Scheduled to be studied Mar 4-10, 2019.  All the daily lessons are based on basic things required of each of us in order to be worthy of our Savior’s healing power. This week we have six days worth of lessons, instead of five.

When you read the introduction to the week’s lessons you will see that it is all about the healings performed by Jesus. In the nearly three years of his ministry I am sure he did many more healings than what we have record of. In some places we are told he went about healing and doing good. So these particular stories are representative of what he did for the people of Israel in his day. As such, they were chosen to demonstrate Christ’s compassion and power, as well as the faith required for his healings to work. We need to remember that Christ healed no one against their will. If they did not have at least some faith in him he could not heal them. Faith is an absolute requirement to be healed, either physically or spiritually. Faith is that expectation that what is pronounced will, in fact, happen.

Day 1

Matthew 8-9; Mark 2; 5 – The Savior can heal infirmities and sicknesses

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. If you read through all of this week’s material before doing your journaling, the questions asked in this day’s material might give you more to write about.

First off, before I make any comments on this material, let me say that I think you really should perform the task suggested in the manual of quietly reviewing the individual miracles in these chapters and asking yourself what the Lord would have you learn from each one. That’s a much tougher task than anything I could possibly give you. And it will probably be more beneficial as well.

Why do you think the stories of these miracles were included? Surely those who wrote these gospels had an intent behind the inclusion of each story.

Why do you think the gospels keep pairing the healing of physical infirmities with the healing of spiritual infirmities (sin)?

Read Matthew 8:16-17 and consider this question; how did God, Himself take our infirmities and bear our sicknesses? This is an obvious reference to the atoning sacrifice, but how do these two verses demonstrate that Christ did this even before his atonement?

Day 2

Matthew 8:5-13; Mark 5:24-34 – I can seek God’s help even if I feel undeserving

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. If you read through all of this week’s material before doing your journaling, the questions asked in this day’s material might give you more to write about.

The first miracle mentioned in today’s material is the healing of the Centurion’s servant. As you ponder the importance of this miracle consider a couple of things. Do we know the nationality of the Centurion? We only know he wasn’t a Jew, so he wasn’t of the house of Israel. Christ’s mission was specifically to the children of Israel. This was only one of a couple of times the Lord healed people from outside the covenant.

So why do you think he agreed to heal the Centurion’s servant?

Do you think his personal faith and humility influenced the Savior’s decision to grant his request?

How did the Centurion display his humility before God despite his social rank and status?

The second miracle was the woman with the issue (hemorrhage) of blood. Here are some remarkable points about this particular miracle.

  • The Savior was being thronged by people, which means people were pressing up against him as he tried to go down the street. He was literally being touched every second by several people at once.
  • The woman did not speak to him, but believed within herself that after all she had suffered through in the last twelve years, with the different physicians, that Jesus was her last resort. Even after “many physicians” and having “spent all that she had” to get better, and if anything was getting worse, this was her last remaining option to get cured.
  • Jesus did not know who had touched him, but her faith was sufficient that without even knowing she was in the crowd her faith in his power and ability was enough to heal her.
  • When he asked who had touched him, she fell down and gave him a complete accounting of what she had done and why.
  • Jesus gave her his stamp of approval on her healing, acknowledging that it was her faith that had healed her and that because of her faith she would be whole from her plague.

Women who bled, as women do from time to time, were considered unclean according to the law of Moses. They weren’t allowed out in public, and were required to go to the priest when their bleeding was done to be ritually cleansed so they could rejoin society. That makes this woman impure and a social outcast of 12 year’s standing. Yet she braved coming out in public and literally rubbing shoulders with a throng of people just to get close enough to Jesus to touch his clothing. Such acts could get a person stoned to death, or at least severely punished. This tells you something about how determined she was to be healed.

We have here two miracles paired together in the manual. One was a gentile, and the other considered to be unclean and not fit for Jewish social interaction. To quote from the manual, “what do you learn from these two accounts about seeking help from the Lord?”

What do you think is more important to Christ, faith and willingness, or our covenant status before him? Can you give any examples for your answer?

How does this demonstrate to us that Christ is willing to bless and heal anyone who is willing to exercise faith in him?

