It’s not the idea of Jesus that I like. The reality that there is a living person known as Jesus the Christ who lived, died, was buried, and rose again on the third day is what sustains me. If I thought for a second that Jesus is just an idea, or a deterrent, then I’d shrug him off my shoulders. He is more than that. He is literally alive.
The scientific method is a powerful tool, but it isn’t how a person comes to know that Jesus Christ lives. Even seeing Jesus Christ face-to-face would not be enough to convince doubt. That takes more than sight.
Evil hates this explanation and does everything in its power to convince mankind to doubt, but there is a spiritual method of obtaining a knowledge of Eternal truth.
I read The Hobbit and had a wonderful time. I read My Side of the Mountain and was entertained immensely. I read Eragon and could hardly put the book down. But when I read — no…feasted — on the scriptures with a spiritual hunger, I experienced something unlike what I experienced with regular books. Why? Aren’t the scriptures just regular old words organized in a different way?
Contemplate that. Are they just words organized in a different way?
No. They’re more than that.
When I “feast” on the words of life, a passageway within my soul is unveiled and a communion with an unspeakable power commences. It is an experience separate and distinct from all other mortal encounters, be they emotional, physical, or mental. It is spiritual, and it is real. This communion may be, on occasion, more powerful and effectual than at other times. But it is a communion that is always worthy of my pursuit, and God never fails to deliver His end of the bargain.
Have you ever done a topical study around the phrase “search the scriptures”? Here are the references that turn up. What lessons do we learn from these verses?
- And it came to pass after he had made an end of speaking unto the people many of them did believe on his words, and began to repent, and to search the scriptures. Alma 14:1
- Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39
- And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye could not worship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the scriptures. Alma 33:2
- And it came to pass that peace and the love of God was restored again among the people; and they searched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man. Jacob 7:23
- These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11
- Therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures… Alma 17:2
- And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search… 3 Nephi 10:14
What is God teaching us? We know that God’s work and glory is bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. How does reminding us to search the scriptures help Him in His goal? Consider the following benefits.
- Scriptures help us grasp the concept of, and to desire, eternal life.
- Scriptures will help us discern truth from error.
- Scriptures will help us to live righteous lives.
- Scriptures will help us endure faithfully.
- Scriptures will help us understand the mysteries of God.
Said Christ: Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. D&C 19:23
But none of these blessing come just from having a copy of the scriptures in the house. The promised gifts come when we hunger and feast on the words of life.
There is one more blessing that I’d like to mention. This blessing is so important. When we search the scriptures with hungry spirits, we prepare our souls for power in prayer. Searching the scriptures has the interesting effect of filling us with truth while simultaneously making us even more hungry for added communion with God, and this readies us for prayer.
Approaching prayer with a hungry soul is similar to what the scriptures describe as having a broken heart and contrite spirit. Enos’s experience portrays it powerfully.
And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.
And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
And I said: Lord, how is it done?
And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole. Enos 1:4-8
What has all this been about? Let’s sum it up.
The idea, or concept, of Jesus Christ is not enough. He is either literally alive, or it’s all for nothing. The scriptures unlock revelation and prepare us for effective prayer. Approaching scripture feasting and prayer with hungry souls, or broken hearts and contrite spirits, makes of our spirits fertile ground that is ready for powerful revelation. This revelation is how we know with certainty that Jesus Christ is literally alive.
The sure knowledge of Jesus Christ is critically important if we are to endure in our testimonies of Christ during these last-days leading up to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.