Saint John Chapter Six Review

The Gospel According to St John: John Chapter Six: Please open the following link to read chapter six: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/6?lang=eng

Great multitudes followed Jesus because of the miracles He performed.

Jesus

Jesus blessed and broke food, lds.org

They following Jesus and His disciples into a mountain. Jesus asked a question of his disciples, not because He needed His disciples answer, or because He didn’t know what to do. Jesus knew that He could feed the multitude. He asked His disciples the question to prove them or test their faith (see vs. 6).

Philip stated the obvious. They did not have enough money to buy food for the multitude (see vs. 7).

Andrew pointed out that a boy had a small amount of food, but not nearly enough to feed a great multitude (see vs. 8-9).

Then Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand, with twelve baskets full of fragments remaining after everyone had eaten (see vs. 10-13).

The multitude believed on Jesus, because they saw a miracle that day, that He was the promised Messiah. But they did not understand His mission. They wanted to make Him a king (see vs. 14-15).

Jesus’s disciples left for Capernaum before Jesus did. The sea rose boisterously because of the wind. Then Jesus came to them walking on the water. He calmed the sea and calmed their fears when He said, “It is I; be not afraid.” The were then glad to receive Jesus into the ship, and they immediately reached their destination (see vs. 16-21).

Interestingly, the people whom Jesus had taught knew that He hadn’t entered the ship with His disciples; but since they couldn’t find him, they got into their ships and headed for Capernaum to look for Him (see vs. 22-24).

The exchange between Jesus and the multitude who sought Him is very telling. They asked, “Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” To which He responded, “Ye seek me, not because ye desire to keep my sayings, neither because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loves and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting lie, which the Son of man shall give you: for Him hath the Father sealed” (vs 25-27, JST).

For what purpose do we seek Jesus? What are our reasons for following Him? We should interview ourselves now, before we bear the chastisment of His interview in the coming day.

They asked Jesus a good question. “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” His response: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (vs. 28-29).

But then they showed their lack of faith which resulted from their own wickedness and yet carnal state, asking, “What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work” (vs. 30)?

Jesus taught the multitude that He is The Bread of Life. Jesus came to do His Father’s will. Because He did so, He will inherit eternal life. His Father’s will is that Jesus save us all. If we believe on Jesus and seek His face, we will also be lifted up by Him in the resurrection of the just at the last day (see vs. 31-40).

Of course, there were those who were offended in that day when Jesus told them that He is The Bread of Life and The Living Water; and there are those who are offended today. But we know that the manna that was fed to the Israelites in the wilderness, or the bread that Jesus fed to the multitudes as recorded in this chapter did not have lasting power to give life eternally. But Jesus did and does.

Do we trust more in earthly treasures or heavenly ones? If we have our daily portion of physical food, is that enough for us?

Many foresook Jesus when He told them that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. How important is it that we partake of the sacrament, The Lord’s Supper, that we have this communion with God? We can only understand spiritual things through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. Hopefully, we will not turn away from Him in offense, because He has offered us everything if we accept His gift. Hopefully, we can be like Peter and say, “Lord to whom shall we go? And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (vs. 41-69).

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Saint John Chapter Four Review

The Gospel According to St John: John Chapter Four: Please open the following link to read chapter four: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/4?lang=eng 

I-am-the-Bread-of-Life-Web

(Image source:clcfremont.org)

At this point in John’s record, Jesus’s disciples were baptizing more people than John’s. As the Pharisees became aware of this, it further put Jesus’s safety in danger.

As Jesus traveled through Samaria, he encountered the Woman at the Well (Jacob’s Well). Surely Jesus is the One who renews us and gives us life. He is as a well of water that will never run dry (See vs. 6-15).

Jesus knows all of us. He knew the woman’s history. It doesn’t matter so much where we’ve been as where we decide to travel now. It doesn’t matter so much where we worship as how we worship. “True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (vs. 23). It doesn’t matter so much who we are currently as who He is and whom He can help us become. Jesus declared to the woman that He is the Christ (See vs. 16-26).

At this point, Jesus’s disciples came on the scene. They’d returned from buying food. The woman left to bring back an audience (See vs. 27-30).

The disciples bade Jesus to eat. Just as He had told the woman that He is the Water of Life, He then told His disciples that He is the Bread of Life. Our we not all spiritually fed when we do God’s will? He indeed is the Bread of Life. (See vs.31-34).

