Scheduled for study June 24-30, 2019. What is the resurrection? Do we really understand how it works and how important it is to us? And what does it mean to feed the Savior’s sheep, and why is it so important?

Day 1

Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20 – Because Jesus was resurrected, I too will be resurrected.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Reflect on the joy you have because of the Resurrection of Christ. Ponder how you might Share your testimony of this event with others.

It is easy to take for granted the resurrection of our Savior. We can just assume that he needed his body back in order to continue his work, but his resurrection is far more than that. Without his resurrection his atoning sacrifice would have had no purpose, no effect. No salvation could be offered to mankind without the final step of resurrection. No judgment could be passed on mankind, nor kingdoms granted and bestowed without the resurrection. The resurrection was the final step, the capstone in the plan of salvation. With the resurrection completed all other components of the plan became fully operational.

And it wasn’t just the Savior’s resurrection that was important. He was the first to rise from the dead, but his rising from the dead opened the doors for the rest of humanity to also rise from the dead, eternally gifted with a glorified and immortal physical body that will never die. His resurrection began the countdown to his second coming when he will rule for a thousand years, personally, upon the earth as King of kings, and Lord of lords.

The world does not know what it means to be resurrected. They equate resurrection with being raised from the dead, like Lazarus. The difference between being raised from the dead and resurrection is twofold. First, someone raised from the dead simply continues their mortal stay, growing old and eventually dying again, this time for good. Second, someone being raised from the dead comes back purely as a mortal with no more glory than any mortal body has.

Resurrected bodies consist of a body and spirit that are eternally joined together and imbued with glory, which is light and truth. Power can be granted to resurrected individuals that cannot be given to mortals or those who are just spirits. Resurrection is necessary in order for any of God’s children to become gods in the future. The plan of salvation included the offer for mortality and resurrection so that any and all who wanted godhood could achieve it after this life is over. For those who don’t choose the obedience and growth needed to become gods eventually, their resurrection will still give them the rights to a kingdom of glory that far surpasses anything we could experience in mortality. What a kind and gracious Father we all have.

Because we will all be resurrected in the future, we all have great things to look forward to. All of us will face a final judgment by the Savior and our Church leaders, and all of us will be shown as much mercy in that judgment as the Savior can possibly give us according to our obedience and efforts to obey his commandments. No one in mortality is exempt from the resurrection and the judgment that will follow it.

The nature of our resurrection will depend upon our choices in mortality. Those who chose to fully embrace Satan’s evil, or chose wicked practices during mortality will receive only a telestial body. Those who were basically good people, including those who made covenants with God, but were lazy about keeping those covenants, will receive the greater glory of a terrestrial body. Only those who made covenants with God, and kept those covenants faithfully until the end of their lives will receive celestial bodies, capable of infinite expansion and glory. Those who go to the celestial kingdom are the only ones who will not be damned or stopped in their progression.

All of this is because Jesus was resurrected. And because of his resurrection, all of us will receive this supreme gift as well.

Day 2

Luke 24:13-35 – We can invite the Savior to “abide with us.”

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Reflect on the joy you have because of the Resurrection of Christ. Ponder how you might Share your testimony of this event with others.

In modern parlance, or speak, if you are walking home with someone, and you arrive at your house, and the person acts like they will continue on their way, but you really don’t want to be parted from them, what do you say? Wouldn’t you plead with them, asking them to stay with you? Wouldn’t you urge them to rest and receive food and shelter at your home? They can go tomorrow once they are rested, but you would really appreciate their company tonight. Isn’t this what the two travelers on the road to Emmaus did with the Savior when they urged him to come and sup with them? Once it was dark he wouldn’t have traveled any further anyway, so their invitation to dinner included staying the night.

Later, after the Savior left them, didn’t they admit that their hearts had burned within them, causing them to want to hear more from this man who traveled with them?

The story of the two men on the road to Emmaus poses an interesting problem. Have you ever made the acquaintance with someone in a particular social situation, and every time you see that person they are always in the same place doing the same basic things? Then have you run into that same person, say on the other side of town or in a different town, dressed differently, doing something you weren’t expecting them to do? Have you ever had that experience of NOT recognizing someone you actually knew, but only in a limited sense?

I had that experience recently with a woman I had always talked to in one setting at the dentist’s office. We got along famously, but when I saw her in the retirement center where I was volunteering, she talked to me like I knew her, but I couldn’t place her face to save me. At her work she always wore a mask over her nose and mouth because she was working on patients. I had no idea who this woman was who was being so familiar with me. Finally, she realized that I simply didn’t recognize her and she told me she worked at the dentist’s office I go to. It took a second, but then I realized who I was talking to.

