relationship
Scheduled to be studied Mar 11-17, 2019. This week’s lesson is about the relationship between the Master and his servants.

Day 1

Matthew 10 – The Lord gives His servants power to do His work.

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 is our first look at the work Jesus requires of his disciples. As an exercise, consider listing the responsibilities given to the twelve apostles as Jesus prepared them to go out and begin their work as fishers of men. First list the responsibilities in Matthew 10:6-8. Next carefully consider what is written in verses 16-42. Jesus gives a lot of explanations in these verses. Consider how those explanations apply to you as a covenant member of his kingdom.

Are there any parts of verses 6-8; 16-42 that apply ONLY to the Apostles? Discuss your answer with someone else and see if they agree.

Matthew 10:6 – It was only during the preparation of last week’s lesson that I realized that the gathering of Israel did not start until the final dispensation. I was wondering if the early Church members were required to do what we are by way of missionary work. It was then I realized that Israel hadn’t finished being scattered yet, so the gathering couldn’t have begun at that time. Note that the Apostles were instructed to go only to the house of Israel, and to avoid contact with all other people. It wasn’t until Peter received the revelation a few years later that they were commanded to begin preaching the gospel to the gentiles. But that still isn’t the gathering.

Matthew 10:16-20 – When the Apostles were sent out to preach, Jesus didn’t sugar coat what was about to happen to them. He knew from his own experience what human nature was like. And he was uniquely qualified to comprehend how cunning and awful people can really be. The Apostles needed to know what they were going to be up against.

How would you explain the verses about being brought before tribunals and governors? Why is Jesus telling them not to have anything prepared to say? Were they ready to have the Holy Ghost fill their mouths with what they should say? They were not prepared for that just yet, for they had not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost. This instruction from the Lord was for after they had received that gift, and He was no longer around to personally teach them.

When have you had an experience when you didn’t know what to say and at the last minute the Spirit stepped in and gave you the words you needed? Consider recording your experience in your journal.

Matthew 10:21-39 – What do you think Jesus is trying to teach the Apostles (and us) in these verses?

What is it about the gospel of Christ that causes such division among those who are supposed to love each other and be devoted to each other?

How common do you think it is that the gospel is presented to a family or a community, and everyone embraces its covenants all at once?

What do you think the most common scenario is?

Why should we not fear those who can hurt the body?

Look in verse 32 at the footnote for the word “confess.” The Greek meaning is to “solemnly covenant with or promise me.” We know that Jesus prays to our Father in Heaven for our welfare, but how much more can he do for those who are willing to make covenants with him? All of our eternal blessings are tied to the making and keeping of covenants.

With covenant making/keeping in mind, why do you think Jesus would say that if our mother/father is more important to us than he is then we are not worthy of him?

Matthew 10:40-42 – What does Jesus mean when he says “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me”?

Is our testimony any less than that of an Apostle when we are bearing it to our friends?

Will our neighbor who receives our testimony receive any less of a reward than if we were Apostles? Why?

Does our gender make any difference in how effective our testimony is?

Day 2

Matthew 10:17-20 – When I am in the Lord’s service, He will inspire me with what to say.

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.

Have any of the following things happened to you?

  • You are talking to a friend, or even a stranger, and suddenly feel a need or urge to say or do something very specific?
  • Have you ever been called upon to teach something and you didn’t have time to prepare, yet the thoughts and words just seem to flow while you were teaching?
  • You are called upon to bear your testimony and have little to no time to prepare, but the Spirit is strong as you speak?
  • You are giving counsel to someone and you “see” situations in your mind, and you just seem to know what is going to happen if certain actions are taken?
  • You just got home from work and the phone rings. Your ministering family or neighbor needs help with a blessing, and they ask you to seal the anointing.

These are all examples of what Matthew 10:17-20 and Luke 12:11-12 are talking about. This is the promise from God, himself, that if we are living worthily, and doing his work, he will give us revelation in the very moment when it is most needed. The translation into English of these verses tell us to “take no thought.” In Greek, the language the New Testament was first written in, the verse could also read “don’t be anxious about.” So when we are in the situations listed above, don’t get all worked up over the situation. We think of “take no thought” as meaning “ignore it,” or “pay it no mind.” That would be an incorrect definition. We want to do well. The Lord wants us to do well. But we need to be studying the scriptures all the time so when we are called upon at a moment’s notice to bear witness of a truth, the Spirit can do what he does best – call to our mind that which we have known before, but may have forgotten. He brings things to our remembrance.

This kind of revelation is promised to those who have no chance to prepare while doing the Lord’s work. If we are supposed to give a talk in Church, and we have days or even weeks to prepare, what do you think the Spirit may require of us in order for us to be worthy of revelation for our talk? In this situation the Spirit would probably expect you to seek revelation days in advance of standing at the pulpit. If we ignored our opportunity to prepare adequately before the day of our talk, we may get up to the pulpit and find ourselves utterly alone, with no Spirit to back us up.

What kind of active preparation do you think we can do so when we are surprised and need to receive revelation, we can exercise our faith that he will tell us what to do and say?

