Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, March 16, 2019

“These Twelve Jesus Sent Forth”




Scripture links are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org 
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Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog.

Healing the sick, causing the blind to see, casting out devils, raising the dead, teaching doctrines, increasing overall faith, testifying, nurturing, loving, saving, forgiving, walking for days, no rest, no food, no purse or scrib; these were the days of Jesus the Christ as he brought forth His ministry, testified of his divinity and cared for the people.

Word of Jesus’s healing miracles was spreading quickly. Multitudes followed Him, hoping for relief from their sicknesses. But when the Savior looked upon the multitudes, He saw more than their physical ailments. Filled with compassion, He saw “sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). “The harvest truly is plenteous,” He observed, “but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37). He had to call upon worthy individuals that would help him teach and care for the people while he was ministering upon earth and most importantly after he left; so He commissioned twelve Apostles, “gave them power,” and sent them to teach and minister “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:1, 6).

Joseph Smith: "Christ was the head of the Church, the chief corner stone, the spiritual rock upon which the church was built, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. He built up the Kingdom, chose Apostles, and ordained them to the Melchizedek Priesthood, giving them power to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith) 
 
What is an Apostle? The word Apostle means "one sent forth."  The calling of the Apostles was to be "special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world."  The ministry of the Savior had developed a need for "twelve men who [would] be his witnesses; who [would] bear, with him, the burdens of the kingdom; who [would] accept martyrdom and defy the rulers of the world."  (Studies in Scripture Vol 5 Kent P Jackson)

As we continue our study of the New Testament we will focus this week on Matthew 10–12; Mark 2; Luke 711  when Jesus ordains and instructs the Twelve Apostles and sends them forth to preach the gospel as well as teaches doctrines that we may learn our role in helping as disciples, how to better serve and better forgive or in other words truer discipleship. 

1. Matthew 10 The Lord gives His servants power to do His work

The focus of Mathew 10 is the commission of the first twelve apostles as they receive instruction and are sent forth to preach and minister.  Jesus instructs and empowers the Twelve Apostles, those who receive the Twelve receive the Lord.

What do we learn about the powers and responsibilities of Apostles from Jesus’ counsel in Matthew 10?


They have power to heal the spiritually and physically sick (verse 1).
1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

They are sent to the lost sheep of Israel to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (verses 6–7). 

6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

They are to use their priesthood power to bless and heal people (verse 8). 

8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

They are to seek out those who are prepared to hear the gospel (verses 11–14).


11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 
12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 
13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 
14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

They are to teach as guided by the Spirit (verses 19–20).


19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

They are to give their lives entirely to the Savior’s work (verse 39).
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

How does knowing these powers and responsibilities help us in our individual responsibilities as disciples of Christ?  The instruction Jesus gave in Matthew 10 was to His Apostles, but we all have a part in the Lord’s work.

As the Apostles did, how can we access His power in the work we have been called to do?  2 Corinthians 6:1–10; D&C 121:34–46

1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

 34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

How can studying the commission Christ gave to His Apostles in Matthew 10 help us understand the role of modern prophets and apostles? D&C 107:23, 33, 35; 112:14, 19–22, 30–31


23 The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.

33 The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.

35 The Twelve being sent out, holding the keys, to open the door by the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and first unto the Gentiles and then unto the Jews.

14 Now, I say unto you, and what I say unto you, I say unto all the Twelve: Arise and gird up your loins, take up your cross, follow me, and feed my sheep.


19 Wherefore, whithersoever they shall send you, go ye, and I will be with you; and in whatsoever place ye shall proclaim my name an effectual door shall be opened unto you, that they may receive my word. 

20 Whosoever receiveth my word receiveth me, and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth those, the First Presidency, whom I have sent, whom I have made counselors for my name’s sake unto you. 
21 And again, I say unto you, that whosoever ye shall send in my name, by the voice of your brethren, the Twelve, duly recommended and authorized by you, shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation whithersoever ye shall send them— 
22 Inasmuch as they shall humble themselves before me, and abide in my word, and hearken to the voice of my Spirit.

30 For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times, 

31 Which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation;

A commission to latter-day Apostles.
 
