A Surety of Truth- Matthew 10:16, 1 Moroni 7:16-17

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

COMMENTARY

Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves
Over the course of this study I have noticed that the faithful disciple is expected to live in moderation between two extremes. On the one hand we need to accept that disinformation and false truths are all about us, even within us, and so we must take any mortal testimony with a grain of salt. On the other hand, though, the virtues proscribed in Christianity include qualities like being hopeful and believing, not cold and cynical! So are we expected to be skeptical and trusting?
And as we see in the verse above, this is exactly the counsel Jesus gave to his disciples. They were being sent out as sheep among wolves. So yes, we are to be as wise as serpents, skeptical of any worldly message that hits out conscience the wrong way. But also we are to be harmless as doves, humbly trusting in any divine message that we feel comes from our Father.

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil
For every thing which inviteth to do good, and to believe in Christ, ye may know it is of God
Whatsoever thing persuadeth to do evil, and believe not in Christ, ye may know it is of the devil

And this brings to mind another virtue that disciples hope to develop: discernment. The closer we draw to our Father, the more we know Him personally, the better we will be at recognizing what messages are spoken in His voice and which ones are not.
We will be able to tell which messages are inviting us to come even closer to Him, and which ones are craftily trying to pull us away. We will be able to cleave fast to the first and firmly reject the second. And in doing this, we will be sure that we stand in the truth.

A Surety of Truth- Matthew 16:16-17

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

COMMENTARY

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God
Yesterday we discussed the difference between having faith (believing in something), and having a testimony (knowing of something). Each of us begins with faith first, and it is essential for our growth in discipleship. But each of us also seeks to evolve our faith into a more perfect knowledge.
But what is it that takes us from faith to knowledge? How do we come to really know that something is true, and not merely a personal opinion? How do we gain the sort of conviction that Peter shows in this verse, when he testifies of the divine identity of Jesus?

Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven
The answer is given in Jesus’s response to Peter. Jesus made clear that Peter’s source of truth was not only based on “flesh and blood,” but rather something more.
Now flesh and blood can reveal things to us. Family and friends, even our own minds, might present ideas and teach doctrine, and from their witness we might gain faith and begin following that which we believe to be true. And this is good. But their is a tier above witnesses of flesh and blood, and the surety that comes from it is far greater.
We desire a knowledge that comes neither from us nor any man. A witness directly from God, such as Peter had received.
I have had moments where God spoke a witness to me directly, and in that moment I was more convinced of the truth then than at any other time. I was more convinced by Him than I had been by any family member or friend. Even I was more convinced by Him than I had been by my own self. In that moment I did not believe these things to be true, I knew it.

A Surety of Truth- Alma 32:28-30, 34

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.

COMMENTARY

Would not this increase your faith? Nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge
Yesterday I spoke of how we ought to follow our best understanding, even if it might only be partially correct. Even if there are flaws in our beliefs, we should trust that our intuition is generally in the right direction, and therefore worthy of being pursued.
As this verse suggests, it is not unusual for us to have a faith in what we are following…yet not a perfect knowledge. We are able to say “I believe that this is the truth, and so I will follow it. I might have some parts wrong, or a little off the mark, but I believe that I’m doing what is right.” We have faith, but not yet a testimony.

But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then is your knowledge perfect, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know
Faith does eventually give way to something greater, though. Where at first we only believed, and followed with trust, eventually we can become confident and sure. This we call testimony. And when we have a testimony we testify, not of what we believe, but of what we know. Tomorrow we will consider what it is that takes us from the belief of faith to the knowledge of testimony.

What Chance Do I Have?- Moroni 10:20-22, 1 Corinthians 9:10

Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.
And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.
And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.

Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

COMMENTARY

Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope
And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair
If we are unable to live in hope of our success, then all our discipleship will crumble in despair. If I have no hope of triumph, how could I act in faith? It would feel like a vain effort, and I would consign myself to inevitable ruin.
Hope is therefore not just some nice virtue to make our lives more pleasant, it is absolutely essential for our spiritual survival. For many, the entire struggle of discipleship is the struggle to simply maintain their hope.

