The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes mistakenly referred to as the “Mormon Church,” is led by our Savior Jesus Christ. We have prophets and apostles on the earth today who are instructed by the Savior, and who run the affairs of His Church. These men are called as Apostles of Jesus Christ, special witnesses of our Savior to the world. I can think of no better people on earth today better equipped to speak about the roles and responsibilities of Jesus Christ.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has many roles and responsibilities, all of them eternal in scope. The prophets and apostles have given countless addresses about the Savior, His life, mission, and roles. As John said, “even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” about Jesus Christ (John 21:25).
The Living Christ
The prophets and apostles issued a statement about Jesus Christ entitled “The Living Christ,” in which they declare their witness of the Savior’s life and mission. They identify some of His roles and responsibilities: “He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth.” From these two sentences, we learn that Jesus was the Jehovah worshipped by the Jews in the Old Testament. It was He who instructed Abraham, and gave the Law to Moses. He is also the Messiah to whom the Jews looked for and still look for today. He is also the creator of the world; God the Father was still involved in the creation, but He directed Jesus, who did the creating. Later, the document states: “He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.”
Although this statement says that Jesus was the “Firstborn of the Father,” Jesus is eternal and uncreated. This may sound confusing, but we know from modern revelation that God, the Eternal Father is the organizer of our spirits, but that we existed as individual intelligences before our spiritual creation. Jesus’ spirit was organized first, and that could have happened billions of years ago.
Roles of Jesus Christ
Elder Russell M. Nelson, an apostle of Jesus Christ, talks about ten of the Savior’s many roles. He lists the following responsibilities: “Creator, Jehovah, Advocate with the Father, Immanuel, Son of God, Anointed One, Savior and Redeemer, Judge, Exemplar, and Millennial Messiah” (“Jesus the Christ, Our Master and More,” Ensign April 2000). Elder Nelson discusses each responsibility in further detail, but is careful not “to imply any order or priority because all He accomplished was equally supernal in scope”:
- Creator. Jesus Christ, under the direction of the Father, created the earth and everything on it. Elder Nelson says, “This hallowed Creator provided that each of us may have a physical body, uniquely individual . . . We honor Jesus as our Creator, divinely directed by His Father.”
- Jehovah. Elder Nelson cites numerous scriptures in both the Old and New Testament, showing that Jesus Christ of the New Testament is indeed the same God worshipped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- Advocate with the Father. An advocate is “one who pleads for another.” The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, speaks clearly about Jesus’ role as our advocate: “He shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved” (2 Nephi 2:9). Elder Nelson says, “Comprehending Him as our Advocate, Intercessor, and Mediator with the Father gives us assurance of His unequaled understanding, justice, and mercy.”
- Immanuel. The Hebrew name Immanuel means “with us is God.” Jesus was born in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
- Son of God. Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus is literally the Son of God. Elder Nelson speaks about Jesus’ unique parentage: “From His Heavenly Father, Jesus inherited His potential for immortality and eternal life. From His mother, Jesus inherited death.”
- Anointed One. The titles “Christ” and “Messiah” both mean the anointed in Greek and Hebrew, respectively. Elder Nelson says, “One may add either of these titles . . . both signifying an anointed by God for that supernal responsibility” of saving all mankind.
- Savior and Redeemer. These roles refer specifically to Jesus’ Atonement. He saved all mankind from sin and death, and redeems us, making it possible for us to return to God.
- Judge. Jesus will preside at the final judgment. The Book of Mormon states: “The keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name” (2 Nephi 9:41).
- Exemplar. Jesus is our ultimate example in all things. He lived a perfect and flawless life, and we need to strive to become more like Him. In Matthew He instructs us, “Be ye therefore perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Elder Nelson says, “His hopes are for your full potential to be realized: to become as He is!”
- Millennial Messiah. This responsibility of Millennial Messiah is yet in the future. Here, Elder Nelson speaks of the day when Christ will come again, and “direct the affairs of His Church and kingdom.”
These ten roles are not an all-inclusive list of Jesus’ responsibilities. All of the other prophets and apostles have talked about and testified of Jesus Christ and His divine roles. The following addresses are some of what living prophets and apostles have said about our Savior:
Megan is a graduate of BYU-Idaho and recently married member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is a writer and avid reader, and loves music, hiking, and her family.