Saint John Chapter Seven Review

The Gospel According to St John: John Chapter Seven: Please open the following link to read chapter seven: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/7?lang=eng

James_Tissot_Jesus_Walks_in_the_Portico_of_Solomon_525

The worldy, or even most of us as humans, seek recognition. If we do something great, or seemingly great in our own eyes, we want to make it known; we seek validation; we desire praise.

Not so with Jesus. He only sought, and still seeks, to do His Father’s will.

So when His disciples urged Him to make Himself known to the world, He answered, “My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready” (vs. 6).

Because the Jews hated Jesus and sought to kill Him (see vs. 1), and because even his own family didn’t yet believe in Him, or they found shame in Him (see vs. 5), He did not go to the Feast of Tabernacles openly, sending His disciples only while He remained in Galilee (vs. 1-9).

But when his brethren were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret” (vs. 10). Jesus did not want to enter with fanfare, but quietly.

Though Jesus had not been taught as the scribes and Pharisees, yet He knew His Father’s doctrine. How is being taught by the Spirit of more value to us than merely obtaining a secular education?

Jesus only sought His Father’s glory. Verses 15-18:

Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying,

“How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?”

Jesus answered them, and said,

“My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.”

The people saw His wisdom, witnessed His miracles, felt something special; but still there were those who chose not to believe. Just like today.

Jesus explained that those who chose to believe in Him would later be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It would be given after He was gloried (see vs. 38-39).

Some then counted Jesus as the Prophet, others as the Christ, and still others said that no one worthy of any notice would ever come out of Galilee. Nicodemus spoke up in favor of their law and of Jesus (see vs. 40-53).

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St Mark 6 Reflections

The Gospel According to St Mark: Mark Chapter Six: Read here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/mark/6?lang=eng

06 Jesus feeds us

‘And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying,

“From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?”

‘And they were offended at him.

‘But Jesus said unto them,

“A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”

‘And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching’ (Mark 6:1-6).

Because they knew Jesus as a boy, and because they knew Joseph and Mary and all of their children, they would not accept that Jesus could be doing the miracles they witnessed. They wouldn’t believe that He was God’s Anointed. So Jesus couldn’t share much with the people there, but taught and healed more in the surrounding villages.

Do we sometimes not accept people because we know their background? Do we sometimes reject leaders because they are familiar to us? Would we also not have accepted prophets who grew up among us? Would we not have accepted the Christ? It’s hard to say. But are we humble enough to ask God about those He has called to lead us, so that we know for ourselves. Are we humble enough to ask God if Jesus Christ is His Son and our Redeemer?

Jesus Sent out the Twelve Apostles, two by two, to serve missions: Read Mark 6:7-13:

‘And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them,

“In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”

‘And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Jesus established the order for missionary work, wherein the apostles went out two by two to teach the gospel, administer in the ordinances thereof, and offer relief, healing, and salvation to the people. The Apostles had the authority to do these works in Jesus’s name. 

Herod Mistakes Jesus for John the Baptist, thinking he’s risen from the dead: Read Mark 6:14-29.

Herod had John beheaded. When he hears the works that Jesus is doing, he thinks John has been brought back to life. Others think that Jesus is Elias, or another prophet, or as one of the prophets.

The Apostles Report on their Assignments: Read Mark 6:30-32:

‘And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them,

“Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while”:

‘for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.’

The Lord new the value of having solitary time, down time, a time to rest and regroup, a time for prayer and rejuvenation, a time to be fed by the Spirit.

When ‘the people saw them departing, and many knew him, [they] ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

‘And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said,

“This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.”

‘He answered and said unto them,

“Give ye them to eat.”

‘And they say unto him,

“Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?”

‘He saith unto them,

“How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.”

‘And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

‘And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

‘And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men (vs. 33-44).

It is amazing to think of the crowds of people running over the land to get to the place where the ship would dock. Jesus had compassion on them, and He taught them all day. They were such a willing congregation; quite a contrast from His own village. Then He again miraculously fed the multitude, because He didn’t want to send them away weak and hungry to faint on their way home.

How can we feed others both spiritually and physically? Do physical needs need to be met before people can grasp spiritual things? Is eating together itself an act of communion that binds us?

The apostles departed by ship while Jesus sent the multitude away. Then ‘He departed into a mountain to pray’ (vs. 45-46).

‘And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

‘But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them,

“Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”

‘And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened’ (vs. 47-52).

