Feast upon the Word Blog

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RS/MP Chapter 2: Our Savior, Jesus Christ (Joseph Fielding Smith Manual)

Posted by kirkcaudle on January 16, 2014

 

Find the link to the entire lesson here.

For my notes this month I will be dealing with section #4, “We All Should Pattern our Lives after the Life of Jesus Christ.” Following each block quote I will provide some brief commentary.

The greatest example ever set for men was that of the Son of God himself. His life was perfect. He did all things well and was able to say to all men, “Follow thou me,” [2 Nephi 31:10] and we all should pattern our lives after his.

How can we follow Jesus Christ in our lives? I believe that the answer to this question comes from reading 2 Nephi 31:10 in full, “And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me, Wherefore, my beloved breather, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?” We cannot truly follow Christ without patterning our lives after his life. The commandments of the Father include: repentance, baptism, and the reception of the Holy Ghost (v11-12). This are essential steps in our lives if we truly hope to walk in the footsteps of Christ.

I shall give you an illustration from his life. He taught the people how to pray and then said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him. And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you. … Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. …” [3 Nephi 18:15–16, 24.]

This council comes during the first day of Christ’s teachings to the Nephites. It also comes right on the heels of the people receiving the sacrament. I think that there is an important connection here. Once we covenant with Christ we should not cease speaking with Christ. Prayer is more than just a means to getting what we want, it is itself an act of faith and righteousness that puts us into the right relationship with God.

Perhaps his most perfect counsel in this respect was given to the Nephite disciples. “What manner of men ought ye to be?” he asked, and then gave this answer: “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” [3 Nephi 27:27.]

This verse is talking about our judgments of other people, “ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” It is easy to judge unrighteously, while it can be extremely difficult to judge righteously. Try judge others as Jesus did. He always did so with love, compassion, and charity. When you see others who you disagree with, try speaking to them with their best interests in mind rather than your own. It is only when we forget about ourselves that we can truly love others. This is important because righteous judgment can only be done with love and understanding.

May I say that those who follow his example will become like him and be glorified with him in his Father’s kingdom; to gain honor, power, and authority. To certain Nephite disciples who had followed him with full purpose of heart he said: “… ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one.” [3 Nephi 28:10.]

The beginning of this verse states, “for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy.” I believe that the cause he is talking about is the cause of sharing of the gospel. If you are truly sharing the gospel then you are in the process of serving your fellow human beings. If you desire to serve others forever then you will find eternal joy. This is what God has. This allows us to be one with the Godhead because we end up having the same goals and purposes has they do.

If we seek to be like Christ and do the things that we know that he did then we will know him when he comes again because we will be like him.

7 Responses to “RS/MP Chapter 2: Our Savior, Jesus Christ (Joseph Fielding Smith Manual)”

  1. JKC said

    “It is easy to judge unrighteously, while it can be extremely difficult to judge righteously.” This is a great insight. Thanks for sharing.

    I would challenge it just in one respect, though. Or rather, I would go further than to say that it is just difficult to judge righteously: it might not even be possible. I question whether it is ever really possible, short of perfection, for us to judge righteously. In other words, unless we are “even as [Jesus is]” we can’t actually judge righteously. The only way I can see out of this dilemma is that if we are called upon to judge righteously (I mean, truly called upon by the spirit, not “tak[ing] this honor unto [our]sel[ves]“—after all he is speaking to the 12 here), the Holy Ghost can sanctify us in that moment so that even though we are not yet “even as [Jesus is],” we are made clean by the Holy Ghost and can see clearly by the power of the Holy Ghost—that’s what I understand “the judgement which I shall give you” to mean. What is difficult, though, is learning to recognize when we are just judging by our own light, and learning to not confuse judging honestly by our own judgment with judging “according to the judgement which [he] shall give.”

  2. Dean Eborn said

    He was “speaking to the 12.” However, bishops are also called as judges in Israel and must follow the Spirit and judge righteously.