Can you think of some things you can do to learn to recognize promptings from the Spirit?

Day 3

Matthew 10:34-39 – What did Jesus mean by “I came not to send peace, but a sword”?

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 trial of being cast out or cut off by our loved ones because of a religious choice we have made is most often experienced by new members of the Church. Those who have lived safely and securely within the gospel experience their whole lives might have difficulty understanding what it means to have your family or a loved one turn their back on you and disown you.

But fear not! The Lord in his infinite mercy has provided us with many ways in which we can pass through trials. And this is no exception. For example, when I was young I had a job as a bagboy at a grocery store. It was one of my first jobs, and I really wanted to fit in. When I saw some of the other boys stealing merchandise for sport and bragging rights, I was faced with the dilemma of whether to ignore their behavior or turn them in. I reported them, and as the only one who wasn’t doing it, I was quickly identified as the one who squealed.

The biggest and toughest of the boys pulled me aside and I just knew I was about to get hit in the face for the first time. But he surprised me when he said that normally he would have beat me up, but he respected me because of my religion and had decided not to hurt me, this time. It was a the first time in my life I had been threatened with physical violence from a complete stranger.

My example is only a mild version of what many have gone through. I have been witness to royalty who have literally had their baptism stopped by the police because their father disapproved of them joining the Church. I’ve seen people have to go into hiding for fear their family members would learn of their conversion and come to kill them, because in their family’s religion abandoning their faith was worthy of death.

What about other examples of choosing Christ above anything else? There are those who are in high powered jobs where they have to go and represent their employers at a function, only to have someone try to force them to choose to drink alcohol at the function. They are faced with the choice of standing for what Christ teaches or trying to fit in.

The point that turns this from a no-brainer into a real test of faith is the degree to which we care. It is a test of love, loyalty, fidelity, or honor that makes these situations a crucial test. If we didn’t care about anyone else or anyone else’s feelings then where is the test? It is precisely because these are people we love or people whose opinions we value that situations become a test of worthiness before the Lord

Can you think of at least one time when you chose your Lord over your loyalty or love of someone else?

What were the results of choosing God and his commandments over someone else’s desires for you?

These kinds of choices in life are not meant to be easy. They are what they seem to be, a test of loyalty to God and his commandments. Such trials are painful. Often our new converts are cut off from their families for the rest of their lives. Some are fortunate and are reconciled eventually, but they may be alone in their faith for many years.

One of the challenges we have if we have been in the Church our whole lives, and especially if we have never had to make this kind of tough choice, is that it is difficult for us to feel a proper degree of empathy for those who have literally lost all their past connections by choosing Christ’s gospel covenants over those they still love, but who no longer are willing to love them in return. This is why it is so important that we offer support and ministering to all new converts. For almost every convert loses someone when they come into the Church. That loss is real. It is a real sacrifice they have made.

Day 4

Matthew 11:28-30 – Jesus Christ will give me rest when I rely on Him and His Atonement.

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 reading brings up an interesting question: Why does the Lord do everything with covenants? Have you ever noticed that to receive the basic blessings from our first estate, our premortal life, and this second estate, no covenants are needed. The blessings we will receive because we kept our first estate are being given by being allowed to come to our second estate, and our resurrection is the final promise to be fulfilled to all those who kept their first estate. There is literally nothing we have to do in this life to receive a resurrected body and some degree of glory in the eternities. Those were promised us in our first estate. This life serves as the means to bring those promises about by giving us a body to resurrect.

So what is the purpose of the covenants God requires of those who join his Church? The purpose of establishing his kingdom in mortality is to provide a way for those who want to return to live in His presence. But it has to be our idea to do it. We have to initiate the process by expressing, at the very minimum, a desire to return to live with God again. When we do that He provides us with a series of covenants that make that possible. The covenants each spell out what is required of us, and what our reward will be if we are successful in keeping our end of the covenant.

All covenants point us to Christ and his work as our Redeemer. They require us to identify ourselves with Christ, represent Christ, and learn to emulate him in all things. In return he forgives our sins, making us clean and spotless before God, and more worthy of entering his presence once again. Because of the covenants we accept, we are held to a higher standard. More is expected of us in this life than anyone else is required to measure up to. The end result of honoring the covenants we struggle to keep is that we are ultimately cleansed from our sins and can return with our heads held high to greet our Father in Heaven someday. What makes this possible? The keeping of our covenants is what accesses the power of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, allowing him to forgive us of our sins and making us holy as he is holy. We begin to live like celestial people live, even while we are in a telestial world full of wickedness. This is what proves to our Savior and our Father that we are worthy and capable of being in their company for eternity in the celestial world.

It is the making and keeping of covenants that yokes us or ties us to Christ. A yoke is a farming implement that is placed across the shoulders of two animals that helps them share the work load of carrying heavy burdens or performing heavy work. It is the yoke that permits two animals of unequal strength and ability to share the load more equally. This is what Christ invites us to do. He invites us to yoke ourselves to him so he can make our burdens light. We yoke ourselves to him by doing all in our power to honor and keep the covenants we have made with our Father in Heaven.

