the Savior wants to heal us
Week 10 is scheduled for study Feb. 27-March 5, 2023. What a special week! We have example after example of how the Savior loves us and wants to heal us from the inside out!

Day 1

Be careful not to rush your study of the scriptures. Take time for prayerful pondering even if it means you don’t have time to read every verse. These moments of pondering often lead to personal revelation.

Matthew 8; Mark 2-3; Luke 7 – The Savior can heal infirmities and sicknesses.

The manual asks us to consider what these accounts of Jesus healing people teaches us about Jesus. What I learned about his healings is that I should probably be very embarrassed. The Jews who came to him to be healed knew very little of him or his mission. They may have been of covenant Israel, but they hadn’t heard a prophet’s voice in hundreds of years. The Pharisees and Sadducees had largely rewritten the purpose and methods of the Mosaic law. How much faith they had in the real Messiah, knowing who he was, is basically up for grabs.

We sometimes feel superior to the Jews, because we have the priesthood, modern revelation, and lots of it. We have lots of scriptures that explain the mission of the Savior and how we fit into his plans. Yet these simple people came to him with enough faith that he was able to heal them, masses of them! What does that say about my own faith in Christ?

I question and wonder just how much faith it takes to be healed. They were healed of things their medicine had no way of healing. That is like someone healing us of advanced pancreatic cancer. Can we even imagine having such a debilitating disease and being told to rise and walk, and finding that all signs of our cancer have disappeared? We might think that takes a special kind of faith, and faith in bucket loads for something like that to happen. Yet to Christ these things are ours simply for the asking, or at the very least the believing.

Walking on the water is considered an impossibility, yet a simple fisherman did it. And when he got distracted and began to sink, what did the savior say? He chided Peter for his “little faith” (Matthew 14:31). I get the impression that we are not exercising nearly the faith and belief that we should be. So much more can be done for us if we are just willing to put our whole trust and soul in His hands. And it doesn’t even have to be in His personal hands. The same things can be accomplished by any of those holding His priesthood. But we who come supplicating God for blessings need to believe He is willing and able to grant our petition in Christ’s name.

Day 2

Be careful not to rush your study of the scriptures. Take time for prayerful pondering even if it means you don’t have time to read every verse. These moments of pondering often lead to personal revelation.

Mark 2:15-17; Luke 7:36-50 – Jesus  Christ came not to condemn sinners but to heal them.

We need to remember that Christ’s injunction to us all is to become perfect or whole as his Father in heaven is perfect or whole. To become perfect means that we have overcome our weaknesses, have become converted, are being diligent and obedient in all things, and have learned to love as Jesus loves. Being perfect has nothing to do with being a know it all or never making a mistake. Perfection only comes when we have mastered the art of constantly repenting of our sins and being forgiven. We are healed through Christ’s atoning sacrifice by ridding ourselves of our sins, addictions, bad habits and attitudes.

Here is a challenge for you. Search the scriptures and find one instance where Jesus condemns a sinner who is willing to repent. I dare say you won’t find an instance anywhere in the scriptures. But look for any instance where he condemns the person who thinks he has no need to repent (like the Pharisees) and I dare say you will find many such instances.

The whole point of Christ’s atoning sacrifice was to make it possible for the sinner to be saved. His whole purpose in sacrificing himself was to make a way for each of us who sin to repair the gulf we create between God and ourselves when we break His laws. Jesus is called the Mediator precisely because he rejoices in mediating between the demands of God’s laws and we who break those laws, for whatever reason. He finds great joy in the repentant soul. His happiness comes from seeing us find salvation through his efforts. His sorrow comes only from those who either don’t want or don’t think they need him to be happy. He knows better.

Day 3

Be careful not to rush your study of the scriptures. Take time for prayerful pondering even if it means you don’t have time to read every verse. These moments of pondering often lead to personal revelation.

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

I especially like the second example used for today’s lesson. We often give preferential status to those we deem our family. Even if we know they don’t actually deserve it, we tend to favor those who love us most, for those are the ones we tend to love the most. We all know that God says that if we love Him we show it by keeping His commandments. God gives us preferential status when we give Him preferential status.

We give God a higher status than those around us when we keep His commandments and obey His words the best way we know how. Our obedience is what demonstrates to Christ that we love him and are putting him first in our life. He knows that to do that requires sacrifices on our part. He is appreciative of our willingness to put him first in our life. Jesus considers those who obey him his family.

Day 4

Be careful not to rush your study of the scriptures. Take time for prayerful pondering even if it means you don’t have time to read every verse. These moments of pondering often lead to personal revelation.

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

Today’s lesson demonstrated to me just how much I have focused on only the physical things Jesus did in his ministry. Here is Doctrine and Covenants 29:34-35.

34 Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.

35 Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.

That which is temporal is, as the word implies, temporary or of short duration. That which is spiritual is lasting. All that God does is for eternity, for we are eternal beings. Unfortunately, we tend to think only of today while we are in mortality, for this is all we can see with our eyes. Our memories of the eternities that stretched out behind us are temporarily hidden from us. To understand and live God’s laws we must learn to put our trust in Him.

In the boat

The disciples in the boat experienced the terror of being completely out of control. They were in a vessel on water that was agitated. The waves were so big they were washing over the sides of the boat. The boat was filling with water. Too full of water and the boat would sink, drowning one and all. The night was dark, severely limiting what they could see or how far they could see. They were literally blind out there on the water. It was a storm, so unless there was lightening, there were no stars or moon visible to give them light. They might have had a lantern with a single candle burning in it. What kind of comfort would that light source be to them? Light sources like that are notorious for casting frightening shadows.

