Saturday, December 16, 2017

Elder Marvin J. Ashton on the invitation to come and see Jesus of Nazareth

Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915-1994) served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1971 until his death in 1994 at age 78.
"Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but he was later identified as Jesus of Nazareth, the site of his early home. He was brought up in Nazareth, a small village in a hollow among the hills of the Sea of Galilee. Nazareth was a poor town void of wealth, without respected leadership, and without many residents. As young Jesus grew up and taught, people 'were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power' (Luke 4:32).
"Those who saw and heard Him were not only astonished, but frightened, bewildered, and amazed as well in his life and performances. They were inclined to talk among themselves about His unusual skills, conduct, and background.
"Nathaniel, one of His disciples 'said unto [Philip], Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see' (John 1:46). The answer in those days and the answer today is, If you would know Jesus, come and see.
"The word come means to move to, to draw near, or to approach. To see is to perceive with the eyes or to gain knowledge or awareness of....
"We need the continuing faith to declare to the world that Jesus lives today, that He is our Savior, our friend, the Son of God, and that His church and kingdom are available to all today. God does live. Jesus is one with the Father. It takes self-discipline not only to know but also to declare these truths. With God's love and help all of these things are possible, and they will bring peace and joy to each of us as we know and understand the real meaning of Christmas. An attitude of 'come and see' makes it possible for cherished memories and mountains to overshadow losses and valleys in our quest for the joyous.
"If you would love Him, come and see. If you would know Him, come and see.
"Jesus of Bethlehem and Nazareth is the Only Begotten of the Father—our Redeemer, our Savior, Christ the Lord."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "Come and See," New Era, Dec. 1989, pp. 4-7
Click here to read the full article

This is a very beautiful and insightful address by Elder Ashton, in which he reflects the Savior's desire for His children to "come unto me" (Matthew 11:28) in order to find peace, joy, and rest. That simple invitation expresses the need for each of us to initiate the action; truly, we must be the ones who choose to come and see. "The word come means to move to, to draw near, or to approach. To see is to perceive with the eyes or to gain knowledge or awareness of." If we are willing to make that effort, then the blessings will follow.

To find "the real meaning of Christmas" and feel the "peace and joy" that He promises, we need only take those steps in our lives that will enable us to come and see.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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