Friday, November 1, 2013

Jesus Christ


by Liz Lemon Swindle
Well, I saved HIM for last (see Behold the Man!).  And it’s because he IS the King of all the rest.  What my heart does when I read about him, when I feel his presence, when I contemplate what he has done for me in my life—the personal application of what was done on the cross—is completely indescribable!!  I mean, I can describe it as I did with Joseph Smith and Elder Bednar; the feelings are similar.  But the capacity to receive these feeling steadily increased the more I spent time studying the life and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Since I spend a much greater amount of time evaluating him than I do any other man, he basically owns my heart.


Listen

In the Father’s kingdom, Jesus Christ is the King of kings.  He knows how to create the human body and the earth so he would be a master physicist, geologist, meteorologist, biologist, doctor, etc.  But with all of this strength, talent, ability, there’s one thing that makes him different from all the top dogs of the world:  He is completely balanced in Paradoxical living.  That means that as a Cause he uses his strengths to serve others, lift them, balance them, heal them, rekindle the life in them, and teach them how to keep that life in them.  He doesn’t have one wit of pride but he is perfectly confident.  He doesn’t have one degree of envy but he is perfectly meek and humble.

Listen:  "This is the Christ" Elder James E. Faust
While on the earth he walked in steadfastness, doing all the things his Father commanded him to do.  When people disrespected him for it, he just kept on walking.  When people separated from him because of what he was or what he taught, he just kept on walking.  But not with a grudge on his shoulder.  He walked with purpose, with real love, and with empathy.

Listen: "You're Not Alone" by Red
He is merciful to those that do wrong but AT THE SAME TIME he feels every ounce of the injustice done to those they have injured.  He absorbs the demands of justice into himself, which is no easy task, and allows for each of us wrong-doers to be given MORE TIME to get our acts together.  Incremental Justice instead of total condemnation-right-now.  The conflict, the pull from both sides, the ability to balance himself between both the sinner and the injured is incredible!

The Mediator (select to see a youtube video)

He’s God.  But he’s also a man.  Steadfast, immovable, Summarized.  Yet he chooses to balance that with grace, flexibility, Expansion.  His voice is like no other!  The depth is...sigh.  And as a man he loves women.  He respects them, values them, and takes care of them.  In his time it was not socially accepted for a man to treat a woman with the same respect he would a man.  Jesus just walked right past that sign and talked to whichever woman he wanted to and to whomever followed him in faith.  He valued their gifts and contributions to him regardless of the snubs and verbal abuse he received from the ruling class.
  

He’s serious yet anyone who has felt his presence can sense his humorous side.  He knows what sacred things a man should never joke about.


The Jewish leaders in the world Jesus was born into didn’t value these qualities.  Didn’t see them as characteristics of a King.  And so when he came, it was his mission to be born in an obscure little village in a stable.  When the Wise Men came, I'm sure they couldn’t believe nobody knew about his birth! 

He was raised in a small village with a population of maybe 400.  He grew up just a regular boy with a basic religious education.  He was trained by Joseph, his step father, to be a carpenter. 

Pharisees
Not until he was 30 years old did he begin his official mission as recorded in the four Gospels.  At that time the leaders of the communities were from elitist families.  They were educated in elite schools, taught the Jewish traditions and law from an early age.  As they ascended the ladder of succes they dressed in robes decked out with ornaments that told a story of their personal achievements and status.  These men—the Pharisees, the scribes, the Sadducees, and the priests—were the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day.  So when our Savior came on the scene with no formal training and had only his person, his teachings, the scriptures, and his miracles to recommend him, these men were aggressively offensive.  But that was the game plan.  Jesus never wanted to be believed in because others hyped him.  He didn’t want the people to follow him because everyone else was doing it.  He didn’t want it to be about a title, certifications or degrees.  He wanted the people to hear his word and determine for themselves how they would respond to it (Listen and Liken:  "Two Princes" by Spin Doctors). 


Anyone and everyone that came to him in faith, he healed.  He even spent his time searching for those who needed to be healed.  I can imagine it was exhausting (Mark 5:25-31 and Mark 4:38).  He was also a man.

Through these miracles and others he demonstrated that life was in him.  The people could trust him and therefore trust his words—the commandments he gave them.  He was basically saying, “If a person can heal you physically, he can also heal you spiritually if you will implement his words in your life.” (See Mark 2:9)

I think of him dealing with the scribes and Pharisees who used their knowledge and experience to think of ways of tricking their supposed competitor into contradicting himself in front of the people.  And to what purpose?  So they could remain king of the hill.  Throughout his entire ministry they threw curve balls at him in effort to strike him out.  But they had no idea what a heavy hitter he was!

I think of him looking at them and their intentions.  I wonder what he’s going to say.  And then when he says it and I study it to figure out why he said it, I realize he completely knocked the ball out of the park.  I could watch this sport ALL DAY!  I can’t even begin to describe my admiration.  It is complete worship.  And he keeps doing it.  Everything that comes out of his mouth.  Everything he does.  I stand all amazed.  Literally.  And the thing is that he just is that way.  There is no pretense.  And he uses it for the well-being of his people not to puff himself up.  He has faith that if he obeys the commandments of his Father, his needs will be taken care of.  Maybe he’ll have to wait and if that’s the case, he waits.  But he doesn’t lose his focus.  He remains steadfast, determined, unchangeable, resolute, decisive, and absolutely beautiful (Listen:  "Primary Song Medley").

Matthew 6:21
A number of years ago when I started studying him in greater depth than I had before, I realized what a true reward was.  It would be hanging out with him.  The treat it would be to talk with him, interact with him, hear his voice—the depth, and watch him interacting with others would be the ultimate of all rewards.  Forget mansions and deluxe vacations.  Next to him all the riches of the earth pale in comparison.  And so really that's what I'm trying to do now--interact with him.  Why wait? (Listen and Liken:  "Afterlife" by Switchfoot)

Listen and Liken:  "Son of Man" by Phil Collins
Seeing him like this made me realize what the potential of a man was.  A man can literally become like Christ through his atonement.  I think that is what has happened with Martin Luther, Alma, Joseph Smith, and Elder Bednar.  I know it does take work but I don’t think it’s like building the Tower of Babel to make a name for oneself.  I think the main thing is for them to choose him as their Cause and then remain allegiant to him.  And I think that’s really what the priesthood is all about (Listen:  "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd"). And I think all you ladies would agree with me when I say, these kinds of men are HOT!
Read and Liken:  3 Nephi 24

Listen:  "Emmanuel" by Amy Grant