It is important to remember that we cannot make up covenants on our own and be able to return to live with God. We must accept the covenants He has given us, for our return to Him must be on His terms alone. We cannot avoid repenting of our sins and still return to live with God. The whole point of our covenants is to help us become cleansed from our sins so we can be worth to enter again into His presence.

Christ’s atoning sacrifice is the key to our eternal happiness. Without his sacrifice, and the covenants he has given us, we have no hope of returning home. Yes, we can still have glory and a resurrected body, but no hope of eternal life with our family and loved ones, and no hope of eternal increase and exaltation. This is why Jesus offers to share our burdens and trials. He has already paid the price for our sins, and is willing to forgive our sins when we repent and change our lives to live more righteously. He is also willing to help us make the changes we need to make in our lives to become more like him and our Father, both of whom are already perfect, which is defined as whole, or complete.

Taking Christ’s yoke upon us means we enter into a partnership with our Redeemer, allowing him to show us where we need to change, and what we need to do to learn the lessons that will purify our souls. They are almost all painful and labor-intensive lessons, and they are made lighter by his help. I recommend you read the talk mentioned in the manual by Elder Bednar, “Bear Up Their Burdens With Ease.” You might also like to read this article on being yoked with Christ on https://gospelstudy.us. What does it Mean to Carry Christ’s Yoke?

Day 5

Luke 7:36-50 – As I am forgiven of my sins, my love for the Savior deepens.

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 passage in Luke 7 illustrates what happens when Jesus, as the Christ, is taken for granted and neglected. It also demonstrates what happens when someone nurses and cultivates their feelings for the Redeemer. I won’t advocate us trying to develop a relationship with Christ like those the Christian community urges on us, and is even popularly talked about in the Church. Christ has never told us to seek a relationship with him, but always instructs us to look to the Father and to love Him. And though we may not develop an intimate relationship with Christ in the way the Christian community and some Latter-day Saints urge us to do, our love and respect, our reverence for Christ can be without limits and bounds while we continue to focus our worship on our Father where it belongs.

This passage is one of those instances in the scriptures where there is a physical representation of a spiritual lesson. The Pharisee who invited Jesus to eat with him physically treated him with casual disregard. He offered him none of the customary niceties offered to honored guests. There was no ointment for his hair, water to wash his feet (which was the most basic of civilities) or the customary kiss of greeting. His treatment wasn’t just the absence of nice things, it was a public statement and demonstration of how little he regarded him as a person. This wasn’t done in private, but was a public slap in the face to Jesus to show everyone how much better the pharisee was than his dishonored guest.

These meals were held in a courtyard that were open to the public. That is why this woman, considered a sinner, was able to gain admittance to the meal. She wasn’t allowed to eat, but she couldn’t be prevented from attending in the background. Those eating were reclining on couches, so the Savior’s bare feet would have been at the end of the couch on which he was reclining. This is where she quietly, and reverently came and paid him homage by weeping over his feet and drying them with her hair. And after she had wept so plentifully that she had literally washed his feet with her tears, she anointed his feet with the expensive oil she had brought.

We have talked about the rudeness of the Pharisee, but what about the reverence and love of the woman? How hard do you think someone would have to cry in order to literally wash someone’s feet with their tears? That is a lot of tears. Her heart must have been breaking with the sorrow she felt. This is not a quick rinse and dry. This would have to go on for a while to produce that many tears. Only a truly broken heart could cry with that intensity for that long. We have no record of her speaking to the Lord, but he knew her heart, and that it was her faith in him that caused her to do what she did that day. This is why he told her that her faith had saved her, and to go in peace.

Spiritually speaking we have been given a continuum. The Pharisee’s complete lack of respect on one end, and the woman’s complete devotion and faithful behavior on the other end. Where are we?

When you think about how much the Pharisee loved Christ, how much do you see of yourself in his behavior?

Why do you think this woman had so much love for Christ? (reference Luke 7:47)

What do we need to do to spiritually wash Christ’s feet with our tears, and dry them with our hair?

How do you see repenting of our sins changing how we feel about Christ? What do you think causes this change in feeling?

Family Scripture Study and Home Evening

Matthew 12:10-13; Mark 2:23-28

In the Mark passage there is a link to the JST (Mark 2:26-27) that reads:

26 Wherefore the Sabbath was given unto man for a day of rest; and also that man should glorify God, and not that man should not eat;
27 For the Son of man made the Sabbath day, therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.

The disciples of Christ were merely grabbing some grains from the stalks in the fields, rubbing them in their hands to get rid of the husks then eating the grains of wheat. Their crime? It was on the Sabbath day. The Savior’s warning and instruction to the Pharisees was that they didn’t understand the purpose of the Sabbath. The Sabbath doesn’t exist to control us, the Sabbath exists to give us a day of rest and an opportunity to glorify God.

What activities can you think of that would celebrate anything that is good on the Sabbath day?

Do you feel it is important that we not put ourselves in the place of the Pharisees when talking or thinking about what others do on the Sabbath day?

Why do you think we should focus on our own behavior and not the behavior of others when it comes to how we worship on the Sabbath?

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

New Testament 11