Lesson Date: 04/14/2019
Lesson: 14
Week: 15

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“Thou Art the Christ”

Published by Randal S. Chase

New Testament Lesson 14 (Matthew 18; Luke 10)

PRINCIPLES OF FAITH AND MERCY

Connecting Faith with Priesthood Power

● “Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:17–24). As He always did, Jesus asked this father if He believed that Jesus was the Christ. This is crucial, since faith is required for any miracle to be performed. Who cannot feel for this helpless father as he cries out to the Savior, “Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

● The Apostles were troubled at not being able to cast out the evil spirit of this child (Mark 9:25–29). Jesus gave them two keys for increasing the power of their administrations: fasting and prayer.

The Miracle of the Tribute Money

● Jesus obtained by miraculous means the amount needed for the temple tax (Matthew 17:24–27). By doing do, He demonstrated the importance of being subject to rulers and to the law of the land. But He also showed that He is the Master of all things, both temporal and spiritual.

Becoming like Little Children

● Priesthood leaders are servants, not masters (Mark 9:30–35).

● Jesus warned against offending little children (Mark 9:36–37,42).

● Except we become “as little children” we cannot be exalted (Mark 10:13–16).

● Jesus used a child as an example of celestial behavior (Matthew 18:1–4).

● To “offend one of these little ones” in this context means to “cause to stumble” (Matthew 18:6). Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “We hear disturbing reports of parents or guardians who are so far removed from the Spirit of Christ that they abuse children. Whether this abuse is physical, verbal, or the less evident but equally severe emotional abuse, it is an abomination and a serious offense to God.”1

● The spirits of little children always inherit celestial glory (Matthew 18:10–11). The JST (footnote 11c) says that little children do not need repentance. It is not God’s will that “[any] one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14).

● Little children, because of their humility and purity are “alive in Christ” (Moroni 8:12; D&C 29:46–47).

“Suffer the Little Children to Come unto Me”

● Jesus’ disciples were disturbed when some little children were brought to him, fearing they would cause a disturbance (Mark 10:13).

● Jesus corrected his disciples and told them to let the little children come to him (Mark 10:14–15).

● Jesus then gathered the little children around him and blessed them (Mark 10:16).

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

● The Lord’s advice to us when we have been offended (Matthew 18:15). Why is this the best way to resolve disputes?

● Peter asked how often he should forgive and Jesus responded “until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22). He used this high number to teach that we should always forgive others.

● We set the standard by which we will be judged (Matthew 7:2). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “Ever keep in exercise the principle of mercy, and be ready to forgive our brother on the first intimations of repentance and asking forgiveness; and should we need forgiveness, our Heavenly Father would be equally merciful unto us.”2

● The parable of the Unmerciful Servant is a parable about forgiving in order to be forgiven (Matthew 18:23–35).

— Elder James E. Talmage said, “Ten thousand talents are . . . a sum so great as to put the debtor beyond all reasonable possibility of paying . . . The man was in arrears for debt. He did not come before his lord voluntarily but had to be brought . . . The contrast between ten thousand talents and a hundred pence is enormous. In his fellowservant’s plea for time in which to pay the hundred pence, the greater debtor should have been reminded of the dire straits from which he had just been relieved; the words, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all,” were identical with those of his own prayer to the king. The base ingratitude of the unmerciful servant justified the king in revoking the pardon once granted. The man came under condemnation, not primarily for [his own] debt, but for lack of mercy after having received of mercy so abundantly.”3

— President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Remember that we must forgive even if our offender did not repent and ask forgiveness . . . Do we follow that commandment or do we sulk in our bitterness, waiting for our offender to learn of it and to kneel to us in remorse? . . . This reconciliation suggests also forgetting. Unless you forget, have you forgiven? . . . No bitterness of past frictions can be held in memory if we forgive with all our hearts.”4

— President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“We see the need for [forgiveness] in the homes of the people, where tiny molehills of misunderstanding are fanned into mountains of argument. We see it among neighbors, where insignificant differences lead to undying bitter-ness. We see it in business associates who quarrel and refuse to compromise and forgive when, in most instances, if there were a willingness to sit down together and speak quietly one to another, the matter could be resolved to the blessing of all. Rather, they spend their days nurturing grudges and planning retribution. . . .

“If there be any who nurture in their hearts the poisonous brew of enmity toward another, I plead with you to ask the Lord for strength to forgive. This expression of desire will be of the very substance of your repentance. It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly. But if you will seek it with sincerity and cultivate it, it will come. . . .

“There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds. There is peace only in repentance and forgiveness. This is the sweet peace of the Christ, who said, ‘blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.’ (Matt. 5:9).”5

The Sanctity of the Marriage Relationship

● The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking him about the lawfulness of divorce (Matthew 19:3).

● Divorce was a much-discussed issue among Jewish scholars and leaders, and the Pharisees hoped that Jesus’ answer to their question would allow them to stir up anger among the Jews (Mark 10:1–12).

● Jesus told them that divorce was not ordained of God (Matthew 19:4–6).

● Why Moses allowed divorce among the Israelites (Matthew 19:7–8).

