Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jesus the Christ: A Family Study - Lesson 5: Despised Among Men

Heaven is Smiling Above Mormon LDS
Jesus Teaching Pharisees

"His earthly life covered a period of thirty-three years; and of these but three were spent by Him as an acknowledged Teacher openly engaged in the activities of public ministry. He was brought to a violent death before He had attained what we now regard as the age of manhood’s prime. As an individual He was personally known to but few; and His fame as a world character became general only after His death." - Jesus the Christ, Introduction, by James E. Talmage

One Among the Crowd

Jesus knew what it felt like to be alone in His teachings, in His knowledge of who He was. Oftentimes the crowds were with Him only because they wanted to see a miracle. 

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief … ; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." Isaiah 53:3-4

How can we, as followers of Christ, stand alone in our courage to do what is right?

In the Book of Mormon, a vision is given to the prophet, Lehi, and his son, Nephi. In it they see a tree, beautiful beyond description, with fruit whiter than the sun at noonday. The fruit was sweeter than anything before tasted and filled them with "exceedingly great joy." It represented the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

In order to get to the tree, one had to hold onto a rod of iron which ran along a river. The rod followed a straight and narrow path to the tree. However, on the way to the tree, a "mist of darkness" covered part of the path so people had to hold tightly to the rod so they wouldn't get lost. Some weren't able to do so and fell away.

Across the river there was a "great and spacious building" filled with mockers and scorners who laughed and pointed at those trying to follow the rod of iron. Some of the people who made it to the tree looked around and felt ashamed in the midst of the abuse. They rejected the gospel they had so recently found. 

But others rejoiced in the fruit of the tree and beckoned to their loved ones to join them through the mist. These were the true followers of Christ - those who were willing to stand alone with Him in the midst of persecution. 

Here are some other courageous "ones": 
  • The woman who was healed by touching Christ's robe
  • Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet who, as a wicked priest, alone believed the words of the prophet Abinadi and was converted
  • Joseph Smith, who restored Christ's ancient church on the earth today
  • William Tyndale, the scholar who defied the Roman Catholic Church and the laws of England by translating the Bible into English

Family Discussion Questions

1. What are some situations at school where you might be made to stand alone?
2. What scriptures can you draw courage from to do what is right?
3. Who are some people you can turn to when you feel alone?

Further Articles for Study

One Among the Crowd by Dennis E. Neuenschwander
Dare to Stand Alone by Thomas S. Monson

Family Activity

This short video about Thomas S. Monson reminds us "we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven."

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