Day 3

Matthew 8:18-22; Mark 3:31-35 – Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means that I put Him first in my life.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. If you read through all of this week’s material before doing your journaling, the questions asked in this day’s material might give you more to write about.

If you have ever watched any old television shows that showed a guru from the 1960’s teaching their doctrine, you might think that Jesus got his cue from them. When we read something like “let the dead bury the dead” or “who is my mother, or my brethren?” at first is sounds like some guru gracing us with doublespeak. But that “doublespeak” is actually quite profound.

Throughout most of human history there have been masters who taught their apprentices or their disciples the way of their trade or how to live by a particular philosophy. Much was demanded and expected from these disciples. Casual followers were discarded because of their lack of commitment or devotion to the path they claimed to take. In these two scriptural passages Jesus is telling us the level of devotion and commitment required to follow Him, the master.

In the Matthew verses he is telling us that nothing can be more important to us than what he has to teach us. Someone else can bury our dead. Our responsibility is to be with Jesus in whatever he commands us to do. In the Mark verses he discounts the definition of family love and loyalty when compared to our need to put following Jesus above all else. He comes right out and says that if we want to be considered one of his family we must keep his commandments. And the implication is that we must be willing to do that at all cost.

In Luke 12:51-53 Jesus says again that he is not come to bring peace and unity, but division.

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

He was telling the people the cost of following the Lord. Unless all in the house choose to follow Christ at the same time, there will be divisions and discord. How many of our members have been disowned by their families because they joined the Church? How many spend years with no communication with their loved ones because they have put Christ above their family ties? The point is that there are costs to discipleship.

Unfortunately, for some of us the cost is lost upon us. We may live in a community where there are many members of the Church, so we get lazy about the sacrifices required of those who are true followers of Jesus. I see this all the time among the members of the Church in my town, which is mostly LDS. The older members feel like they have “done their time” and want to leave all the service to the younger members. The younger members are often too wrapped up in their busy lives to even care if the chapel gets cleaned, or the chairs get set up for meetings, or someone shows up to help a family move. If you ask them to be more committed in their discipleship they are offended that you would inconvenience them. And that is both old and young.

Fortunately, that is only most of the saints here, and not all. When I speak with members of the Bishopric they express their frustration at how many people turn down even the most basic of callings. Too many members just don’t want to be inconvenienced. But this is what it means to be a disciple. What our master commands us to do has to become the most important thing in our lives. If it isn’t then we can’t really call ourselves disciples.

Reread the two passages. Looking at these verses as a personal commandment from our Redeemer, what level of commitment do you think he requires of you, personally?

If you had an interview with Jesus tomorrow morning, what kind of accounting do you feel you could give to him of your commitment to keeping all of his commandments?

What do you think the connection is between the scriptural commandments and the day-to-day callings for service we receive from our priesthood leaders?

Can you remember a time when you truly sacrificed for the Lord or his Church? If you can think of a time, did it make any changes in your life?

What do you see as the value of sacrifice when it comes to the gospel of Christ?

Day 4

Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41 – Jesus Christ has power to bring peace in the midst of life’s storms.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. If you read through all of this week’s material before doing your journaling, the questions asked in this day’s material might give you more to write about.

I felt I needed to break this day’s study into a separate article, which you can find here. The link to the PDF file for printing it is at the bottom of the article. The link to print the rest of this week’s lessons is at the bottom of this article.

Day 5

Matthew 9:1-13; Mark 2:15-17 – I can defend my beliefs by teaching true principles.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. If you read through all of this week’s material before doing your journaling, the questions asked in this day’s material might give you more to write about.

We all have differences in our learning. Today’s reading was difficult for me. I hope it is easy for you. The stated goal of today’s lesson is to identify how you can defend your beliefs by teaching true principles, but that issue isn’t addressed directly in the reading. What I saw being directly addressed was how the Savior defended and taught the truth. I saw nothing about how his disciples defended the truth.

But then I turned the page and found the connection. At the top of the next page (page 40) it says, “How could following His example help you if you have to defend a gospel principle or Church practice?” That was the connection I was missing. I have also included the recommended video for today’s material. It is just under 13 minutes.

