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How We Taught the New Testament in the Past: Lesson 13: “I Will Give unto Thee the Keys of the Kingdom”

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 13, 2011

The purpose statement of the current manual is “To strengthen class members’ testimonies that Jesus is the Christ and that the priesthood keys bestowed on the Mount of Transfiguration have been restored,” but also sweeps in the miraculous feeding of the 4,000 and Jesus’ statement to Peter that “Upon this rock I will build my church.” The lesson below comes from the “guide department” of the Young Woman’s Journal of 1905, and features a discussion on the Transfiguration and its immediate aftermath.

The Transfiguration; The Feast of Tabernacles.

About one week after the events last mentioned in the preceding lesson, Jesus went into “a high mountain” to pray. He took with him Peter, James and John. While they were in the mountain, Jesus “was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his garments became white as the light.” Then Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with Jesus about his future, especially about his coming death.

So glorious was this experience that the three apostles wanted to prolong it; and Peter proposed that they build three tabernacles on the mountain, one each for Moses, Elijah and Jesus.

While they were yet speaking, a cloud gathered about them, and God spoke out of it, saying, “This is My beloved Son, hear Him.” Thus did the Father again testify of the divine mission of Jesus. This experience was undoubtedly a great testimony to the disciples who were present. [Matt. 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-12, Luke 9:28-36.] The command was given that this incident should no be told until after the death of Jesus.

We are not certain where this holy event occurred, but it probably was on the beautiful snow-capped Mt. Hermon, which is in the country where Jesus was at the time.

On the next day, after they had come down from the mountain, multitudes of people sought Jesus. Again he performed great miracles, among which was that of the healing of the demoniac boy. [Mark 9:14-29.] then Jesus passed on into Galilee, and probably remained in Capernaum. The opposition to him had grown very much during his journey in the north. The King had heard of the attempt to make Jesus King of the Jews, and he was both jealous and afraid. As a result, the life of Jesus was sought; and the Savior tried to keep the knowledge of his whereabouts from the people.

While in this retirement in Capernaum, a dispute arose among the Twelve as to who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Apostles were only human, and it is probable that the real question was concerning the precedence in the quorum itself. In settling this dispute, Jesus called to him a little child and declared that whoever should “humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” this event gave further occasion for the beautiful discourse on humility and forgiveness. [Matt. 18:1-35, mark 9:33-50.] (Give a summary of this discourse. Matt. Chap. 18.)

After these events, Jesus worked quietly in Galilee until about October. The Feast of the Tabernacles at Jerusalem was near at hand. this feast marked the close of the fruit harvest, and also commemorated the journey from Egypt to Palestine. The feast lasted one week, and during that period the people lived in booths, in memory of the camping during the long journey from Egypt.

The brothers of Jesus wanted Jesus to go publicly to Jerusalem; but he knew the designs on his life, and preferred to go there secretly. it is a pathetic fact that even his brothers were not firm believers on him. [John 7:1-9.] He taught as much and as rapidly as he could, yet those who were nearest comprehended his mission only in part.

When Jesus arrived secretly in Jerusalem he found that all the people were talking about him. some spoke good of him; others evil. In the midst of the feast Jesus entered the temple and taught. As usual the people flocked to hear him, and many believed. naturally it was discovered who he was, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. soon, however, the officers returned without Jesus, and their only explanation was that they had heard him and “never man so spake.” Nicodemus who had visited the Savior at the beginning of the ministry, suggested that they should not judge until they had heard Jesus. To this the enemies replied that Jesus came from Galilee, and no prophets had ever promised a prophet from Galilee. This was one of the chief arguments against Jesus’ claim at this time. [John 7:10-52.]

Early the next morning Jesus came again to the temple. The Scribes and the Pharisees wanted to get some statement from Jesus contrary to Jewish law which would furnish a pretext for arresting and destroying him. So they brought with them a woman taken in adultery. According to the law of Moses such a person should be stoned. Jesus was asked how he would punish her. The Master simply answered, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Shamed by this divine answer, they all left his presence. [John 8:1-11.]

Following this incident, he delivered two discourses in the temple on the Light of the world [John 8:12-30], and spiritual Freedom [John 8:31-59], both of them of great beauty and full of words that help men to live correct lives. In these discourses, he spoke of God as his father, and of his existence before his earthly coming. He also said that Abraham and many of the dead prophets had looked forward with joy to his coming. Much of what he said was misunderstood, and those who were opposed to his work twisted his words to find cause for complaint against him. These persons finally attempted to stone Jesus, but as his time was not yet come, he “hid himself, and went out of the temple.”

Thus ended this visit to the Feast of the Tabernacles. The Savior returned to Galilee.

Questions.

1. Relate the story of the transfiguration.
2. Who were Moses and Elijah?
3. Why did Peter propose to build tabernacles on the mountain?
4. What was the subject of conversation among Jesus, Elijah, and Moses?
5. What was god’s testimony about Jesus at this time?
7. Where did this event probably occur?
7. Why did Jesus now do much of His work secretly?
8. Why was the King jealous of Jesus?
9. What dispute arose among the Apostles at this time? How did Jesus settle it?
10. What do you think the most beautiful passage in the discourse on humility and forgiveness?
11. What was the purpose of the Feast of the Tabernacles? Where was it held? How long did it last?



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