Matthew 25. Preparing for the Kingdom of Heaven

Imagine walking into a packed theater at a moment when the show is most dramatic and exciting.  Everyone sits on the edge of their seat, ears attuned to every uttered word lest they miss something of great importance.  The intensity of the moment is palpable.  But alas, you, my friend, missed the first act and so you have no clue as to why this moment, this dialogue on stage is of such import and intensity.  Yet you dare not interrupt anyone to receive contextual clues or for a review of the first act lest you or they miss the climax of the performance. Continue reading

Matthew 18 and Luke 10. What is the Kingdom of God?

“And who is my neighbor?” This is the great question of the Good Samaritan story, a story that we have all listened to carefully many times, studying the different characters, the plot line and ultimately the loving compassion and mercy that one human shared with another.  When we view this timeless question from the perspective of it its surrounding context, the richness of Christ’s message is enhanced.  The stories and passages neighboring the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10 are focused on building the Kingdom of God through preaching the Gospel and gathering souls.  In this context, the Good Samaritan story is more than just a parable about being neighborly or showing loving compassion.  It is a parable about the Kingdom of God, or at least the type of individual who is invited into the Kingdom of God.  Similarly, Matthew 18 is a chapter that focuses on the conditions that mark the Kingdom of God and the characteristics of those who comprise that kingdom. Continue reading

Matthew 11 and Luke 7, 11-13. Coming Unto Christ and Learning of Him

“He descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth” (D&C 88:6)

Christ came to save us from our sins.  He came to show us by word and deed how we might live lives of joy and happiness, despite the afflictions we all experience, so that we might taste the bitter and know to prize the sweet.  His invitation is simple yet profound. Continue reading

Luke 4-6 and Matthew 10. Faithfully Responding to God’s Call


Early chapters of the Gospels share various aspects of Jesus Christ’s divine mission: Messianic prophecies, glorious birth, precocious youth, exemplary baptism and the spread of gospel truths.  Christ was not to be alone in his mission, however, except in his suffering.  So we turn to the events surrounding Christ’s public proclamation of his mission, the call of the Twelve Apostles, and the preparation they received to follow in his footsteps.  What we will see in these chapters is that Christ taught his apostles by example how to be true disciples engaged in the work of righteousness. Continue reading

Matthew 1 and Luke 1. Testimonies of Jesus

As we approach our study of the scriptures may we be like the inquisitive Theophilus of Luke searching for the certain witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To satisfy such spiritual desires, faithful early Christians such as Luke composed lengthy expositions called “Gospels” filled with narratives, homilies, hymnodies, miracles, parables, sayings, doings, doctrines, and, most importantly, the sure witness of Jesus as the promised Christ.  We have four such Gospels in our canonical New Testament that share this testimony of Christ.  But just as four master painters use various styles to represent the same landscape, so too the four Gospel writers have unique approaches to sharing their certain witness that Jesus is indeed the Christ.  Additionally, each of our Gospel witnesses includes unique perspectives and valuable information as they describe life models of worthy and God-fearing individuals who populate the stage of Christ’s life such as Mary, Joseph and John the Baptist.  Continue reading