13: “Who Hath Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear” (Matthew 13, Luke 8; 13)
Do you see yourself—your day-to-day life, your joys, your troubles—in the parables of Christ? We may not separate wheat from tares or handle mustard seeds as often as the people of Jesus’s day, but His parables are still very much for us. They teach powerfully about ourselves and how we should treat others. In this week’s lesson in Matthew 13, Luke 8; 13, we will dive into why Jesus taught in parables and realize just how applicable they are to modern living.
Glue-Ins (free printables for your scriptures)
Matthew 13 (Jesus explains why parables)
Parable = comparison, throwing alongside (Hebrew)
The parable conveys to the hearer religious truth exactly in proportion to his faith and intelligence; to the dull and uninspired it is a mere story, “seeing they see not,” while to the instructed and spiritual it reveals the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of heaven. Thus it is that the parable exhibits the condition of all true knowledge. Only he who seeks finds. (Bible Dictionary, “Parables”)
Ruby = peninim - corals or pearls
Matthew 13:47-52 (Parable of the net in the sea)
D&C 10:55, 67 (How to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven)
Luke 8:1-3 (Certain women ministered)
Luke 10:25-37 (Parable of the good Samaritan)
Luke 10:38-42 (Concern ourselves with the needful things)
Minister = Diakoneo - deacon, minister, helper (Greek)
Sat at = to be tutored or taught (Greek)
Careful = overly concerned about (Greek)
Words of the Prophets:
The sayings of the Savior, recorded in the 13th chapter of His Gospel according to St. Matthew…in my mind, afford us as clear an understanding upon the important subject of the gathering as anything recorded in the Bible” (Joseph Smith, “To the Elders of the Church of the Latter Day Saints,” Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1835, 2:225; spelling, capitalization, and punctuation modernized).
Word of the Prophets:
Those angels have left the portals of heaven, and they stand over this people and this nation now, and are hovering over the earth waiting to pour out the judgments. And from this very day they shall be poured out. Calamities and troubles are increasing in the earth, and there is a meaning to these things. Remember this, and reflect upon these matters. If you do your duty, and I do my duty, we’ll have protection, and shall pass through the afflictions in peace and safety. Read the scriptures and the revelations…It’s by the power of the gospel that we shall escape. (Wilford Woodruff, at the Salt Lake Temple)
Tammy Uzelac Hall 0:01
There is a new phrase being used when you learn something new, and it is this: "I was today years old when I learned that." So for instance, I'm gonna use it in a sentence based on a true story. "I was today years old when I learned that Word and WordPerfect are not remotely connected in any way, shape, or form." And you guys, I wish I was lying. But I recently asked my husband, who has a Master's degree in computer science to help me find a document that I lost. And he asked me where I saved it. And I told him, Oh, I saved it in WordPerfect. And then he said to me, "Well, then we're going to have to go back to the 90s to find it!"
This week's lesson is a study of Matthew chapter 13, Luke chapter 8, and Luke chapter 13. And it's the beginning of the parables. And after our discussion today, many of us may find ourselves exclaiming, "I was today years old when I learned........" And it's going to be such a great discussion.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now, if you're new to our study group, we just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. So follow the link in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come, Follow Me study, just like my friends in Ogden, Sandy and Larry Strong, Debbie and Art Gibby, and Debbie Bachmann. Hi, friends, and I'm so grateful I got to meet you. Thank you for coming and saying Hi.
Okay. Now my very favorite thing about this study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends, but sometimes it's just one friend. And today I have one friend who is here to join us and I could NOT be more excited! I am actually thrilled and honored that he accepted my request. We have Gerald Lund. Hi, how are you?
Gerald Lund 1:39
I am great. How are you, Tammy?
Oh, my gosh. I mean, I'm not gonna lie - a little bit nervous, but super excited - because it's Gerald Lund. I mean, anybody who knows this man, or knows what he's done, or what he's written, you would probably be as nervous as I am. So Jerry, just tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you want our listeners to know about you?
Gerald Lund 1:58
Well, it's not that complicated. I was born in Sanpete County and eventually we moved into Murray and that's where I grew up. I had a normal family. And well, some people didn't think we were normal but we did. I went on a mission to the West Central States cuz it was then Montana and Wyoming, and served six months in the army. And then I decided to go to BYU; I got a degree in sociology in both bachelor's and master's, and then decided through a rather unusual comment from one of my professors, he - after a class we'd been doing question and answers and I was participating in that - he said, Have you ever thought about teaching Seminary? My response to that was, They pay those people? I just thought it was a volunteer.
Gerald Lund 2:56
So he said, Yes. And there's a class and it counts for your religion credits here at BYU. And I took the class and liked it, and so I became a Seminary teacher. And then went to California and taught in the Institutes and then came back and became a curriculum writer. And then eventually I was the supervisor of teacher training and curriculum. That was my career. I retired a few years ago, and just mostly doing things with family and writing. I love to write.
Yes you do. For those of you who wonder, is this the Gerald Lund that wrote "The Work and the Glory" series? Yes, it is. And he's written so many other books, and one that I'm really excited about, and the reason why I was grateful that you accepted my request is, you have a new book called "The Parables of Jesus". And so we are going to dive into the parables today. And I am so excited. So for those of you that have your scriptures, I just want you to grab your scripture journal, something to mark your Scriptures with, and we are going to dig into the parables. Okay, so Jerry, I have a quick question for you. Because I started with that phrase, "I was today years old when I learned", is there something new that you have recently learned that you could say "I was today years old when I learned"?
Gerald Lund 4:10
Yeah. I, I learned that the context as well as the content of the scriptures matters. So I have more and more in recent years, I've been looking for what happened just before, what happens afterwards. And obviously the gospel writers folks say, Hey, look at this. I, I'm trying, gonna to tell you something here. They just kind of leave that for us. And that's been a really enriching experience for me.
I'm curious. Is there one that strikes you, one that really stood out that you're like, I'd never considered that before?
Gerald Lund 4:48
Well, actually, we're gonna, I'm gonna give a couple of those examples as we go through some of these parables.
Oh, perfect. Okay, then we're not gonna give it away yet.
Gerald Lund 4:57
Yeah. And in fact, there's two or three that we're gonna look at that it just looks like it's a change of subject. But as you put it in the context, you think, Ah, that really does mean something. So
Oh, okay, I'm so excited. This will be fun. All right, well let's do this. Everyone turn to Matthew chapter 13. And all I want us to do is look at the section heading. So Matthew chapter 13. It starts by saying, Jesus explains why He teaches with parables. Circle or highlight the word 'parable' right there. Here's our first introduction to Jesus using parables. So let's learn some fun facts about the parables. So Jerry, teach us what are some really cool facts that listeners should know about parables.
Gerald Lund 5:17
All right. Number one, the Bible is an Eastern book.
What does that mean?
Gerald Lund 5:46
Written by Eastern people, primarily for Eastern people. Now by Eastern, we're not talking the Far East. We're talking the Middle East: Israel and all of those countries around it. And that's, that's really true. The prophets come from that environment. But at the same time, I think they knew these prophets: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, for example. I think they knew that eventually their writings would go to the world, whether they knew it would keep going for 2000 years I'm not sure. But I think they understood that that was it. There's one more thing about this being Eastern. Westerners, you know, like Europe and the US, were very logical, were very precise. They love imagery, they love symbolism. For example, we would say, "The sun comes up in the morning." Bedouin says "The sun leaps from it's bed of sleeping." They just love all of that. And they see parallels to real life in everything around them. So symbolism and imagery is part of that concept.
