Focusing on Jesus' teachings

This year, general conference and Palm Sunday fall on the same weekend. What great opportunity each gives us to focus on the Savior's teachings and prepare us for Easter observance.

On the second day of the 168th Annual General Conference on Sunday, April 5, comes the anniversary of the Savior's triumphal entry into Jerusalem one week before the conclusion of His mortal ministry. We are told that "a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way." (Matt. 21:8.) John tells us that people "took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him." (John 12:13.)Zechariah, who prophesied about 520-518 B.C., foretold the momentous event of Jesus entering the glorious city of Jerusalem:

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, . . . and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth." (Zech. 9:9-10.)

Along the palm-strewn path the crowd cried: ". . . Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." (Matt. 21:9.) There was reason to rejoice: Jesus, who had been derided as a lowly Nazarene, had come to Jerusalem as King of kings!

From that day through His final hours in mortality, Jesus continued to teach. For example, he gave intensive instructions to His apostles in the quietness and privacy of an upper room in Jerusalem. (See Matt. 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 13-16.)

Those teachings during His last week of mortality were added to the numerous instructions He gave His disciples on earlier occasions. So numerous were His teachings that John declared: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." (John 21:25.)

Jesus continued to teach after His crucifixion and resurrection. Two believers talked of the miracle of the empty tomb as they walked on the road to Emmaus. Joining them, Jesus taught them from the scriptures, adding to His many teachings. As on many other occasions, He taught from the scriptures.

"And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

"But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us. . . ." (Luke 24:28-29.)

We, as did the two on the Emmaus road, yearn to hear more of the teachings of Jesus. We can never have enough! Jesus Christ - our Savior and Redeemer - admonished us to learn of Him. He sent His apostles into all the world for the express purpose of spreading His message. From most ancient times, special witnesses have been called to testify of Him, His works and His glory. What better opportunity is there to learn of the Savior than hearing the words of His special witnesses, the prophets and apostles? At no one time are we privileged to hear so many of these special witnesses than at general conference.

How much better the world would be if everyone heard and heeded their messages and learned more of the teachings of Jesus! In an Easter message some years ago, the First Presidency declared:

"There is much in the world today that is beautiful and bright and wholesome. Sadly, there also is much that represents the very opposite of the Savior's teachings and example. There is war and turmoil. There is crime and sin in every degree. There are those who actually promote the breaking, even shattering, of divine commandments and principles taught to us by the Savior and His prophets down through the years.

"In this sacred season, it is our hope and prayer that people throughout the world will incorporate into their daily thoughts and actions the principles espoused by Jesus. To do so would most assuredly lead to less war and more peace, less crime and sin and more self-respect and happiness.

"If greed and lust and the quest for power and dominion were replaced by commitments to pattern lives after the example of the Prince of Peace Himself, how blessed the world would be." (First Presidency Easter Message, Church News, March 23, 1986, p. 1)

We can learn much of the Savior and His will by listening to those who speak in conference, by studying the texts of their addresses as they are posted on the Church News and the Church web sites and published in the Ensign and Conference Reports. The spirit of conference will "abide with us" long after the weekend has passed.

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