Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Dove was a Sign of the Holy Ghost

Matthew 3:13-17 

This is a beautiful account of the Baptism of Jesus Christ. 

When Jesus came to John to be baptized, John astonishingly said "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" Even from the womb, John recognized Jesus. I'm sure he recognized that he was a sinner and that Jesus was sinless. Think of if Jesus Christ coming to you and asking you to baptize him. I think most of us would have the same reaction as John. 

An important part of the baptism was when the Holy Ghost descended as a dove. I learned an important part of this concept and doctrine. 
On pages 28-29 in the New Testament Institute Manual, it states:

The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that the Holy Ghost did not appear as a dove after the baptism of Jesus Christ. Rather, the descending dove signified that the Holy Ghost was present on that occasion: “The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in signof the dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 81).

A reason Jesus Christ was baptized was to fulfill all righteousness. He did this to obey his father. Although sinless, it is a commandment to be baptized in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Christ loved his Father enough to follow his commandments, even when they didn't necessarily apply to him. 
Another reason was to literally show us the way. It would be hard to ask of my children to respect me if I did not respect them. I think this concept applies to Jesus when he was baptized. He can ask us to do as he did. 
Jesus cannot ask us to follow him, yet not do the things required of us to follow him.  

This baptism is also evidence that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are 3 separate beings. Jesus was on earth when he was baptized, God spoke from Heaven, expressing that he was well pleased of His Son. And finally, the Holy Ghost descended as the sign of a dove. Here we see that they are 3 separate beings. They were in 3 different forms and 3 different places.

I am grateful for the example of Jesus Christ so that I may know what to do to follow in his footsteps. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mary, the Mother of Christ

Luke 2:4–6, Mary riding to Bethlehem
The account of Christ's Birth is spectacular in every single instance. Miracles occurred in every step of the story. Angels appeared, a virgin conceived a child, a barren woman also conceived a child, a new star formed in the sky. Christ himself, descending from His throne to come to save each one of us was an amazing miracle.
But there is one miracle though, which I feel is commonly overlooked. That is the miracle of Mary. Some historians have predicted she was between the age of 12 and 16. A young girl with a humble background was visited by an angel and was chosen (not asked) to be the mother of the son of God.

Luke 1:28 states :
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

I have often wondered, as I'm sure Mary did, "why?" Why Mary? What about Mary made her the perfect candidate to be the mother of God's only son? There are obviously many qualities and traits Mary possessed from a young age. Bravery, patience, virtue, light, kindness, and many more. The one I would like to focus on is her humility. 
Mary was, for all intensive purposes, a "nobody." She was young, not very popular or rich, and was quite ordinary in the eyes of the world. But God saw much more. Mary's humility as a noble daughter of God made her the perfect candidate for the Son of God. Who better to teach Christ how to be humble with a high calling than Mary? She humbly accepted the call to be the mother of Jesus- a calling that would surely risk her safety and popularity among men. And I think there is nothing more qualifying in a mother than humility. To have a parent say phrases like "I'm sorry," "it was actually my fault" and "I messed up" is a rare occurrence in our society. Some parents think that with the title of mother or father, they are completely in charge and in control, thus losing the love and the trust that is crucial in family relationships. In the scriptures we read of the love Christ had for Mary and vice versa. I think if all parents tried to increase their humility, many family relationships could be mended and restored. And if we do this, we too can be "highly favoured"of the Lord.
I hope I can start my journey of being a humble parent soon. I want my children to know that I always love them, that I make mistakes too, and that they can feel that I am humble enough to be approachable with anything they want to discuss.
 Luke 2:6–7, The virgin Mary with baby Jesus