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That Ye Might Believe That Jesus Is the Christ

New Testament – Lesson 1

Last year when we embarked on our studying the Old Testament, I think many of us were less than excited.  The Old Testament is often difficult to understand and there are parts of it when we remind ourselves that it is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.  There are passages that make us cringe or a bit squeamish.   But there are also stories that help us define our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This year, we will spend our time studying the New Testament.  The New Testament if full of wonderful stories of Christ’s life and narrations of the lessons He taught and the sacrifices He made.  It is also filled with the teachings of His disciples following the crucifixion and resurrection.

I am so excited about this year’s lessons.  The New Testament is so much fun to read.  I can honestly say that it is “fun”.   While reading the stories of Christ’s life and the acts of his apostles, you can place yourself amongst those people.  You can imagine how you would have felt and how you would have responded.

I challenge each of us to take some extra time this year to read the New Testament along with our normal scripture study.

There are so many resources available to us to help with our gospel studies.  In fact there are new resources to help our children better understand the stories of the New Testament.  They have made videos telling the stories of the New Testament simple and easy to understand.

In order to introduce the New Testament and how much it influences each of our lives and our testimonies of Jesus Christ, I have asked a few couples to each share their favorite story from the New Testament and how it has strengthened their testimonies.

One of the stories that has strengthened my testimony of our Savior and has helped me at different times is the story when the woman touches the hem of Christ’s garment.

(art by James Christensen)

As Christ walked through a crowd of many people He stopped and asked who had touched the hem of his garment.  His disciples were confused and I think probably a little put off that they were being stopped because someone had touched the hem of Christ’s clothing.  They pointed out that it is crowded where they were and of course someone had touched him, probably many people had touched him.  Christ said that He knew someone had touched him because he felt the power being taken from him.  The woman, who had been sick for 12 years, confessed to having touched Him.  Christ told her that because of her faith she had been made whole.

This story represents to me Christ’s role in our life as well as our role.   I know that Christ knows me and knows my pain and struggles.  I know that as I am faithful and seek after Him with focus and purpose that I will be made whole through my faith in Him.  And I know that just as He felt the power in Him leave as she touched his clothes, He is keenly aware of each one of us and He has felt all of our pain and sorrow.

This year will be filled with wonderful stories that we have all been told our whole lives.  I pray that we will be able to experience them in a new light and be touched by them more deeply or differently than we ever have before.  Our goal, through studying the New Testament, should be to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and to become more aware of His life and mission.
The coming of Christ was often prophesied of in the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon.  In Isaiah we are told many details of what Christ’s mission on earth would be.

Isaiah 61:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to  proclaim  liberty to the captives, and the opening of the  prison to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called  trees of  righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Based on these verses, what were some of the aspects of His mission?

“Preach good tidings unto the meek”

“Bind up the brokenhearted”

“Proclaim liberty to the captives”

“Comfort all that mourn”

How did Christ fulfill these prophesies?

In your life, how do you feel these being fulfilled still today?

John the Baptist also prophesied of Christ’s mission.

Luke 3:4–9

4 As it is written in the book of the prophet Esaias; and these are the words, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight.

5 For behold, and lo, he shall come, as it is written in the book of the prophets, to take away the sins of the world, and to bring salvation unto the heathen nations, to gather together those who are lost, who are of the sheepfold of Israel;

6 Yea, even the dispersed and afflicted; and also to prepare the way, and make possible the preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles;

7 And to be a light unto all who sit in darkness, unto the uttermost parts of the earth; to bring to pass the resurrection from the dead, and to ascend up on high, to dwell on the right hand of the Father,

8 Until the fulness of time, and the law and the testimony shall be sealed, and the keys of the kingdom shall be delivered up again unto the Father;

9 To administer justice unto all; to come down in judgment upon all, and to convince all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds, which they have committed; and all this in the day that he shall come;

What did John the Baptist say about the Savior’s mission?

“Take away the sins of the world”

“Bring salvation unto the heathen nations”

“Gather together those who are lost”

“Make possible the preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles”

“Be a light unto all who sit in darkness”

“Bring to pass the resurrection from the dead”

“Administer justice unto all”

“Convince all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds”

How did Christ fulfill these prophesies?

In your life, how do you feel these being fulfilled still today?

The Apostle John documented his testimony in the New Testament.

John 1:1–3, 14

1 In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made which was made.

14 And the same word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

What did John say about the Savior that stands out in these 4 verses?

How has the Savior given you life and light?

How will our studies of the New Testament help your testimony grow?

{Handout} I’d like each of you to take some time this evening and write down your testimony of Jesus Christ and a few things that have strengthened your testimony.  At the end of the year, I’d like us to write down our testimony again a few things from this year that have strengthened your testimony over the year.

In closing, I would like to quote President Thomas S Monson.   He taught:

“We need not visit the Holy Land to feel him close to us. We need not walk by the shores of Galilee or among the Judean hills to walk where Jesus walked.

“In a very real sense, all can walk where Jesus walked when, with his words on our lips, his spirit in our hearts, and his teachings in our lives, we journey through mortality” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 70; or Ensign, May 1974, 48).

I know that the New Testament testifies that Jesus is the Christ – the Anointed.  He is our Savior and through His teachings we can and will be saved.

***What is your favorite New Testament story?

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