Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mosiah 14

This chapter is one of my favorite chapters in all the scriptures. For me, it helps me remember, in a very personal manner, what Christ did for us. It seems to emphasize the mortality and suffering of our Lord and thus makes him approachable and helps us to better understand how he can succor his people (us). This chapter helps me remember the scripture that says, "Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?" (Matt. 25:44). Whenever we see opportunities to serve, we ought to see the Savior.

"And when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Mosiah 14:2). How many times do we get caught up in appearances that we fail to see people for who they really are … a child of God? There was a member of a branch in Teleman, Guatemala who was faithful in the Gospel and diligent in service. His heart was good. But if you looked upon him, there was no beauty that one would desire him. So we too ought to look on the heart rather than the appearance.

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not" (Mosiah 14:3). Obviously he was not rejected of all men as Christ had followers that loved him dearly. Yet even some of his closest followers hid their faces from him; being ashamed of their association with him. Peter was asked three times if he knew Christ and Peter denied it saying "I know not the man" (Matt. 26:74).

Do we hide our faces from Christ? Do we fail to serve when presented opportunities to serve others? Are we ashamed of being counted among the followers of Christ? We ought to be faithful to Christ in all situations, even in the face of death. President Faust spoke of Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales who when confronted by Zapatistas did not deny Christ and faithfully defended their religion for which they were shot and killed. (James E. Faust, “Discipleship,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 20–23)

"Surely, he as borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

"All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all." (Mosiah 14:4-6).

Each time I read those three verses, I feel the sting of regret. Christ has done so much for us (a true and large understatement), yet we despise him and wander from his fold ever so effortlessly. I can at least begin to understand why Peter "went out, and wept bitterly" (Matt. 26:75).

President Faust once referred to a story of a school teacher in the backwoods of Virginia where the boys who attended the school were very undisciplined. The newly appointed teacher accepted the challenge and on his first day he had the boys establish their own rules. Once the rules were in place, they decided upon the consequences of breaking the rules. The boys agreed that whoever broke the rules would be beaten across the back ten times … without his coat on.

President Faust continues, “A day or so later, … the lunch of a big student, named Tom, was stolen. ‘The thief was located—a little hungry fellow, about ten years old.’

“As Little Jim came up to take his licking, he pleaded to keep his coat on. ‘Take your coat off,’ the teacher said. ‘You helped make the rules!’

“The boy took off the coat. He had no shirt and revealed a bony little crippled body. As the teacher hesitated with the rod, Big Tom jumped to his feet and volunteered to take the boy’s licking.

“ ‘Very well, there is a certain law that one can become a substitute for another. Are you all agreed?’ the teacher asked.

“After five strokes across Tom’s back, the rod broke. The class was sobbing. ‘Little Jim had reached up and caught Tom with both arms around his neck. “Tom, I’m sorry that I stole your lunch, but I was awful hungry. Tom, I will love you till I die for taking my licking for me! Yes, I will love you forever!” (James E. Faust, “The Atonement: Our Greatest Hope,” Ensign, Nov 2001, 18)

Truly, just as Jim was 'healed' by Tom's beating, so too with His stripes we are healed.

Why then are we so slow at serving the Lord and we turn to our own ways? For this reason we ought to always remember what Christ has done for us and thereby we do not hide our faces at opportunities to lift the hands that hang low.

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth" (Mosiah 14:7). If Christ did not murmur in fulfilling his duty, then we ought not to complain in doing well. Let us "stand tall with a smile on our face" as we build the kingdom of God on Earth. (Elko Nevada Regional Conference, “News of the Church,” Ensign, Jul 1997, 74–80)

"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him" (Mosiah 14:10). Christ always focused on doing the will of His Father. Our Father in Heaven took no pleasure in His son's suffering, but it pleased Him that His son would do His will no matter the pain and suffering. How can our hearts not be full of gratitude to both Christ and God the Father? To Christ for his sacrifice and suffering so that we might live. To God the Father for not intervening in His son's suffering so that He might accomplish the task He was sent to Earth to fulfill? I truly stand all amazed at the love Jesus and our Father offer me!

"He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Mosiah 14:12). These few words succinctly summarize what Christ has done for us. We can never repay Him, but we can turn our hearts to him and do what we can to build up His kingdom on the Earth.

No comments: