Come, Follow Me

  • Matthew 4; Luke 4-5: “The Spirit of the Lord Is Upon Me” (January 30-February 5)

    Jesus Declares He Is the Messiah,” from the Bible Videos – The Life of Jesus Christ

    Temptation

    Shortly after Jesus was baptized, according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, He was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” where He fasted and communed with God for forty days. I don’t know what a forty-day fast looks like, but Jesus was following in the footsteps of two great prophets: Moses and Elijah. See the blog post Fasting: How Long and How Often? Today, many Christians commemorate this event by observing Lent.

    Matthew states that the Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness “to be tempted.” Mark and Luke both suggest that He was tempted throughout the forty days. Joseph Smith corrected all three accounts to clarify that Jesus was there to be with God, and that He was tempted at the end of that time, when He was “an hungred.” (See Joseph Smith Translations in the footnotes of Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-2.) See also this blog post, which connects Jesus’ experience with the experience of Alma outside of the city of Ammonihah: What Does It Mean to Be “an Hungered?”.

    The Come, Follow Me lesson this week says, “Sometimes people feel guilty when they are tempted to sin. But even the Savior, who lived ‘without sin,’ was tempted.” Consequently, we can learn from the Savior how to fortify ourselves in order to overcome temptation. Here are some ideas, with relevant blog posts:

    1. We can study and internalize the word of God: How Did Jesus Use the Scriptures?
    2. We can fast: The Fast That I Have Chosen
    3. We can find time to eliminate noise from our lives and be alone, in order to be more in touch with our emotions: What Does It Mean to Be “Past Feeling?”

    Testimony

    After His time in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee, the region where He had grown up. During a worship service in the synagogue of His home town, Nazareth, He testified that He was the Messiah (the Anointed One) whom Isaiah had foretold. (See Luke 4:16-21, Isaiah 61:1-3.) The scripture He quoted describes His mission in terms of healing and liberation:

    The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

    To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

    Luke 4:18-19; see also Isaiah 61:1-2

    The Greek word aphesis (ἄφεσις), which means “letting go” or “setting free,” appears twice in this passage, translated once as “deliverance” and once as “liberty.” Most other places in the New Testament, it is translated as “remission” or “forgiveness.” Here’s a blog post about this term: What Is a “Remission” of Your Sins?

    Here are some other blog posts about how the Savior fulfilled aspects of Isaiah’s prophecy:

    A few years ago, when I received a new calling at church, I was drawn to these verses from Isaiah. I knew that the Savior had fulfilled this prophecy as no one else could, but I also felt that this passage described the service I needed to render as one of His disciples. The focus on health and freedom—physical, emotional, and spiritual—helped me to better understand the needs of those I was called to serve.

    Jesus exemplified this focus on the needs of others. Immediately after being tempted, He learned that John the Baptist was in prison. According to Joseph Smith’s revision of Matthew 4:11, “He sent angels, and, behold, they came and ministered unto [John].” I will follow His example this week, paying attention to those who are in need and finding ways to provide relief.

Latest Posts

“Lest Thou Dash Thy Foot”

A promise of protection is not a license to do stupid things. When Satan urged Jesus to leap from the temple, he was asking Him to focus on the wrong thing: the promise of safety instead of the work He had been sent to do.

Bread

We all respond regularly to physical hunger, but we may not be as aware of our spiritual hunger. Moses taught that we don’t live by bread alone, and Jesus quoted that teaching when Satan tempted Him. We need to nourish our spirits as we do our bodies.

The Acceptable Year of the Lord

David pleaded with God to save him “in an acceptable time.” Paul and Amulek both testified that the acceptable time is now. Part of the Savior’s mission was to proclaim that grace is available to us immediately if we are willing to receive it.

Baptized with Fire

John the Baptist described the effect of the Holy Ghost with a striking metaphor: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Matthew 3:11; see also Luke 3:16 As far as I know, that is the only place…

Straightway

Mark tells us that when Jesus called Peter and Andrew to be His disciples, “They straightway left their nets and followed him.” We likewise often need to act straightway, without unnecessary delays or detours.

“My Beloved Son”

When our Father in Heaven has introduced Jesus Christ, He has consistently called Him, “my Beloved Son.” We can follow this example by expressing love for our family members regularly.

“Exact No More…”

John the Baptist answered the same question asked by three groups of people: “What shall we do.” All three of his answers are based on the same underlying principle, a principle which King Benjamin also exemplified and taught: Don’t take more than you should. Discipline yourself to not abuse the power you have.

The Ax Is Laid at the Root of the Tree

Maturity requires awareness and honesty. John the Baptist and Alma both used a metaphor of an ax resting beside a tree to help their listeners overcome complacency and choose to repent.

Chaff

A winnowing fan is a kind of basket used to throw chaff and grain into the air. The chaff blows away, and the heavier grain remains. Chaff can represent our sins. If we are willing to let them go, they will blow away as the Savior winnows us.

John 1, Doctrine and Covenants 93, and 3 Nephi 9

John 1 teaches important principles about Jesus Christ using poetic language. Many phrases from this chapter are repeated in an 1833 revelation to Joseph Smith (Doctrine and Covenants 93) and in the Savior’s words to the Nephites and Lamanites in 3 Nephi 9. Here is a side-by-side comparison of those passages.

Our Great Creator

John taught that all things were made by Jesus Christ. The gift of creation comes with duties and responsibilities. We can find opportunities to care for the earth in our communities, in our neighborhoods, and even in our own yards. We honor God by caring for His creations.

Bullish

Prophets have foretold difficult days ahead, but they have also encouraged us to be confident and enthusiastic about the future. That’s because the Savior has promised to give us power which will enable us to overcome the challenges we face.

The Light of Christ

How would you treat people if you really believed that Jesus enlightens everyone? Perhaps you would be more optimistic about the good that people can do. Perhaps you would be more appreciative of the good that people from diverse backgrounds are doing. Perhaps you would have more confidence in yourself as well.

Why Is Jesus Called “the Word?”

Jesus is the Word because He (1) fulfilled the instructions of His father, (2) taught us how to return to God, (3) fulfilled the words of ancient prophets, and (4) gives us instructions which we can put into action.


  • Names and Titles of Jesus Christ

    Names and Titles of Jesus Christ

    In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.

  • Repentance and Resolutions

    Repentance and Resolutions

    January is a good time to repent. Setting resolutions can be part of a pattern of change which can lead to incremental improvement throughout the year. Here are some of my resolutions for 2023.

  • The New Testament and the Book of Mormon

    The New Testament and the Book of Mormon

    The Book of Mormon can enrich your study of the New Testament. Here is a list of connections between the books to help you incorporate the Book of Mormon into your New Testament study.