In the verses for today’s study, those complaining about what Jesus was doing didn’t attack him, personally. They complained and demanded explanations and justifications from his followers. That sounds very similar to what is happening today. I’ve noticed that not many of the loud voices of dissent are going directly to Christ for answers, they are coming to the members of his Church and demanding that we justify his behavior, and his attitudes. This puts us in a rather awkward position.

In the first of the three sections of the video, Samantha is surprised by a confrontational situation in a school classroom. She was surprised, unprepared, and felt the “heat” of the moment. Because of these conditions she responded viscerally, with her gut. She felt angry and defensive. How did the Savior reply when he faced his disciples when they reported the complaints they had received? (Matthew 9:13)

13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

I have to admit, I don’t know the source Jesus was quoting when he made the statement “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” But I find it interesting that this seems to be the defining difference between the law of Moses and the law of Christ. Moses offered sacrifices to cleanse and purify. Jesus offers us mercy (repentance) to cleanse us and purify our souls. He challenged his disciples to go and figure out the meaning of that sentence. What does it mean to say that “the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick?”

In your life, who are the sick Christ is talking about?

In your life, who stands in need of Christ’s mercy?

In regard to the previous two questions, answer this: What is the difference between your need for Christ’s mercy, and the person who is attacking God’s Church’s need for Christ’s mercy?

Can you accept Christ’s mercy with no understanding of the true doctrines and principles Jesus taught? Can you be saved in ignorance?

Can they who attack your beliefs be saved in that same ignorance?

If Jesus taught that we need his mercy, and that we need to figure out how to claim that mercy by understanding the gospel he teaches us, how should we be addressing those who attack our beliefs? Doesn’t it stand to reason that if we need to come to understand the true doctrines so we can know how to repent and become healed by the master physician, that they who know not Christ will also benefit from those same true doctrines?

Christ’s role changed from one time and place to another time and place. When we were in the premortal realm, he was the creator, and acted as a God in that role. In the Old Testament he was Jehovah, the protector and revelator of Israel. But in the New Testament, his role was to demonstrate the eternal love and compassion, the mercy if you will, of our Father in Heaven. His time as the great Judge of all will come at the day of the final judgment. All through the New Testament, before he rose from the dead, everything Jesus did was to try to teach us about the core value of God, His love.

Our instructions and commandments from Jesus are, and have always been, love one another. In Matthew 5:44 he says this,

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Loving someone who is attacking our beliefs isn’t done through anger, frustration, and knee-jerk reactions. We must be well versed enough in the doctrines and principles of righteous living that we can give them the words and teachings of Christ. I know a lot of people who are terrified by the word “doctrine.” You might as well be threatening them with the boogeyman. I spoke to someone recently and told her I had a question about something doctrinal I was studying, and her response was typical of those terrified of the idea of doctrine. She said, “Oh, when it comes to doctrine … well, I just don’t do doctrine. It is too deep for me, too way over my head.”

I think our fear of doctrine is misplaced and as such is used as a tool by the adversary to prevent us from learning truth. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. That is a doctrine. Is that too deep for you? Think about the second third of the video you watched. Samantha went to her Bishop. What did he counsel her to do? In addition to spending more time in the scriptures (for starters), he told her he would give her some scriptures to look up and some talks from the leaders of the Church to read and study. He recommended she pray and let the inspiration come to her. Actually, he tells her to do almost half a dozen things in her efforts to learn how to approach this person who is attacking what she believes. Everything he tells her is a precious jewel in her preparedness crown, because everything he recommends to her will help her to think, feel, and behave like Jesus. You may have to watch that section multiple times. I know I did.

This is the point of today’s study – with knowledge of God’s words, from the scriptures, from his servants, and from his Spirit, we can learn to answer people with the correct feelings and thinking. We can answer out of knowledge and love for that person, with a true and pure desire for their welfare, not just our own.

Is this a quick fix? No. Does it take a while? Yes. But look at the difference in Samantha when she talks to her new friend. Note the difference in the tone of the conversation, and her ability to talk through the issues intelligently, and lovingly. She now not only knows more, but she is empathetic, a better listener, and happy to converse with someone she appears to genuinely value. This last segment is a far cry from the tone of the first segment of the video.

As a final challenge, try writing down how you feel now about teaching true principles to those who want you to defend your beliefs. How is it different from when you started today’s study?