Gerald Lund 7:07
Second one is that parables make up about 35% of Jesus's teachings in the four gospels. Now that's a third, which says a lot. And then we'll talk more about that.
I was surprised by that percentage. I loved learning that in your book, so that was pretty cool. So it must be pretty important to know about these parables then.
Gerald Lund 7:29
Yeah, and some of them He doesn't say, 'Here's a parable'. You just have to know the form. Third, parables are brief. Thirty-three of them have four verses or less, and yet they're still powerful. Parables are marked by simplicity and symmetry. The whole design, the word 'parable' in Hebrew means 'to line two things up side by side so you can compare them'. And in the book I do that a lot. The Savior says this, and here's what it means, and so on. Not surprisingly, number five, Jesus's parables are mostly about people and lessons for people. And of course, that's what He did for His life. Also, most of them are not only about everyday life, they're taken from everyday life. I really believe, and so do many other scholars, that some of the parables were actual experiences that Jesus knew about or heard about, and turned them into a parable, things that would actually happen to good people. For example, the parable of the Good Samaritan. Details in that almost makes you wonder if He had not heard about this. But it doesn't matter because He teaches; He takes those, if they are real, and turns them into a gospel lesson.
It's so cool, Jerry, that approach, considering that the Samaritan story is a real story? rather than just something He made up to teach a lesson. That really gives that story even more power. That's a really cool way to perceive that, I hadn't thought of that before.
Gerald Lund 9:13
And the fact that the two priests and Levite, supposedly be the most righteous and people-centered people around, just go to the other side. Finally - and this is most important I think - the parables are designed to teach us about the nature of God, and what it means to be a true disciple. That's a really good way to sum it up.
Yeah, absolutely. But maybe some of you're asking the question, But why parables? Like, why can't Jesus just come out and say what He means, right? Use your words. Well, I think Jesus did use His words, but He used them in a very careful and poignant way. And we're going to discuss that in the next segment.
Segment 2 9:57
Okay, so why parables? Has anyone ever wondered that same question that I just ended with? Lke, why can't You just say what You mean? Why is this so important? Let's turn to Matthew chapter 13. And let's highlight and mark verse 10. This is interesting because the disciples kind of asked that same question that we're asking. Verse 10 says, "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?" So let's go now into Matthew chapter 13. And we're going to read verses 11-13. And Jerry, will you read these for us? And as Jerry reads these, let's go ahead and underline the reason Jesus gives for parables. Go ahead.
Gerald Lund 10:48
Matt 13:11 "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them," (meaning the people) "it is not given." 12: For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13: Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."
Gerald Lund 11:21
Now, let me just point out one thing. In verse 12, the very first footnote before the word 'For': Joseph Smith Matthew. And notice there up in the King James, it says, "Whosoever hath", or has. Has what, understanding? That seems to be the case. But notice how Joseph said it: "For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given and he shall have more abundance. But whosoever continue with not to receive from Him shall be taken away even that he hath." It's interesting. This puts it right on us. It's not something we naturally have or don't have. It's if we're willing to receive, then the parables teach us divine things. In a way, it's a way to shield us from diving into water we can't swim in yet.
Oh, tell me more about that. What do you mean? That's a good analogy,
Gerald Lund 12:21
Like a child, or let's say someone who's never had anything to do with God or their religion. They read it and they think, Well, that's a nice little story. But the more you come to know God and everything, the more you say, Okay, remember, the concept of a parable is 'here's reality'. And directly across, but in matching, is the spiritual lesson. And that's what the Spirit helps us to start receiving. And if we're not ready, or if we don't want it, rebel against it - which the Jewish leaders did - then they don't get it.
Well then that adds even more power to verse 13 when He says seeing they see not and hearing they hear not. Like, not ready to see or not willing to see or hear. And you know, it's really kind of a neat thing is, in our Bible Dictionary we have the word 'parables' that you can look up. And I would recommend cross referencing somewhere on that page, just write 'Bible Dictionary parables'. And we're going to read just a quick little paragraph from this definition. So it's paragraph number one, and it's about the fourth sentence down if you go into the Bible dictionary and look up the word 'parables'. And I want us to just read this. And Gerald, can you read this definition for us? And I want to get your thoughts on it.
Gerald Lund 13:41
Yeah, it says, "The parable conveys to the hearer religious truth exactly in proportion to his faith and intelligence; to the dull and uninspired it is a mere story, "seeing they see not," while to the instructed and spiritual it reveals the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of heaven. Thus it is that the parable exhibits the condition of all true knowledge. Only he who seeks finds." Now remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. If we ask, then we shall receive; if we seek, then we shall find; if we knock, then it will be open.ed. That's kind of what that JST suggests. And it's not just whether you have it or you don't. So it's interesting that the 12, who grew up in this society and were completely familiar with this symbolism, but they were not sure what He was doing and why.
You know, as you've been explaining this, and I'm reading these definitions about it, the thing I think is so beautiful is when you just described that scripture, it takes action on our part - to seek, to find, to knock. So if we're willing to just put forth a little effort to study, to read, and to ask "Like, what does this mean to us?" It seems to me that we should be able to find out the answers. Is that true?
Gerald Lund 15:06
Yes. And part of it is willingness, part of it is hunger. Remember, he says "those who hunger and thirst after righteousness". Missionaries see this all the time. They teach and then, "Well, that's a nice story. But I don't need it" sort of thing. And others just resonate with it.
Well, my hope is that our listeners are hungry to learn more about these parables. Because one of the cool things is that you did, and I really appreciated this is, in your book, you put the parables into four categories. So I want you to tell us about these categories, because I've never considered the parables in this shape before or in these four categories. So tell us a little bit about your categories that you have.
Gerald Lund 15:52
As I, as I was deciding on the title for the book, I just decided "The Parables of Jesus" is what I wanted. But as I began working on it, I finally put on a subtitle, and it was "Mirrors to the Soul". And the idea is, the parable becomes like a mirror and you hold it up to yourself. And you say, Okay, am I this person? Or am I this person? And so I thought, I really like that. But the more I got, then I put a second subtitle, "Windows to Eternity". That that's the mirrors to the soul. When we look at ourselves, then that helps us to see the windows that take us into eternity in righteousness.
Gerald Lund 16:42
So the four categories that I put the parables in, that I chose to write about were number 1 - Our Relationship with Divinity; Number 2 - Gospel Application; Number 3 - Ministering; and Number 4 - Preparedness for the Second Coming. In that first relationship, we have four parables: laborers in the vineyard, the rich fool, the unprofitable servant, the sower, the seeds. For laborers in the vineyard, which is teaching the matter, or teaching the concept that equal pay for equal work doesn't necessarily work in the kingdom of God, meaning some people do a lot more and are called to do a lot more in the kingdom than others.
Gerald Lund 16:45
I remember years ago, we in the Elders Quorum, they put in a new secretary to the Elders Quorum Presidency. And when they called for the vote, one person raised his hand against it. And that was a shock for everybody. And so what happened is, he shouldn't have done it, he should have let it go to the bishop. But the Elders Quorum President says, Why do you say that? Why are you, what's your objection? And he said, This man's a new convert. And he says, I think he's a true convert, I think he's faithful. But he's told us that he was as a sailor, in all over the world, and he's, he's told us that he's, he went to everything you could get: sex, drugs, everything. That was just part of his life until along comes the gospel and missionaries. And now a year later, and we're going to put him in as the secretary to the Elders Quorum. I've been in the church for 40 years and I don't get called. And that's, that's the parable of the, you know?
And a powerful one.
