Lesson 8: Jesus Christ Fulfilled All Righteousness

Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel Teacher Manual, 2015


Introduction

Jesus Christ lived a perfect life by submitting to Heavenly Father’s will in all things. Modern prophets have testified: “Though sinless, [Jesus Christ] was baptized to fulfill all righteousness” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2). Like the Savior, we fulfill righteousness when we submit to the ordinances and covenants of the everlasting gospel. This lesson explores how the Savior submitted to the everlasting gospel and how we can follow His example.

Background Reading

Suggestions for Teaching

Matthew 3:13–17; 2 Nephi 31:4–9

The baptism of Jesus Christ

Ask students to consider the following situation:

During a conversation with a friend about religion, the subject of baptism comes up. After you explain why we are baptized, your friend asks, “I understand that we are baptized to be cleansed from sin. But Jesus was perfect; He didn’t have any sins. So why was He baptized?”

Allow students a moment to consider this question, and then invite them to respond.

video iconAfter some discussion, invite a student to read Matthew 3:13–17 aloud, or show “The Baptism of Jesus” (2:55) from The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos. (Download and preview the video before class.) If you show the video, invite students to follow along in their scriptures.

 
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After the video, ask:

  • What reason did Jesus give for being baptized? (Consider writing the following doctrine on the board: Jesus Christ was baptized to fulfill all righteousness.)

  • What do you think it means that Jesus was baptized “to fulfil all righteousness”? (Matthew 3:15).

To help students answer this question, give them time to search their scriptures. You may want to suggest that they write 2 Nephi 31:4–9 in the margin of their scriptures next to Matthew 3:15. Ask students to read 2 Nephi 31:5–6 silently, noting the question Nephi asked. After sufficient time, explain that Nephi answered this question in 2 Nephi 31:7–9. Invite a student to read these verses aloud, and ask the class to follow along and identify the ways the Savior fulfilled all righteousness by being baptized. You may want to suggest that they mark what they find. As students share what they identified, write the following statements on the board:

He humbled himself before the Father.

He witnessed to the Father that He would obey His commandments.

He showed the children of men the gate by which they can enter the celestial kingdom.

He set an example for us.

(Note: This activity will allow students to practice the scripture study skill of making lists, helping them to identify key points the scripture writer intended to emphasize.)

Remind students of the question Nephi asked (see verse 6). Then ask:

  • Keeping in mind the items on the board, how does Jesus Christ’s baptism provide an example of what it means to be righteous?

As students respond, make sure the following ideas are identified and discussed (you may want to replace the items on the board with these):

Righteousness includes humbly conforming to the will of the Father.

Righteousness includes covenanting with the Father to obey His commandments.

Righteousness includes receiving the ordinances of salvation.

Righteousness includes following the example set by Jesus Christ.

Ask the class:

  • How can we apply Jesus’s example of righteousness in our own lives?

Testify to your class that, like us, Jesus was subject to all of the terms and conditions of Heavenly Father’s plan. His perfect life is an example that we should seek to follow.

2 Nephi 31:10–21

Following the Savior’s example

Invite a student to read 2 Nephi 31:10–12 aloud. Ask the class:

  • In verse 10, what invitation did the Savior issue to all of us?

  • According to these verses, what did Jesus say we must do to follow Him?

Ask students to read 2 Nephi 31:16–17 silently. Then ask:

  • What else must we do to follow the Savior’s example?

  • What does it mean to endure to the end and to follow “the example of the Son of the living God”? (verse 16). (You might emphasize the word do in verse 17. Also emphasize the following principle: As we follow the example of Jesus Christ, we can fulfill all righteousness, as He did.)

Explain to students that the scriptures they have read in 2 Nephi 31 contain the essence of the everlasting gospel, which Heavenly Father established before the creation of the world.

Invite students to analyze Romans 6:3–6, looking for key words or phrases that confirm that following the example of Jesus Christ requires more than being baptized. You may want to suggest that students mark what they find.

Give students a copy of the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ask them to read it silently. Invite them to consider how their own baptisms have influenced their lives.

Elder Robert D. Hales

“When we understand our baptismal covenant and the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will change our lives and will establish our total allegiance to the kingdom of God. When temptations come our way, if we will listen, the Holy Ghost will remind us that we have promised to remember our Savior and obey the commandments of God. …

“As we follow the example of Jesus, we, too, demonstrate that we will repent and be obedient in keeping the commandments of our Father in Heaven. We humble ourselves with a broken heart and a contrite spirit as we recognize our sins and seek forgiveness of our trespasses (see 3 Ne. 9:20). We covenant that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and always remember Him. …

“… I pray that each of us as members of His kingdom will understand that our baptism and confirmation is the gateway into His kingdom. When we enter, we covenant to be of His kingdom—forever!” (“The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 7–8, 9).

Ask students the following:

  • How has being baptized helped you to follow Jesus Christ’s example of fulfilling all righteousness?

Give students a moment to reflect on how well they are meeting the standards of righteousness demonstrated by the Savior at His baptism. Ask students to ponder what more they could do to show obedience to Heavenly Father.

Student Readings