Jesus Christ Teaches Us to Love the Scriptures
Today’s subject is a bit different than the others, and one that is difficult for the mind of a mortal to comprehend. I struggled a bit to grasp at the best ways to explain it. Please forgive me if I am not able to portray the message as best I can; it is of a different level and mind—a level that I have not yet achieved, but I am seeking after. In our quest for knowledge and truth, we may run into some stumbling blocks or things that are hard for us to understand. At times, if we obtain the proper understanding, it is still difficult for us to portray the message because sometimes there are no words to describe it. There are some things we just KNOW, even when we cannot express them a certain way with the use of words. This is the dilemma I came across in writing this post. Please bear with me as I try to express what I learned on my quest for knowledge about how Christ Himself gained knowledge.
There is a particular story in the New Testament that gives us a glimpse into the life of Jesus Christ in terms of His knowledge. When He was twelve years old, Jesus went with His parents to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. They traveled as a large family, not just Jesus and His parents. Mary and Joseph did not recognize that Jesus was missing until they were a day’s journey on the way back from Jerusalem.
Here is my own personal aside: since Jesus was very obedient, they must have not had to worry about checking to make sure He was in the company; they probably had some other pressing matters and individuals to attend to; however, when they recognized that He was NOT among them, then they really worried; why would the Son of God NOT be following their instructions perfectly? Well, He told them that He HAD been going about His Father’s business. In this case, the authority of God the Father and HIS commandments were pressing matters to Jesus. He in turn, reminded His mortal parents, that they should not have worried about Him not being in the company because He must have been about His Father’s business.
What was the Father’s business at that moment in time? He had been teaching the teachers—at twelve years old—in the temple. Luke 2:47 gives us the special glimpse of the Savior’s knowledge at that age:
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
Some of us reading this message are well above the age of twelve. Do you remember being twelve? Would you consider yourself wise enough at the age of twelve to teach someone that had more knowledge than you (academically) in any subject? I know for a fact that I was not that wise at that age. I still needed others to teach me and help me gain knowledge. There is no way that I had attained a particular level of wisdom to teach an important subject to someone much wiser than I. But here was Jesus, doing just that. HOW did He gain the knowledge and confidence to teach such a crowd at the age of twelve years old? The scriptural answer I can give is the same one He gave His mortal parents: He was about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).
Jesus already knew way before the age of twelve what mattered most in life: do the Father’s will. Doing the Father’s will defines every aspect of His being. We discussed that in the previous post pertaining to a different subject. You can find that in pretty much any story about the life of Christ. We do not have the details of HOW He reached the spiritual level He did at twelve years old, and don’t you wish we did? I would love to know more! But the verses we have still give us great insights about the boy Jesus. In several chapters in the scriptures, He teaches us to search the scriptures. Why would He tell us that? Christ is the perfect example. He MUST have searched the scriptures Himself from a very young age. He MUST have made the scriptures a priority in His life. He MUST have truly feasted upon the scriptures, recognized fulfillment of prophecies, and understood things we ourselves might now yet understand about them.
He was able to expound the scriptures during His ministry, and many individuals’ eyes were opened and their souls filled. For example, Luke 24:27 gives us another glimpse into what Christ taught two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus:
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Cleopas and the other disciple did not know that it was the Savior teaching them, but they enjoyed the experience so much that they did not want their fellow traveler to leave them just yet. They wanted to continue to learn from him. After their eyes were opened to know that it had been Jesus Christ who had been with them, they said in Luke 24:32:
32 ...Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
We can have personal experiences with the scriptures in which we can recognize the Spirit testifying to us that the words of Christ are true, and that they truly do bring us closer to Christ. The love of God is truly made manifest because He sent His Only Begotten Son to earth. Christ was known as Jehovah in Old Testament times, and He revealed things unto His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). The words that Jehovah revealed unto His prophets helped them understand what was important in their day and what would be important years down the road. I love that one of the many names of the Savior is the Word. That name is so fitting, since Jehovah revealed His words unto His servants the prophets and then, we learn from one of His Apostles that
14…the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John’s testimony continues in D&C 93:11-13
11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and among us.
12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
From John, we learn that the mortal Christ did not magically have all knowledge as a baby. Again, we do not know nor have all the details about how Christ grew and developed from grace to grace until He received a fulness. But this we DO know and learn about in Luke 2:52:
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Christ put in the work and effort to learn all that He must learn and to become all He was supposed to become. At some point in His young life, He learned about His mission. We do not know how that came about. Maybe His mother, Mary, told the Savior. But maybe, just maybe, He learned about Himself in the scriptures. Maybe He recognized His own Words, and those Words awakened Him. Maybe He was able to converse with the Father in prayer, and His true mission was revealed unto Him when He asked what He needed to do to fulfill the Father’s will.
He truly learned that He needed to be about His Father’s business from a young age. And as Luke 2:52 described, He grew from a child, to a teenager, to an adult and increased in wisdom and in favour with God and man. It did not just happen overnight! He continued from grace to grace, until He received a fulness. And since He is our greatest example, we too, must increase in wisdom from grace to grace, until we too, receive a fulness. We have been given a promise. Please record your impressions after you read Psalms 84:11:
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
NOTHING will be withheld from us. Be obedient. Keep the commandments. Study the scriptures. Feast upon the words of Christ. Incorporate the words of Christ into every aspect of your life. The treasures of heaven are at our fingertips. How will you utilize your time to grow in knowledge?
Three years ago I wrote How Gospel Knowledge Provides Stability and Strength. I invite you to read that post if you need guidance on where to start in this process and why it is important for us in this day and time to KNOW the gospel and the scriptures. I truly believe that as we put forth the work and the effort, we too will see the fruits of our labor one day. The Savior is ready to show us how. Will you allow Him to show YOU how?
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Fulness of Christ Series