Gerald Lund 19:12
You think of the 12 and the First Presidency. Their calls usually are for the rest of their lives, 40, 50, 60 years sometimes. The second one is the rich fool. And I think the lesson there can be summed up in five words: this life is not the end. And the rich fool puts his everything into building his barns and everything and then he dies. The unprofitable servant. There's nothing we can do makes us even with God. There's no way we can ever say, All right, God, you owe me. And finally, the sower and the seed, is the heart - that's what really matters. When we're looking for conversion, we're not looking for the head, we're not looking for the hands. We're not looking for the feet only. Because if we don't have the heart right, all the rest doesn't matter.
Gerald Lund 20:16
In the second grouping - Gospel Application- this is basically teaching us how to apply the principles of the gospel in our own lives. The unmerciful servant is one of the most dramatic and I think, heart-wrenching parables where you have a king set aside a debt of 10,000 talents. That's a stunning amount for even our day. And he forgives him. And then he turns around, the servant, and won't give any adjustment to somebody who owes him 10 pence. It's just a powerful one. The next one is the unjust judge. Basically, I think the story of that is don't give up. Sometimes we pray and nothing happens. And we just say, Well, God's not answering me, when actually He'saying, Oh, yeah. He says, don't give up yet. I will answer you, but I'm teaching you something in the process. And then comes the Pharisee and the Publican, which shows us that it's not what we say, it's what we do that really matters to the Lord.
Gerald Lund 21:41
The third one - Ministering. These are the clearest, and I think some of the most powerful. The four that I chose are: The good Samaritan, the lost sheep and the coin, the prodigal son, or sons - I'll say something about that in a minute - and Lazarus and the rich man. As we know, in the last few years, we've really moved ministering to the front and center of what our lives should be as members of the church. So the good Samaritan is you serve where you need to and not where it's convenient or safe. When the Pharisee asked Him what the great commandments were - Love God and your neighbor, he says, who's my neighbor? And basically, by asking that question, he's saying, Who do I have to be good to? And if you're asking that you're asking, Who can I not be good to? which shows the idea of his mindset. Lazarus and the rich man is just, it's so heart-wrenching, and there will be an accounting.
Gerald Lund 22:56
Final is the Preparation of the Second Coming. This includes the wheat and the tares, the unjust steward, and what I call the three parables of preparation: The 10 virgins; the pounds, the money; and the sheep and the goats. And all three things of those have one thing in common: Every one of those last three parables have those who are included and those who are excluded based on what they're doing. You think the five virgins are left out; the one who didn't do anything with his money is condemned; and the goats end up in the wrong side of the heaven. So that's how we came to that.
Okay, so these four categories, again, I'm just gonna restate 'em. We have Our Relationship with Deity, Gospel Application, Ministering, and Preparation for Christ's Coming. So when I read your book, I wrote down these different categories. And then I decided, You know what? I'm going to put his categories to the test. And I'm going to see if this really works, and I used the parables for this week's Come, Follow Me lesson. And I tried to see if they fit into your categories. And guess what, Jerry. They did, it totally worked. And there are none of the parables that you even just used, which is so amazing. So we're gonna use your outline for the context of the rest of our episode today. And we're going to start in the next segment and we're going to begin with your first category, which is Our Divine Relationship with Deity. And we'll discuss that coming up next.
Segment 3 24:33
All right, we are going to dive into the parables that teach us about our relationship with Deity. But before we do, I did have this question, because I wanted to know from you. I love talking about our relationship with God and who we are to Him. And it made me think of this question to ask you, Jerry, I just want to know: how or when did you first learn about your relationship with God?
Gerald Lund 25:08
Well, I was I was born of goodly parents as Nephi said, and so we prayed all the time. We had family home evening back before it was really emphasized, and so I grew up in that. But I had an interesting experience. Back then we didn't get to go on missions until we were 20. So I graduated from high school, I went in the Army for six months, and then I was dating a girl that we started dating in high school, and we were getting pretty serious. And I'd always wanted to go on a mission, both my older brothers did. But suddenly this didn't seem nearly as critical - if that's a good word, you know - you know where I'm going with this. I've got other things that are more important to me, or so I thought. So I finally came up with this great answer to my problem. This was back when we had Ward missionaries. You won't remember that, you young ones. But we actually called men in and they served in the ward or in the stake two or three nights a week.
Gerald Lund 26:28
And I thought that was my answer. I can be a missionary, serve the Lord and stay home and get married. And I went to my dad, and I just expected him to say, Well, it's brilliant. Yeah, go ahead. But he didn't. He, he just watched me for a minute. And then he said, Well, your mom and I think you ought to go on a full-time mission. But this is your decision, but just do one thing for me. And when he said, This is your decision, I thought, Oh, man, I'll do anything, you know. And here's what he said. Take two different days, fast for 24 hours, go off somewhere, go up in the mountains where you're alone, take your scriptures, and you just study the scriptures and PRAY and ASK Heavenly Father what He wants you to do. And I thought, piece of cake, you know, this is easy. What have I got to lose? because I already have my answer. So I did. I went up Cottonwood Canyons and spent all day and found dozens of scriptures that talk about laboring in Zion. You know what I'm thinking? Zion is Utah. Not the concept. So this, that's, that justifies me.
Gerald Lund 26:28
So I went home, said, I got my answer, dad. He said, Well, you promised me two days. And so the next Sunday I went up, same thing. This is November, found even more scriptures. I'm absolutely elated. This is back when Sacrament meetings was in the afternoon. My mom and dad's Sacrament meeting was 4:00, and I wanted to get down and tell them before I went to 5:00 o'clock with my girlfriend and her Sacrament meeting. So I jumped in the car, put it in reverse and backed into a snowbank and I got stuck. And I get in the trunk; there's, nobody's left any tools in the trunk. I finally had to break off a branch from a tree to get out of there. So I raced home, my mom and dad are already gone. And I thought, Well, I'll have to tell them later. I go to my girl's church. After the Sacrament the speaker is speaking and I'm kind of bored.
Gerald Lund 28:43
My mind's elsewhere so I pick up the hymn book. And I'm just thumbing through it idly and I come to page 75, it was then. "It may not be on the mountain's height or over the stormy sea, I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord; I'll be what you want me to be." And I looked up and my girlfriend was watching me and tears are streaming on down her cheeks. And she said, You're going, aren't you? And I said, Yes, I am. And that's where I learned that God really does matter, He really does care. That simple decision turned me on a completely different direction in my life.
Wow. That's an incredible story.
Gerald Lund 29:31
That was, I still think of it often.
Did you marry her when you got back?
Gerald Lund 29:37
Gerald Lund 29:38
Just a little side trip to that. When we came back, we went our different ways. And I'm married and my wife passed away nine years ago. A year and a half ago I was at BYU Education Week and a woman came up and said, Do you recognize me? And I said, No, I don't think so. And she said, If I told you my name is Lena Antill? - and that was my girlfriend. And we started just catching up and found out the friendship that we'd had was still there. And so we've been married now for a year and a half.
Gerald Lund 29:47
Stop it! I didn't know that!
Gerald Lund 30:20
Such a good story. Wow!
And there again, there's, you see the Lord's hand if we just, you know. If you just get out of the way and let the Lord do it for you.
Okay, that is so cool. That is such a good story! So let's dive into two parables then that teach us about exactly what you taught us: get out of the way, the Lord loves us. And we're going to look at these parables about how much the Lord loves us. So I'm gonna go first. I get to talk about Matthew 13:45, 46. And this one I love, it's just two verses, it's short, and I really like the message in here. So here's what it says.
Matt 13:45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."