Jesus came to do His Father’s work. What is God’s work? “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Jesus’s disciples are also called to this work: to bring souls unto Him and to extend to them an invitation to partake of salvation and exaltation (See vs. 34-38).

Many Samaritans believed on Jesus because of the woman’s testimony. They then listened to Jesus and gained a personal conviction that Jesus is the Christ (See vs. 39-42).

Jesus returned to Galilee (See vs. 43-45).

Jesus healed a nobleman’s son. This father wanted Jesus to come with him to his son to heal Him, but Jesus required that the man exercise faith to believe his son would be healed without witnessing the miracle (See vs. 46-54). How important is it for us to be believing without seeing? Do we trust that God’s words will come to pass, in His time and in His way? Do we exercise our faith in Jesus Christ and in His mission to heal and to save us?

Saint John 2 Reflections

The Gospel According to St John: John Chapter Two: Please open the following link to read chapter two: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/2?lang=eng

A family member’s wedding was held in Cana of Galilee. Mary was the hostess. Jesus and His disciples were in attendance at the wedding.

When they ran out of wine, Jesus provided new wine. The governor said that it was the best wine, not understanding how they’d have such good wine at the end of the festivities.

This was the first of Jesus’s recorded miracles. We can ask why Jesus performed this miracle. Was it because of His love for His mother? Was it to make the guests more comfortable? Was it just because He could? Or was it because family weddings are important events? Or maybe some other reason? Needless to say, no one else has done this when they’ve ran out of refreshments at their own weddings.

After the wedding, Jesus went to Capernaum with His family and His disciples for a short time.

After that, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover. Here He cleansed the temple of the buyers and the sellers, and He said, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandize” (vs. 16). Jehovah had taught the Jews not to exact usury of their brethren, and here He truly was upset that they were seeking gain (from those who may have traveled great distances) in selling animals to be used as sacrifice.

The Jews questioned Jesus’s authority to do those things which He did. They asked, “What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things (vs. 18)? Jesus answered that He was the resurrection, when He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (vs. 19).

Many believed in Him because of the miracles; but when the miracles ceased, they stopped believing.

If we have felt Jesus’s love and power, will we stop believing when things don’t go just as we want them to go? Or will we turn to Him, praise Him, and still seek to do His will?

Jesus can elevate us if we take hold of His hand. Put your hand in the hand of The Man from Galilee.

let-it-rain-daniel-r-free-photo

(let-it-rain-daniel-r-free-photo)

Put Your Hand In The Hand” was written by Mac Lellan, Gene.

Chorus:
Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the waters
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself and you can look at the others differently
By puttin’ your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee

Every time I look into the Holy Book, I wanna tremble
When I read about the part where a carpenter cleared the temple
For the buyers and the sellers were no different fellers
Than what I confess to be
And it causes me shame to know I’m not the gal (guy) that I should be

Chorus–

Mama taught me how to pray before I reached the age of seven
And when I’m down on my knees, that’s when I’m close to heaven
Daddy lived his life for eight kids and wife, you do what you must do
But he showed me enough of what it takes to get you through

Chorus–x3

Songwriters
Mac Lellan, Gene

St Mark 3 Reflections

The Gospel According to St Mark: Mark Chapter Three: Read here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/mark/3?lang=eng

03 withered hand

‘And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him’ (Mark 3:1-2).

Do we set a watch and wait to catch people in a snare? Do we delight in catching people doing something amiss so that we can find fault or accuse them, or get even somehow and elevate ourselves? Are we guilty of this?

Jesus tried to get the people to see that doing good works on the Sabbath, especially healing souls both body and spirit, is appropriate. They couldn’t rejoice in the man’s hand being made whole. They were too caught up in the trap they had set. And so they were pleased to have a reason to find accusation against Jesus in order to destroy him.

Do we realize that when we seek to harm others, we harm ourselves most?

‘And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand,

“Stand forth.”

‘And he saith unto them,

“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?”

‘But they held their peace.

‘And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man,

“Stretch forth thine hand.”

‘And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other’ (vs. 3-5).

And so the busy body ‘Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him’ (vs 6).

Multitudes Followed Him: Read verses 7 through 12.

‘But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judæa, And from Jerusalem, and from Idumæa, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying,

“Thou art the Son of God.”

‘And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.’

