Scripture Gems S04E05-Come Follow Me: Matt. & Luke 3; Mark 1 (Jan. 23-29, 2023) – powered by Happy Scribe
Hey, you found us. Welcome everybody. This is scripture. Gems. Hello and welcome to the show. My name is John Fulmer and this is my brother Jay.
How’s it going, John?
We are two brothers who just can’t get enough of the Scriptures.
Yeah, we love them.
This episode we are going over the come follow me lesson for January 23 through 29, 2023. This is covering Matthew chapter three, mark, chapter one, and Luke chapter three. And now let’s bring out the star of the show, the Scriptures.
Welcome Scriptures. You’re so bright and shiny.
So great to have you here. And now let’s consult the Scripture Matic 6000 to find out how long it will take to read. This week’s reading 15 minutes 30 seconds.
Oh, wow, what would it be daily?
Two minutes 12 seconds.
My goodness. Have fun reading this week here. We’ve got time codes if you want to take it step by step or buckle up and we’ll talk about it all together.
Now, in previous episodes, we have introduced the other gospels matthew, Luke and John. Today, let’s start by introducing our final gospel, Mark. From the seminary manual, we get this introduction. Mark, also called John. Mark is the author of this book. Although Mark was not among the original disciples of Jesus Christ, he later converted and became an assistant to the apostle Peter. And he may have written his Gospel based on what he learned from Peter. Mark and his mother Mary lived in Jerusalem. Their home was a gathering place for some of the earliest Christians. Mark left Jerusalem to help Barnabas and Saul, later named Paul, on the first missionary journey. Paul later wrote that Mark was with him in Rome and praised Mark as a companion who was profitable to him for the ministry. Peter referred to him as Marcus my son, suggesting the closeness of their relationship. The book of Mark relates the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in a fast moving account that often focuses on the powerful deeds of the Savior. Foremost among these is the Atonement, which Mark emphasizes as central to Jesus’s mission as the long promised Messiah.
The Gospel of Mark contains details such as translated Aramaic quotations, Latin expressions, and explanations of Jewish customs that seem intended for an audience made up primarily of Romans and people from other Gentile nations, as well as those who had converted to Christianity, most likely in Roman. Throughout the Roman Empire, many believe Mark may have been with Peter in Rome during a period marked by severe trials of faith. For many members of the Church. In locations throughout the Roman Empire, one third of Mark’s Gospel recounts the Savior’s teachings and experiences. During the last week of his life, Mark Bore witnessed that the suffering Son of God ultimately triumphed over evil, sin and death. This testimony meant that the Savior’s followers need not fear. When they faced persecution, trials or even death. They were following their master. They could endure with confidence, knowing that the Lord would help them and that all his promises would ultimately be fulfilled. Mark’s Gospel begins suddenly and dramatically and maintains a fast pace, recounting events in quick succession. Mark frequently used the words straight away and immediately, giving the effect of rapid pace in action, even though over 90% of the material in Mark is also found in Matthew and Luke.
Mark’s account often includes additional details that help us more fully appreciate the Savior’s compassion and the responses of people around Him. For example, Mark related the widespread, enthusiastic reception the Savior received from those in Galilee and elsewhere early in his ministry. Mark also carefully narrated the negative response of the scribes and Pharisees, whose opposition quickly increased from having skeptical thoughts to plotting to destroy Jesus. In addition, Mark is the only Gospel that relates the parable of the seed growing by itself, the healing of a deaf person in the decapilous region, and the gradual healing of a blind man at Bethesda.
So let’s begin our exploration of the role of John the Baptist in Mary account, which he begins right at the start of chapter one, the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as it is written in the prophets behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight. Now, quick aside here, notice that Mark says in verse two, as it is written in the prophets, if you remember our study of the Old Testament last year, the prophets, or Neveim, is a section of the Old Testament in our modern Christian Bibles. It starts with Isaiah and ends with Malachi. But what prophecy is Mark telling us about it’s? Isaiah, chapter 40, verse three. And here’s something else that’s interesting. Every one of the Gospel writers made a point to call out Isaiah 40, verse three, referring to John the Baptist. They all agreed, that’s pretty cool.
Let’s keep going. In verse four, john did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And remember, in our last lesson, John actually records a specific location along the.
River Bethabara going on in verse six. And John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a girdle of skin about his loins. And he did eat locusts and wild honey and preached, saying, there cometh one mightier than I, after me the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. Now, the Joseph Smith translation clarifies the last part of that verse to read but he shall not only baptize you with water, but with fire and the Holy Ghost.
Excellent. After describing the baptism of Jesus the rest of Mark, one goes on to tell that after Jesus fasted for 40 days, he was tempted by the devil. He also preached repentance in Galilee and called disciples to follow him. There are also dramatic accounts of healing, but that’s jumping ahead to coming weeks, where we will explore these accounts in more detail.