He that ploweth should plow in hope
In which case one must understand that hope is not some vague thing that you either have or don’t have. Hope, like faith, can be exercised, can be cultivated, and can be grown. We must dare to hope, work ourselves up to it, strive for it continually. Even if you have only a little hope, plow and thresh in it, and the promise is given that you will partake of more.

What Chance Do I Have?- 2 Timothy 1:7, John 14:27

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

COMMENTARY

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power
Peace I leave with you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid
It might be natural for us to try and weigh the odds of our remaining faithful, to question whether we have the “right stuff” and can hold out valiant. But such a spirit of uncertainty is not divinely approved. Many a soul runs into trouble when they start to question if they have the capacity to be good, creating for themselves a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. Rather we are reminded that God gives a spirit of power, and of peace.
We are commanded to be faithful in all things (1 Timothy 3:11). Most often we speak of being faithful as being loyal, but the composition of the word literally means “full of faith.” And included among the “all things” that we should have full faith in…is ourselves. When I feel God’s spirit I feel a confidence in myself, an assurance that I am made in His image and that I am good. That isn’t to say that I don’t need help, only that I know God believes in me, so I should, too. The “right stuff” is in me, I don’t need to worry about that. I just need to get out of its way and let it shine forth.

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- Summary

As with all gospel studies it is the life experience that matters more than the cognitive understanding. Knowing that Jesus can heal and even resurrect our broken hearts, minds, and bodies is valuable, but far more important is to actually feel this revitalizing influence in our lives. I have certainly felt him lift my weary spirit, restore my broken innocence, and embolden me to become more than I ever was before. While reading stories of how Jesus did the same for others in his day, I find myself seeing myself in their faces.

Jesus Can Heal Anyone of Anything

The scriptures “are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). Accordingly we have examples of Jesus healing the feverish, the blind, the lame, the possessed, and the dead. He encourages the brokenhearted, and restores guilty soul. He is not limited by the type of anguish, he is not limited by the magnitude of anguish.
In a world filled with people that cannot meet our every need it can be difficult to wholly trust in anyone. It is not surprising that it might go against our cynicism to believe that the Savior can save us. And that is why the first requirement of the gospel is simply to have faith.
Mark 9:18, 27- I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

All That is Required is Our Faith and His Will

Time and time again Jesus assured the recently-healed that it was their faith which set them free. Certainly he possessed the healing power, but because he respects his children he doesn’t force his healing on those who cannot accept it. He illustrated this centuries earlier when he instructed Moses to raise a bronze serpent and instruct the sick Israelites to look to it for healing. The bronze serpent is already there, it’s just up to us to reach to it.
Mark 5:34- Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
Mark 1:40-41- If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

The Healing Will be Fitted to the Individual

If you read through the miracles of Jesus to find a specific formula to them you are going to be disappointed. Well, as we just said in the previous section there’s the necessity of him authorizing the healing of the individual, and the individual having faith in that healing, but after those criteria are met there’s no telling what the rest of the method will be.
The woman with an issue of blood believed she would be healed if she touched the robes of Jesus…and she was right. The centurion believed Jesus could just say the word and his servant would be healed…and he was right. Jairus felt that if Jesus came and laid hands on his daughter then she would be healed…and he was right.
In the ending being healed is a very personal thing. Our wounds are individual, and our restoration should be as well. I don’t hurt the same way you hurt, and I don’t want your healing. I’m so very grateful for a Savior that administers to me personally.
Matthew 14:28-29- And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come.
Mark 5:28-29- For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- John 11:39-41, 43-44; Matthew 14:25, 27-31

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
Straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

COMMENTARY

And he that was dead came forth.
And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water.
Jesus is empowered to do the impossible and the improbable. As I mentioned yesterday, no matter what your own individual situation is, you are not so removed that his power cannot reach you.
Lazarus was dead. He was not sick, he was not wounded, he was not mostly gone but still holding onto a shred of life still. He was dead. Maybe you feel like parts of you have died as well. Not just parts that have been hurt, or parts are weak, but ones that are actually dead. No light and no life in them. Jesus can work with that, after all he is the life and the light.
Peter had never walked on water before. This wasn’t some skill that he had been struggling with and wanted to do better at. Maybe you feel at times like you are asked to do something you simply cannot do. It isn’t something that you are just weak or unskilled at, it is literally something you have never done before because for you it is impossible. Jesus can work with that, too. So long as you have the faith, he will empower you to do the things that couldn’t be done.

