Chapter 6: “This Is He of Whom It Is Written”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 43–47


Map Chp. 6

The Galilean Ministry

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Cana, Galilee

Jesus Preaches Repentance

4:17

1:14, 15

4:14–15

4:45

A Capernaum Nobleman Seeks for the Healing of His Dying Son

   

4:46–54

Nazareth, Galilee

Jesus’ Own Community Rejects Him

4:13

 

4:16–31

 

Capernaum, Galilee

Preaching in the Synagogue

4:13–16

 

4:31, 32

 

Sea of Galilee Near Capernaum

Calling of Peter, Andrew, James, John

4:18–22

1:16–20

5:1–11

 

Capernaum, Galilee

Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law and Others

8:14–17

1:21–34

4:31–41

 

Preaching in Galilee

4:23–25

1:35–39

4:42–44

 

Leper Healed

8:1–4

1:40–45

5:12–16

 

Capernaum, Galilee

Palsied Man Healed

9:2–8

2:1–12

5:17–26

 

Matthew’s Feast

9:9–13

2:13–17

5:27–32

 

Discourse on Fasting

9:14–17

2:18–22

5:33–39

 

Interpretive Commentary

(6-1) Luke 5:1–11. Why Did Peter, Andrew, James, and John Forsake All to Follow Jesus?

Read Matthew’s account of Jesus’ call to Peter and Andrew (Matthew 4:18–20). The Prophet Joseph Smith made two important additions to these passages in his revision of the Bible:

  1. 1.

    The announcement by Jesus that “I am he of whom it is written by the prophets; follow me. …” (Matthew 4:18, Inspired Version.)

  2. 2.

    The fact that the disciples believed the announcement of Jesus. Hence the passage reads, “And they, believing on his words, left their net. …” (Matthew 4:17, Inspired Version; compare Matthew 4:18, 19, King James Version. Italics added.)

(6-2) Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17. What Does It Mean to Become “Fishers of Men”?

“The process by which leaders become spiritual as those disciples were is set forth in a very simple admonition of the Master. The Savior called fishermen, and he called tax-collectors and others in various occupations to constitute his chosen twelve. He gave to each of them the same simple promise:

“‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,’ or as another writer puts it, ‘I will make you to become fishers of men.’ (Matt. 4:19; Mark 1:17.)

“To ‘come after him’ is but another way of saying, ‘Keep my commandments,’ for thus he had explained it when he said to the Nephites: ‘Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be?’ And then he answered his own question, ‘Verily I say unto you, even as I am.’ (3 Nephi 27:27.)

“To become ‘fishers of men’ is just another way of saying ‘become leaders of men.’ So in today’s language we would say to those who are so to teach: ‘If you will keep my commandments, I will make you leaders among men.’” (Harold B. Lee in CR, Oct. 1960, p. 15.)

(6-3) Mark 1:21–28. Can Evil Spirits Enter into a Person’s Body and Take Possession?

“Before we can understand the casting out of devils, we must have a knowledge of pre-existence and of the personal Fatherhood of God. As revealed in the gospel, God is an exalted and holy Man, a personal being in whose image man is created, a being for whom the family unit continues in the state of immortality. He is the personal Father of the spirits of all men; his spirit children began life as men and women whose bodies were composed of spirit rather than temporal element.

“These spirit offspring of Deity, endowed with agency and subject to law, had every opportunity to advance, progress, and gain the privilege of undergoing the probationary experiences of mortality. Two-thirds of them passed the tests of the pre-existent sphere and are now in process of being born into this world as mortal beings. The other one-third, failing to keep their first estate, finally came out in open rebellion against God and his laws. As a result there was war in heaven, and the devil and his followers were cast down to earth. Those so rejected are denied, eternally, the right to have bodies of their own. In this dejected and damnable state they seek to house themselves unlawfully in the bodies of mortal men.” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:167–68.)

(6-4) Matthew 4:23–25. Did Jesus Heal All Afflicted People?

The Prophet Joseph Smith added to Matthew 4:23 this phrase, “which believed on his name.” Thus the healings performed by Jesus were reserved for those who had faith in him; they were not given to everyone, as the King James Version verse implies. (See Matthew 4:22, Inspired Version.)

