Jesus Christ our Savior
Catholic doctrine is beautifully articulate in
defining the name of Jesus and his glorified titles as the
foundation of who the savior is:
The name “Jesus” means “God Saves” as “there is
no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be
saved” (Acts 4:12) (Catechism 452).
The title "Christ" means "Anointed One" or the
Messiah (Catechism 453).
The title "Son of God" denotes the special
relationship and place that Jesus Christ has as being the only
begotten son of the Eternal Father. “He is God himself.”
The title "Lord" connotes the “divine
sovereignty” of Jesus. (Catechism 455).
Jesus Christ as the only son of God, born of the
Virgin Mary, took on the physical characteristics and nature of a
human without losing his divine stature—thus becoming both God and
human as the son of God. Although having the physical
characteristics of man, including a “human intellect and will,”
Jesus is perfectly in tune with God and the Holy Spirit (Catechism
482). In doing so Jesus becomes the perfect and only intermediary
between God and mankind.
Jesus Christ in his ministry illuminated the true meaning of the
Mosaic law and fulfilled it through his ultimate sacrifice for the
redemption of mankind (Mat 5:17-19, John 8:46, Mat 5:33, and Heb
9:15). Jesus taught his disciples in all he did from the smallest of
words and actions to his atonement on the cross and glorious
Resurrection. Jesus revealed himself to be the “Savior God himself”
(John 5:16-18) through his many acts, although many did not
recognize his Messiah-ship and wrote him off as a blaspheming man
Jesus willingly submitted to the will of the Father and was
crucified, fulfilling his mission on earth to “...make many
righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa 53:11, Rom
5:19), ultimately manifesting God’s eternal love for us by
reconciling ourselves to himself. Jesus suffered death where his
soul and his body were separated from one another without corruption
Before his Resurrection, Jesus “...in his human soul united to his
divine person...” visited the dead that died before him to “...open
heaven’s gates for the just” (Catechism 637).
Jesus was resurrected on the third day as “...the first-born from
the dead” (Col 1:18), laying the foundation for our own Resurrection
at the appointed time through him. Through his atonement and
Resurrection, Jesus Christ assumed his divine position as Lord and
Christ. Before his ascension, Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to his
apostles and all of the Church. Upon his ascension Jesus enters into
“God’s heavenly domain” where no one can see him (Col 3:3), and from
where he constantly mediates for us, pours out the Holy Spirit, and
from where he will come again (Catechism 665 and 667).
From his divine existence, Jesus Christ leads his church as the
first to enter heaven before us, setting the example and hope of our
one day doing the same and being with him forever. Despite his
sovereign reign as Lord, not everyone has subjected themselves to
Jesus Christ. Such subjection will not happen in its fullness until
after a final battle with evil before the judgment day.
Christ will come in glory to facilitate the final judgment where the
living and the dead will be given their just grace and rewards
according to their works. It is here where the final triumph of good
over evil will take place.
See Catechism 452-455, 479-482, 592-561, 594, 620-637, 658-682, 746,
Latter-day Saint Doctrine
The mission of Jesus Christ and his role in our
salvation was established in the spirit world long before he came to
the earth. The plan of salvation called for us to leave our heavenly
existence and come to the earth where we would need a savior to
teach us how to return to our Heavenly Father and redeem us from our
sins. The chosen savior was Jesus Christ, who willingly accepted of
his mission despite the grief and sorrow that he would suffer
Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary whereby the Holy Ghost came
upon her and the power of the Highest overshadowed her (Luke 1:35).
Through this act “God the Father became the literal father of Jesus
Christ,” (Gospel Principles, 63), being the only person to
ever be born of an immortal father and a mortal mother—thus the
“Only Begotten Son.” While his divinity would be inherited from his
Father, his mortal characteristics would be inherited from his human
Although little is known about his youth, we know Jesus “...grew and
waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom” (Luke 2:40), and at 12
years old he had knowledge of his divine mission (Luke 2:46-49). At
about 30 years old, Jesus was baptized “...to fulfill all
righteousness” (Mat 3:15). This was followed by a fast and
temptation by Satan for 40 days in the desert to prepare Jesus for a
public ministry that would change the course of man’s salvation
During the public ministry of Christ, he set the example of service,
performed a variety of stirring miracles, demonstrated human love
with divine nature, established his church, and taught the gospel to
all who would hear. Although declaring himself to be “...the way,
the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), Jesus gave glory to God and
proclaimed, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but
the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38), the will of his father
being “…that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him,
may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day
At the end of his public ministry, Christ fulfilled his ultimate
mission on earth by performing the great atonement. Jesus first went
into the garden of Gethsemane. There he took upon himself the sins
of every human who has ever (and will ever) walk the earth. It was
here that Jesus endured what no mortal could ever endure, saying
“...my soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death” (Mark 14:34). The
pain was so great that “...being in an agony… his sweat was as it
were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44).
While Jesus asked Heavenly Father to relieve him of this pain, he
freely submitted to it continuing according to the will of Heavenly
Father (Mark 14:36).
From Gethsemane Jesus allowed himself to be taken by the Pharisees
and the Romans, physically and verbally abused, and then crucified
at Calvary. The sacrifice made by Jesus upon the cross was accepted
by God the Father to reconcile all mankind to him—hence the
“atonement” (at-one-ment) between God the Father and each one of us.
Such was the greatest and “...most important event that has ever
occurred in the history of mankind” (Gospel Principles, 71).
Jesus was buried in a tomb and during the three days before his
Resurrection, his spirit entered the spirit world to organize and
commence the teaching of his gospel to those who had died before
him, and for those who would die in the future (1 Peter 3:18–20).
After three days Jesus was resurrected. His spirit and his body were
reunited in perfection and glory, demonstrating his power over
physical death. Through the fulfillment of his mission, Jesus made
it possible for each one of us to be resurrected into immortality,
giving every person who accepts the Atonement the gift of being
saved from spiritual death.
Following his Resurrection, Jesus appeared to many individuals,
including his apostles in Jerusalem and the people of the Americas,
to expound upon his teachings and strengthen those in need.
Following this brief period on earth Jesus ascended into heaven and
now sits at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus Christ will come
again in fulfillment of the scriptural prophecies, will reign in
righteousness during the millennium, and will oversee the final
See chapter 6 in Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest
for a more comprehensive explanation and commentary on Jesus Christ