Sunday, May 15, 2011

52 Blessings – May 15, 1829

One of my favorite relationships in the Bible to read and think about is the one between John the Baptist and the Savior.  Perhaps that cousin relationship between John the Baptist and the Savior seems real to me because our son Abe and our nephew Levi are just a few months apart and were best friends.  We lived near my sister’s family for the first ten years of the boys’ lives, so they spent a lot of time together negotiating and playing in the dirt, water, garage, and living room.  I suppose Abe and Levi’s cousin relationship is what first helped me to wonder about John the Baptist and the Savior’s cousin relationship.

I like to think that DaVinci meant this to be
Mary, Elizabeth, Jesus, and John

I imagine John and the Savior knew of each other well, since Elizabeth (John’s mother) was who Mary went to spend time with when she was carrying the Savior.  I imagine the two women strengthened each other in their coming roles as mothers.  When Herod ordered the death of all the male babies and Zachariah (John’s father) was killed, that left Elizabeth as a single mother.  The Bible says Elizabeth then raised John in the dessert.  I wonder if when Mary, Joseph, and Jesus returned from Egypt if the boys ever got to play or learn together.   

To Fulfill All Righteousness
by Liz Lemon Swindle

It makes sense that Christ would ask John to baptize him since he held the proper authority to do so.  I can imagine the two cousins standing in the River Jordan and the feeling of love and solidarity that existed when that sacred ordinance was performed.  To hear Heavenly Father say, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” would have been incredible.

Those that had been taught the gospel by John felt some umbrage when Jesus began teaching in the same vicinity.  They saw people following him and it bothered them.  More loyal to their teacher than they were to the Gospel, they ran to John and told him what they saw.  They wondered what he’d do.  I love John’s response.  First he reminds them that Jesus is the Savior who he had taught them of all along and then said, “He must increase and I must decrease.”  (John 3:30)  John understood the Gospel, understood the divinity of the Savior, understood his call to testify of the Savior, and humbly carried that knowledge and understanding.   

The blessing that I’m thankful for today is that John the Baptist restored that priesthood authority that he used to baptize Jesus Christ.  On May 15, 1829  –182 years ago today–  John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on the bank of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and, under the direction of the Savior, conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon them.  It makes perfect sense it would happen on the banks of a river. 

I was baptized by my brother who held that same priesthood that John conferred and today renewed that baptismal covenant by taking the sacrament that was served by young men also holding that priesthood.  I’m really grateful for the blessing of having the power of God restored on the earth today.  


michelle said...

I am reading "God Wants a Powerful People" right now, and just finished the great chapter about the Priesthood. I too am grateful for the restoration of that power on the earth.

Cali said...

I enjoyed this post mom. One of my most favorite parts in the New Testament is where Mary goes to visit Elizabeth and even the babies within them respond. I also just looked up (last month) and read about John the Baptist in the Bible Dictionary in the back. I found that fascinating.

AND... I had NO IDEA you were baptized by your brother. I guess I just assumed your dad did it. Good thing you wrote this post, or I would have never known.

Ray gave a talk yesterday in sacrament meeting about the priesthood. It was so good to hear and be reminded of what an incredible blessing the priesthood is and how it affects my life daily.

I love you,

Lynn said...

All little boys make mud pies catch water skeeters and snails and have water fights on the banks of creeks, rivers, canals and ditches. Where else would "boys" return for baptism or priesthood restoration? Makes sense to me.

Clark said...

we love it your bigger is good today

Ande Payne said...

I really enjoyed this post, too Mom. Thank you for writing this.