Day 6

Matthew 9:1-8 – Because of repentance, I can be of good cheer.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. If you read through all of this week’s material before doing your journaling, the questions asked in this day’s material might give you more to write about.

This set of verses poses some interesting questions for us to consider. Jesus told the paralyzed man to be of good cheer. So his sins were forgiven, but he was still paralyzed.

About what was he supposed to be cheerful?

The physical healing of the man came only after Jesus had already forgiven him his sins. According to Jesus it was easier to forgive his sins than to heal him physically. Was Jesus planning on healing him physically all along? Is that what his comment about being of good cheer was in reference to? Are there enough clues for us to know if this was the case?

Does it matter?

Let’s look only at the things of greatest importance. Does it matter whether the paralyzed man is physically healed? If the man can still be saved in the kingdom of God, does his physical condition in mortality matter at all? Notice that Jesus said nothing to the man about being cheerful after he physically healed him, only when he forgave his sins. Why?

In Doctrine and Covenants 110:5 the Lord says something similar to Joseph Smith and his companions.

Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.

This is a three-part sentence. 1 – your sins are forgiven you, 2 – you are clean before me, 3 – lift up your heads and rejoice. What is the significance of the good cheer part, or the rejoice part? Aren’t we all supposed to be forgiven of our sins? Why is Jesus making such a big deal about it to the man with palsy?

Perhaps being members of the Church we take for granted our supreme privilege that we can be forgiven of our sins through our repentance. But the state of being clean – free from all sin – is a rare condition indeed. It is the most sought after and desirable condition for any child of God to achieve. For to be free of the stain of sin is to be wholly acceptable to God, and to be worthy to enter his presence.

If you look at all the references in the scriptures where you look up the phrase “be of good cheer” or “lift up your head” you will find that most of the time the person or people with whom the Savior is speaking are suffering, or have just suffered a lot. To comfort them he tells them to be of good cheer. Why? Because he has just forgiven them of their sins. They now stand spotless before God. They are no longer under condemnation and are justified before him. The question is, how long are they going to remain in that condition? This is why we must be continually repenting.

The greatest gift Jesus could give to this man with palsy was the forgiveness of sins, and he gave it freely, quickly, and because he saw that those who brought him in had faith for him to be healed. And the most important healing the man could receive was to have his soul made whole.

What are two things we can do to receive that cheer that comes from having our sins forgiven?

How can we prolong that cheer once our sins have been forgiven?

Does ministering to the needs of others help us find joy and rejoicing? How? Why?

Family Scripture Study and Home Evening

Matthew 9:10-13 – What do we learn from the way the Savior treated the publicans and sinners, who were shunned by others?

I’ll comment on just one of the topics of study for this week. As I read this I was flooded with memories of my own upbringing. The words of my parents still sound in my ears. It occurred to me that just as often as I was taught to do good to those in need, I was also taught to avoid contact with certain groups of people. That avoidance was presumably for my own health or physical safety. That got me thinking.

The home is where we safeguard our loved ones. It is also the place we teach them to serve, and how to judge wisely. Are we being careful to instill within our children a regard for the welfare of others, without also instilling in them a fear of certain groups within our population? Some groups of people do have reputations to consider. But the last thing we need to be instilling in our children is a fear of meeting and serving any particular segment of society. This is one of the reasons it is so important that we personally include them in some of our service to others.

When parents take their children serving, the children can see the joy the parents receive in meeting people and serving them. This helps them feel safe with them. When they grow a little more and are more independent, they will be more likely to be willing to serve these people willingly. This emphasizes the importance of giving our youth a good experience in service to those marginalized by society. Many of these people are good in their hearts, but are down on their luck or have had tremendous difficulties and sorrows to deal with. If our children see fear in our eyes or hear disapproval in our voices about a person or group of people, that is the lesson they will ultimately take with them from that encounter.

The Savior went to the mentally ill, the physically sick and deformed, and, in short, all those who needed love and ministering. Are we teaching our children to be bold in their service to all segments of society or are we teaching them to fear certain “kinds” of people? What we teach them when they are young will stick with them for the rest of their lives. If we teach them to be fearful, and not loving to certain types of people or groups of people, chances are they will avoid showing them any love or giving them any service for the rest of their lives. Do we really want that on our heads when we face the Savior and report on what we taught our children?

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

New Testament 10