So let’s look at Matthew’s account. Matthew, chapter three. The first six verses are very similar to Mark’s account. Let’s take a look at some additional insights starting in verse seven. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism now quick aside here. The Come follow Me manual tells us the Pharisees were members of a Jewish religious party who prided themselves on strict observance of Mosaic law. They tended to reduce religion to the observance of many ceremonial behaviors. The Sad UCS were a wealthy Jewish class with significant religious and political influence. They did not believe in the doctrine of the resurrection.
Well, that is why they are Sad. You see?
Cute. Both groups had strayed from the original intent of God’s laws, and many of their members refused to accept the message of God’s. Prophet John the Baptist. If you’d like more information on the rise of the Pharisees and Sadducees, check out our special Scripture Gems episode what happened between the Old and New Testaments but going back to the chapter, verse seven. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them o generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits, meat for repentance, and think not to say within yourself we have Abraham to our Father. For I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Such a burn. There’s a Joseph Mith translation in the appendix for verses eight and nine. Let’s take a look at that in the Joseph translation. It’s verses 34 through 36 why is it that ye receive not the preaching of him whom God hath sent? If ye receive not this in your hearts, ye receive not me. And if ye receive not me, ye receive not him of whom I am sent to bear record. And for your sins ye have no cloak. Repent therefore, and bring forth fruits. Meet for repentance, and think not to say within yourselves we are the children of Abraham, and we only have power to bring seed unto our father Abraham. For I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Great clarification.
Let’s go back to the chapter verse ten. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which bringeth forth not good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. But he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire, whose fan is in his hand. And he will truly purge his floor and gather his wheat into the garner. But he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Notice the bold honesty of John’s preaching in the Savior’s day. Many covenant Israelites had become extremely prideful and turned away from the teachings of Jehovah. Some believed that being a descendant of Abraham alone was enough to save them. John sets them straight on that point. But why was that so important to correct? What does it mean for us if we think we are born into spiritual privilege? Notice what is missing for people that think that they bring forth no good fruit, therefore they have no part in God’s kingdom, but will be hewned down and destroyed. John’s teachings make clear how we become the children of God in a spiritual sense. Christ’s ministry makes that possible.
Notice in verse twelve. The floor John is referring to is the threshing floor, a place where grain or fruit is separated from the stalks. The Institute manual has this insight. The fan referred to in Matthew chapter three, verse twelve, is a winnowing fan that was used to toss wheat into the air. This allowed the wheat to be separated from the chaff. Wheat kernels would fall back to the ground while the wind blew the lighter chaff away. The wheat was then gathered into a garner or storehouse, and the chaff was burned with fire. John the Baptist taught that the Savior who would come after him would separate believers from non believers in the same way that wheat was separated from chaff. So now let’s turn to Luke, chapter three, for the account of Jesus’s baptism. Luke’s account is also very similar to Mark and Matthew, but Luke sets a historical stage in the first two verses describing some details that will come into play later in the story, starting in verse one.
Now in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being Tetrach of Galilee and his brother Philip tetrarch of iteria, and of the region of Trachanitis and Lysanius, the Tetrarch of Abelini, Anus and Caiaphas being the high priests. So what’s a tetrarch? And is this the same Herod that tried to kill Jesus as a baby? Why is Pontius Pilate governor and not a Tetrak? And why is any of this important?
Well, like I said earlier, this will be important later in the story. But for now, if you want to learn more about your questions, check out our special Scripture Gems episode what Happened between the Old and New Testaments?
I’ve really got to watch that.
Now, you remember you were part of creating that video, right?
Yeah, I’ve just really got to pay better attention.
Okay, so getting back to luke, chapter three. After John told them what would happen to those who did not produce good fruit? Remember the axe and the fire? Let’s take a look in verse ten. And the people asked him, saying, what shall we do? Then he answereth and saith unto them, he that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none and he that hath meat or food, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized. Now, quick side. Here in ancient Rome, publicans were tax collectors for the Roman government. Publicans were generally hated by the Jews because the people viewed them as traitors to their own nation, and because the publicans often charged more money for taxes than was necessary. So, going back to verse twelve, then came also publicans to be baptized and said unto him, master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, exact, no more than that which has appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, and what shall we do? And he said unto them, do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages.
How might this council have helped these seekers to be prepared to accept Jesus Christ? Why is repentance such an important step in our progression to make covenants with God, such as baptism? The seminary manual has a quote from President Russell M. Nelson. It’s from the April 2019 General Conference. He says too many people consider repentance as punishment, something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ, who stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us. The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is meta noel. The prefix meta means change. The suffix noeo is related to Greek words that mean mind, knowledge, spirit, and breath. Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to repent, he is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit, even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies. Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular daily focus on repentance.
Repentance is not an event, it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance, of doing and being a little better each day.
I love that.
