“Jesus Declares He Is the Messiah,” from the Bible Videos – The Life of Jesus Christ
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:
- We can study and internalize the word of God: How Did Jesus Use the Scriptures?
- We can fast: The Fast That I Have Chosen
- 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?”
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.
Blog Posts January 30-February 5
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.
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.
“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.
“All These Things Will I Give Thee”
Some things can’t be measured in monetary terms, because they will outlast money itself. Jesus refused to worship Satan in exchange for all the kingdoms of the earth. On a smaller scale, Amulek refused to deny God in exchange for six onties of silver.
Satan tried to weaken the Savior by questioning His relationship with God, both at the beginning and at the end of His mortal ministry. President Nelson taught that we make better decisions when we remember that we are literally children of God.
Passing Through the Midst of Them
What makes people respond to offenses with physical violence? How can we avoid overreacting when we feel attacked in some way? (1) Never instigate or escalate. (2) Be aware of your natural self. (3) Step away from the mob.
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