Jesus Ordains Twelve to Be His Apostles: Read verses 13 through 19.

‘And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphæus, and Thaddæus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him.’

Whenever Jesus wanted to be alone with God or with those He called to leadership with Him, they would seek a more secluded spot, often in a mountain. What responsibilities were given to the Twelve Apostles whom the Lord ordained? These responsibilities are placed upon those who are ordained to the Priesthood of God.

After He ordained his apostles, ‘they went into an house’ (vs. 19).

And again the multitudes were there to throng Him.

‘And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said,

“He is beside himself”’ (vs. 20-21).

What constitutes madness in the eyes of the people? 

‘And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said,

“He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils” (vs. 22).

Jesus went on to explain that Satan doesn’t try to destroy his own work. The works which they see Jesus do are good works.

“How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. ” (vs. 23-26).

Likewise, the works of God are not evil works.

Because the scribes had said,

“He hath an unclean spirit” (vs. 30),

Jesus further explained,

“Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation” (vs. 28-29).

Once we have had a witness from the Holy Ghost, we become more accountable to uphold the truth.

While Jesus was surrounded with great multitudes of people, his mother and siblings came seeking to talk to Him. The multitude said,

“Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying,

“Who is my mother, or my brethren?”

‘And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said,

“Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother”’ (vs. 31-35).

Do we belong to the family of Christ?

St Matthew 27 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 27: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/27?lang=eng

27 Behold the Man

Behold the Man, by Antonio Ciseri

The chief priests and elders delivered Jesus to Pilate. When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he was sorry for what he had done and took the thirty pieces of silver back to the priests and elders (see Matt 28:1-2).

‘Judas said,

“I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.

‘And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself’ (vs. 4-5).

‘And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying,

“Art thou the King of the Jews?”

‘And Jesus said unto him,

“Thou sayest.”

‘And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.

‘Then said Pilate unto him,

“Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?”

‘And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

‘Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them,

“Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?”

‘For he knew that for envy they had delivered him’ (vs. 11-18).

What can we learn from Jesus’s quiet self-control? How about when He said, “Thou sayest.” Is it up to Him who has created all things and done all things well to prove to us who He is? Or is it up to us to be believing and to seek a witness through the Holy Spirit? These people had witnessed miracles and heard the reports of the wonderful things Jesus was doing. Do signs convert?

Maybe those who seek a sign of proof will not be too happy when they receive it. We can always choose how to act and what to do and not do; but, we cannot choose the consequences.

If we are doing what we should and others mock us or cast blame upon us, we shouldn’t allow that to consume us. We can have the calm assurance of the Spirit that we are in the right, without feeling the necessity of proving it to anyone. Our eternal reward is far too great to put into jeopardy for immediate comfort.

Pilate certainly was hoping the people would release Jesus, because he didn’t believe the people had a just cause in condemning Jesus. They delivered him out of spite and envy.

Pilate’s wife also warned him, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (vs. 19).

‘But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them,

“Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?”

‘They said, Barabbas.

‘Pilate saith unto them,

“What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?”

They all say unto him,

“Let him be crucified.”

‘And the governor said,

“Why, what evil hath he done?”

‘But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified’ (vs. 20-23).

The chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude to condemn Jesus. Who holds the blame? Unrighteous leaders, or those who follow them even after accepting Jesus as their King the week before? Did they fear repercussions from their leaders? Did they really know Jesus?

‘When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying,

“I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”

‘Then answered all the people, and said,

“His blood be on us, and on our children.”

‘Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified’ (vs. 24-26).

When we know something is wrong, do we join in with the crowd to save face? Are there things that we would not do by ourselves, but because others are doing them, we then feel justified to do so? Were there some people who yelled for Jesus to be crucified because He seemed helpless, so they abandoned Him? Were they looking for the signs and wonders that had been prophesied, or were they looking for miracles to satisfy their own lusts?

Pilate knew that what was being done was wrong, but it was done by his consent. Can we so easily wash our hands of guilt? Can we dismiss our part in the shedding of innocent blood by looking the other way? These are difficult things to consider, but things that are important to consider.

After scourging Jesus, or beating Him with forty stripes save one (which is another proof of the chief priests and elders corrupting the law and misusing their power), ‘the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.  And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying,

“Hail, King of the Jews!”

‘And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him’ (vs. 27-31).

