Jesus Christ: The Perfect Exemplar

Mormons are Christians because they believe in and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.  We want to be just like him.  But how?  We can't all move to Israel, give no thought to food or shelter, and spend our days walking among others healing and blessing them.  I think that in order for us to truly understand how we should be like Jesus Christ, we need to understand some key words including (a) exemplar, (b) follow, and (c) emulate.


As the literal son of God, Jesus Christ has many names.  One of those names is exemplar.  An exemplar is defined as someone who serves as an excellent model to follow.  Jesus explained why he is an exemplar when he said "I am the way, the truth, the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6).  As I study the life Jesus Christ, my testimony grows that he truly is an exemplar and someone to follow.


Christ said, "Come, follow me." (Luke 18:22). The word follow can have several meanings.  One implies to literally walk behind Jesus and follow him wherever he goes.  Because he lived on the earth over 2000 years ago, this isn't reasonable or necessary.  When the Savior asked us to follow him he meant way we should live the way that he lived.   However, in order for us to follow him in this manner, we need to want to emulate him.


Emulation is slightly different than imitation.  Imitation is simply mimicking someone or copying what they do.  Emulating someone means that you are striving to be like that person.  You see them as someone worthy of imitation.  As we study the life of our Savior in the scriptures, we will come to know him.  As we come to know him, we will discover that he is worthy of emulation.

As Moroni was recording his final thoughts in the Book of Mormon, he expressed why we should want be like Jesus Christ.  Moroni wrote, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen." (Moroni 7:48, emphasis added).

I'm grateful for a Savior who lived his life perfectly to serve as an example for me to follow and emulate.  While I may not walk the same roads he walked, I want to serve as he served, teach as he taught, and love as he loved.

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