Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Meeting Up with Cleopus, another disciple and Peter, Luke 24

"It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
 "And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
 "Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

"And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs....
"And  [after their encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus] they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon."

Two things I notice.  

First is that one of the disciples on the road is named in the text: "Cleopas".  The other is not.  Cleopas' name appears once more in the book of John in chapter 19:  “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.”

The commas make the distinction of individuals not perfectly clear but it is likely 4 women that are referred to here:
Mary the mother of Jesus
Her sister
a woman named Mary who is designated by her relationship (wife) to Cleopas
Mary Magdalene

If not it could be five:
Mary the mother of Jesus
her sister
another Mary 
the unnamed wife of Cleopas
Mary Magdalene

These four (or five) women are mentioned as having been present for the crucifixion.

On the third day after the crucifixion we find Cleopas heading to Emmaus.  Some scholars think it may well have been his wife with whom he was traveling home on that journey and who hurried back with him to Jerusalem to deliver the good news.  If so, add her to the women who loved him and mourned him and to whom He showed himself and conversed after his resurrection.

Second, the disciples greet the two disciples with the news that yes, they've heard.  Simon [Peter] has seen him too.

That's one interaction that we don't have recorded.  We have records of Jesus interaction with Mary Magdalene, and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and, later, with 10 of the apostles, and still later, with Thomas, but not this one with Simon Peter.

His interaction with Simon Peter, if added chronologically to this list, would probably be number 2 or number 3.  

This Simon Peter, who was, most likely, still wracked with guilt about and deeply repentant of his three-time denial of affiliation with Jesus and who had made the trip back to the empty tomb (with John in John 20) desperately hoping against hope that the story the women told might be true.

Jesus decision to spend time with Simon Peter so soon after His return says much. I believe, about His compassionate, forgiving, helpful, connected response to an individual who feels deeply the remorse for his temporary abandonment of his connection with the Savior and who loves Him and deeply wishes there were some way to be with Him again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Linda Reeves recently referenced a talk given by Spencer Kimball when I was a child.

So I looked it up that old conference talk.  And below is the section she referenced.

This is good for me to remember in my life full of favorite activities and causes and responsibilities that I enjoy and that call for my attention.

"'Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else' (D&C 42:22)

"And, when the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving. And, to the woman it [could be] paraphrased: 'Thou shalt love thy husband with all thy heart and shall cleave unto him and none else.' 

"The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse. ...

"Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. Each spouse takes the partner with the understanding that he or she gives self totally to the spouse: all the heart, strength, loyalty, honor, and affection with all dignity. Any divergence is sin—any sharing the heart is transgression. As we should have "an eye single to the glory of God" (D&C 4:5D&C 82:19) so should we have an eye, an ear, a heart single to the marriage and the spouse and family."

From his talk, "Spouses and None Else", which you can read HERE

My mom and dad, who live this.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

When I Am Tempted to Think Highly of My Own Enlightened Insights: Miriam and Aaron and Numbers chapter 12

"When we have spiritual ego[tism] we have an over inflated sense of our own spiritual ability and understanding. We begin to think that we are somehow unique, that God has told us or given us something that others don't have....We don't ask questions sincerely desiring an answer or direction. Instead we ask a question, already thinking that we know what the answer should be. The problem is that, when the answer comes and it isn't what you were expecting, it can be really hard to humble yourself and accept [it].

"In Numbers 12 it tells how Miriam, and her brother Aaron,  both spoke out publicly against Moses for his marriage of an Ethiopian woman. This Ethiopian woman has a fascinating story...and there are several possible reasons for why Miriam and Aaron confronted him about her. I won't go into all of them in this post, but suffice it to say that the real issue wasn't his marriage but deeper doubts that Miriam and Aaron had about his role as the prophet and his ability to receive revelation from God.

"Miriam and Aaron had both been blessed with spiritual gifts, specifically the gift of prophecy. In fact, Miriam's gift was so powerful that she was known as "the prophetess".  She had the ability to speak with power and with authority. So when Moses did and taught something that she didn't like she questioned his ability to receive revelation, saying, "Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us?" (Numbers 12:2)"

You can read the rest of Heather Farrell's essay on  Miriam here:  http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2014/09/miriam-leprosy-and-bad-case-of.html

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Luke 24:4-5 Seeking the Living Among the Dead

As a seeker of truth and enlightenment it is easy to consider the veracity of Jesus as a person who lived and breathed and taught divine truth, to read his words and the stories of his life, seeking to understand his teachings and his way of living as we do the words and lives of other wise and good and inspired figures in history. As Christians we generally give him more credibility due to the divinity that we believe he embodied, therefore giving considerably more weight to what we find in the pages about him and his life than we do to other long ago divinely enlightened individuals whose words and lives we read about. And that is good.

But are we missing something?

"Some of us, when young, were presented with a writing book. At the top it had a line of...writing; below it had blank lines on which we had to copy it. How utterly discouraging were our efforts to reproduce that perfect pattern! But then the teacher would come and, with her hand, would guide our hand over the lines and we got nearer to the ideal. That is what Jesus does. He is not only the pattern and the example. He helps and guides us and strengthens us to follow that pattern and example. He is not simply a model for life; he is a living presence to help us to live.

It may well be that our Christianity has lacked an essential something because we too have been looking for him who is alive among the dead”

~William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, pp.292-293

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Chaff and grain together

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
― From "A life for a life" (published in 1859) by Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik