When Jesus chose twelve apostles and sent them out to do His work, He emphasized that the way people treated them was indicative of the way those people would have treated Him.
He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.Matthew 10:40; see also John 13:20
He told them to travel without money and without extra clothing, because good people would support them along the way. (See Matthew 10:9-10, Luke 9:3.) He also told them not to be surprised if they were persecuted, because He had also been persecuted, and “the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord” (Matthew 10:24).
When Jesus visited the American continent following His death and resurrection, He again chose twelve representatives, and He gave the following admonition to everyone else gathered there:
Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.3 Nephi 12:1
And in 1832, Joseph Smith received a revelation in Kirtland, Ohio, which echoed and amplified this promise:
All they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.Doctrine and Covenants 84:35-38; see also Doctrine and Covenants 84:88-90
It’s easy to think that we would treat Jesus better than we treat His representatives. After all, He is perfect, and they are not. But the reality is that by respecting them and paying attention to their words, we demonstrate that we respect Him and are willing to heed His words.
There are fifteen apostles today: the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Ronald A. Rasband has explained that they are collectively providing us with messages more frequently than ever before—if we are willing to listen:
It used to be that you’d have to wait till general conference or maybe an occasional article in one of the Church magazines. But now…the President of the Church—and all of the Apostles, frankly—are using their social media accounts to give their latest inspired teachings to the members of the Church. So I invite all [of you]…to follow the President of the Church, certainly, and the other members of the First Presidency and the Twelve as you can. And you will have the latest, most inspired teachings of God’s prophet on the earth today.Face to Face with Elder and Sister Rasband, 13 September 2020
Today, I will update my social media accounts to follow the living apostles. I will recommit to read and listen to the messages they provide regularly. I will choose to receive the Savior by receiving His servants.
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