Viewing Christ as a Person

paulIn his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote the following challenging verses about the humanity of Christ:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8

I recently read an article written by a friend of mine where he discussed the importance of reflecting why viewing Christ as a person can be beneficial. He wrote:

This may be pushing it, doctrinally as well as historically, but I like to think that Jesus got lost on the way to school, struggled to master a sport, fell down a few times in the dirt, ran to his mother crying about bullies, watched his wooden block creations fall to the ground, had upset stomachs, owned a pet that died, became confused when a little girl said she had a crush on him, and suffered through at least one boring class. Again, this may be speculative or even wrong, but I honestly feel that these very human experiences were part of what the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews meant when he said that Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”

christusOf course, it is essential to come to know and to properly worship Jesus Christ, the God. He is the Creator, the Savior, and the head of our Church. But, at the same time, there are scriptures that remind us that Christ is our friend, a personal friend at that. He willingly condescended (left a higher sphere to live in  a lower sphere) so that He could learn how to succor each of us. (See Alma 7:10-12) It stands to reason that to develop the perfect empathy Christ has for each of us, He had to experience triumphs and tragedies similar to what we face.

Yes, most of His empathy came by way of His atoning sacrifice. But He was once a vulnerable baby, a curious toddler, an inquisitive young boy, and an awkward teen. We learn from our own scriptures that His realization of His divinity did not come all at once. Rather, it came “grace for grace.” (See D&C 93:10-14) In the process of learning who He was there was a lot of normal life to be experienced. Remember, He had 30 years of normal life.

friend1The beauty of this doctrine is that we can relate to Christ and He can relate to us. He knows what it is like to be discouraged, for he felt discouragement. He knows what it is like to lose a loved one, for some of His own friends and relatives died. He knows what it is like to be lonely and on the periphery of a community, for He was likely seen by His peers as being different.

The various religions of the world have often sought to find a mediator between us and God who could plead our case and with whom we can relate. The beauty of our doctrine is that Christ is that Mediator.


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