None of the disciples could control the boat. They were at the mercy of the boisterous waves and winds. Every physical sense told them they were getting perilously close to dying tonight. No doubt they thought of their families, safe back at home, while they were about to have water fill their lungs, choking the life out of them. Does that sound dramatic? It no doubt felt dramatic to them.

But what about Jesus? What was his perception of the situation? Jesus knew he could not die until he chose to do so. He had absolute knowledge that God would protect him in all situations. He literally had no reason to be afraid of anyone or anything. Jesus was filled with the Holy Ghost and the knowledge that He brings. Jesus knew not only that he had personally made the planet he was on, but he also understood how to control nature itself to cause it to obey his own will. Such is the confidence of one who creates. Despite the darkness, the wind, the waves, and the filling of the boat, Jesus slept with calm security in the back of the boat on a pillow. His sweet dreams were uninterrupted by the apparent reality of what was going on around him at the time.

When he was awakened by his fellow travelers with their incredulous question, “Carest thou not that we perish?” it was clear that they did not share his calm certainty about their safety. So he arose and commanded the wind and the waves to settle down and be at peace. They obeyed the voice and authority of their creator. The very laws of nature adjusted themselves to his will.

Just a matter of faith?

Jesus wondered out loud where their faith was. My first thought was that he was thinking about their faith to control the wind and the waves. But after reading Doctrine and Covenants 29:34-35, I can see that he was probably referring to their faith in him, not the elements. As the great Redeemer, the Savior of mankind, his role was to be the Prince of Peace. When our lives are turbulent, when we are being tossed to and fro by the trials of this life, he brings us peace. He calms our heart, enlightens our mind, and strengthens us against the difficulties of our lives. Again, the very laws of nature adjust themselves to his will for us.

Jesus knows what he can do for us, but do we? Small wonder he asked them where their faith was. They only focused on their physical situation, completely ignoring the spiritual turmoil in their own lives. Where was their faith in their Redeemer to save themselves from themselves? Why were they only focused on the difficulties immediately surrounding them when they had the very creator of heaven and earth in the boat with them?

Jesus carried with him the creative power of God, our Father. Yes, he was also a mortal now, but he represented our Father in Heaven in all things and in all ways. There was nothing physical OR spiritual he could not do for those who put their faith in him. Such is the role and purpose of our Messiah, our Christ. I see now that my focus has been on the wrong things. Jesus is the Prince of Peace precisely because he is capable in any situation of imparting his peace to those who put their faith in him, instead of abandoning their faith because of the turmoil around them.

I always wondered why Abinadi in the Book of Mormon was able to say that it didn’t matter to him what they did to his body. Here are Abinadi’s words (Mosiah 13:6-9).

And he spake with power and authority from God; and he continued his words, saying:

Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message. Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities.

Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger.

But I finish my message; and then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved.

Abinadi was focusing on the the Savior, his mission, his power to save, and his, Abinadi’s own salvation, because of his belief in Christ. It was because he was focused on the Savior that even the threat of imminent death did not cause enough terror in his soul to divert him from his intended course to deliver God’s word to these people. He seems to have known that they would kill him. But what did that matter as long as he was saved? Abinadi was seeing beyond the here and now, beyond the immediate physical circumstances and focusing on the eternal blessings Christ brings to those who put him at the center of their lives.

It just now occurred to me that when the disciples in the boat woke up Jesus and said, “Carest thou not that we perish?” they were accusing him of being unconcerned with their own fate. They did not ask in faith that he would help them when they could not help themselves, for they were only focused on themselves and their present circumstances. I’m pretty confident that Christ would have done exactly as he did in our current story, but with a commendation on their faith if they had asked him to intervene on their behalf, believing that he both could and would save them.

FHE/Personal Study

Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10 – The Centurion

There are several things about the centurion and his circumstances that makes him special and worthy of note to us.

He was a non Israelite. As such the centurion lived outside the covenant, and Jesus was sent to those of the covenant. The Savior rarely helped those outside of the covenant, because that was not his direct mission from God. Yet the centurion demonstrated greater faith in Jesus than Israel’s own people had shown Christ. That kind of faith always warranted the Savior’s attention.

The centurion was humble. We know that, as a citizen of Rome in a position of power, the centurion would have been well off financially, politically, and socially. Yet the centurion recognized Christ’s abilities to help others, so despite his own personal beliefs, the centurion sought after Jesus to heal his friend. This means the  centurion truly loved his friend, for he was willing to do anything in his power to save his friend’s life.

The centurion knew his place. This is a unique feature of the centurion’s character. He was part of the occupying army. He had power and authority to command others in the occupying forces. The centurion was favored by the society in which he lived, because of who and what he was in life. It was the centurion’s native humility that told him he was not worthy to entertain a healer of the sort he had heard stories of out of Nazareth. He sent word to Jesus not to bother coming to his home, for he was unworthy that such a man as Jesus should go out of his way to travel all that way, just for his request.

If Jesus would but say the word, the centurion had every confidence that his friend would be healed, even without the presence of the healer. Jesus had not witnessed this kind or degree of faith in Israel who had been raised with the teachings of what the Messiah was supposed to be able to do for them, yet here it was with someone outside the covenant!

Just these points demonstrate to us what makes the centurion special among men. He had all that society ever gives to people, power, notoriety, authority, or money. Yet the centurion was not caught up in his own social prestige, but was humble and submissive to a man he had only heard of. The centurion didn’t have to, but he chose to place his belief in Jesus, and then exercised his faith in him by behaving according to his belief. He reverenced and respected the Son of God. It was this very reverence and respect, his faith, that won him the healing of his friend.

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NT10-2023 – Thy Faith Hath Saved Thee

Week 10