This may have been the same type of experience these two men had on the road to Emmaus. They only knew Jesus when he was preaching and being followed by many people. He was dead and gone, ready to be put out of mind when it came to ever hearing his voice again. No one had ever risen from the dead before, so it was taken for granted that even though his body was missing they would never actually see him again. But here was this stranger on the road that was so compelling, so comfortable to their souls that they didn’t want to part with him when they arrived at their home. They wanted their time together to continue. It wasn’t until they witnessed him blessing and breaking the bread as he had done at his own last supper that they recognized him for who he was, possibly because he was doing something they had seen him do before.

All of this was to build up to asking the question from the manual: “How do you recognize His presence in your life?” What experiences have you had with the Spirit in your life? Think of the times you have had truths revealed to your mind and heart, and times when your spiritual eyes have been opened and you have seen things that were not physically present before you. What about times when you prayed and were filled with comfort, joy, or your heart burned within you as you received the answers you sought? How often have you received a priesthood blessing and just knew everything was going to work out, or you were comforted that all would be well? How often have you given a priesthood blessing and had the Lord direct your thoughts and fill your mouth with the words that needed to be said at that moment? The examples of how the Lord can and does work with us in our lives are far too many to list them all here. But these are the ways in which we can identify that the Savior is near and is working with us and for us in our lives.

What does it mean to you then to ask the Lord to come and abide with you or stay with you in your home and in your personal life?

What habits do we have in our lives that invite him to come and visit us or to stay longer?

How do we convey our desires for the Lord to attend to us in our daily lives or in special times of need?

The Lord has already shown each of us that he is willing to come and abide with us. If we have ever received an answer to prayer or a witness that something is true, we have seen his willingness to reveal things to us. Now it is up to us to exercise our belief that he does, indeed, wish to abide with us and be our companion in this life, and always. But he won’t come where he is not welcome. We must invite him into our lives and make our lives a place he wants to remain.

Day 3

Luke 24:36-43; John 20 – Does Jesus Christ have a body?

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Reflect on the joy you have because of the Resurrection of Christ. Ponder how you might Share your testimony of this event with others.

I once asked a Christian I met what he believed happened to the body Jesus was resurrected into. Since he believes in the Trinity, in which it is impossible for God to have a body of flesh and bones, he replied that after Jesus ascended into heaven he “dumped it” somewhere until it was needed at some future point in time. I mentioned earlier this week that the Christian world at large doesn’t understand the concept of resurrection. If they did understand it they couldn’t believe in their definition of the Godhead, the Trinity.

Resurrection is permanent. Once the physical body is reanimated by the spirit in a resurrected form it is a permanent union of these two parts that form a new whole, the resurrected body. The resurrected body is the end goal of our progression. We started as intelligences, were placed into spirit bodies, which were then placed into mortal bodies, which will then be reassembled as resurrected bodies. The eternal part of our souls is our intelligence. Everything else just enables the intelligence to increase in capacity and glory.

Our mortal bodies are designed to be temporary, but once resurrected our union with our spirit will be permanent, lasting through all eternity. So yes, Jesus still has a body. He always will have his body, just as we will also always have our body once we are resurrected. That is part of the definition of resurrection.

Day 4

John 20:19-29 – “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Reflect on the joy you have because of the Resurrection of Christ. Ponder how you might Share your testimony of this event with others.

I encourage you to come up with answers and examples to each of the following questions.

What is the nature of believing?

Can you see something and still not believe it?

Can you believe something without ever seeing physical proof first?

Is there anything special about being willing to believe, with or without proof?

Thomas knew his fellow apostles, yet did not believe them when they told him they had seen Jesus. He knew they were not naturally liars at heart. And all 10 of them were telling him the same thing, that Jesus was alive. So why didn’t he believe them? Belief is the willingness to accept something as truth, with or without physical evidence to support it. It is a conscious choice we make to act as though something is a fact, even without first having the proof of it before us.

As an example, at 3:00 a.m. I might ask you if the sun will rise this morning. It is now the darkest part of the night, and there is no evidence of a sun to be seen anywhere. What will you answer me? You will say, “Of course the sun will rise; it does every day of our lives.” You believe something is going to happen even though you have no physical proof in front of you. What you are using is past evidence, not current evidence.

You could tell yourself that all previous risings of the sun were coincidental, an accident of nature. Based on those accidents you refuse to believe that it will be repeated today. When it comes to spiritual truths this is exactly what some people do. They are not willing to accept that all the evidences they have been given in the past have anything to do with the present, and therefore they will not believe unless they are presented with physical evidence right now.

