Includes ordered reading evenly distributed throughout the year.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Teachings (2 of 4) 141

Jesus offered His life as a sacrifice to fulfill the plan of salvation.

Jesus . . . was crucified. His body was taken from the cross by His friends, washed and wrapped in clean linen, and laid away in a new sepulchre, where never the body of man laid. Previous to this, however, Jesus had taught His disciples that the Son of Man should be put to death. He said in plain words, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it up again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” [John 10:17–18.] He came to fulfill the predictions of the prophets; that as in Adam all died, so in Christ should all be made alive [see 1 Corinthians 15:22]. . . . If sin had come into the world by the transgression of one man, and the consequences of this transgression had fallen upon all men without any act of theirs, is it not just, is it not consistent that mankind should be relieved from these consequences by the act of one man? This was the plan that was instituted in the beginning, and there is naught but righteousness in it. Jesus offered His life as a sacrifice to accomplish this. He was put to death by wicked men, who accused Him wrongfully, and who shut their eyes and closed their hearts against the true principles He taught.

After He had been buried, we read in the Scriptures that on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the sepulchre; but behold, the stone was rolled away and He was gone. She looked into the sepulchre and saw two angels in white, “the one at the head, and the other at the feet,” [John 20:12] and they said unto her:

“Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

“And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God.” [John 20:13–17.]

Mary then went away and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and He also appeared unto them.

Now, let us think of this a moment. Here is a historical fact related that Mary went to the tomb, and saw two angels there, and afterwards saw the risen Redeemer Himself. She had the testimony of heavenly messengers, confirmed by the Son of God Himself, that the Redeemer had risen. Her words are handed down to us in testimony. Will you dispute them? Will you doubt her testimony? . . . Afterwards He overtook two disciples who were journeying to Emmaus, and went with them; but “their eyes were holden that they should not know Him.” [Luke 24:16.] Jesus asked them what made them so sad, and they replied: “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days.” [Luke 24:18.] By and by their eyes were opened, and they knew Him.

After this He appeared unto His disciples. One of the disciples heard that Jesus was risen, but said he would not believe it except he saw Him and could thrust his hand into His side and his finger into the prints of the nails in His hands. How very much like mankind today was Thomas. He again appeared unto the disciples, and Thomas was with them.

“Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.

“And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” [John 20:27–29.]

Jesus the Christ - 141

Two other instances of miraculous healing are chronicled by Matthew as closely following the raising of the daughter of Jairus. As Jesus passed down the streets of Capernaum, presumably on His departure from the house of the ruler of the synagog, two blind men followed Him, crying out: "Thou son of David, have mercy on us." This title of address was voiced by others at sundry times, and in no case do we find record of our Lord disclaiming it or objecting to its use. Jesus paused not to heed this call of the blind, and the two sightless men followed Him, even entering the house after Him. Then He spoke to them, asking: "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" And they replied, "Yea, Lord." Their persistency in following the Lord was evidence of their belief that in some way, though to them unknown and mysterious, He could help them; and they promptly and openly confessed that belief. Our Lord touched their eyes, saying: "According to your faith be it unto you." The effect was immediate; their eyes were opened. They were explicitly instructed to say nothing of the matter to others; but, rejoicing in the inestimable blessing of sight, they "spread abroad his fame in all that country." So far as we can unravel the uncertain threads of sequence in the works of Christ, this is the earliest instance, recorded with attendant details, of His giving sight to the blind. Many remarkable cases follow.

It is worthy of note that in blessing the sightless by the exercise of His healing power, Jesus usually ministered by some physical contact in addition to uttering the authoritative words of command or assurance. In this instance, as also in that of two blind men who sat by the wayside, He touched the sightless eyes; in the giving of sight to the blind indigent in Jerusalem He anointed the man's eyes with clay; to the eyes of another He applied saliva. An analogous circumstance is found in the healing of one who was deaf and defective of speech, in which instance the Lord put His fingers into the man's ears and touched his tongue. In no case can such treatment be regarded as medicinal or therapeutic. Christ was not a physician who relied upon curative substances, nor a surgeon to perform physical operations; His healings were the natural results of the application of a power of His own. It is conceivable that confidence, which is a stepping-stone to belief, as that in turn is to faith, may have been encouraged by these physical ministrations, strengthened, and advanced to a higher and more abiding trust in Christ, on the part of the afflicted who had not sight to look upon the Master's face and derive inspiration therefrom, nor hearing to hear His uplifting words. There is apparent not alone an entire absence of formula and formalism in His ministration, but a lack of uniformity of procedure quite as impressive.

As the two men, once sightless but now seeing, departed, others came, bringing a dumb friend whose affliction seems to have been primarily due to the malignant influence of an evil spirit rather than to any organic defect. Jesus rebuked the wicked spirit—cast out the demon that had obsessed the afflicted one and held him in the tyranny of speechlessness. The man's tongue was loosened, he was freed from the evil incubus, and was no longer dumb.

Bible Reading - JST NT 141

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.

But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people; for many glorified God for that which was done.

For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was showed.

And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.

And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is;

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together.

For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings; and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Daily Reading 141 - Alma 3:13 - 4:4

Now we will return again to the Amlicites, for they also had a mark set upon them; yea, they set the mark upon themselves, yea, even a mark of red upon their foreheads.

Thus the word of God is fulfilled, for these are the words which he said to Nephi: "Behold, the Lamanites have I cursed, and I will set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed, from this time henceforth and forever, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me that I may have mercy upon them."

And again: "I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also."

And again: "I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed."

"And again, I say he that departeth from thee shall no more be called thy seed; and I will bless thee, and whomsoever shall be called thy seed, henceforth and forever;" and these were the promises of the Lord unto Nephi and to his seed.

Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads; nevertheless they had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them.

Now I would that ye should see that they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation.

Now it came to pass that not many days after the battle which was fought in the land of Zarahemla, by the Lamanites and the Amlicites, that there was another army of the Lamanites came in upon the people of Nephi, in the same place where the first army met the Amlicites.

And it came to pass that there was an army sent to drive them out of their land.

Now Alma himself being afflicted with a wound did not go up to battle at this time against the Lamanites;

But he sent up a numerous army against them; and they went up and slew many of the Lamanites, and drove the remainder of them out of the borders of their land.

And then they returned again and began to establish peace in the land, being troubled no more for a time with their enemies.

Now all these things were done, yea, all these wars and contentions were commenced and ended in the fifth year of the reign of the judges.

And in one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one.

For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth to obey, and this according to the words of the spirit of prophecy; therefore let it be according to the truth. And thus endeth the fifth year of the reign of the judges.

Now it came to pass in the sixth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there were no contentions nor wars in the land of Zarahemla;

But the people were afflicted, yea, greatly afflicted for the loss of their brethren, and also for the loss of their flocks and herds, and also for the loss of their fields of grain, which were trodden under foot and destroyed by the Lamanites.

And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty.

And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God; yea, they were baptized by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the high priest over the people of the church, by the hand of his father Alma.