What Bible verse best summarizes Jesus’ ministry?
What Bible verse would you pick as the best summary of Jesus’ ministry?
Here are some of my top picks:
Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
There are many others like this. All my picks, however, would emphasize that Jesus came to save us. I think your picks would be similar.
I ask the above question because, at a recent General Conference of the LDS Church, President M. Russell Ballard talked about this very thing. He said: “Peter may have given the best description of the Savior’s mortal ministry in five words when he referred to Jesus ‘who went about doing good’.” Peter said this in Acts 10:38.
Ballard’s words struck me for a number of reasons. First, as his title indicates, he is a very important LDS leader. He is not only one of their 12 apostles, he is the president of their quorum and next in line to become the president of the church. So, his words carry a lot of weight. Secondly, I noticed it because over the last few months I have seen more and more references to Acts 10:38 where I didn’t see them before. But the most important reason it hit me was that his comment illustrates how differently Mormonism views Jesus’ ministry.
Even though Mormonism talks about Jesus being their Savior and his atonement, what it emphasizes is his doing good and that we should do likewise. This is what Ballard emphasized. A little later he said: “This is the gospel in its true sense as we succor, lift, and strengthen those in spiritual and temporal need.”
No, the true gospel is all about Jesus saving us through his sacrificial life and death. Because of Mormonism’s emphasis on Jesus being their example, this is a message many Mormons desperately need to hear. They need to see Jesus as their substitute who saved them. Not as their example for doing good.