  3. Hellen said

    Thanks for sharing this part about judging unrighteously. I found great examples of teachers in Alma 12 & 13. Alma respected the questions asked to him and kindly told Antionah that he was going to tell him. He clearly and boldly taught here the plan of happiness or salation. I believe that every time we teach with love, humbleness and willingness to do what the Lord wants us to speak that He will be by our sides and lifts us up and bare testimony that we are only in the service of our God. That is a power that is Always amazing to me. The more I teach about Christ the mmore I realise the little I know but with Him by my side I never have to fear and yet I do…. So hope, faith, charity, patiences will qualify us to teach or to be taught. Those were some of my thought after reading your remarks. They always show me another perspective that’s why I love ‘feasting upon the words’.

    Hellen (the Netherland)

  4. kirkcaudle said

    Dean, yes, Jesus was speaking to the 12 when he was talking about judging. I was just trying to think to think of a way that we might apply that verse to us generally since it was in the manual. I am also inclined to agree with JKC that: “it might not even be possible” to judge righteously because that would require us to have something that we do not have, perfect love.

  5. JKC said

    Dean, I agree that Bishops also have the responsibility to judge righteously. By pointing out that he was speaking to the 12 here, I did not mean to suggest that the verse applies only to the 12, I only pointed that out to highlight that the counsel on judging is given specifically to those with a responsibility to judge. Others, like Bishops, as you point out, also have a responsibility to judge.

    Kirk, I applaud your effort. Perhaps one coherent way to apply that verse to us is to understand it as teaching us that the thing that qualifies us to judge others is being “even as [Jesus is],” so applying it to ourselves means that we ask ourselves whether we are truly as he is, and if not, then we ought to have the humility to recognize that and refrain from judging our brothers and sisters—until we have been called upon to do so and we have obtained “the judgment which [he shall] give [us], which shall be just.”

  6. Thank you and great lesson Kirk. Because they were not like Him, and therefore, rejected, and mocked Him, and for reward, He was met with a crown of thorns; and as the blood ran down, forgiveness fell upon his face. I had often wondered how He could forgive and do all He did for us. It was because He was perfect Love. Love is who He was. Love has no enemies. Charity envieth not, and love casteth away all fear and doubt. There was no power that could come against His Love.

    It ought to be our greatest desire to become His therefore we are to become as He is, that is, to Love as He did. Did you ever feel that Jesus is really here, that he is only in disguise? Did you ever feel as if, his angels have selflessly, been given charge and continually guide us too? That he is watching and recording all that we do; and that his angels are in the shadows, or at our sides, and when we enter in, choose His life, we will see him as he is, while in the light. May we never lose sight of His perfect Love and light? While reading this lesson, I was moved each time I read, He is the Son of God. It made me cry.

    I could not help notice, and was struck by, how teary eyed he became while contemplating the great things which God hath done, and how much, so much, that he wanted his own children and grandchildren , to feel this same way, even as he did. I was moved terribly much, in a very good way, by the love he had for his own posterity.

    These are the thing that are of great worth to the children of men and ought to be carried forth boldly and unwaveringly.

    We must work hard to become even as He is, because it was He who came, descended from heavens throne, to this earth which He formed, and for a time, called it home. He created all things above and below, all things in and under, heavens and earth, worlds without number. He was Jesus, the Son of God, the shining star that was, as a bright star that came across the across the sky; the King they would never recognize.

    I have a testimony and know, Jesus is the very Son of God, for He hath made Himself known. He does and continues to perform miracles unto the children of men by faith on His holy name. He hath brought warning to his children before the storms came, and has made known in our day and our time the evils, that which we have been witnessing in current affairs.

  7. jennywebb said

    Kirk, thank you for focusing on this part of the lesson. I admit that when I first read through the lesson material, I kind of skimmed the ending selections, so I appreciated your bringing them back to my attention. One repeated thought I’ve had while studying the material here has to do with reconciling the idea that we should all pattern our lives after His with the idea of God delighting in variety. I think that patterning our lives after the Savior’s is freeing in various ways: freeing us from sin, freeing us from guilt, freeing us from death, etc. But also, freeing in the sense of opening ourselves up to variety. By this I mean that patterning our lives after Christ’s does not make us all the same, but rather in strengthening our connection to and understanding of God’s will for us individually (i.e., strengthening personal revelation), frees us to follow that individually revealed path.

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