With His flesh torn and bleeding, his robe was placed on His open wounds. And then He was ridiculed. The Master of the Universe was belittled, mocked, and spit upon. And He endured that for me. Could I endure it for Him?

‘And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross’ (vs. 32).

Would it be an honor to carry the cross for the Lord? How can we help to carry the load?

‘And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

‘And sitting down they watched him there’ (vs. 33-36).

Can you imagine? They nailed Him to a tree. They crowned Him with thorns. They made sport over who would own something which had belonged to Him. And then that sat down to watch.

‘And set up over his head his accusation written,

“THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

‘Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying,

“Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

‘Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

“He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”

‘The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth’ (vs 37-44).

Jesus endured so much for all of us. As His disciples we should feel honored to be able to endure some of the shame of the world for Him. We will continue to be mocked and belittled as long as we hold to the truth and do not subscribe to the evil of the world around us. It’s okay. He has already delivered us. And He will not leave us alone. He has sent His Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to sustain us.

‘Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,

“Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”

‘that is to say,

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

‘Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said,

“This man calleth for Elias.”

‘And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said,

“Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.”

‘Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost’ (vs. 45-50).

Jesus completed His mission perfectly. From childhood through His atoning sacrifice in Gethsemane and on the cross, He did His Father’s will. The Great Jehovah, I Am, took upon Himself flesh and blood and redeemed a fallen world.

Some Things That Happened Following His Death: Read Matthew 27:51-66.

  1. ‘The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent’ (vs. 51).
  2. Because of the earthquake, the centurion and they that were with him said,

“Truly this was the Son of God” (vs. 54).

  1. Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children were all present and had witnessed the crucifixion (vs. 55-56).
  2. Joseph of Arimathæa, one of Jesus’s disciples, begged Pilate for Jesus’s body. ‘And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed’ (vs. 57-60).
  3. Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, grieved outside the sepulcher (vs. 61).
  4. The chief priests and Pharisees asked Pilate to secure the place of burial. ‘Pilate said unto them,

“Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.”

‘So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch’ (vs. 62-66).

  1. Following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many ‘graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many’ (vs. 52-53).

St Matthew 21 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 21: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/21?lang=eng

21 triumphal entry

‘And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them,

“Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.”

‘All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”

‘And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying,

“Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matt 21:1-9)

Into the city I’d follow the children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing
Loudest hosannas, “Jesus is King!”

Verse from “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”: Words: W. H. Parker; Music: Frederic A. Challinor

Further thoughts: Can you imagine being there to see this procession as they entered into Jerusalem? We read “all the city was moved (vs.10). Would this not be a touching, moving scene to behold? Would we sense the significance? Would we feel the importance of what was happening and about to unfold? Would we understand? We can learn these things through the power of the Holy Ghost. Do we accept Jesus as our King?

‘And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying,

“Who is this?”

‘And the multitude said,
“This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee”’ (vs. 10-11).

‘And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written,

“My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (vs. 12-13).

Further thought: Those that were humble recognized Him as their Lord, Redeemer, Healer, and Friend. The proud were annoyed at His miracles and at children following Him in the temple and at the praise He received.

‘And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David;” they were sore displeased, And said unto him,

“Hearest thou what these say?”

And Jesus saith unto them,

“Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (vs. 14-16)?

Further thought: Who is it that can recognize the Lord? Think about what qualities we need to develop to recognize Him and to worship Him more fully.

After that, Jesus went to Bethany and lodged there for the night. In the morning he returned to the city, and he was hungry.

‘And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it,

“Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.”

‘And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying,

“How soon is the fig tree withered away!”

Jesus answered and said unto them,

“Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (vs. 19-22)

Further thoughts: Do we understand the symbolism of Jesus cursing the fig tree?

More importantly, When it is necessary for us to have faith, do we have it?

‘And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said,

“By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?”

‘And Jesus answered and said unto them,

“I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”

‘And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said,

“We cannot tell.”

‘And he said unto them,

“Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (vs. 23-27).

Characteristic of Jesus, he answers a question with a question. What can we learn from that example? Why did He do so in this circumstance? Were they worthy or ready to accept who He is?

Another parable:

“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said,

‘Son, go work to day in my vineyard.’

“He answered and said,

‘I will not’: but afterward he repented, and went.

“And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said,

‘I go, sir’: and went not.

“Whether of them twain did the will of his father?”

