Sunday, March 19, 2017

Labor For Zion

One of the ways that the atonement was such a great triumph for the Savior was that He suffered willingly even though He had the power to stop it.  When Peter cut of the ear of the high priest’s servant the Savior said to Him, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?...  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (John 18:11, Matthew 26:53)  He had said earlier, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:17-18).  Christ, having the power even to raise the dead, clearly had the power to stop what was happening to Him.  At any point in the suffering He could have called it off and shown forth His power.  At one point at the peak of His suffering people jeered, “He saved others; himself he cannot save.  If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him” (Mathew 27:42).  He could have done just that, but knowing His mission and the cup that His Father needed Him to drink, He did not.  Surely the great victory of His atonement was not just that He suffered immensely but that He did it with the full power to stop it. 
                 Jesus never used His power to bless Himself even though He certainly could have, especially in His time of suffering.  He showed that He was unwilling to do that when Satan tried to tempt Him to turn the stones into bread, and the rest of His ministry we have no evidence that He ever used His power for any selfish purpose.  That kind of selfless service is also what he requires of His disciples.  We do not serve in order to get any kind of gain for ourselves.  This principle was dramatically taught in the story of Elisha and Gehazi when the latter took the money from Naaman that the Syrian had offered for being healed of his leprosy.  Elisha rebuked him saying, “Is it a time to receive money?...  The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow” (2 Kings 5:26-27).  Gehazi sought to receive monetary rewards for the miracle Elisha had performed and paid dearly for it.  In the New Testament the man Simon said to the apostles when he saw that they had power to give the Holy Ghost, “Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost” and he offered them money.  Peter responded with this rebuke to all who seek personal gain from service in the kingdom: “Thy money perish with thee….  Thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:20-21).  If we are true disciples of Christ then we must serve and sacrifice in the way He did: without ulterior motives.  Nephi taught us this principle in these words, “But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish” (2 Nephi 26:31).

No comments:

Post a Comment