In January 2017 Russell M Nelson who was not yet the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints issued a challenge to the youth of the church. He had just finished studying 2200 scripture references to Jesus Christ and he wanted the youth to do the same.
It took me a little while (like 18 months) but the challenge stuck in my head and, even though I’m no longer considered a youth, I decided to do it.
President Nelson did it in 6 weeks. I’ve been working on it for a little over 3 months and I’m almost finished. I’ve learned a ton of things and my testimony of Jesus Christ has grown significantly. But there’s one thing I want to focus on today.
Jesus Christ tells us over and over who He is. In the Old Testament as Jehovah he is constantly repeating who He is and what He’s done. In the Doctrine and Covenants over and over He tells us who He is. In the New Testament he says it again and again.
As I’ve studied these scriptures in this more compacted way the repetition of Jesus saying who He is is even more pronounced and I finally got that little light bulb over my head. Which could also be recognized at the Holy Ghost teaching me. He’s not saying this over and over because he likes to. He’s not pulling rank by saying “Don’t you know who I am?!” Like I sometimes do when people are disagreeing with me. It’s not self centeredness or Him trying to threaten us. None of those things. And believe me, I’ve wondered about it.
This is what it means. (And if you already knew, please don’t point or laugh out loud at me. I just require a little head pat.)
He is telling us because He is our friend. He loves us. He wants the best for us. He has suffered and died for us so that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven and He wants us to know it. He wants us to trust Him.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who you knew needed you but was hesitant to ask for help? And you find yourself telling them that you are their friend. They can trust you. You want to help them however they need help. You reassure them that all will be well. That’s what Jesus Christ is doing. He’s not an angry parent threatening to take away our toys or punish us in some way. He’s reminding us that He has been our Advocate with the Father from the beginning of time. The atonement has been in place from before the world was formed because God knew that Christ would do what He said He would for us.
And, like children, or humans, we need constant reminding of things until they are ingrained and become part of us. I’m not talking about making habits because habits can be broken. I’m talking about something that because part of us, taken into our bodies and becomes irrevocable.
We are told to feast on the words of Christ. In John 6:51 Christ says
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Slowly but surely I am learning what I need to know. The Gospel is not only a part of my life it is my life. So ingrained that it can’t be lost or cast off. This Study has definitely helped to make that even more true.
If you are looking for an easy way to have all of these scripture references together I used this and printed it out and have been checking each verse off as I finish studying it.