” “my Prophet, Priest, and King,” “my Savior.” He blesses us with his love, pleads for us, guides us, comforts us, and grants us daily breath.)

  • What words does this hymn use to describe the way a testimony of Jesus Christ can affect us? (Answers should include “comfort” and “joy.”)

Tell the class that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles publicly declared their collective testimony of Jesus Christ in “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” (see Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2–3). Provide each student with a copy of this testimony, and explain that this course takes many of its lesson topics from the doctrines and principles presented in this inspired document. Invite a student to read the first paragraph aloud:

“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” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2).

  • What influence would you like your study of Jesus Christ and His everlasting gospel to have on you this semester? (As students respond, you may want to emphasize that a sincere study of the life of Jesus Christ will help us appreciate the profound influence He has had and can have in our lives.)

  • In what ways has the Savior influenced all who have lived or will live on earth? (As students respond, be sure to emphasize the Savior’s universal Atonement.)

Tell students that this course will focus on the Savior’s eternal ministry throughout His premortal, mortal, and postmortal life. As students study the Savior’s many divine roles, their love and testimony of Him will deepen.

John 20:30–31; 1 Nephi 6:4; 2 Nephi 25:23, 26

The scriptures were written so people might believe in Jesus Christ

Ask students how many books they suppose have been written about Jesus Christ. Explain that any proper study of the life of Jesus Christ must be centered in the scriptures. Invite three students to take turns reading the following scripture passages aloud: John 20:30–31; 1 Nephi 6:4; and 2 Nephi 25:23, 26. Ask the class to follow along, looking for reasons why the scriptures are a valuable resource when studying the eternal ministry of the Savior.

  • What principle do these passages teach about the purpose of scriptures? (Though students may use different words, they should identify the following principle: As we study scripture passages about the Savior, our testimony of Him will be strengthened and we will draw closer to Him.)

Display the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and invite a student to read it aloud:

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“The central purpose of all scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God the Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ. …

“… Faith comes by the witness of the Holy Spirit to our souls, Spirit to spirit, as we hear or read the word of God. And faith matures as we continue to feast upon the word” (“The Blessing of Scripture,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 34, 35).

  • In what ways can the scriptures help us strengthen our faith in or draw closer to Jesus Christ?

  • How has your faith in and testimony of Jesus Christ been strengthened by studying the scriptures?

Give each student a copy of the resources listed in the Student Readings section for this course. (This could be a paper copy, or you could explain to students where they can find a digital copy.) Challenge students to make the student readings for this course a part of their daily scripture study during this semester. Assure students that as they act upon this challenge, they will be taught by the Holy Ghost and will draw closer to the Savior.

Becoming witnesses of Jesus Christ

Explain to students that it is not sufficient just to study about the Savior in the scriptures. We must also gain a personal spiritual witness or testimony through the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, our Savior and Redeemer. Share with the class the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency:

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“We cannot depend on the testimonies of other people. We need to know for ourselves. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, ‘Every Latter-day Saint has the responsibility to know for himself or herself with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God’ (“Fear Not to Do Good,” Ensign, May 1983, 80).

“The source of this sure knowledge and firm conviction is divine revelation, ‘for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy’ (Revelation 19:10).

“We receive this testimony when the Holy Spirit speaks to the spirit within us. …

“The core of this testimony will always be the faith in and the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His divine mission” (“The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 38).

  • Why do you think Jesus Christ should be at the core of our testimonies?

  • What do you feel Jesus Christ would have you do with your testimony of Him?

Display the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and invite a student to read it aloud:

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“People should be able to see in us something of Jesus Christ. The way we act, speak, look, and even think will reflect Him and His ways. … Although we were not present with Him in His ministry, as we search the scriptures, we see Jesus and what He said and did. And as we emulate that pattern, we bear witness of Him” (“Becoming a Witness of Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 2008, 60).

Follow up by asking students:

  • How have you seen others bear witness of Jesus Christ through their actions?

  • As you think about the world you live in, what can we do so our witness and testimony of the Savior can have an impact on others?

Testify that as we gain a testimony of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost, we have a responsibility to share it.

Challenge students to live each day prepared to testify of Jesus Christ through their words and actions. Encourage them to come to class having read the assigned student readings and with a willingness to share insights, ask questions, and participate in class discussion.

Student Readings

  • John 20:30–31; 1 Nephi 6:4; 2 Nephi 25:23, 26.

  • “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2–3.

  • Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 37–39.