Okay, I'm going to give you a cross reference. Put to the outside of that Proverbs 31:10-11. Now, many of you listening know I feel so strongly about the Proverb of a Virtuous Woman. I spent years studying it in Hebrew and wrote a book about it. And so when I got to this proverb that says, "Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies?", I was so thrilled to find out - and shocked - that the word 'rubies'i in Hebrew is PENINIM. And it actually means corals, or pearls. And pearls are only mentioned a few dozen times in Scripture. Pearls are like the biblical standard for excellence and beauty. And it's actually believed that pearls were considered among the most precious of gems in the ancient world. That's what I found in my studies. Pearls are so precious that the Lord actually implemented them in his design for the city of New Jerusalem. And you can read about that in Revelation chapter 18, and chapter 21. And I will put all the references in our show notes, so you can go check this out.
But it's really neat when you think, you could read "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above 'pearls'." Now, let's go back to this proverb right here. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls." Going back to the proverb after verse 10, verse 11, says, for "her husband doth safely trust in her" . And one of the things that we discovered was that the husband in this proverb is Christ. And so now we connect it to this proverb right here; in verse 45, the merchant man is Christ. And he is seeking goodly pearls. And so one of the ways that we could actually view this when it says when he had found one pearl, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Listen to this, it's so cool. Traditionally, verses 45 and 46 have been to describe the value of discipleship. But I wonder if this verse may now be interpreted to mean that the merchant man who is Christ, and the virtuous woman is like the goodly pearl, and if He found even just one goodly Pearl, Christ was willing to sell all that He had, which is His own life.
You can read in First Corinthians 6:20, Paul teaches "for ye are bought with a price". And then Peter tells us that we have been redeemed not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. And so for me, whenever I read these two verses, 45 and 46, I think it has more to do with Jesus Christ seeking us. And when He has found even just one of us, He would sell all that He had, even His own life to buy us back or to redeem us, which is His name. He's a redeemer, He's a deliverer. And the thing I like is going back to the idea that pearls are so precious. And many of you listening know how I feel about this. I always say at the end of every episode, Jerry, just so you know, every time we finish an episode of the podcast, I always say, You are God's favorite. And so to me, these two verses teach me that I am precious to Him, and how much He just really loves me. And so that teaches me about my worth and my divinity to deity. What do you think about that, Jerry?
Gerald Lund 34:09
I think you're right on. That's beautifully put.
Thank you. Wow! I got sanctioned by Jerry Lund, everybody. It's really Cool. So that's one of the proverbs that totally worked with your category. And now the next one, you get to teach us about and I'm thrilled about this. So let's turn to Luke chapter 13. And in Luke chapter 13 Jerry is going to teach us about the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. This is a good one. So how does this relate to our relationship with deity?
Gerald Lund 34:37
Well, it, as all the parables they have a key lesson for the faithful. As many of the parables they have a very strong warning against the not faithful, and particularly the Jewish leadership. And here again is a good example of looking at things in context, but we'll read verses 1-10. Notice that He starts with interchange as we see so much in the 4 Gospels, with the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the Jewish leadership.
Gerald Lund 35:09
1 "There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." We don't know exactly what that refers to, but there was probably some zealots who were fighting the Romans and were caught and sacrificed. And everybody knew about that. Obviously, Jesus is talking about things they knew about.
Gerald Lund 35:32
2 "And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?"
Gerald Lund 35:43
By the way, the Jerusalemites really looked down their noses at the Galileans, they thought they were country bumpkins. But actually, they had more faith than the people in Jerusalem. And then He gives another example.
Gerald Lund 35:55
4 "Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?"
Gerald Lund 36:06
Again, something in a construction project was a tragedy.
Gerald Lund 36:11
5 "I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Gerald Lund 36:18
Now with that, He says, You think, you're saying, Wow, look at those people that were killed by the Romans. Look at those people that were killed in that accident. They must have been wicked people. Aren't we glad we were righteous enough to be saved? And He's, that's the last of introduction. And then comes the parable.
Gerald Lund 36:39
6 ".....A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
Gerald Lund 36:45
7 "Then he said unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years,"
Gerald Lund 36:52
I just stopped there, sometimes paying attention to the details. Why would the Savior use the word 'three' here? He's talking to the Jewish leaders. And how long is His ministry?
Gerald Lund 37:07
Three years. So "these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree". Who's the fig tree? The Jewish leaders who are supposed to be producing fruit for the people, the fruit of the gospel. And He says I come to it and what do I find there? Nothing. And so His helper says cut it down; why let it cumber the ground? And he answering and said, Lord, let it alone till I shall dig it about and dung it;
Gerald Lund 37:42
9 "And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, after thatthou shalt cut it down."
Gerald Lund 37:47
And I think using that example of a tree, He's given him a warning. This is your last chance. And guess what's going to happen? If you don't do it you're going to be the fig tree. And did that happen? Yes, about 30 years later there was a rebellion against the Romans. And when that ended in 70 AD, the Jewish nation was scattered through all the world and ceased to be in Palestine. So I really believe that He's saying it. And of course, it applies to anyone who's, who's a hypocrite, who's trying to appear more righteous than they are. But then notice that what context follows, verse 11, I know this wasn't in there. But notice,
Gerald Lund 38:37
11 "......behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years," that means she was so weak, she could hardly get around. "and was bowed together," bent over, "and could in no wise lift her up herself.
Gerald Lund 38:52
12 "And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
Gerald Lund 39:00
13 "And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God."
Gerald Lund 39:07
That's an incredible miracle.
Gerald Lund 39:10
And this is done in the synagogue, and who's the ruler of the synagogue? Supposedly the example of being a gospel committer. The ruler of the synagogue is enraged because He did that on the Sabbath day. And there's the dead fruit tree. There's the evidence of that dead fruit tree. And then He goes on and goes into the mustard seed and I think we're going to talk about that in a minute so,
Yeah, definitely. Wow. So Jerry, sum up for us, then we have this parable which seems like He's calling these people out by saying the fig tree and he finds none. What does this teach us about a relationship with God, though.? What is the message for all of us?
Gerald Lund 39:57
Well, it teaches us a lot. And one of the things that's going on right now, even in Christianity and more and more in some members of the church, that we have, and this is a, this is one of Satan's great initiatives. We are seeing more and more people that God is a God of love. You see a lot of Christians wearing the BFF'm not saying that's wrong. But, you know, this is my best friend. And it's, it's like in the Book of Mormon, some will say, Well, yeah, I do a bad thing. And I do this, but God loves me. Maybe He'll spank me, but other than that, I'm fine. And in other places in the scriptures, which they bring out, there's one place in 2 Nephi 9, where we are told that Christ despises some people. That is a strong, strong word. And that's what He's saying. Can you imagine the hardness of that man's heart that he sees this woman after 20 years in this incredible miracle and all he can do is saying, You're violating the Sabbath?
Yeah. Well and it's interesting too, the wordplay in verse 13. "she was made straight, and glorified God." Like this woman who, people would have looked at her being sick and thought, Well, she probably brought this upon herself. That was the way they looked at sickness and illness. And so, you know, she probably sinned, but the Lord made her straight, and He could not make these fig trees straight at all.
Gerald Lund 41:37
And remember, how did He start? With the two tragedies
Gerald Lund 41:45
Well, here's another tragedy. And in between them, he puts in the Fig Tree Parable.
And it's almost like He's saying, Please don't be a tragedy. Like, let Me give you chances. I'm going to give you this opportunity, I'm gonna give you three years to figure it out. Isn't that interesting? A timestamp, even. Like you can do this, and they don't want to, so.
Gerald Lund 42:05
Yeah, that's exactly right.