As you focus attention on how the miracles were an evidence of Jesus’ messiahship, consider these ideas:

The miracles were occasioned because of the faith of those who believed on him.

They were performed out of compassion for the suffering.

They fulfilled the messianic prophecies.

Most significantly, the miracles testified to the divinity of the Son of God. The most vivid illustration of this was the healing of the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2–8). Elder Bruce McConkie comments on the significance of this miracle:

“Rightly understood, this event in the life of our Lord was visible and irrefutable proof that he was the Messiah; and it was so recognized by those among whom he ministered. He had borne frequent verbal testimony that God was his Father and had supported that personal witness with an unparalleled ministry of preaching and healing. Now it was his purpose to announce that he had done what no one but God could do and to prove that he had done it by a further manifestation of his Father’s power.

“Both Jesus and the ‘doctors of the law’ who were then present knew that none but God can forgive sins. Accordingly, as a pointed and dramatic witness that the power of God was resident in him, Jesus took (perhaps sought) this appropriate occasion to forgive sins. Being then called in question by the scripturalists who know (and that rightly) that the false assumption of the power to forgive sins was blasphemy, Jesus did what no imposter could have done—he proved his divine power by healing the forgiven man. To his query, ‘Does it require more power to forgive sins than to make the sick rise up and walk?’ there could be only one answer! They are as one; he that can do the one, can do the other.” (DNTC, 1:177–78.)

Thus within the miracles you may see two kinds of healing: (1) the healing of physical maladies and (2) the healing of spiritual maladies.

(6-5) Matthew 4:23–25. Miracles Operate through Law

“Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wrought through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized.

“In the contemplation of the miracles wrought by Christ, we must of necessity recognize the operation of a power transcending our present human understanding. In this field, science has not yet advanced far enough to analyze and explain. To deny the actuality of miracles on the ground that, because we cannot comprehend the means, the reported results are fictitious, is to arrogate to the human mind the attribute of omniscience, by implying that what man cannot comprehend cannot be, and that therefore he is able to comprehend all that is.

“To comprehend the works of Christ, one must know Him as the Son of God; to the man who has not yet learned to know, to the honest soul who would inquire after the Lord, the invitation is ready; let him ‘Come and see.’” (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, pp. 148–49.)

(6-6) Matthew 8:2. What Was Leprosy?

“… Leprosy was nothing short of a living death, a corrupting of all the humors, a poisoning of the very springs, of life; a dissolution, little by little, of the whole body, so that one limb after another actually decayed and fell away. Aaron exactly describes the appearance which the leper presented to the eyes of the beholders, when, pleading for Miriam, he says, ‘Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.’ (Numb. 12:12.) The disease, moreover, was incurable by the art and skill of man; not that the leper might not return to health; for, however rare, such cases are contemplated in the Levitical law. …” (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 200, quoting Trench, Notes on the Miracles, pp. 165–68.)

(6-7) Luke 5:17–24. The Remission of Sins Heals the Spirit

“From what Jesus said at the time he healed the man ‘sick with the palsy,’ it would seem that remittance of sins is the therapy which heals and that the two terms are synonymous. …

“In this instance there was a physical healing. Sometimes there is also a healing of the nervous system or of the mind. But always the remittance of sins which attends divine forgiveness heals the spirit. This accounts for the fact that in the scriptures conversion and healing are repeatedly associated.” (Marion G. Romney in CR, Oct. 1963, pp. 24–25. Italics added.)

(6-8) Matthew 9:11. What Is a Publican?

“Publicans were tax collectors, representatives of an alien power which held the Jews in subjection, and as such they formed a hated, despised, and derided social group. No doubt it was particularly offensive to the Jews for one of their own race, such as Matthew, to accept such employment.” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:181.)

(6-9) Mark 2:18–22. What Did Jesus Mean by the Phrase “New Wine in Old Bottles”?