Even with all the miracles the disciples witnessed daily, they still were in awe and wondered. Wouldn’t you? Here was a man walking on water, who not only told them not to fear, but also calmed the storm. If their hearts were hardened, would the storm have humbled them?

I love the last few verses, because the people of Gennesaret see the ship approaching, and right away they know it’s Jesus, And they ‘ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.

‘And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole’ (vs. 53-56).

Are we looking for Jesus? These verses say they knew Him. (And so did the people He’d fed earlier.) Do we know Him? Do we know He can heal us? Are we bringing others unto Christ so they can be healed as well?

St Matthew 12 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 12: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/12?lang=eng

12 withered hand

Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath

Although Jesus showed point-by-point that He is Lord of the Sabbath, and that it is given to Him to both eat of the field with His disciples and to heal on the Sabbath day, the Pharisees are quick to condemn Jesus: first, by holding counsel to see how they can destroy Him; later, they accused Him of being a devil; and then, they compounded their evil acts by seeking a sign from Him. (All of His teachings and healings were not signs enough for the Pharisees.)

Jesus’s disciples picked corn from a field to eat on the Sabbath Day. The Pharisees were quick to notice, because this was against the customs relating to The Law of Moses. They stated in judgment,

“Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:2).

‘But He said unto them,

“Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day”’ (vs 3-8).

Then Jesus, outside the synagogue, saw a man with a withered hand. Since it was the Sabbath day, He posed a question,  and then answered it Himself:

“Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?…

“What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep?

“Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days” (vs. 10-12).

‘Then saith he to the man,

“Stretch forth thine hand.”

‘And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other’ (vs. 13).

The Pharisees were upset that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and they held a council to search out what they could do to destroy Jesus.

Further thoughts: Why did they want to destroy Him? Did they think Jesus was evil for doing miracles on His day? Did they not believe in Him or Who He was? Or did they envy His power, authority, and position? Did they not respect Jesus because He was young, or because His understanding was higher than theirs? Did they cleave to the old law, their law, which gave them power and authority over the people?

As the chapter continues, it still appears to be the Sabbath Day.

Jesus knew that the Pharisees sought to destroy Him, so He withdrew from there. But still, great multitudes followed after Him with their sick and afflicted, and He healed them all. He asked them not to make it known.

Further thought: Missionary work, serving our Heavenly Father, teaching the gospel, offering salvation, and healing the sick in body and spirit should never stop; and, it is especially fitting on the Sabbath Day, a day of worship, praise, and renewal.

In all these things, Isaiah’s prophecies were seeing their fulfillment in the ministry of Jesus Christ:

‘That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

“Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon Him, and He shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in His name shall the Gentiles trust”’ (vs. 17-21).

He then healed a man possessed of a devil, who was both blind and dumb; and then, he spoke and saw.

‘And all the people were amazed, and said,

“Is not this the son of David?”

‘But when the Pharisees heard it, they said,

“This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.”

‘And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them,

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I be Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad”’ (vs. 23-30).

The people who followed Jesus and saw His miracles believed in Him, and they hoped that He was their Messiah. Of course, the Pharisees again weren’t pleased and suggested that Jesus had cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince of all devils.

Further thoughts: We can no more be for God and against Him at the same time than the Pharisees could be. Nor can we fight against Him and be on His side.

We can be forgiven of most sins, when we acknowledge our error, repent, seek forgiveness, and turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart. But if we blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, we cannot be forgiven of that. Even if we speak against Jesus we can be forgiven. But not so if we speak against the Holy Ghost; neither in this life or in the world to come. Why is that?

Further thought: A witness from the Holy Ghost goes beyond what we can hear or see with our natural senses. It is felt on a deeply spiritual level, as Spirit speaks to spirit.

Either something is good, or it isn’t. If Jesus was doing good works, then He is good and comes from God. We need to speak honestly.

Jesus called the Pharisees a generation of vipers.

He also tells us that we should watch the words which we speak, because we will be accountable for them. They will either justify or condemn us.

So after being reproved by the Lord, instead of acknowledging their errors, the Pharisees compounded their wrongs by asking a sign of Jesus. They wanted Him to prove who He was.

Jesus told them,

“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (vs. 39-40).

Further thought: Pray about Jesus being the Son of God; follow His commandments, and prove to yourself that they are good and bring you happiness. Do not get hung up with the record stating three days and three nights, when Jesus was resurrected on the third day after the second night. If we try to justify away the purity of the gospel because our mind notices a perceived discrepancy in a record, we will become as the Pharisees, and we will not be justified in forsaking Him. This is especially so if we have already received a witness that the gospel is true and that Jesus was and is the Son of God, and He is a God of miracles.