You got chances, so, great application. Thank you so much. Okay, so those two parables taught us about our relationship with Deity. And in the next segment, we're going to learn about the role that we play and where we fit in His Gospel as children of God. And we'll do that in the next segment.
Segment 4 42:22
So the next two parables that we're going to study perfectly fit with your category called Gospel Application. And I was fascinated to learn. And this is kind of cool that you brought this up, because I made the first connection. Maybe I could say that too. "I was today years old when I learned" that these parables, they have stories that come before and after. And so the ones we're going to study today, you already set this up perfectly in the last segment, that the two parables we're going to study are given directly following the healing of that woman who was sick for 18 years. And then the rebuke of a hypocritical leader, or ruler. So let's turn to Matthew chapter 13. We're gonna go back to our scriptures now, Matthew chapter 13. And we're going to look at verses 31-32. And so Brother Lund, I asked you to kind of tell us and teach us about the Parable of the Mustard Seed in these two verses, and what is the connection between the infirm woman leading up to the mustard seed parable?
Gerald Lund 43:30
You notice that chapter 13 is where He introduces the parables, and then it's just one parable after another. But here He jumps to another analogy, another symbolism.
Gerald Lund 43:45
Matt 13:31 "Another parable he put forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field."
Gerald Lund 43:54
Notice that it's singular, which indeed, is the least of all the seeds. My wife and I were in Israel in November and while we were going through the Old City, this is the first time I've actually seen it, a woman was selling little, almost like an oil, you know, for setting apart and it was filled with mustard seeds. Now, I'd seen them in a pod before and I thought that's what it was. But these were probably a fifth of the size of a grain of rice. Tiny, tiny. I mean, you could just blow on them and they're gone everywhere. I'd always heard about this, but I've never actually seen 'em in that form. And then later that day we were driving along and our guide said, Oh, by the way, that's mustard seed growin'. And there was a whole line of trees 30 40 feet high and the shrubbery all around it. And that's, that's amazing. When you think about that, for the kingdom, look what happened. We started with a mustard seed called Joseph Smith. And now coming up on 17 million people. You think, how does that all happen? And it's just a miracle. And that's what He's saying without saying it. He's saying, Look, if you're missing the kingdom of God, you're missing eternity.
Oh, hold on, I gotta write that down.
Gerald Lund 45:32
And that's basically what He keeps trying to tell the Jewish leaders.
And it's interesting that in order to, to get in on eternity, it just takes the grain of a mustard seed. Like you said, something so small you could just blow it away. It's so tiny. And that's all that's required here in these two verses.
Gerald Lund 45:51
And another way to view it, as you said that, it came to my mind. We don't have 16 million members, we have 16 million mustard seeds.
Right. That's exactly it.
Gerald Lund 46:03
And that's that concept of, the concept of Deity and His love for us.
Wow, that's incredible. So we have this, this idea of this mustard seed, this gospel application, and where we fit into the gospel application as His mustard seeds. I think this is, I just love that quote. "If you don't get in on the Kingdom of God, you're missing eternity."
Gerald Lund 46:24
Absolute truth. So good, so good. So right after this parable in verse 33, we have one that's just one verse long, so of course, that's the one I agreed to teach. I would take a one verser. But I thought it was really interesting as I was studying this, because this was fun for me to study. I have read this, like you said at the very beginning, Gerald. When we read these we're like, Oh, that's a nice story. And then when you really like, hunger to know what it means. I had that experience with this verse. So verse 33 says,
13:33 "Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
Now, the part of me that's like, Oh, that's a nice story, this verse scares me because yeast scares me. That's what leaven is, is basically like yeast. And I can never get it right. I am the worst baker, I don't know how to cook bread. Every time I do it falls, I have no success with it. So when I read this, this is how I interpret it. Oh, so basically, since yeast doesn't work, and everything falls, and the parable would be that the kingdom of heaven is like unto yeast, which took a lot of work to proof, the bread didn't rise. And as a result, nobody made it, end of story, done. It seems like a sad story to me, no one's gonna make it into the kingdom of God.
But then I took some time to really hunger and thirst after what this meant, and it was such a cool experience. This is what I came up with, and I'd love to know your thoughts on this parable. So yeast is like a living agent. Like I learned that about yeast. It's growing, it's living, and it requires work to live. It requires warm water, it requires sugar, and it requires time to proof and to get bubbly and foamy. And then you add it in to flour, which requires a lot of work. And then it gets unseen, which is interesting in here how it says that. The measures were hidden. When you add it to the flour you can't see the yeast at all, you can't even look at it and go, Oh, yeah, that's obvious. Like I can see where the yeast is. Like it's gone, but it's in there and it's working. It's working and combining with all the ingredients to help something grow and become even greater and bigger and more awesome and delicious. Because listen, Jerry, I love bread. Do you like bread?
Gerald Lund 48:40
For me it symbolizes my leaven. Like, there are times in my life where I have not been willing to put in the time, or the effort, or the patience to let something completely come to what the Lord needs it to be before I mix it in. I'm very impatient. And I just want to throw everything together and have it work. And I think the Lord's teaching us like, it's going to take time and for everything in our lives and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like effort, a lot of effort to knead that yeast into that flour, and let it proof and let it grow and let it become something wonderful and beautiful. Do you have any thoughts about leaven?
Gerald Lund 49:20
As you talk, it occurred to me that Matthew 13, Matthew, I think, did this deliberately. It's a whole series of metaphors about what it means to be a servant of Christ, and what it means to be in the Kingdom of Christ.
Oh, tell me about that.
Gerald Lund 49:41
Okay, you look at the, what started this whole thing with parables? The Parable of the Sower. And what does the sower do? He puts out seeds, something very, very tiny and it goes into the soil which is probably more to life. And, but whatever happens? They all grow, but you get 30, you know, bushels and the 50 bushels and the 100 bushels. In other words, it's not the sower, it's the seed. It's what we are. We're the seed.
Gerald Lund 50:16
And, and so in the case of the barren fig tree, you get the same thing. You are the seed too, and what are you? You're not producing any fruit, you're not doing anything for the kingdom. Actually, you're hindering the kingdom. And then comes the mustard seeds. So tiny, but what does it do? It spreads and grows into something major, and which is exactly what leaven and the flour does. So, all of these are us and our relationship to the kingdom. And if we're not serving and expanding the kingdom, instead of making yourselves the elite that only the richest and the most humble, (haha) humble, get to be part of the Pharisees, and so on. So these are marvelous things about teaching us about number one, ourselves. And number two, our relationship to God and the kingdom.
Oh, my gosh. I'd never considered when you just said that. That the leaven, the bread that it makes isn't just for the rich.
Gerald Lund 51:21
It's everybody can partake of it, everybody can use it
Gerald Lund 51:25
Oh, I like that. It's for everybody. Oh. Then it makes me wonder what I'm doing with my leaven on a daily basis.
Gerald Lund 51:36
and you're, and your mustard seed and you're sowing seed. And it goes on and on and on. He teaches this over and over and over.
Um hmm. That makes me just ask the question to everyone who's listening. What will you do with your leaven this week? And what have you done? Like it's really going to make me consider, especially in light of my calling. Sometimes I just, listen, I'm guilty of doing that quick little throw something together so that it works, lesson. And maybe I'm gonna let the yeast proof this week, so that I can do a better job in my calling.
Gerald Lund 52:14
Excellent idea. That's exactly what He's, But it's interesting that the Savior, His way of teaching is not to do, explain it all. Okay, let me tell you what this means. Let me tell you what that means. Where's the implication? Because He gives us the Spirit. And if we're seeking, then it becomes our choice and not something that's forced upon us.