“In such wise did our Lord proclaim the newness and completeness of His gospel. It was in no sense a patching up of Judaism. He had not come to mend old and torn garments; the cloth He provided was new, and to sew it on the old would be but to tear afresh the threadbare fabric and leave a more unsightly rent than at first. Or to change the figure, new wine could not safely be entrusted to old bottles. The bottles here referred to were really bags, made of the skins of animals, and of course they deteriorated with age. Just as old leather splits or tears under even slight strain, so the old bottle-skins would burst from the pressure of fermenting juice, and the good wine would be lost. The gospel taught by Christ was a new revelation, superseding the past, and marking the fulfilment of the law; it was no mere addendum, nor was it a reenactment of past requirements; it embodied a new and an everlasting covenant. Attempts to patch the Judaistic robe of traditionalism with the new fabric of the covenant could result in nothing more sightly than a rending of the fabric. The new wine of the gospel could not be held in the old time-worn containers of Mosaic libations. Judaism would be belittled and Christianity perverted by any such incongruous association.” (Talmage, Jesus the Christ, pp. 196–97.)

Points to Ponder

Great Miracles Are Still Being Performed Today

(6-10) Physical Healings Are Performed Today among Humble People of Faith

“May I impose upon you for a moment to express appreciation for something that happened to me some time ago, years ago. I was suffering from an ulcer condition that was becoming worse and worse. We had been touring a mission; my wife, Joan, and I were impressed the next morning that we should get home as quickly as possibly, although we had planned to stay for some other meetings.

“On the way across the country, we were sitting in the forward section of the airplane. Some of our Church members were in the next section. As we approached a certain point en route, someone laid his hand upon my head. I looked up: I could see no one. That happened again before we arrived home, again with the same experience. Who it was, by what means or what medium, I may never know, except I knew that I was receiving a blessing that I came a few hours later to know I needed most desperately.

“As soon as we arrived home, my wife very anxiously called the doctor. It was now about 11 o’clock at night. He called me to come to the telephone, and he asked me how I was; and I said, ‘Well, I am very tired. I think I will be all right.’ But shortly thereafter, there came massive hemorrhages which, had they occurred while we were in flight, I wouldn’t be here today talking about it.

“I know that there are powers divine that reach out when all other help is not available. We see that manifest down in the countries we speak of as the underprivileged countries where there is little medical aid and perhaps no hospitals. If you want to hear of great miracles among these humble people with simple faith, you will see it among them when they are left to themselves. Yes, I know that there are such powers.” (Harold B. Lee, “Stand Ye in Holy Places,” Ensign, July 1973, p. 123. Italics added.)

Sometimes members of the Church are dismayed because it seems to them there are not many miracles such as healings, speaking in tongues, and visions manifest in the Church. While it is true that these types of manifestations are happening, why do we not hear more about them? Can you see why, in most cases, they are done privately? In spite of this, why do you think some of Jesus’ miracles were done openly? Do you think that some were done to bear witness of him? What miracles are being performed today that bear witness of his divinity?

(6-11) The Greatest Miracles Today Are the Healing of Sick Souls

“The great call has come now in the sermons of the brethren to aid those who are in need of aid, not just temporal aid, but spiritual aid. The greatest miracles I see today are not necessarily the healing of sick bodies, but the greatest miracles I see are the healing of sick souls, those who are sick in soul and spirit and are downhearted and distraught, on the verge of nervous breakdowns. We are reaching out to all such, because they are precious in the sight of the Lord, and we want no one to feel that they are forgotten. …

“You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure, if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul. You teachers, the testimony that you bear, the spirit with which you teach and with which you lead, is one of the most important assets that you can have, as you help to strengthen those who need so much, wherein you have so much to give. Who of us, in whatever station we may have been in have not needed strengthening?” (Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, p. 123. Italics added.)

Is it apparent from this statement by President Lee that the greatest miracle being performed today is the transformation of a “natural” man or woman (see Mosiah 3:19) into a son or daughter of God? Is there a greater witness of Christ’s divinity than the testimonies of people who have given up a worldly way of life to follow him?

Think about the following:

Have you felt the healing power of Christ in your own life?

Have you felt a forgiveness for sins?

Are there still sins holding you back from lifting others to higher grounds?

Could you, through study, prayer, and fasting, obtain added strength from Jesus Christ to receive the miracle of forgiveness?