Jesus the Christ Chapter 10
*For anyone just joining us, this post is in conjunction with the Jesus Book Club (so named by Brandy)- a casual group reading books about Christ. Feel free to jump in and read with us, or just comment on the discussion. *
Am I the only one who loves the picture we get here of John the Baptist? He’s so hardcore, so blunt to the Pharisees and Sadducees, so genuine and pure in his message of repentance. I love that he so obviously didn’t care about dressing nice or impressing people, he was all about his message.
This really struck me: “The spirit of his demands was that of a practical religion, the only religion of any possible worth- the religion of right living”. So much of what Christ taught hinges on this- don’t just not commit adultery, don’t even think lustful thoughts, etc. It’s not just about saying the right things on Sunday, but doing and thinking the right things, becoming better and better.
I found the section of Christ’s baptism really instructional- I find it fascinating that John knew Jesus to be sinless but most likely did not know that He as the Savior, until the sign of the dove. It makes me wonder if Elizabeth had not shared with her son the events surrounding his cousin’s birth- I’m assuming from this she had not, but it seems weird that she wouldn’t have, knowing that John also had an ordained role to perform. Maybe she was supposed to let him figure it out for himself.
And the temptations. If you haven’t listened to Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk The Inconvenient Messiah, do it! It’s available through LDS Voices on iTunes. Or if it’s not, let me know and I’ll make you a copy if you want it. It sheds incredible light on the temptations, and on applications to our lives. So good. But from the book-
“It was a necessary result of our Lord’s dual nature, comprising the attributes of both God and man, that He should endure and suffer as a mortal while possessing at all times the ability to invoke the power of His own Godhood by which all bodily needs could be supplied or overcome.”
That, combined with the fact that He was tempted “in all points”, is truly awe inspiring.
This really stood out to me:
It is not given to the rest of us, nor was it given to Jesus, to meet the foe, to fight and overcome in a single encounter, once for all time. The strife between the immortal spirit and the flesh, between the offspring of God on the one hand, the world and the devil on the other, is persistent through life.
The gospel really is a process. It is okay to be tempted, it is just not okay to yield to temptation. I think that is something we forget. We figure that if we are tempted to sin that we are doing something wrong, but that’s not true. Like Christ, we will continue to be tempted. Satan really wants us to sin. Really.
I too was struck by the quote above about living right. That is the central core of our religion and basically all religions.
And oh my heck! The description of God and the Holy Ghost bearing witness to Jesus’ baptism is so powerful. I was really struck by sadness for all my friends who believe in the Trinity. It is kind of like they are missing out on a really important aspect of knowing who the Godhead is and developing a relationship with them. How can you develop a close and personal relationship with three people/beings when you believe they are one? It fills me with sadness.
Also, I never knew the John the Baptist was so rugged and wild. I think that is super cool.
Totally a good point about temptation, Brandy. It is the overcoming of temptation that we need to make sure we do. Being tempted is not the sin. However that doesn’t mean that we need to needlessly put ourselves in the way of temptation. I think when I was younger I did this a lot, kind of like I was proving a point to myself. Now, I just think that is stupid. If you are tempted to drink, don’t go where they are drinking. You know?
One more thought. I was really struck by the explanation of each try of Satan in tempting Jesus. One was to instill doubt in his mind that he really was the son of God, next was to place doubt that God would help him when he needed it and last time was to try to get Christ to worship him. All of those are completely crazy notions! It is really funny when you break it down. Ludicrous really.
“He should endure and suffer as a mortal while possessing at all times the ability to invoke the power of His own Godhood by which all bodily needs could be supplied or overcome.”
Interesting how many commandments cover not coveting, stealing, going into debt, living within our means, etc. He could have supplied all his needs and wants, yet lived the humble life of a carpenter’s son.
Oooh, great point, Mike. Yay, comment more!