Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why This Holy Land? Symbolism surrounding the life of the Savior

This week in institute our teacher referenced an article in the December 1989 Ensign entitled, "Why This Holy Land?," written by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This article is interesting; it's different than most of the previous articles featured weekly on this blog, but well worth the read nevertheless.

Most who have spent any time in the New Testament or otherwise learning about Jesus Christ know basics of places and events that happened concerning His life. Most probably know Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem in a manger, moved to Egypt to escape death, and returned to Nazareth to grow up. You know specifics on some miracles He performed such as raising Lazarus from the dead and know some of His main teachings such as baptism and the Sermon on the Mount. You know He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. And many of you know much more about Him and His life than the short list above.

In this great article, Elder Nelson discusses the symbolism surrounding pretty much everything concerning the Savior and His life. He discusses so many symbols and parallels that enhance the meaning of the Savior's life and teachings. I encourage each of you to read this article; it's an easy read and very straightforward, and ends with Elder Nelson's testimony:

So we are one, my beloved brothers and sisters, united in this cause and in the glory of Him who has sent us forth on His errand. May we sense and appreciate the symbolic significance of His mortal ministry in this Holy Land. May we understand His ministry to other sheep that He loved. May we realize our role in the restoration He has required, to prepare the world for His second coming. May we comprehend the eternal consequences of the endless life of our Lord, whose servants we are. May we have power and strength to motivate ourselves to do His will in the mountainous responsibilities that are before us.

We don't need to understand the symbolism of everything ever symbolized to have a deep and abiding testimony of the Savior of the world. We don't need a scholar's knowledge of the Bible in order to receive help and inspiration from the scriptures. And we don't need to know the geogrpahy of the Holy Land in order to feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and love of our Heavenly Father. The strength of our testimonies, keeping our covenants, and the needs of our families and neighbors should be our focus. But always striving to understand better the life of the Savior and the scriptures that were given for our benefit is also important and can help us along the path to eternal life. Have a good week.