They say unto him,

“The first.’

Jesus saith unto them,

“Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him” (vs 28-32).

Further thoughts: Sometimes it is those who should really know the truth and live the gospel, or who have been given every opportunity to know, that get so caught up in the motions or the routines of observing their duties, that they fail to value the gift they have and to truly internalize it. Can we learn all the stories about Jesus and yet fail to know Him?

The chief priests and elders had studied the law and the prophets, but they failed to recognize the Lawgiver. They did not recognize the fulfillment of prophecy in accepting both John the Baptist as a prophet and Jesus as the Son of God. What must we do to guard ourselves from becoming like the Pharisees?

But those who were harlots and publicans received the messengers and embraced the message when it was presented to them.

Read verses 33 through 46.

After hearing the parable of the lord of the vineyard whose servants were shamefully treated and killed, and whose own son was killed, the chief priests and elders condemned themselves when they answered this question,

“When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?”

They say unto him,

“He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons” (vs. 40-41).

‘Jesus saith unto them,

“Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (vs. 42-44).

The chief priests and Pharisees weren’t happy that these parables were directed towards them.

“But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” (vs. 46).

How blind are those who will not see?

 

St Matthew 17 Reflections

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 17: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/17?lang=eng

17 transfiguration

Peter, James, and John were with Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration

Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him, apart from the other disciples, into a high mountain.

‘And [He] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus,

“Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

‘While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said,

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

‘And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said,

“Arise, and be not afraid.”

‘ And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only’ (Matt 17:2-8).

Further thoughts: It appears at the time of the vision, Peter, James, and John were astonished and thrilled to be there with Jesus and to behold such great things; but, they did not yet understand the significance thereof.

Isn’t it often the same with us when we receive spiritual light? Only after further thought, prayer, pondering, living up to our spiritual gifts, and gaining more experience do we acquire more spiritual understanding, which allows us to begin to unlock the treasure.

When they heard the voice of God the Father proclaim that Jesus is His Son, they “fell on their face” (vs. 6) in fear. Truly they did not expect such a spectacular vision and testimony from God Himself.

It is interesting to note that whenever God the Father’s voice has been heard, the message has been the same. He has testified of Jesus Christ as His Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. He also did this when Jesus Christ was baptized; and later, when Jesus visited the Americas after His resurrection; and again, when They appeared to the boy prophet Joseph Smith.

While heading back down the mountain, Jesus gave them this charge,

“Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead” (vs. 9).

They then asked what it meant that Elias must first come. Jesus answered,

“Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them” (vs. 11-12).

‘Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist’ (vs. 13).

Further thought: There is more to the meaning of the term Elias than is to be found in this one reference to John the Baptist. An Elias is someone who restores truth and prepares the way of the Lord. So John the Baptist is referred to as Elias.

Jesus Heals the Son Who is Possessed

When they were back with the multitude, a man came to Jesus and kneeled down before him and said,

‘“Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.”

‘Then Jesus answered and said,

“O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.”

‘And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

‘Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said,

“Why could not we cast him out?”

‘And Jesus said unto them,

“Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”’(vs. 15-21).

Further thoughts: To whom was Jesus’s rebuke directed? Both the man’s father, who sought the healing, and His disciples were lacking in faith; so, the miracle did not happen.

Elder Scott has stated that three things must be present for a healing miracle to occur: the faith of the one, or those, seeking the blessing; the faith of those giving the blessing; and the will of God.

Jesus further teaches the disciples that sometimes, or perhaps often, fasting is necessary. Why? Because fasting can draw us closer to God and to His designs, purposes, and will. Fasting can aid the Spirit in cleansing us, and it can cause our faith to increase, so that we can become instruments in our Heavenly Father’s hands to do His will.

While they were still in Galilee, Jesus said to His disciples,

“The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day He shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry” (vs. 22-23).

In Capernaum, those collecting tribute money asked Peter,

“Doth not your master pay tribute” (vs. 24)?

Peter questioned Jesus concerning the matter. And Jesus explained that our allegiance really is to God.

‘“What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?”

‘Peter saith unto him,

“Of strangers.”

‘Jesus saith unto him,

“Then are the children free”’ (vs. 25-26).

These verses seem to agree with what the Savior spoke about rendering unto Caesar the things that be Caesars and unto God the things that be Gods, because Jesus continued the conversation with the following,

“Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee” (vs. 27).