When some of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in this dispensation were called, Oliver Cowdery gave them a commission similar to the one Jesus Christ gave in Matthew 10. He said:  “‘You will have to combat all the prejudices of all nations. … I, therefore, warn you to cultivate great humility, for I know the pride of the human heart. Beware, lest the flatterers of the world lift you up. Beware lest your affections are captivated by worldly objects. Let your ministry be first. … [It] is necessary that you receive a testimony from Heaven for yourselves, so that you can bear testimony to the truth. …“‘… You are to bear this message to those who consider themselves wise. And such may persecute you; they may seek your life. The adversary has always sought the life of the servants of God. You are, therefore, to be prepared at all times to make a sacrifice of your lives, should God require them in the advancement and building up of His cause. …“He then took them separately by the hand and said, ‘Do you with full purpose of heart take part in this ministry, to proclaim the gospel with all diligence with these your brethren, according to the tenor and intent of the charge you have received?’ Each of which answered in the affirmative(Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 4: April 1834–September 1835, ed. Matthew C. Godfrey and others [2016]

What blessings are promised to those who follow the Apostles?  Matthew 10:40–42
40 ¶ He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 
41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 
42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Elder Spencer W. Kimball said: “No one in this Church will ever go far astray who ties himself securely to the Church Authorities whom the Lord has placed in his Church. This Church will never go astray; the Quorum of the Twelve will never lead you into bypaths; it never has and never will” (Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 104).

How have you been influenced by the ministry of the living Apostles?


2. Matthew 10:17–20 When we are in the Lord’s service, He will inspire us with the words to say.
People sometimes feel nervous when teaching or talking with others about the gospel. But the Lord promised the disciples that He would help them know what to say.  The Lord foresaw that His disciples would be persecuted and questioned about their faith in something similar to what disciples today may experience. But He promised the disciples that they would know by the Spirit what to say.


17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 

18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.


What do we need to do to receive the Lord’s promised help for ourselves?  Matthew 10:19–20; Doctrine and Covenants 84:85; Doctrine and Covenants 100:5–8
 
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;

6 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
7 But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
8 And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.
 
President Eyring also taught: "The Holy Ghost will guide what we say if we study and ponder the scriptures every day. The words of the scriptures invite the Holy Spirit. ... With daily study of the scriptures, we can count on this blessing even in casual conversations or in a class when we may be asked by a teacher to respond to a question." (General Conference, October 1997)
When has the Holy Ghost helped you know what to say?

 3. Matthew 12:1–13; Mark 2:23–28 The Sabbath is a day to do good

To help keep the Sabbath day holy, the Pharisees had implemented strict rules and man-made traditions, which eventually clouded their understanding of the true purpose of the Sabbath. In the event of these chapters, Jesus declares that he is Lord of the Sabbath. He heals on the Sabbath and is criticized for it.
1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 

2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. 
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. 
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: 
10 ¶ And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 
11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. 
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.

24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

What did the Pharisees do when they saw Jesus’ disciples pick corn on the Sabbath? 
Matthew 12:1–2 

1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 
2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
The Pharisees’ interpretation of the Mosaic law ignored the true spirit and purpose of the Sabbath and instead focused on traditions that greatly restricted Sabbath activities

What did the Lord teach as he responded to their accusation? Matthew 12:3–8.
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. 

What did Jesus mean when he said, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice”?  He wanted the people to focus on loving others, not merely on performing public religious ceremonies. 

What did Jesus teach about the purpose of the Sabbath when he healed the man with the withered hand and the woman bound by an infirmity?  Matthew 12:10–13
10 ¶ And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 

11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. 
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

What did he teach about the Sabbath in Mark 2:27–28?

27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

The Joseph Smith Translation of Mark 2:26 explains that the Sabbath was given as a “day of rest” and a day to “glorify God.” What can we do on the Sabbath day to glorify God?
26 Wherefore the Sabbath was given unto man for a day of rest; and also that man should glorify God, and not that man should not eat;

Elder James E. Faust: "Jesus reaffirmed the importance of the Sabbath day devotion, but he introduced a new spirit into this part of worship. Rather than observe the endless technicalities and prohibitions concerning what should and should not be done on the Lord's day, he affirmed that it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath. He taught us that 'the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day' and introduced the principle that 'the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.' He performed good deeds on the Sabbath, such as healing the man with palsy well as the man with the paralyzed hand. So the divine mandate of Sabbath day observance in our day is now more of a manifestation of individual devotion and commitment rather than a requirement of civil law." (General Conference, October 1991)
What traditions or rules might distract us from the real purpose of the Sabbath? 

While the Pharisees emphasized numerous detailed rules regarding the Sabbath, the Savior taught a simple principle: “It is lawful to do well on the sabbath”  Those who live by this principle often have little trouble keeping the Sabbath day holy.

