Thursday, November 26, 2009

39d -After Calling and Ordaining Twelve Apostles, Jesus Began His Ministry. He Taught That There Are Other Sheep Not of That Fold Which He Must Bring.

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Painting: Harry Anderson

Matthew 4: 18 ¶ And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
Painting: Harry Anderson

Luke 6: 13 ¶ And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphæus, and Simon called Zelotes,
16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.
Now you have read that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ progressed perfectly into the time of His ministry. He was baptized by an authorized person, John the Baptist. He then perfectly passed the test of fasting in the wilderness for forty days. While there He did not succumb to Satan's temptations. He then afterwards proceeded by His divine power of discernment to choose those who would serve as His disciples. He also called them, apostles.

You will have noticed that the last apostle listed in the scripture above was Judas Iscariot and that Luke, the author of the Gospel according to St. Luke, noted that he, Judas, was the traitor.
I assure you that our Savior made each of these choices of those who would be serving at His side, by the Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation. Such has been the case with all of his prophets and others who sought to do his will throughout the centuries before and afterwards too, even down to our time and will continue on to his Second Coming and beyond. In many of my past blog posts the Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation has been emphasized.

Well then, do you think that Jesus erred in choosing Judas as one of His special witnesses? I hope you agree with me that He did not err. He fully realized what Judas would do. He also knew by the Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation that it was necessary that He be betrayed so that He could be crucified and then resurrected. He also knew that He would suffer for the sins of all men, including yours and mine, and most likely knew it would be in the Garden of Gethsemane. (which is depicted in the painting by Harry Anderson in the painting on the right. The depiction of Jesus's crucification is the picture on the left by the same artist.)

Which by the way, we learn from the Latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, happened to be the same location where Father Abraham, at the command of God, was prepared to offer up his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God. As you may recall, at the last moment, God stopped Abraham from doing what He had commanded him to do. A ram had caught itself in a nearby thicket and instead of sacrificing his son, Isaac, Abraham sacrificed the ram at God's command. God praised Abraham for being willing to do that which God would eventually do Himself, that is; allow His only begotten divine Son, Jesus Christ, to be sacrificed (crucified) after having suffered for the sins of all mankind, including yours and mine.

In Genesis we read this which God told Abraham:
As you may know, Jesus is known as the Only Begotten Son of His Father. Of all of Heavenly father's spirit children who have come and will come to this earth with mortal bodies, only one, Jesus Christ's body, was fathered by our Heavenly Father, who is the father of all our spirit bodies, including Jesus' spirit body. The scriptures tell us Jesus was Heavenly Father's first born in the Spirit world.
Genesis 22: 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Jesus' future death by crucifixion was not a secret. Jesus knew it would and should occur and he told His apostles. It seemed like they didn't fully understand that it really would happen. Here is one thing that Jesus told His apostles sometime before His life was taken. The Savior was referring to something He would do away from the Land of Israel after His resurrection.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
Some others not believing in and therefore not using, the Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation, insist that Jesus was referring to the Gentiles who would later be taught His Gospel by His apostles after His ascension into Heaven, but as Jesus, later, after His resurrection, taught the Nephites in Central America:

Painting: Gary L. Kapp
Only three Nephite disciples are shown in this painting, but in this scripture He was addressing twelve disciples.

3 Nephi 15: 11 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he said unto those twelve whom he had chosen: (from among the Nephites in Central America)

12 Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph.
Now as you read through that marvelous statement of our Resurrected Savior to the 12 Nephite disciples, you understand that He made it very clear that Lehi and his family and friends were led out of Jerusalem by them (The Father, who is our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus) and that the land where He was visiting them (the Nephites) was given to them, by Them.

13 And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you.
14 And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem.
15 Neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land.
16 This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:
(See John 10:16)
17 That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
18 And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.
19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.
20 And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity that they know not of them.
21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (parenthesized phrase was added)
Instead of reporting on the state of affairs among the Nephites in about 32 A.D. , in this post, it seemed best that you be informed first about what Jesus told His twelve disciples about their and their people they would be leading, being some of the "Lost Sheep" he would visit that He had told His apostles about in Jerusalem, which I did above.

In the next post I will link you to a chapter or two from III Nephi of the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, so you will be updated on the challenges the Nephite people were facing not too long before the Resurrected Christ would appear to them.


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