“Lesson 9 Class Preparation Material: Jesus Christ: Our Divine Redeemer,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Lesson 9 Class Preparation Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
Joseph Smith’s personal relationship with the Lord began in Joseph’s youth. He wrote that at about age 12, “my mind became exceedingly distressed, for I became convicted of my sins. … I felt to mourn for my own sins and for the sins of the world.”
Later, the young Joseph “cried unto the Lord for mercy,” and the Lord spoke to him in a vision, saying: “Joseph, my son, thy sins are forgiven thee. Go thy way, walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments. Behold, I am the Lord of glory. I was crucified for the world, that all those who believe on my name may have eternal life.”
Through this experience of the First Vision, Joseph came to know personally that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are merciful and forgiving. After talking with the Lord and being forgiven of his sins, Joseph testified: “My soul was filled with love, and for many days I could rejoice with great joy. The Lord was with me” (“Joseph Smith’s Accounts of the First Vision,” Circa Summer 1832 History, josephsmithpapers.org).
Think of times in your life when you have felt concerns similar to Joseph’s. You might be able to relate to his desire to be forgiven and also his joy in learning that the Lord was with him.
Joseph Smith’s numerous visions of the Savior allowed him to serve as a powerful latter-day witness of Jesus Christ. On February 16, 1832, while working on inspired revisions of the Bible (known as the Joseph Smith Translation), Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw a vision in which they “beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father.” Speaking of Jesus Christ, they testified: “He lives!” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:20, 22–23).
Notice what other truths about Jesus Christ the Prophet was shown in this vision.
Four years later, the Prophet again testified of seeing the Savior in the Kirtland Temple and declared that “his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:3).
The Lord taught the Saints that when they study the revelations given through the Spirit, “you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:36).
Reflecting on Joseph Smith’s contributions to our understanding of Jesus Christ, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declared:
Through his personal association with the Lord, his translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, and the sealing of his testimony with his martyr’s blood, Joseph has become the preeminent revelator of Jesus Christ in His true character as divine Redeemer. (D. Todd Christofferson, “Born Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 79)
Note: As you read the following scripture passages and prophetic teachings, consider marking truths relating to the Savior’s Atonement that stand out to you.
Many plain and precious truths about the Savior’s gospel and Atonement were restored through Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon (see 1 Nephi 13:34, 40).
President Russell M. Nelson explained what makes the Atonement of Jesus Christ infinite:
His Atonement is infinite—without an end [see 2 Nephi 9:7; 25:16; Alma 34:10, 12, 14]. It was also infinite in that all humankind would be saved from never-ending death. It was infinite in terms of His immense suffering. It was infinite in time, putting an end to the preceding prototype of animal sacrifice. It was infinite in scope—it was to be done once for all [see Hebrews 10:10]. And the mercy of the Atonement extends not only to an infinite number of people, but also to an infinite number of worlds created by Him [see Doctrine and Covenants 76:24; Moses 1:33]. It was infinite beyond any human scale of measurement or mortal comprehension.
Jesus was the only one who could offer such an infinite atonement, since He was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. Because of that unique birthright, Jesus was an infinite Being. (Russell M. Nelson, “The Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 35)
After quoting from Alma 7, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us. (David A. Bednar, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 90)
Joseph Smith received a revelation that connected the Lord’s incomprehensible suffering to the worth of souls. After calling Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to preach repentance, the Lord instructed them.
The Lord further expounded on His atoning sacrifice in a revelation given for Martin Harris. Martin was struggling with the possibility of losing his farm to pay for the publication of the Book of Mormon. In the revelation, the Lord commanded Martin to repent and then revealed a unique first-person account of His suffering.
As you ponder the suffering that Jesus Christ endured on your behalf, consider reading or listening to the words of the hymn “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193).