 President Spencer W. Kimball: "The Sabbath is a holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing on the Sabbath, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, sleeping, reading wholesome material, and attending all the meetings of that day to which he is expected. To fail to do these proper things is a transgression on the omission side." (Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 96-97)

Elder Russell M. Nelson: "How do we hallow the Sabbath day? In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn't until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don'ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, 'What sign do I want to give to God?' That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear." (General Conference, April 2015)

Elder David A. Bednar: "On the Sabbath we worship the Father in the name of the Son by participating in ordinances and learning about, receiving, remembering, and renewing covenants. On His holy day, our thoughts, actions, and demeanor are signs we give to God and an indicator of our love for Him." (General Conference, October 2017)

Why is teaching principles more effective than setting rules in developing spiritual self-reliance?  Someone once asked the Prophet Joseph Smith how he was able to govern so many people in Nauvoo effectively. The Prophet explained, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007]
 
4. Luke 7:36–50 As we are forgiven of our sins, our love for the Savior deepens


It is now autumn, A.D. 28. Jesus has been traveling, teaching, testifying, and healing for nearly two years when one of our greatest lessons comes from a woman who anoints Jesus’ feet, and He forgives her sins.


36 ¶ And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 

37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

This we must know if we are to envision what really transpired on this inspiring occasion in the home of Simon the Pharisee. Here is a woman who once was a sinner but now is clean. Jesus is not going to forgive her sins—he has already done so; it happened when she believed and was baptized in his name; it happened when she repented with full purpose of heart and pledged her life and every breath she thereafter drew to the Cause of Righteousness. We are dealing with a convert who has come to pour out, in the spirit of thanksgiving and rejoicing, the gratitude of her soul to him who has freed her, freed her in times past, from the chains of bondage and hell.

None of this is known to Simon. He is in his sins, being unbaptized; and like Nicodemus, the master in Israel who knew not that men can be born again, Simon is, in his present state, spiritually incapable of conceiving that a woman whose soul once was scarlet is now as white as snow.

Simon thus "spake within himself"; that is, he thought to himself—and as the ancient proverb says: "Guard well thy thoughts, for thoughts are heard in heaven"—Simon thought to himself: "This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner." There is no sprouting faith here. Jesus is only "this man," not, as so many are saying, a mighty prophet and even the Messiah, who is called Christ, who is God's Son. Simon's thoughts toward his guest are no more respectful than were his deeds.

In this illustration, which can scarcely be classed as a parable, "Jesus entered into the Pharisees' own modes of reasoning. Of two debtors, one of whom owed ten times as much as the other, who would best love the creditor who had freely forgiven them? Though to both the debt might have been equally impossible of discharge, and both might love equally, yet a Rabbi would, according to his Jewish notions, say, that he would love most to whom most had been forgiven. If this was the undoubted outcome of Jewish theology—the so much for so much—let it be applied to the present case. If there were much benefit, there would be much love; if little benefit, little love. And conversely: in such case much love would argue much benefit; little love, small benefit." (Edersheim 1:567-68.) As anticipated, Simon answered, "I suppose," and in this beginning there seems to be a touch of supercilious aloofness, an indication that Simon had no idea of whom Jesus had spoken, "I suppose," he replies, "that he, to whom he forgave most."


Jesus said, "Thou hast rightly judged." The answer had been given; the scene was set. All at the dinner table were attentive; all were acutely aware of Simon's host-imposed failures, of the woman's worshipful act, and of the Divine Presence, whose gracious words always presented a heavenly message in the best way. And so, turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, Jesus said:

Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

How beautifully painted is the picture; how expertly chosen are the words. Simon—a Pharisee, a leader of the people and man of note, a pillar in the synagogue, who gloried in his supposed righteousness—Simon proffered none of the usual civilities and courtesies, however ritualistic and meaningless they often were; but this woman, unnamed and otherwise unknown, reputed to be a sinner to whom the services in the synagogue held no allure, who scarcely deserved any attention in such an august gathering, had poured out, from the depths of her soul, such gratitude and thanksgiving and worship as is seldom seen. Then came the crowning pronouncement:

Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Thus Simon received the word; he stood instructed and rebuked, but it was the woman to whom the blessing must come. To her Jesus said, "Thy sins are forgiven." Properly rendered, the two phrases, the first to Simon and the second to the woman, should read: "Forgiven have been her sins the many," and "Thy sins have been forgiven, the many." (Edersheim 1:568-69.) That is to say, her sins were forgiven in times past, which Jesus now confirms, not her sins are now being forgiven by some special dispensation. 3