Oh, my gosh, you're totally right. Because I'm just imagining it, going back to how we started. If the Savior really used His words, it wouldn't have be, it just wouldn't be as effective if the Savior were just to say to me, Listen, get your act together and stop planning your lesson on the pew during sacrament meeting.
Gerald Lund 52:57
as it is to like, let me chew on this and kind of my own interpretation of what it means for me. That's way more effective.
Gerald Lund 53:06
He's the best teacher,
Gerald Lund 53:09
When we were talking about the concept of the parable, that He sets up these parallel things so that we can say, I'm the one on the left, and this is the one on the right. And that's what we're, that's what we're being taught over and over and over.
This is awesome. I have this Aha. That was so cool. Oh, Jerry, thank you for guiding us through that. Okay, I can't wait to do the next topic. Then in our next segment, we're going to talk about the category of ministering and find out what parables fit into that category.
Segment 5 53:39
Here's a pretty cool quote from Joseph Smith, he taught this . "The sayings of the Savior recorded in the 13th chapter of His gospel, according to St. Matthew, in my mind, afforded us as clear an understanding upon the important subject of gathering as anything recorded in the Bible." So I felt like gathering and ministering kind of go hand in hand. I think it's something like you just can't do one without the other. And so we're going to talk about two things or two parables that I thought were really cool. And the first one is going to be Matthew 13:47-50. And Gerald, you're going to teach us about this. This is the parable of the Nets or The Casting of the Nets. So teach us about this and what it has to do with ministering.
Gerald Lund 54:35
Matthew 13's one of the longer chapters in the New Testament, because the Savior is just hitting this again and again. Now whether this happened all at the same time, or whether Matthew sees this, just like we're starting to see it, and he puts it all together so it's there. But starting in verse 47
Gerald Lund 54:57
13:47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven" (see, it's what He's teaching us about), "is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathereof ed very kind:
Gerald Lund 55:09
48 "Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
Gerald Lund 55:16
49 "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
Gerald Lund 55:24
50 "And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Gerald Lund 55:30
This is one of the few parables where the Savior says, This is what it means. Most of the time He doesn't. And I think this was another warning to the Pharisees, because notice, we'll go on a couple more verses. And he said, he says,
Gerald Lund 55:45
51 "Jesus saith unto them", we don't know of 'them's' the 12. Remember he's explaining all this to the 12. "Have ye understood all these things? They said, Yes, Lord."
Gerald Lund 55:55
52 "Then he said unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder,"
Gerald Lund 56:03
Now he goes into another one. And he's teaching us, you don't just come unto Christ, you come unto Christ and His Kingdom. And if you're not willing to come in and build the kingdom, then you don't belong here, and that's what a net does. You've, you've pointed out some really important aspects. This is not a fishing pole. Now we do that, too. We send missionaries out and often they're fishing with a pole. They bring in one fish at a time, but we also use the nets. And you think of how many things we do in the church. If you look at the elements, who are the fish? That's Heavenly Father's children.
Gerald Lund 56:27
Who are the fishermen? That's the missionaries, the members, anyone who does that. And the internet, the humanitarian things, publications, magazine, all of the programs we have for the youth. All of those are part of the net. Podcasts are part of the net. And of course, Satan understands this, too. So he does the same thing on the other side, he's working. But he's got a pretty big net, too. Or the Savior, He's going, Okay. Here's one more example of what it means to you to be a disciple.
Wow, I'm writing all these notes in my scriptures, from you. And you have seen a lot in your life. You have taught Seminary, you have helped write curriculum. You have, you're a General Authority Emeritus. What does the net look like for you? Have you seen anything like, talk to me more about that net, because it was interesting when you said it's podcasts, it's the internet, it's everything.
Gerald Lund 57:54
You don't come into the church to be a hermit, you don't come into the church to go off in the mountains and spend the rest of your life there. We are obligated, whether it's missionary service, teaching Primary, whatever the Lord asks us to do to build the kingdom, to strengthen children. So the fish are the people of the world. The net is how we bring some in. the fishermen are the one that have to do that either on the pole, the fishing pole or with the net. We're the ones that bring them into the kingdom. There's a fascinating scripture. I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants once in Section 10. This was given in 1828 before the church was even formed yet.
Gerald Lund 58:44
Verse 54 of section 10. I'm reading along, we're talking about, He says, ".....I do not say this to destroy my church, but I say this to build up my church;" Then he says, 55 "Therefore, whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven." Now, that's what He talks about in the parables. And I read that and I stopped, and I thought, Wait a minute. I went back and read it again. And I said to myself, All it takes is to be a member of the church, then we get into the kingdom of heaven? That can't be right, I mean. So I just put it aside, and I keep on reading and I come to verse 67. And I just thought, Wow! "Behold, this is my doctrine--whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church."
Gerald Lund 59:43
Now that, that's the Lord's definition, and in this circumstances, I would say, "whosoever, repenteth and cometh unto me, whether it's through the net, through the leaven, through the seed - these are my church. That is the kingdom of God, the faithful. That was a great insight.
Oh, that is such a great insight for me, because now I'm going back to verse 47, 48. Because it says "gathered of every kind." So He's no respecter of persons who he will gather in that net. But then when you read about how they went and sat down and gathered the good into the vessels, but cast the bad out. You just defined bad. That is awesome. It's those who will not repent. And we know that. That's, that's, that is a scriptural truth.
Gerald Lund 1:00:39
And once you get that concept in mind, then it changes everything.
It really does. Like yes, of course, God and Jesus love you. They love all of their children. Like, God loves all of His children, repentant or non-repentant. But there is a, there is a rule for those who will be able to return who are a part of His church you just taught us. And the bad that He will cast away are those who just don't repent, because they don't want to be part of the Kingdom of God. Wow, that was a great discussion of those verses. And are we part of the fish who are repenting too? Like, I'm thinking of me IN the net. I wonder if, oh, gosh, this is a great discussion about this idea of ministering and, and who are we gathering? And who are we helping?
And you saying that reminds me of, gave me an insight. The ocean or the sea, or wherever it is we're fishing, that's the world. And what we're trying to do is bring 'em out of the world, into the kingdom. And I hadn't thought of that before.
Well, yeah. And when when they cast the bad away, they're just throwing them back into the ocean, right?
Gerald Lund 1:01:47
Go, just go back to where you're comfortable and maybe you'll come back in the next round. We'll keep trying to gather you. Let's just, that's what it is. We're just gonna throw you back and give you some more time.
Gerald Lund 1:01:58
Yeah. And we always have to keep in mind that this is not the end of our probation when we die.
Gerald Lund 1:02:07
A lot of people don't understand that the second estate includes the spirit world. It's not just mortality
Gerald Lund 1:02:17
And some of those fish that get thrown back in the ocean when they get up there will say, Oh, my. Did I miss it! I'm with you now. So,
Yep. Oh, that's exactly it. Oh, it's so cool. That's so cool. Okay. Oh, my gosh, Jerry, thank you for teaching us about those verses of scripture. So
Gerald Lund 1:02:37
Oh, thank you for the opportunity.
Let's go into Luke chapter 8, because I get to do this one, which is directly - it even contains the word ministering - and I'm super excited about this. Go to Luke chapter 8. And it's not even necessarily a parable, but we just have to include it because it's in our reading for this week. And so I just wanted to tell you some pretty cool things about this, because these women in these verses are ministering. And it says the word 'minister' in verse 3. So let's go to Luke chapter 8, just verses 1-3. And for those of you who listen to The Unnamed Women of the New Testament" podcast on Apple podcasts, Camille Fronk Olson and I will be discussing these three verses in depth in, with the next episode coming, up so you can get all the information there. But these are kind of neat verses. So verse 1-3 says,
Luke 8:1 "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God." Oh, boy, don't we love that - the glad tidings of the kingdom of God,
Gerald Lund 1:03:35
Do you know what the Hebrew word is? Gospel. Glad tidings.