The people alive in the days of Jesus’s ministry were especially blessed to see him actually living a perfect life. They saw things that was the envy of every prophet and righteous individual of every age. But Jesus can’t have loved these people more than all the people who didn’t live during his lifetime. He is no respecter of persons, so he offers the same blessings to all, no matter what time period they live in. The requirement for those blessings he offers is the same in any period of the earth’s history – believe.

When we choose to believe in Christ, and act on that belief, it is called exercising faith. Faith is the acting, or action, part of choosing to believe. Intellectual belief will serve no good purpose if we don’t also choose to act on our belief. It is only when we act on our belief that spiritual power is released into our lives, and miracles happen. It is only when our chosen belief and action is in something correct that our prayers are answered, and the saving covenants can be found.

Sight is not necessary to be saved. Sight is not needed to receive salvation. No matter how we word it, the sentiment is always the same; Christ will bless us all equally when we choose to believe in him and the truths he taught. When we live, and where we live in mortality makes no difference. All that matters is whether we choose to believe in Christ and act on that belief.

Day 5

John 21:1-17 – The Savior invites me to feed His sheep.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Reflect on the joy you have because of the Resurrection of Christ. Ponder how you might Share your testimony of this event with others.

The following thoughts are taken from Elder Holland’s talk mentioned in this section of the manual. You really should read it before continuing with this day’s material. It is wonderful!

Elder Holland explains that the Apostles didn’t really know what to do after Jesus left them, so they went back to doing what they had always done. For most of them that was fishing. Their first night back on the boat they caught nothing. As they were dejectedly sailing back to shore a man called out to them and asked if they had caught anything. They answered they had not. He told them to cast their nets on the right side of their ship. Hmmm. This had happened before. They did so, and caught 153 fish, yet their net didn’t break. Someone, making the connection to what happened three years earlier, said that it was the Master. Peter promptly put on his coat and jumped overboard to swim to shore.

They had forsaken their calling, their ministry, because they felt cast adrift by the absence of their Teacher, the Savior. But he was there on the shore waiting for them, with fish and bread at the ready for them to eat after their long night without food. It was after they were full that Jesus pulled Peter aside and asked him three times if Peter loved him, and each time followed his question up with the injunction to feed His sheep.

How often do we behave like Christ’s original Apostles? We get baptized and confirmed then settle into a routine of doing things, but lose sight of what the Lord really wants us to be doing. Yes, we are going to Church, taking the sacrament each week, and paying our tithing, but those are all self-serving activities that only benefit ourselves. The Lord’s biggest concern for us is that we learn to be like him and learn that that only happens when we learn to be more concerned with the welfare of others.

Was only Peter supposed to nourish the Savior’s people with spiritual food? Have we not all accepted the same covenant to do so when we got baptized and promised to stand in the place of Christ in whatsoever place we might be in? Doesn’t the Savior’s directive apply to each of us that when we are converted we need to strengthen our brethren?

It is easy to become complacent and lazy in our service to others, but Jesus made it pretty clear with Peter how important he feels it is that those he calls to the work be up and doing in the service of his flock. In Doctrine and Covenants 4 we are all called to do the work of bringing people to the Lord, of doing missionary work. And missionary work needs to be done both in and outside the Church. The work of conversion is ongoing and needed everywhere.

Scripture Study and Home Evening

John 21:15-17 – Feed my sheep.

What does it mean to feed Christ’s sheep?

Periodically throughout the scriptures the Lord refers to the importance to our souls to feast on the words of Christ. He says he delights in fatness, not physical fatness, but spiritual health. The reference to feeding addresses our inner need to nourish ourselves. Our spiritual natures languish without a diet of truth in our lives. Truth revitalizes us and strengthens us. Truth helps us understand and appreciate the workings of God, and the workings of man. People really do perish without truth. Just as food is essential to physical health, God’s truth is essential to spiritual health.

The problem we face is that we feel the immediate results of neglecting the physical deprivation of food, but we can go years without spiritual food and often don’t understand why we feel so lost and without purpose. It is because we have neglected our spiritual health, which is just as vital to the welfare of our souls as our physical health.

Our first responsibility is to feed ourselves by immersing ourselves in God’s word, the scriptures, in Conference talks, and anything else that comes from the living oracles of God. Our next responsibility is to share what we gain from God’s word, in any form, with others around us who are just as starved for the truth as we are/were. This is what the Lord means when he talks about strengthening our brethren. We certainly cannot be held unaccountable when we have been blessed with the spiritual nourishment our souls craves, but then stingily withhold that same sustenance from our neighbors or our family members. Our promise is that when we share what we have received with others we will receive more. When we withhold what we have received with others then what we have been given will be taken from us. We will be left to starve. Spiritual health cannot be had nor maintained through selfishness.

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

New Testament 26