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- John 9:1-3, 6-7; John 5:5-6, 8-9, 14

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked…
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

COMMENTARY

Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Jesus is not confined to only healing the innocent, Jesus is not limited to only rescuing the sinner. When we are made the victim of circumstance or another’s cruelty it might be easy to assume this is just our lot in life and we have to bear it. When our suffering is due to our own guilty actions it might be easy to assume we have forfeited the right to be healed.
The simple truth is that no one is outside of the healing power of the Savior. The reasons for your anguish do not matter, the depth of that anguish does not matter. The Savior is not the Savior of some, he is the Savior of all.

He saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
When reading of so many miracles it can be easy to feel forgotten when we have endured our own afflictions without relief. Perhaps we have even asked for healing and still it has not come.
Perhaps it is that lack of healing that has leads us to those thoughts of “well I deserve this punishment” or “this is just my cross to bear.” It is helpful in these moments to remember that those Jesus healed had often been oppressed for a very long while, too. It does seem that God lets us bear our burdens for a time, lets us experience the natural consequences of our actions for a time.
But that doesn’t mean the Savior is either unwilling or unable to heal us. Indeed, we know that in the Resurrection every remaining burden will be unfettered by his miraculous resurrecting and healing power.
One of my favorite scriptures is one full of remarkable pathos, and it beautifully attests to exactly this. From Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- Matthew 9:2-7; Mark 9:17-18, 23-27

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
And Jesus knowing their thoughts said…whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
And he arose, and departed to his house.

And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

COMMENTARY

Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee..arise, take up thy bed.
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief…Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him.
In these two stories we find examples of Jesus performing multiple miracles in the same encounter. To the first man Jesus forgives him of his sins, and then Jesus heals him of the palsy. As anyone who has felt the burden of sins lifted can attest, obtaining forgiveness is truly a miraculous experience. Receiving real forgiveness is not merely a matter of words being spoken, it is of a broken spirit being healed.
In the second story there is, of course, the son who has his evil spirit cast out, but there is also the father who recognizes he is lacking in faith and asks to be lifted in that regard. Here we see an excellent example of the “enabling” power of Jesus in shoring up that man’s strength. Notice the wisdom of the father in recognizing his own lacking and asking the master of all to make a change in him. A common mistake we make is trying to “force” our faith, as if by clenching our fists and straining we could make it stronger.

I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not…
Our faith in Jesus requires us to be able to trust that he is empowered to do all that he promises to do. Where one doubts the ability of another, they will never be able to fully give their heart to follow.
These testimonies of how Jesus not only healed the blind, but also the deaf and mute and paralytic…that he not only healed the sick but also raised the dead…that he not only healed the sick and raised the dead, but also restored the soul of the sinner and strengthened the feeble…all of “these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31)

The Resurrecting and Enabling Power of Jesus- Mark 1:40-42; Mark 5:22-24, 35-36, 41-42

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
There came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.
And straightway the damsel arose, and walked.

COMMENTARY

If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Be not afraid, only believe.

We have already examined how the miracles of Jesus did not depend on a specific process. The approach to each miracle was different, the manner of administering was different, and even the stages of healing were different.
Even so, there does remain one element that is consistent through them all, and that is the requirement of faith. Usually when others instigate the healing process it is by some specific act of faith, and when Jesus instigates it first includes an instruction to them to be faithful.
In one instance (Matthew 9:29) Jesus even literally says ” According to your faith be it unto you.” The limiting factor in our healing and saving is not on his end. If we have the faith for it, he can provide whatever right thing we ask for.