3 Nephi 11:9-11
Having previously analyzed the Father’s introduction of the Savior, I now venture here to analyze the Savior’s own words in introducing himself.
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. vs. 10-11
And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ”
When the Savior was questioned about His identity in the New Testament Gospels, he was at times less direct. John 8 is one of the few times were he was fairly direct.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:58
This is Jesus identifying himself as Jehovah, which is why it evoked such a violent response from the crowd.
See also John 4:26
“Whom the Prophets Testified Shall Come into the World”
Here are the words of Nephi:
But the Son of Righteousness shall appear unto them; and he shall heal them, and they shall have peace with him, until three generations shall have passed away, and many of the fourth generation shall have passed away in righteousness.2 Nephi 26:9
Alma also records:
And many of the people did inquire concerning the place where the Son of God should come; and they were taught that he would appear unto them after his resurrection; and this the people did hear with great joy and gladness.Alma 16:20
These two particular prophecies have reference to his post-mortal ministry in the New World. But what of the ancient prophecies? Was there an Old Testament prophet that didn’t testify of the coming of the Savior?
Prophecies about Jesus Christ
This connection between Christ and the prophets is so strong that it almost feels like part of His mortal ministry and mission was to fulfill all that the prophets had prophesied concern him. Is it Christ’s duty to corroborate the words spoken of the prophets?
He did say:
The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: Matthew 26:24
…how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. Mark 9:12
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. John 5:46
It strikes me that as I am reflecting upon how well Christ knew the prophecies concerning His coming, how he as a child must of have been taught the scriptures, and then how he fully embraced and studied these things on his own.
” And behold, I am the light…”
The Savior’s declaration in John is what first comes to mind:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.John 8:12
Another passage where Christ refers to himself as the Light is found in the following chapter of John. In that context, there is an interesting admonition as to how we should use this Light:
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Romans 13:12
“…and the Life of the World”
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.John 6:33,51
Christ is the source of life; there is no life without Him. He told Thomas, his disciple, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and earlier he said, ” I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
I, being so close to it all, sometimes can forget how abundant that life is. How generous is that God that give us life both physically and spiritually!
Now, what follows in verse 11, appears to be completely contradictory statements:
- I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and
- [I] have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world,
- in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
This is a direct reference to the Savior’s Atonement. It seems to extend beyond a momentary event. When he says “I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning”, what do we have here? Was it suffering for the Savior to follow the Father’s will, or is this another way of saying that he allowed (or suffered) that the Father’s will had priority over his own.
In the sufferings of the Atonement, there is an eternal, retrospective/prospective, all-time-inclusive element that makes it possible for his one-time suffering in the garden to cover all time, any sin that needed to be compensated for. This was the will of the Father from the beginning, that the Son would atone for the sins of any and all who would repent of their sins.
What is most critical to understand about these statements is that 1) this was the will of the Father to have the Son suffer for the sins of the world, and 2) that Christ was obedient to his Father’s will in completing this process of suffering. Numerous other scriptures also validate this point. This one capture the essence of them all:
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. Luke 22:42