Yes, it is. The Gospel "of the Kingdom of God, and the 12 were with Him." AND - here we go, verse 2. So the 12 apostles are with Him, 2) "AND certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3) Johanna the wife of Chusa Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."
Go ahead and highlight "many others". How much do I love this? Because the word "many others" right there, in the Greek translation is "feminine", which allows for there being even more WOMEN who were following HIM.
Gerald Lund 1:04:18
I didn't know that. That's, that's great.
I know, I really loved learning that. So the 'many others' are many more women, and look what they're doing. They "ministered unto him of their substance." Scholars believe that means literally, they're the women's substance that they are offering to the Savior. But the word minister, okay, this is awesome: So in Greek, it's the word DIAKONEO. Does that sound right Jerry? Am I saying that right?
Gerald Lund 1:04:20
Yeah, pretty close.
Diakoneo. What this word in Greek means is deacon, minister, or helper. Now the same verb is used to describe what angels did after Jesus was tempted. And I think it's pretty cool that Camille Fronk Olson says in her book, "Women of the New Testament", that these women were not merely tagging along, that they were actually ministering to the Savior. They were helping Him, they were helping the 12, whatever that looked like, and they were using their substance to do it. And their substance would have been monetary, it would have been money that they were offering to help pay for things. And so I just like the idea of the role that women play in this role of ministering in the church. It is so, it's just a lot more than we kind of ever give women credit for, especially during New Testament time. Wouldn't you agree, Jerry?
Gerald Lund 1:05:34
Oh, absolutely. And one of the things I love about Luke, he loves women, women of faith. It's interesting that he's the one that tells us more about Mary, the birth , the conception. And it goes on and on. And this is good time to do what I said I wanted to do. So with this in mind what you're just saying, let's go over to Luke 10.
Gerald Lund 1:06:04
And you look in verse 25. "And a certain lawyer", that's one of the Jewish leadership, "stood up and tempted him saying, .....what shall I do to inherit eternal life? and 26) "he said," haha, I love this, What is written?" You're the guys are always bragging about how you know. I saw a modern Jewish scholar, who somebody asked him, So how well do you know the Torah? He says, put a blindfold on my eye, stick a pin all the way through all the pages of the Torah, and I'll tell you every word on every page that's been pierced.
Gerald Lund 1:06:43
And I don't think that was an empty boast. They just, so that's how it was. And so when He says, "What is written in the law?" It's kind of, Come on. 27), "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all my strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." And Christ said, 27) "Thou hast answersed right: this do, and thou shalt live." And that's when Jesus tells us the story of the Good Samaritan. Yes. And the irony is you have two of the Jewish group who are dedicated to serving people - the priest and the Levite. And they're the ones that pass and the Samaritan, who is despised as wicked and way beyond salvation, is the one that does, goes far beyond. Here's something I have not ever noticed, now. Look what Luke does next without a single word of explanation.
Gerald Lund 1:07:55
38 "Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39) And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus's feet," Now I looked this up and the Greek 'sat at' is like we sometimes hear, "I sat at the feet of Socrates, I sat at the feet." It means to be tutored and taught, not just sitting down in a chair. She, and she "sat at Jesus's feet and heard his word."
Let me just interject real quick, by the way, verse 39, "which also". That implies that Martha was one who also was being tutored and taught by Christ.
Gerald Lund 1:08:43
Yeah. But Martha. Remember, every time Jesus came and stayed with Him, He's bringing about 30 or 40 people with him.
Gerald Lund 1:08:53
And they all, you know. 40) "But Martha was cumbered about much serving," and I love that, "and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me."
Gerald Lund 1:09:12
Now you can just picture Martha. She's out in the kitchen she's got the turkey in, she's got the the you know, the soup and the salads and what am I gonna do? We got 40 people to feed. And, but it's interesting she doesn't out of courtesy, she doesn't just say, Mary. Come on.
Gerald Lund 1:09:33
And knowing Jesus, she would expect Him to say what? Mary, Martha's right. I mean, this, look at how much she's got to do. But He doesn't
But we're a church of Martha's. Let's be very clear about that.
Gerald Lund 1:09:48
And thank heaven for Marthas
Right? Like everyone who's reading this.
Gerald Lund 1:09:51
Ya gotta love the Marthas.
We get it. We're like, Gosh, Mary, help her out. Yeah,
Gerald Lund 1:09:56
But He says, 41 "......Martha, Martha," I just love, I can just hear the love in that. "thou art careful", which in Greek means 'overly concerned about'.
Gerald Lund 1:10:13
"Thou art careful and troubled about many things; 42) But one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Now, in a way, that's almost startling. But in a way, what are we talking about? Ministering.
Gerald Lund 1:10:39
So here's this question: Who had the more to, or to offer to Martha? Mary help, or Jesus? In other words, I've always wondered if Luke finished that if Martha just said, You're right. Forget about dinner. I'm gonna sit here and be taught too. But it doesn't matter. This here again is that concept of what matters most is what's taking you toward the kingdom.
Gerald Lund 1:11:13
I love that.
Oh, I do too. And the one thing that takes us toward the kingdom is ministering. And it's all-encompassing. It's like, I really appreciate that that was one of your categories, because ministering has everything to do with gospel application. It has everything to do with our role with deity. And just you know, going back to this, the structure of your book and the different categories you have for the parables, I'm struck. We learn about our relationship with deity and then we apply it to gospel application, which is all about ministering and helping others. And through that is how we grow and become closer to our Savior. And that's your last category, Peparation for the Christ's coming, because Jesus is coming. And when He does, we have to be prepared and ready to meet Him. So in the next segment, we are going to discover the parable that has to teach us about Christ's second coming.
Segment 6 1:12:06
So I said this at the beginning, Gerald Lund is known for his "Work and Glory" series. But you guys, did you know this fun fact? His very first book was about the Second Coming. So I just want to know, Jerry, why, like of all the things you could write about, why'd you tackle the Second Coming?
Gerald Lund 1:12:37
Well, another question I'm often asked is, Did you ever take a writing class? And I always say, No. I always hesitate to say that, because some might say, Oh, well that explains a lot. But I never, I never thought about writing. But somewhere I got an interest in the Second Coming. And I started collecting quotes that I, these are, these are good things. I was interested in that. I'm not sure why, but, so by the time I went to California to teach the Institute, I had pretty good collection, because I'd been at BYU doin' my masters. And so you know how Seminary teachers are and institute teachers - we're always teaching firesides and classes and
Gerald Lund 1:13:32
So I started teaching about the prophecies. And over and over they'd say, Where can we get those? And I'd say, Well, I got 'em out of BYU library. Well, that doesn't help. And then guess what they often say? Why don't you write a book on this? And one day I said to my wife, Yeah, why not? And that's how it came to be. I, I never planned to be a writer, I just jumped into it. And found out I loved it. and here I am.
Yeahm here you are. That is a great story. Thank you for sharing that with us. So let's dive into then a parable about the Second Coming. And it is found in Matthew chapter 13. And you're going to teach us about the wheat and the tares. So bracket off verses 24-30 in your scriptures and write to the outside "wheat and tares". And Jerry, teach us about this in context of the Second Coming and what is the Lord teaching us in these verses?