Jesus then told the Pharisees that Nineveh would rise in judgment against them; because, although it had been a wicked city, the people repented when Jonah taught,

“An behold, a greater than Jonas is here” (vs 41).

And another example,

“The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here” (vs. 42).

He also gave the example of a man whose house had been cleaned and swept, and he invited seven evil spirits to come dwell with him.

Further thought: Using The Law of Witnesses, Jesus showed the Pharisees that they were currently under condemnation and would remain so if they did not repent.

Then some approached Jesus saying that His mother and brethren wanted to speak with Him. He responded that all who do the will of His Father in heaven are His family: his brother, sister and mother.

St Matthew 8 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 8: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/8?lang=eng

8 Peter motherinlaw

Jesus Sought Spiritual Renewal in Order to Serve the People

Jesus had spent some time on a mountain. Do we do the same? The temple is considered the mountain of the Lord. Do we seek spiritual renewal so that we can meet the demands of our callings, or our family relationships, or our jobs? Do we find our own places of quiet worship where we can be alone with God?

When Jesus came down from the mountain, the people immediately sought Him. A leper approached Him with faith and worship. “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Jesus seeing His faith, ‘put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, “I will; be though clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed’ (Matt 8:2-3).

Why did Jesus ask him not to make the miracle known other than going to the priest according to the law of Moses?

In Capernaum, a centurion told Jesus of his servant that was sick with palsy. Jesus was willing to go to the centurion’s home to heal his servant, but the centurion felt uneasy at having the great honor of the Lord entering his home; he deemed himself unworthy. But his faith was so great that he told Jesus that he knew the servant would be healed if Jesus commanded it to be so. Jesus marveled at his great faith and told the people who followed Him that He hadn’t seen such faith in Israel.

He then made known that it will be the faithful who sit down in heaven with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the faithful from all over the world; but, many who were first presented with the kingdom of heaven will be cast out, because they weren’t faithful, or they did not accept Jesus and His gospel, His laws and His ordinances. Those unfaithful stewards will bitterly weep when they realize what they’ve lost.

Jesus then told the centurion that he was free to go and that because of his belief his servant would be healed. The centurion found out that his servant was immediately healed right at that time.

Peter’s wife’s mother was another person that Jesus healed. She had a fever, and Jesus touched her hand and the fever left. As good hostesses do, she arose and served them: probably Jesus, Peter, and others of the apostles.

There is much significance in these two verses (See vs. 14-15), not just because Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, but also because Peter was indeed married. He had a wife.

Further thought: Truly according to Jewish law and customs of that time, in order to be a preacher, as Jesus and His apostles were, a man needed to be at least 30 years of age and married.

In the evening, again many people were brought to Jesus by those who expected Jesus to deliver them from their afflictions. “With His word” (vs. 16) He healed many of their illnesses and cast devils out of others.

Because of the great multitudes of people, Jesus was going to depart to the other side (of the water). Before He and His disciples departed, a scribe said that he’d follow Jesus anywhere. Jesus told him that he didn’t have a permanent place to go. One disciple wanted to bury his father before following after Jesus. ‘But Jesus said unto him, “Follow me; and let the deed bury their dead” (vs. 22).

Further thought: Was Jesus unsympathetic to the loss of family members. Of course not. But Jesus wanted his disciples to understand the sacrifice they were making in following Him. They needed to be willing to forsake all else to truly follow Him.

While on the ship passing to the other side, Jesus fell asleep. When a great tempest arose in the sea, the disciples were fearful of perishing and awoke Jesus. Jesus rebuked the winds and calmed the sea; and, His disciples marveled.

Further thought: Do we marvel at the many miracles all around us? Do we acknowledge the power and majesty of God and His Son? Do we wonder at their power and abilities, and that they still personally care for us?

In the country of the Gergesenes, two men possessed with devils met Jesus. The devils recognized Jesus and cried out, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time” (vs. 29)? The devils then asked Jesus to let them enter a herd of swine when He cast them out of the two men. They were allowed this. But the whole herd ran down a steep slope into the waters and drowned.

Further thoughts: It appears that the devils would rather possess pigs’ bodies than no bodies at all; and, it appears that the pigs had rather die than be possessed by the devils.

(According to the Law of Moses, pigs were considered unclean animals.)

Seeing the destruction of the swine, the people of the city begged Jesus to leave their coasts.

Do we care more about our possessions than we do about the welfare of our brothers and sisters?