Category Archives: the final week

The Promise of Prayer

I am reminded this morning of promises that the Lord Jesus Christ has made to his faithful disciples.

John 14:13-14 reads: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Matthew 21:21-22 reads: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

The Love of God

I am brought to consider the verses from the later part of the Book of John that highlight the love of God, chapters 13 – 17.

From the Topical Guide, Love of God:

 

  • he loved them unto the end: John 13:1 .
  • ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another: John 13:35 .
  • If ye love me, keep my commandments: John 14:15 .
  • he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father: John 14:21 .
  • my Father will love him, and we will come unto him: John 14:23 .
  • As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: John 15:9 .
  • Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved: John 16:27 .
  • world may know that thou … hast loved them: John 17:23 .
  • love wherewith thou hast loved me: John 17:26 .

I am brought to consider these passages and others as we begin into our stake conference activities this weekend. I am also reminded of Mormon’s teachings in Moroni 7:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— (vs. 46)

With this reminder to pray for and cleave to charity, the love of God, I am then brought to consider a profound invitation found in John 14:12-14:

 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

 

“Thy Will Is Done,” JST Matthew 27:54

JST Matthew 27:54 (click on footnote)

“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, saying, Father, it is finished, thy will is done, yielded up the ghost.” (emphasis added)

It impresses me that it was the Father’s will to have an Atonement made by one who would do so in love.

The temptation is to ask why would a loving Father want to do this horrific act to His Son, but then it seems to me that this is not about his Son, it’s really about the rest of us. All of his other children.  The Father was willing to take his one perfect child and sacrifice and subject him to this unspeakable suffering, torture, torment, and death, to save the rest of us. So it’s not about Christ, it’s about the rest of us. It was the Father’s will to save us. And Christ was the one who was willing to do it, and did it.

I’m use to hearing the words “Thy will be done” from the Lord’s prayer on the sermon on the mount. But here is the Savior, with power and authority (even on the cross) declaring “Thy will is done,” because he did it!

The Savior’s Discourse on the Signs of the Second Coming

Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 12:37–48; 17:20–37; 21:5–38JST-Matthew 1, Doctrine & Coventants 45:16-59

I am brought to consider the role of the saints, those that would publish peace as part of the fulfillment of the last days. 1 Nephi 13:37 gives clarity to this particular point.

For example, in Luke 21 there are great destruction and calamities foretold, then this set of verses from 12 to 19 that state that the Saints shall ride through these things, boldly testifying of the truth in the moment,  and yet unscathed, that not even a hair of their head shall be lost, and that “In your patience possess ye your souls.”

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(How do I articulate what I am feeling as I review these amazing prophecies of the Savior’s concerning the last days and the Second Coming of our Lord? )

Today is October 2, 2014, and I’ve started in Luke 21. Verse 26 says the heavens shall be shaken. The footnotes take me to Isaiah 34:4 and Psalms 102:26.  I am reminded that both the heavens and the earth shall pass away. What does this mean? Does this mean that the atmosphere, with its clouds, storms, and all that is in it, will die out, and be replaced? It seems a strange thing to consider, because unlike the earth, the heavens seem to be in a constant state of rejuvenation, ever changing.

These verses seem to suggest that whatever “hosts,” or forces that rule the heavens this space above the earth that truly does dictate much of our daily affairs, shall be brought to an end.  And God does not cease to be God, and his words even then will remain in place to be fulfilled.

Later in Luke 21, verse 32, an oft confusing verse states that “this generation shall not pass away,  till all be fulfilled. ” The JST footnote clarifies this point. This generation is not the generation in which Christ was then present. Rather, the use of the adjective “this” has reference to the time period in which all these other signs would come to pass. This generation shall not end, meaning that there will be no other time period after this time period (of which we are a part of today) before the Savior comes again. Our world as we know it today, our culture which in no other period of the world has become a global culture, will not end until Christ comes again.  WOW.

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3 October 2014 – I’ve added Doctrine and Covenants 45 to the lists of sections that talk about the Savior’s second coming. Zechariah 14 (from the Old Testament)  also gives details about the Savior’s second coming.  Particularly noteworthy is prophecy of light at the Savior’s coming to the Mount of Olives. A day and a night and another day shall pass without darkness when he comes again.  The Saints that have slept will be resurrected at that time and come with Christ in addition to the angels (or maybe they are the same).