Gerald Lund 1:14:32
Matt 13:24 "......The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:" Tthat would be wheat or barley or something like that.
Gerald Lund 1:14:40
25 ".But while men slept ,his enemy" , we know who that is - Satan and all his minions, alive and dead - "came and sewed tares among the wheat". Now the tares is a weed, it actually has a name. It's called The Bearded Darnell. It looks very much like we call it cheatgrass. But in the early phases until it comes to a head, just like a stock of wheat. It's so close together, in particularly in the early stages, that only the experts can tell the differences. This is the weed, this is the wheat. And so that's, those people know that. I've seen people in the Middle East where, you know, some places you can come out and you see 'em on the threshing floor and they're throwing the wheat up. And you'll see normally women and children picking through and throwing out certain things. That's what they're doing, because the seed of the bearded Darnell is poisonous.
Oh, wow, I know that.
Gerald Lund 1:15:53
Normally, it can make you sick. In some cases it can kill you, and it'll definitely kill livestock. So the children and the women will sort it out, and then they do the threshing. So that's the imagery. And, but interesting, when the servant said, Well, let's go pick it out. He says, No, you have to, in verse 29, "he said, Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30) Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and then bind them in bundles" and then "gather the wheat." That's the parable. So it's interesting that the Lord is basically, to put it in modern terms, the first time a person makes a sin you don't excommunicate 'em.
Gerald Lund 1:16:56
You work with them. You, bishops do this all the time, you know. We may put you on limited privileges in the church. We, sometimes we will excommunicate you and so on. But we don't go through, because I know some people and it's all part of all of us, I guess, that we just go through, you know, with kind of a sledgehammer. Yeah, you don't fit - out! You don't, you didn't do that, you didn't ,I didn't see you on Sunday - out you go. And so He's saying, Let us grow together. And that's allowing us to develop; it also puts another obligation on the fish that are being brought in, but also on the fisherman. The fisherman doesn't throw out anything but trash fis.,
Gerald Lund 1:17:52
Yeah. But the interesting thing is that this is the only parable that Jesus repeated in modern scripture. In the Doctrine and Covenants section 86, He goes through it and makes a few changes, but basically gives the same exact parable. Which when you think about it, I think this is the Lord's way of saying, That parable wasn't just for My time. That parable is for now,
Gerald Lund 1:18:31
And so, notice He goes through just like He did when He explained that, but He makes some other changes. Look at verse 3, "....After they have fallen asleep.......the apostate, the whore, even Babylon", meaning Satan and all his minion,s "that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, .........--behold he soweth the tares and they choke the wheat and drive the church in the wilderness." And that happened of course, for about 1500 years. The Dark Ages.
Gerald Lund 1:19:07
But now he says, 5) "........the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent for to reap down the fields. 6) But the Lord saith unto them, Pluck not up to tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy". So even in our day, Joseph Smith's day, the Savior's saying, Not yet, I have not let those angels free. What is interesting is that at the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple in 1890, President Wilford Woodruff stunned - I don't know if it stunned them, but it stunned me - he said, Those angels have now been released.
Gerald Lund 1:19:55
The judgement is underneath. I've got this quote. Let me read it to you, and this is in the book.
Gerald Lund 1:20:04
"God has held the angels of destruction for many years lest they should reap down the wheat with the tares. But I want to tell you now that those angels have left the portals of heaven. And they stand over this people and this nation now, and are hovering over the earth, waiting to pour out the judgments. And from this very day, they shall be poured out. Calamities and troubles are increasing in the earth. And there is meaning to these things. Remember this and reflect on these matters. If you do your duty, and I do my duty, we'll have protection, and shall pass through the afflictions in peace and in safety. Read the scriptures and the revelations; they will tell you about all these things. Great changes are at our doors. The next 20 years we'll see mighty changes among the nations of the earth."
Gerald Lund 1:20:59
Remember what happened 20 years later? World War 1.
Gerald Lund 1:21:04
"You will live to see these things whether I do or not. I have felt oppressed with the weight of these matters. And I felt I must speak of them here. It's by the power of the gospel we shall escape." So not only is this the only parable that is found in modern scripture from the New Testament, but it's the only one where we have a definitive description of when that has now happened. That's a, that's a really when you think about the nature of this particular parable, that is really unique.
Well, and let me tell you what really struck me when you were reading that quote was when he said, "if you will do your duty." And my mind just went through everything we've discussed today. Like, what, because I asked, then I asked myself, What does that mean do your duty? And then I realized it's everything we've talked about today. It is understanding your relationship with deity. It is putting yourself in Gospel Application, it is ministering, and it is repenting.
Gerald Lund 1:22:10
It's pulling in the net, it's serving the Samaritan, it's listening to Jesus instead of cooking in the kitchen. It's every bit part of being a disciple.
It's working your leaven in the flour, letting it rise. Like it takes effort, it takes, and everything we talked about required effort or work, all of the parables. Not one parable was easy. Well, that's, I just realized that Like, all of them are hard, including, including the merchant man, he gave his life. There is nothing, no greater gift, no harder thing than to give His life for us because we're precious to Him. He adores us.
Gerald Lund 1:22:50
And from an author's point of view, how would you like to write stuff that 2000 years later that's still being studied and used to change lives?
Wow, you're absolutely right. That's incredible.
Gerald Lund 1:23:08
That's, that's why I love the parables. They're just, they're a unique way of teaching and a powerful way of teaching.
Well unique and powerful is right. Thank you, Jerry, thank you so much for joining me today.
Gerald Lund 1:23:22
Oh, thanks for the opportunity.
What a fun discussion. I loved it! So Jerry, one of the things I do at the end of each episode is I ask my guests, Is there a takeaway? Is there something you learned or something that you will remember from our discussion today?
Gerald Lund 1:23:35
Well, particularly since we're in the New Testament in Come, Follow Me. The concept of a New Testament, a new covenant is really profound. And the impact of those words of Jesus, and thank heavens for those four men that had the inspiration. I wondered if they went home and made notes at night. Or if they just relied on the spirit, but you talk about an author having influence: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They number their readers into the possibly the billions. And what a profound effect, and all coming out of the symbolism and the model of Christ. That's what it's all about is to teach us how to become like Him.
Definitely. Wow, thank you. My take away is when you said, if you don't get in on the kingdom of God, you're missing out on eternity. Yeah. Like that is in my scriptures. I forever will love that. So thank you for saying it. And thank you for paying the price to know what you know about scriptures, and for all of your beautiful works that you have written that we have access to. And I just enjoyed your book on parables, so
Gerald Lund 1:25:03
Good. I love the parables, I was happy to do it.
You can tell that you love it. Anyone who reads your work, that comes through again and again. So thank you.
Gerald Lund 1:25:12
Well, thank you, Tammy. That was a privilege.
Well, of course, I want to know what everybody learned. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, or if you're not following us on Instagram, go do it. That's part of the net, you guys. It's just reaching out and being a part of this community and sharing what you're learning and what you're enjoying and questions that you have. And it's a great place to go to share what you learned and ask any questions that you have that we studied. I try to answer any questions you have during the week. And then at the end of the week we do a post on Saturday, where we post a question from this episode. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and share your answer and thoughts. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes on this episode at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday, and it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we will have the link to all the references and a transcript of this whole discussion, as well as a glue-in for this episode. So go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Desert Bbookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our incredible study group participant was Gerald N Lund. And you can find more information about this friend at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday. Our podcast is produced by Cole Wissinger and me; it is edited by Hailey Higham and then recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios. And our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.
And please remember: You are precious to Him because you are his favorite
Transcribed by https://otter.ai