But as important as repentance is, remember that it is not the source of our salvation. President Dider F Ukdorf told us in the April 2007 General Conference, quote it is not repentance per se that saves man. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that saves us. It is not by our sincere and honest change of behavior alone that we are saved, but by grace that we are saved. After all we can do. True repentance, however, is the condition required so that God’s forgiveness can come into our lives. End quote.
Excellent. Who has been your John the Baptist, who has helped prepare a place for Christ in your life? That might be a good question to reflect on and even talk about with friends. Let’s go back to Matthew, chapter three, starting in verse 13 then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and cometh thou to me. And Jesus answering, said unto him, suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. What an amazing phrase, to fulfill all righteousness. This means doing all that Heavenly Father requires of us so that we can live with him again. By being baptized, Jesus set the perfect example for us to follow, demonstrated humility, obeyed the commandments of His Father, and received an ordinance necessary to attain eternal life.
This might be a good time for you to review the prophecy that was given to Nephi about the baptism of the Savior in two. Nephi, chapter 31 in the Book of Mormon. It’s an amazing prophecy.
Absolutely. That section, especially verses four through eleven, is really applicable to our study of John the Baptist. Let’s keep going. In verse 16 of Matthew three. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him, and lo, a voice from heaven saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. One thing we learned from these verses is that each member of the Godhead is a separate being and fulfills an important role in our lives. For example, the Savior gave us an example of doing the will of the Father. When God was pleased with Jesus Christ and his baptism, he showed that he is a loving Heavenly Father who is happy when we obey Him. Regarding the presence of the third member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost, the seminary manual offers this commentary the prophet Joseph Smith explained that the Holy Ghost did not appear as a dove. Instead, the dove showed that the Holy Ghost was present. Joseph Smith taught 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.
Now, one of the best descriptions of our doctrine on the Godhead is found in the Guide to the Scriptures in your study helps look for God godhead. We’ll include a link in the description. It’s a great topic to discuss with family and friends. We would also recommend this video from the church on the Godhead called what is the Godhead? We’ll put a link to that also in the description.
Excellent. For further insight, here’s a quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. This comes from October 2007. General conference. He says quote we believe these three divine persons constituting a single Godhead are united in purpose, in manner, in testimony, in mission. We believe them to be filled with the same Godly sense of mercy and love, justice and grace, patience, forgiveness and redemption. I think it is accurate to say we believe they are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable, except believing them to be three persons combined in one substance. A trinitarian notion never set forth in the Scriptures because it is not true. We declare it is self evident from the Scriptures that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are separate persons, three divine beings noting such unequivocal illustrations as the Savior’s great intercessory prayer, his baptism at the hands of John, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the martyrdom of Stephen, to name just four. End quote. Going back to Luke, chapter three in verses 19 and 20, luke gives us a tease of what is to come. John the Baptist will get in some trouble for his teaching with one of the sons of Herod, the great Herod, Antipas the Tetrarch, or to be more precise, with his brother Philip’s wife, Herodius.
This led John to eventually being put in prison, but we’ll get to that later.
Right now, in the rest of the chapter after the baptism of Jesus, luke gives us his age and genealogy. We talked about the genealogy of Jesus when we covered Matthew one and mentioned that various scholars have given reasons why the lists from Matthew and Luke are different. Some even proposed that Matthews is the lineage of Joseph and Luke’s is the lineage of Mary. I find that puzzling, since both clearly claim to be the lineage of Joseph. That Joseph and Mary are related and thus share a lineage is nowhere in Scripture. But I think Paul gives some insight in his testimony of Jesus. In Romans, chapter one. In verse three, he says concerning his son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. Either this is in reference to Mary’s lineage or a reference to the adoption of Jesus into Joseph’s lineage as his son. Luke seems to have no trouble with this latter idea as he begins his genealogy. In verse 23 of Luke three, it says And Jesus himself began to be about 30 years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.
But what I find more interesting is how far back the lists go, matthew is writing to a Jewish audience and sculpts his genealogy back to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. Luke seems to be writing to everyone. He himself is a Gentile convert. As a result, his genealogy takes the lineage of Jesus back to Adam. Luke wants his audience to see Jesus as the savior of every child of Adam. Everyone. It’s interesting also that Luke places a higher genealogy before the earthly one. Let’s take a look at verses 22 and 23 together, starting in verse 22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him. And a voice came from heaven which said, thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself being about 30 years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, and so on into the genealogy. Most important the most important aspect of Jesus Christ’s genealogy has been made clear on several occasions by God the Father, as it says in Matthew 17 five, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him well.
How exciting. We have the baptism of Jesus and the beginning of his ministry. There’s so much more to talk about.
But it’s exciting to go over this.
It is. And it’s so exciting to remember how miraculous of an event all of this is. We’re really starting to get into the momentum now of the events of Christ’s ministry. But the most important thing declared by these Gospel writers and by heaven is that he is the Son of God and that we are to hear Him and follow Him.
So with that, keep reading your scriptures, and we’ll look forward to talking to you more about them in our next lesson.
We’ll see you then.
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