Sunday, April 22

Early Disciples and Their Coming to Christ

John 1:29-51
     29: And John said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
Matthew 4: 17-25
1 Nephi 8:12
     12: And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that is was desirable above all other fruit. 
Mosiah 28:3-4
     3: Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.
     4: And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite mercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever. 
Doctrine & Covenants 88:81
     81: Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.

John calls Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. To those with "ears to hear," John proclaimed that Jesus Christ would be the final offering made on their behalf. 

Name  -  How they learned about Jesus  -  What they did after meeting Him

1. Andrew & Peter - Jesus called to them and told them to follow Him/ he heard John say "Behold, the Lamb of God!" - Andrew and Peter straightway left their nets and followed Him/ Andrew followed Him, then he found his brother and said, "We have found the Christ." Then he brought his brother to Him. 
2. Philip - Jesus found him and told him to follow - Philip found Nathaniel and said, "We have found Him." 
3. James & John - Christ called to them from their ship - They immediately left their father and followed Christ
4. Nathaniel - Was found by Philip and beckoned to come - Asked "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Then he went along and asked how Christ knew him. Jesus tells him before Philip called thee, I saw thee. Nathaniel then acknowledges Him as the Son of God and King of Israel. 

This teaches us that Christ calls us. He gives us an opportunity to come unto Him and we must only accept His call. Being a member of the church, I have always felt that Spirit and call. I know my responsibility as a follower of Christ. I know that it is up to me to choose to follow the Savior and put in the effort to be His disciple. 

In the future, I will be quick to obey the Spirit and thus the will of our Father. I will also learn to recognize Him so that when He comes again, I will know Him. 

Saturday, April 21

The Pre-mortal and Mortal Savior (John 1:1-14, John 17:1-5)

This semester at BYU-Idaho (online of course--we still live in Provo), I am taking two religion courses. Yes, two. I begin at BYU in the fall and both religion courses transfer. My first is FDREL 211, or the first part of the New Testament. The other is FDREL 121, or the first part of the Book of Mormon. I have already taken part two. For an assignment, I was encouraged to ponder the doctrinal connections and determine five truths from the Savior's Pre-mortal life, and five from mortality.

John 1: 1-14

 aIn the bbeginning was the Word, and the cWord was with God, and the dWord was eGod.
 The same was in the abeginning with God.
 All things were amade by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
 In him was alife; and the life was the blight of men.
 And the alight shineth in bdarkness; and the darknesscomprehended it not.
 ¶There was a man sent from God, whose name was aJohn.
 The same came for a awitness, to bear bwitness of the Light, that all men through him might cbelieve.
 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
 That was the true aLight, which blighteth cevery man that cometh into the world.
 10 He was in the aworld, and the bworld was cmade by him, and the world dknew him not.
 11 He came unto his own, and his own areceived him not.
 12 But as many as areceived him, to them gave he bpower to become the csons of God, even to them that believe on his dname:
 13 Which were aborn, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
 14 And the Word was made aflesh, and bdwelt among us, (and webeheld his dglory, the glory as of the eonly fbegotten of the Father,) full of ggrace and truth.

Before He came to this earth, the Savior was "the Word," and the Word was both with God and the same as God Himself. This teaches us that Christ's plan was perfectly aligned our Heavenly Father's in the pre-existence. The word of God and His love is demonstrated through the Savior's actions and His atonement. 

He created us. Before "the world was," Jesus worked with the Father and "without Him was not anything made that was made." As God's first-born son, Jesus was given the power to create the earth with the help of Michael. Commanded by Heavenly Father, He developed light and darkness, the sun, moon, and stars, the earth, the plants and animals on it, and then last, man and woman. I have a strong testimony of the creation. Using the power of God, Jesus obeyed His Father and created the earth. With God's help we can accomplish remarkable things. 

Jesus is known as the "Light" and hope of the world. He "shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." The cousin of Christ, John, was sent by God "to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe." John was sent to teach of Christ and help men to believe in Him. Before the world began, the Savior was a Light to us, for He presented the Plan to the Father which would give us choice and accountability, and allow us to choose to return to Him. Not only did Christ create light, but He represented the goodness in the world and bore witness, with His life, of our Father's love. 

The Savior was given power over the flesh. Because of His resurrection, we can be made whole and live again. The Father chose Jesus in the Great Council in Heaven because He was God's first son, and He knew that Christ would be the only one who could fill the Atonement. The Father loves us so much that He sent His only begotten son to atone for our sins so we could return to Him someday and reside with our families for eternity. 

Last, in the pre-mortal realm, the Savior accepted the Father's plan and offered to be the one to complete the Atonement for us, His brothers and sisters. Like the Savior, we should accept the callings we are given and work to fulfill them to the best of our ability with the help of God. 

Christ is our advocate

John 17:1-5 

 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy aSon, that thy Son also may bglorify thee:
 As thou hast given him apower over all flesh, that he should givebeternal life to as many as thou hast cgiven him.
 And this is alife beternal, that they might cknow thee the only true dGod, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast esent.
 I have aglorified thee on the earth: I have bfinished the work which thou gavest me to do.
 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with theaglory which I had with thee bbefore the world was.

Upon His arrival to the earth, the Savior continued to glorify His father. He obeyed Him and completed the work that was required of Him. We must strive our best to follow the Savior's example by keeping the statutes and commandments of God. 

On the earth, "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not." Despite His love and service given as the Savior, Jesus was not recognized by those who believed themselves followers of God. They did not recognize Him. We must get to know and learn of the Savior in this life, that we may recognize Him upon His return. We should know Him personally. 

For those who did receive Him, Jesus gave these men power "to become sons of God." All those who believed in Him were blessed for their recognition of and faith in Him. In order for us to obtain the power of the blessings of God, we must be prepared to recognize and know the Savior.

The Savior "dwelt among" us and we (the people of earth) beheld His glory as "the only begotten of the Father." Because of this, we saw He was full of grace and truth, and were able to witness the miracles He performed while among us. Those who lost faith were never true believers and those who did not know Him will someday. We must use Jesus's example in this life and follow it. Our hearts should be filled with love and compassion for our fellow men. 

The Savior was in the world but the world did not know Him. Another truth that comes from this is that of His behavior and ultimate example of perfection given for us to follow. Jesus was, as I said, in the world, but He was far from of the world. He did not allow the world to influence or corrupt Him. We, like the Savior did, must stay on the straight and narrow path and, though we live in a tumultuous world, we should not allow ourselves to be influenced by it. We too should be a light and a standard for the earth. Only by doing this can we return to our Heavenly Father forever.