Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mosiah 3

Christ the Healer

In verse 5, King Benjamin teaches the Nephites that Christ would work "mighty miracles" among the people. Verse 5 lists how Christ physically healed people. Christ not only healed people of their physical ailments, but he healed them spiritually. If you place the word "spiritually" before each ailment in verse 5, the verse would further reflect what Christ did and still does for His people.

In the October 2006 General Conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke of the healing power of Christ.

"The scriptures contain many accounts of the Savior's healing the heavy laden. He caused the blind to see; the deaf to hear; the palsied, withered, or maimed to be restored; lepers to be cleansed; and unclean spirits to be cast out. Often we read that the person healed of these physical ailments was "made whole" (see Matthew 14:36; 15:28; Mark 6:56; 10:52; Luke 17:19; John 5:9).

"Jesus healed many from physical diseases, but He did not withhold healing from those who sought to be "made whole" from other ailments. Matthew writes that He healed every sickness and every disease among the people (see Matthew 4:23; 9:35). Great multitudes followed Him, and He "healed them all" (Matthew 12:15). Surely these healings included those whose sicknesses were emotional, mental, or spiritual. He healed them all" (Dallin H. Oaks, “He Heals the Heavy Laden,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 6–9).

Not only did Christ heal those who lived in His times when he walked the earth, but he can heal us today.

Christ's Suffering Can Heal Us

Christ can heal us today because "he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things" (D&C 88:6). He completely understands every single ailment and trail and suffering we experience in this life. Christ has walked every path that we could possibly tread. Therefore, he knows how to heal and comfort us individually. We must choose, however, to come unto Him.

I cannot fully convey the feelings I have when I read a specific article by Elder Maxwell and so I beg with all my heart that the reader quietly ponder the article entitled "Enduring Well" (Ensign, April 1997, 7).

It is true that many will suffer all manner of temptations and physical pains and sickness in this life. It is true that parents have children who will die and children who become spiritually lost. It is true that families will be torn apart by sin or war. But how we react to these trials placed upon us will determine our spiritual strength. Everyone has trials, but not everyone reacts the same way.

"Part of enduring well consists of being meek enough, amid our suffering, to learn from our relevant experiences. Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us and do so in ways which sanctify these experiences for our good (see D&C 122:7)" (Maxwell, Ensign, April 1997).

If we choose to let these trials pass through us, then we will have had the "privilege to pay" the price to become acquainted with God (read the story by President McKay found at the beginning of the article James E. Faust, “Refined in Our Trials,” Ensign, Feb 2006, 2–7). In this way, Christ can heal us of any illness or spiritual pair and suffering we endure in our life.

Christ is the Only Way

Verse 17 unequivocally teaches us that "salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ." Our faith should begin in Christ and it should end in Christ and none other (see. Hebrews 12:2 and Moroni 6:4).

The Natural Man is an Enemy to God

Perhaps the biggest challenge we face in putting off the natural man is denying ourselves those things which would lead to a life of sin. To put off the natural man, we must repent and become as a child who is "submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love; willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him" (v. 19).

Another excellent article by Elder Maxwell talks extensively about putting off the natural man. In talking about denying ourselves he said, "Denying oneself has never been popular as a lifestyle, and it is clearly not today. Self-denial is portrayed by many as too puritanical and too ascetic. Scoffers have acquired powerful pulpits from which they bray their message, which constantly puts down discipleship and encourages the natural man to think highly of himself and to please himself.

"What is it that we are to deny ourselves? The ascendancy of any appetites or actions which produce not only the seven deadly sins but all the others. Happily, self-denial, when we practice it, brings great relief. It represents emancipation from all the “morning after” feelings, whether caused by adultery or gluttony. Being concerned with tomorrow, true disciples are very careful about today! Self denial also includes not letting our hearts become too set on any trivial or worldly thing. Then we can learn the great lessons about the relationship of righteousness to the powers and the joys of heaven" (Neal A. Maxwell, “Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, Jun 1996, 12).

I can relate to his comment about emancipation from "morning after" feelings. In the early part of 2006, I started a diet. Before I started the diet, I would snack and eat and snack all the time at home. After I started the diet, I began to think less about food and as I lost the weight, I felt truly liberated. Indeed, when we deny ourselves, we find true liberation.

Reminder of Torment

Just as King Benjamin ended the previous chapter, he reminds the people again of the "misery and endless torment" of those who do not repent (v. 25-27). He does not remind the people to keep them in the grips of fear, rather he reminds them of this awful state because he loves them and he does not want anyone to suffer the torment of a lake of fire and brimstone. As the scripture says, "for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth (Hebrews 12:5-8).

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