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17 May 2018

Words of Christ: Suffer It To Be So

President Nelson gave us a lot to think about this last Conference! I suspect that people are going to be chewing on the things he said and did for quite some time to come. Looking over his Saturday morning talk, Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into our Lives, he gave us a concrete thing to do:

"...consecrate a portion of [our] time each week to study everything Jesus said and did as recorded in the standard works... let the scriptural citations about Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide become [our] personal core curriculum."

I was half toying with adding a red letter Bible to my collection, but then it occurred to me: I can do the same thing with my pen, little by little, in the time he's asking for each week, and turn my regular scriptures into a red letter Bible, and by searching out and pondering the things that He says, I'll get a lot more out of it than I would by just buying a book that someone else has already pre-marked. So I started in Matthew.

As it happens, this verse has always sort of nagged at me: there are several words that I never felt completely confident about: what does He mean by "suffer" and how do you "fulfill" a commandment... it's not like it's an order at a "fulfillment center" that needs to be filled up correctly, at least, not exactly. So I decided to slow down and take some time over it, reminding myself that it's not a race, and that coloring my scriptures is not the point, not exactly: it's the things that I learn about the Lord while I do it.

So headed to the Bible Hub to see what kinds of variations there are in translations; that's always a fascinating thing to do. And they didn't let me down: there's a lot packed into those verses. I copied a few of the most illuminating into my scripture journal to help me remember all the different nuances and overtones that those few words carry.

President Hinckley talked about how far Christ condescended when He came for us, and I got to thinking about that, and about John's objection to baptizing Christ. It seems like the best of men are always the ones who are most aware of their own failings,  the most cognizant of how far the gap between their intentions and their actions actually is. John, although he was the greatest prophet, sees the incongruous nature of a man, however good, baptizing the Savoir: I think this must be at the heart of his objection. How intimidating would that be, to baptize perfection Himself? And so Christ explains: suffer this, permit it, because this is the way that Christ can complete all his duties, and obey all the commandments.

Further Reading:
2 Nephi 31
The Witnesses of Christ; S. Dilworth Young(70)

I'm looking forward to seeing what else I learn in this study; I expect it's going to be a long-term one. But when President Nelson says to make it our "personal core curriculum" I'm thinking that's exactly what he had in mind -- and how could you possibly go wrong, spending time in a concentrated study of what the Master does and says? I can't wait to see where this takes me.

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