To conclude the whole matter—while "they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?" for they, like Simon, knew not what was involved in the law of repentance and baptism and forgiveness—Jesus "said to the woman, The faith hath saved thee; go in peace," or, again, as it is more properly rendered, "Go into peace" (Edersheim 1:569), meaning continue in the peace that is yours because you have believed and obeyed the gospel law.  (Mortal Messiah Bruce R McConkie) 

The woman who entered the house of Simon the Pharisee carried the burden of sin.  What did the woman do that allowed Jesus to take away her burden? Luke 7:38, 44–50.

38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 


44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 

45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

What can we do so the Savior will remove the burden of sin from our lives?

How did the sinful woman and Simon the Pharisee differ in their attitudes toward Jesus? The woman had repentance, respect, humility, and love compared to Simon’s pride, lack of courtesy, and judgmental attitude.

Elder James E. Talmage taught: “It was a custom of the times to treat a distinguished guest with marked attention; to receive him with a kiss of welcome, to provide water for washing the dust from his feet, and oil for anointing the hair of the head and the beard. All these courteous attentions were omitted by Simon” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 261).




Why are the qualities that the woman possessed important as we repent and seek forgiveness? Even though she had not been invited and would risk being treated unkindly by Simon and his household, the woman came directly to Christ as soon as she knew where to find him. When we come directly unto Christ we find the heavy burden lifted.

How do the qualities that Simon possessed keep us from repenting?
  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: "Which of these two people are we most like?  "Are we like Simon? Are we confident and comfortable in our good deeds, trusting in our own righteousness? Are we perhaps a little impatient with those who are not living up to our standards? Are we on autopilot, going through the motions, attending our meetings, yawning through Gospel Doctrine class, and perhaps checking our cell phones during sacrament service?  "Or are we like this woman, who thought she was completely and hopelessly lost because of sin? ..."Do we understand our indebtedness to Heavenly Father and plead with all our souls for the grace of God?" (General Conference, April 2015)

How does repentance strengthen our relationship with Christ?  
 
How could we use this account to teach someone what it means to seek forgiveness? 

We can choose to take upon ourselves the burdens of the world or the yoke of Jesus. Christ’s teachings are true, we will find rest when we follow him. We must learn of Christ and obey his teachings so we can find rest and peace.


Conclusion
 Jesus called Peter, James, and John to be his disciples. Later he would call them to be Apostles.  A disciple is any follower of Jesus Christ.  An Apostle is a disciple who has been called to be a special witness of Christ (D&C 107:23)   Why was it important that Jesus called Apostles during his ministry? They would help Jesus preach the gospel and would lead the Church and carry on priesthood authority after He was gone. Thus it is was equally important for Him to call twelve for this generation, after the restoration that all would carry on in order, and as He has done so He has given them the power to to do His work.

Likewise in our way, as disciples of Christ, we also are special witnesses. And as we follow the commission given to the twelve, living by the standards set forth we will be an example and be able to bring those to the Lord who are looking for Him, and for the peace He offers. The Lord will give His servants the power and words to do His work and we are His servants.

When we ponder upon the teachings of the Sabbath day and forgiveness with humble desires; seeking to improve and connect further to the Lord. When we loose our lives for his sake, relying on Him and His Atonement not only will our own personal testimony and love be magnified and our burdens lifted; but we will be an example to others looking for peace and comfort from their heavy burdens.




She sat and wept beside his feet; the weight
Of sin oppressed her heart; for all the blame,
And the poor malice of the worldly shame,
To her were past, extinct, and out of date;
Only the sin remained—the leprous state.
She would be melted by the heat of love,
By fires far fiercer than are blown to prove
And purge the silver ore adulterate.
She sat and wept, and with her untressed hair,
Still wiped the feet she was so blessed to touch;
And He wiped off the soiling of despair
From her sweet soul, because she loved so much.

(Mortal Messiah from Bethlehem to Calvary Bruce R McConkie)  

Resources
Old Testament Student Manual
Mortal Messiah Bruce R McConkie
Mortal Messiah from Bethlehem to Calvary Bruce R McConkie
Studies in Scripture Vol 5 Kent P Jackson
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Miracle of Forgiveness
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church
Conference Reports
Ensign


 

The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...