— In ancient Israel, a man could put away, or divorce, his wife for insignificant reasons. Jesus taught that in a perfect world, such as the celestial kingdom, divorce does not exist. Because the earth is not yet perfect, divorce is allowed but should not happen except for the most serious reasons.

● A man who put away his wife for a frivolous reason was still married to her in the eyes of God, and he thus committed adultery if he married another woman (Matthew 19:9).

THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS

● The Jews said Christ was “born of fornication” (John 8:37–41). This was an insult. suggesting that his mother, Mary, was a fornicator when she conceived Him.

● They also said He was a “Samaritan” (John 8:42–49). This was a racial slur in those days. Jesus responded to this slur by telling a parable in which a “Good Samaritan” is shown to be more righteous that either a Pharisee or a Priest.
— The hidden meaning is that Jesus Himself is the Good Samaritan.

● Elder James E. Talmage said, “We have seen that the Pharisees and their kind were constantly on the alert to annoy and if possible disconcert Jesus on questions of law and doctrine, and to provoke Him to some overt utterance or deed . . . The ‘certain lawyer’ . . . put a question to tempt Jesus . . . We may assume that he wished to test the knowledge and wisdom of the famous teacher, probably for the purpose of embarrassing Him. Certainly his purpose was not that of sincere search for truth. This lawyer, standing up among the people who had gathered to hear Jesus, asked: ‘Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus replied by a counter question . . . If this man, who was professedly learned in the law, had read and studied properly, he should know without asking what he ought to do. ‘What is written in the law? how readest thou?’”6

● The lawyer then stated the two key requirements for eternal life (Luke 10:25–28).
— Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and might (Deut. 6:5).
— Love they neighbor as thyself (Levit.19:18).

— Elder James E. Talmage said, “The man replied with an admirable summary of the commandments: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.’ The answer was approved. ‘This do, and thou shalt live’ said Jesus. These simple words conveyed a rebuke . . . Having thus failed in his plan to confound the Master, and probably realizing that he, a lawyer, had made no creditable display of his erudition by asking so simple a question and then answering it himself, he tamely sought to justify himself by inquiring further: ‘And who is my neighbour?’”7

● The lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). To fully understand the import of this question, we must understand rabbinical teachings on the matter: “We are not to contrive the death of the Gentiles, but if they are in any doubt about a ‘neighbors’ danger of death we are not bound to deliver them; e.g. if any of them fall into the sea you need not take him out, for such a one is not thy neighbour.”8

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

● In response, Jesus gave them the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–35).

● Jesus concluded the parable by saying to the lawyer, “Go thou, and do likewise” (Luke 10:36–37).

Notes:

1.  In Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 107; or Ensign, May 1991, 80.
2.  Address to the Twelve, Tuesday, July 2, 1839; in History of the Church, 3:383.
3.  Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 392–396.
4.  In Conference Report, Oct. 1949, 132–133.
5.  “Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Ensign, June 1991, 2, 5.
6.  Jesus the Christ, 429.
7.  Jesus the Christ, 430.
8.  Dummelow, A Commentary on the Holy Bible [1909], 751.

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By |2019-01-04T00:00:00+00:00April 8th, 2019|

About the Author:

Randal S. Chase spent his childhood years in Nephi, Utah, where his father was a dry land wheat farmer and a businessman. In 1959 their family moved to Salt Lake City and settled in the Holladay area. He served a full-time mission in the Central British (England Central) Mission from 1968 to 1970. He returned home and married Deborah Johnsen in 1971. They are the parents of six children—two daughters and four sons—and an ever-expanding number of grandchildren. He was called to serve as a bishop at the age of 27 in the Sandy Crescent South Stake area of the Salt Lake Valley. He served six years in that capacity, and has since served as a high councilor, a stake executive secretary and clerk, and in many other stake and ward callings. Regardless of whatever other callings he has received over the years, one was nearly constant: He has taught Gospel Doctrine classes in every ward he has ever lived in as an adult—a total of 35 years. Dr. Chase was a well-known media personality on Salt Lake City radio stations in the 1970s. He left on-air broadcasting in 1978 to develop and market a computer-based management, sales, and music programming system to radio and television stations in the United States, Canada, South America, and Australia. After the business was sold in 1984, he supported his family as a media and business consultant in the Salt Lake City area. Having a great desire to teach young people of college age, he determined in the late 1980s to pursue his doctorate, and received his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Utah in 1997. He has taught communication courses at that institution as well as at Salt Lake Community College and Dixie State University for 21 years. He served as Communication Department chair and is currently a full-time professor at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. Concurrently with his academic career, Brother Chase has served as a volunteer LDS Institute and Adult Education instructor in the CES system since 1994, both in Salt Lake City and St. George, where he currently teaches a weekly Adult Education class for three stakes in the Washington area. He has also conducted multiple Church History tours and seminars. During these years of gospel teaching, he has developed an extensive library of lesson plans and handouts which are the predecessors to these study guides. Dr. Chase previously published a thirteen-volume series of study guides on the Book of Mormon, Church History, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The series, titled Making Precious Things Plain, along with four smaller study guides on Isaiah, Jeremiah, the story of the Nativity, and the final week of our Lord’s atoning sacrifice, are designed to assist teachers and students of the gospel, as well as those who simply want to study on their own. Several of these books are also available in the Spanish language.

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