The Last Week of the Savior’s Mortal Ministry

I have been brought to consider, personally, the events and geography of those events leading up to the Savior’s final days in mortality.  This study, as guided by the Spirit of the Lord, has illustrated to me in clear terms the “how it happened” and “where it happened” of these critical events in the history of the world, which thing has never been given to me before in this manner.

I am asking myself why now, why so strongly, why so clearly, are these things being show to me? I am ever so keenly aware of my imperfections and unworthiness to really be receiving such, and yet for the Lord’s own purposes He is instructing me now.  I am so very much not worthy.

I don’t even know quite how I can begin to change myself to bridge this gap in my understanding. It is not a lack of mental knowledge that keeps me from changing. It is as if there is yet some part of me that refuses to believe what I know to be true, and I don’t know how to change that. Is it an ailment of the heart?  What void of darkness must yet be removed from my soul so that I may act and remember to act and desire to act in harmony with so much light? How much more intimate must become my relationship with Him and why? Why me?

I am reminded now of how to change. The answer is in the preparation of the ground to receive the word of God.  “Hear ye the parable of the sower.” Change and progress lies in the preparation of the soil to receive the seeds of truth.  The work of preparation is of great importance. If I want to change something within myself, am I preparing myself to make that change?

Well, I suppose that it make sense that if the Lord has set me apart to do some particular thing for Him, that there would also be at same time an increased sense of relationship and connection to Him.

There is work to do now for the day, but I will leave off with this point: a very substantial part of the Lord’s recorded ministry in several of the Gospel accounts is dedicated to his final week of events and teachings that the Savior shared at Jerusalem.


 

Coming back to it on a new day now, it impresses me that there is no other week in all the word’s history that is more heavily documented in scripture than is the final week of the Lord’s mortal ministry. 29 chapters focus on that final week, from his descent into the Jerusalem region to his Resurrection.

Matthew 20:17-19 – In these verses Jesus tells the twelve that they are now going to Jerusalem and that he would be betrayed and condemned to death, delivered into the hands of the Gentiles to be mocked, scourged and crucified.

It is interesting to note the direction in which he came down was from Jericho. Before entering into Jerusalem it seems that he made a detour by way of Bethpage and possibly even Bethany, which were beyond  the mount of Olives to the southeast of the city.

Matthew 21 to 28 (8 chapters) then entails the final week of his mortal ministry.  There is much contained in these chapters which essentially constitute nearly one-third of the recorded gospel according to Matthew.  Events included:

  • Triumphant entry into Jerusalem
  • Cleansing of the temple (second time)
  • Extensive period of teaching in the temple.
  • Then much of the more well known events surrounding his death and resurrection.

In the book of Mark, chapter 11 is where the Triumphal Entry is recorded.  So chapters 11 – 16 of Mark (6 chapters) also consist of about one-third of the recorded Gospel in Mark.

In Luke, chapters 19 -24 (6 chapters) constitute the Savior’s final week. This is one-fourth the account of Luke.

Then in John,  it is chapters 12 – 21 (9 chapters)that encompass that final week, essentially one-half of the book of John. John’s account is quite dramatic and different than the other accounts.

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Again, a new day, my questions are these:

  • Why the second cleansing of the temple?
  • What teaching were taught in these final days before his crucifixion?

The first question is worthy of consideration. Why was the temple cleansed? It was an effectual clearing of the ground, turning off the noises of the world, preparation that ought to occur before spiritual instructions are received. Missionaries understand this principle well.

I am reminded of the priesthood meeting that I attended where Elder Holland showed up 40 minutes late and how it was that it afforded us a time to prepare through the singing of hymns for the messages that we received. I remember how some left in frustration, while others stayed and sung the hymns of Zion. We were richly rewarded for so doing and taught a great lesson in patience.

The second question will require turning to the scriptures.

Teachings start in Matthew 21:14.

On the first day, upon his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus goes to the temple and cleanses it. He heals the blind and the lame. Babes speak praises to him. Then in the evening of the first day, he leaves Jerusalem and spends the night in Bethany. Perhaps this is Monday.

The following day he returns to the temple (Tuesday?). He curses a fig tree that bares no fruit, and then it immediately withers. He disciples are amazed at this thing, and then the Lord goes on to teach them about prayer, stating “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (vs. 21 & 22)