John 21

John 21: Feed My Sheep

Peter, Thomas and Nathanael go fishing and while they are fishing in the sea of Tiberias, they see a man on the shore. The man calls out to them and asks; “…Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.” (John 21:5) So the man on the shore tells them to cast their net on the right hand side of the ship in order to get fish. So the Apostles do this and find that there are more fish caught in the net then possible to pull into the ship. This is when the Apostles knew that the man was in fact Jesus, and this was the third time He had shown Himself to the Apostles since His resurrection.

When the Apostles come back to land, they find on the shore a fire of coals with fish and bread. Jesus sits down with them to eat and asks each one of them; “…lovest thou me more than these?” (John 21:15,16,17) Jesus asks the question three separate times and each time the answer from the Apostles is the same; “…Lord; thou knowest that I love thee…” (John 21:15, 16, 17) and Jesus responds the same three times; “…Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15, 16, 17) Why does Jesus repeat this three times? Because it is important! Jesus want His Apostles and anyone who is following Him to feed His lambs, physically in the sense of helping one another and helping those less fortunate, but also in a Spiritual sense. If we have been given the opportunity to find Faith in Jesus Christ, we should share that with others and help others come to Him.

Jesus foretells the Martyrdom of Peter; “…thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he [Jesus], signifying by what death he should glorify God….”  (John 21:18) So what death would Peter face? According to Christian tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome under the Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. It is traditionally believed that Peter was crucified upside down at his own request, because he felt unworthy to die the same way Jesus did.

The chapter and the Gospel according to John ends with a Testimony that the things written are true and that many things did Jesus do, that are not recorded in this book or the Bible. “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25) We see that there are definitely more books than the Bible, to believe that the Bible is the only word of God would be to not believe on the Spirit of Revelation and the Power that God can give to man to enable him to speak with God, like prophets of old.

 

John 10

John 10: The Book of Mormon

                Jesus opens up this chapter by exclaiming; “…He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice…” (John 10:1-2) Essentially Jesus is saying that there can be no other Christ, He is the one and true “…good shepherd…” (John 10:11) Those who try to impersonate will not have true followers, for the true sheep know their shepherd and only follow him.

Jesus goes onto say; “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15) Those who know Jesus follow Him, and He knows them and lays His own life down for them. This was accomplished through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, when He sacrificed Himself for the sins of all mankind!

Other Sheep: One fold, One Shepherd – The Bible and the Book of Mormon:

It is interesting to note what Jesus says next; “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) Why is this important? During the time of the Old Testament and much of the New Testament there were other people scattered across the world, not just in the “Old World” that we think about in the Bible, which encompasses much of the Middle East. The “Other Sheep” Jesus spoke of lived in the “New World”, or Ancient America and their story and interactions with prophets and God are recorded in the Book of Mormon. Shortly after the death of Jesus on the cross, He visited the people of Ancient America and instructed them and showed the prints on his hands and feet, just as He did with Mary. While He was visiting His other Sheep, He told them; “…I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (3 Nephi 15:21; The Book of Mormon)

                Jesus continues His address to the Jews…

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again, No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” (John 10:17-18) Jesus essentially tells the Jews that opposed Him, that NO man could take His life, if they managed to kill Him, it was because He allowed it. Some of the Jews in the crown accused Him of being the devil or possessed of the devil. However, others asked how He could be the devil or possessed of one, if He performed great miracles in the name of God. Jesus reassures those people that He does the work in the name of His Father, and that anyone who doesn’t believe Him is not part of His fold, because His sheep hear Him and know Him.

Jesus boldly states; “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) One thing we need to learn here is what Jesus meant when He said that He and His Father were one, did He mean physically? Many believe that God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are One being. But are they? We can see from many scriptures in the Bible that this is not the case, in the next book of the Bible, the Apostle Stephen recounts; “…being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55) The LDS position is that they are not One being, but three SEPARATE and INDIVIDUAL BEINGS, in ONE PURPOSE; Stephens testimony confirms this.

Upon hearing what the Jews thought was blaspheme, they gathered rocks to stone Him. Jesus asks them; “…for which of these works do ye stone me?” (John 10:32) The Jews respond; “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33) So, Jesus was going to be stoned for comparing Himself to God? We being made in the likeness of God, permits all of us to one day be like our Father in heaven, but never replace Him. Jesus confirms this; “…Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:34-35) Notice how Jesus sad; “god” and not “God”. We being offspring of God, can become like Him, gods. But never become HIM, God. This is important to understand as children of God, we definitely have the ability to become like Him. This is the very reason we are on Earth, to learn and gain a knowledge of Good and Evil and choose the good. In 1 John 3:2, it reads; “…now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be” but we know that, when he [Jesus] shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

                Jesus ends His speaking by telling those gathered they have two choices, to believe Him or not; “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” (John 10:38) Again, Jesus tells them that they have a choice to believe Him, but if they do know Him they will believe. The Father is in Him, and He is in the Father… they are of One Purpose, and He is indeed the Only Begotten of the Father.

Psalms 43-44

Psalms 43-44

Chapter 43: Light and Truth

David asks God to judge him and plead his case to an ungodly nation, he further asks “…send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me…” (Psalms 43:3)

                This light and truth can be found many places, one place in which it can be found is through His spirit (the Holy Ghost), through His teachings (the scriptures), through His teachers (apostles, prophets, and other church leaders), His children (those around you; friends and family can convey His light and truth), prayer (direct communication to His light and truth through Him).

Chapter 44: Sheep for the Slaughter

To the chief Musician, for the sons of Korah, Maschill.

                David opens with a conversation with God; he tells the Lord about the great miracles He performed helping the “fathers of old” and how they got the land without their own sword, but only the sword of the Lord and His mighty power. David tells the Lord that he “…will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.” (Psalms 44:6) This is always a good reminder, we can have weapons to protect ourselves, but we should never completely trust in them to save us. David had a bow, and he used it. But he said that he would not put his ONLY trust in his bow, but the Lord. David said “In God we boat all the day long and praise thy name forever.” (Psalms 44:8). Instead of boasting of money, power or fame… we should only boast in the Lord!
David then goes on to reveal something interesting; “If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart. Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” (Psalms 44:20-22)

                Essentially this tells us that if we have different desires (other than what the Lord would have for us), God will know! God knows our desires, whether they be good or bad. It says that if we seek out other gods, those gods could come in the form of power or money. It is just important that we remember to keep the Lord our number one priority.