Jesus promises his Apostles that they will receive the gift of the Holy
Jesus foretells his death and resurrection.
Jesus offers the great intercessory prayer.
A study of this lesson will encourage us to be receptive to the influence of
the Holy Ghost and to draw nearer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 24 Handout (PDF
Discourse On The Holy Ghost
On this last night of his life, Jesus continued to teach his apostles and
strengthen them for that which was to lie ahead.
The Master gave the disciples reasons for these instructions:
"These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever
killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:1-2)
James E. Talmage: "The apostles had to be prepared to meet a new order
of things, new conditions and new exigencies; persecution awaited them,
and they were soon to be bereft of the Master's sustaining presence."
(Jesus the Christ, p600)
"But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye
may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto
you at the beginning, because I was with you." (John 16:4)
As we face the challenges and difficulties of life, it behooves us to follow
the pattern set by the Lord. We need to nourish our souls with the
good word of God as found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets.
We need to consult with our Heavenly Father in humble prayer and listen to the
promptings of the Holy Spirit. As we do so, we will be strengthened to face
adversity, as were the apostles.
We live in a time, not unlike that of the
Savior, when wickedness surrounds us. We face a world that often treats
the followers of Christ with disdain. As we learned from the Olivet Discourse,
things will not get easier for those who serve and worship God. We need
the strength that comes from the words of God.
Stephen R. Covey: "To daily and prayerfully read the scriptures will
enable us to divide truth and error in our lives, to tear down the contention
and the craftiness of men, to be like a rod of iron, guiding us along the
path of righteousness. And when the mists of darkness or the temptations
of Satan surround us so that we cannot see that strait path, we can rely
upon the scriptures and the counsel of our present prophets—the word of
God—and we can can feast upon it every day of our lives." (BYU Speeches,
Feb 22, 1966, p9)
"But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you
asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto
you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It
is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter
will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
LeGrand Richards: "While Jesus does not explain why he and the Holy
Ghost cannot remain on the earth and serve together, nevertheless he does
make this fact clear: '. . . It is expedient for you that I go away: for
if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. . . . ' (John 16:7)."
(A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, p115-116)
Bruce R. McConkie: "During his mortal ministry our Lord gave his disciples
the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the right to the constant companionship
of that member of the Godhead based on faithfulness. (John 20:22.) But
as long as Jesus was with them, the actual enjoyment of the gift was withheld.
(John 7:39; 14:26; 15:26-27; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8.) Fulfilment of the promise
came on the day of Pentecost; with miraculous majesty attending, the gift
of tongues and of interpretation was poured out upon a great multitude
and many conversions were made. (Acts 2:1-17.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p181)
THE LORD SAID THAT HE HAD TO LEAVE IN ORDER FOR THE COMFORTER TO COME.
HOW IS THE HOLY GHOST A COMFORTER?
Joseph Smith: "As the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed
of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only
exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence." (TPJS, p149)
When we think of the Holy Ghost as the Comforter, we are apt to think of
those times of grief when we are comforted by the presence of the Holy
Ghost. However, as we live worthy of the Holy Ghost, we receive peace in this
troubled world, a peace that comes from knowing truth and knowing our ultimate destiny.
As the Prophet states, when the Holy Ghost falls upon us, "it is calm
and serene." In a world filled with wickedness, war, tragedy, and temptation,
truly it is comforting to feel "calm and serene."
The Twelve Apostles experienced manifestations of the Holy Ghost during
Jesus' mortal ministry, but they did not enjoy the its constant companionship,
the gift of the Holy Ghost.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY GHOST AND THE
GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST?
Dallin H. Oaks: "Manifestations of the Holy Ghost are given to lead
sincere seekers to gospel truths that will persuade them to repentance
and baptism. The gift of the Holy Ghost is more comprehensive.... [It]
includes the right to constant companionship, that we may 'always have
his Spirit to be with [us]' (D&C 20:77).
"A newly baptized member told me what she
felt when she received that gift. This was a faithful Christian woman who
had spent her life in service to others. She knew and loved the Lord, and
she had felt the manifestations of His Spirit. When she received the added
light of the restored gospel, she was baptized and the elders placed their
hands upon her head and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. She recalled,
'I felt the influence of the Holy Ghost settle upon me with greater intensity
than I had ever felt before. He was like an old friend who had guided me
in the past but had come to stay'." (Ensign, Nov. 1996, p60)
JOHN 16:13-15. A guide to all truth.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN IN VERSE 13 WHEN THE LORD SAYS THAT THE HOLY GHOST WILL
NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF?
Jesus promised his disciples in verse that "the
Spirit of truth ... will guide you into all truth" (v13).
- WHAT TRUTHS DOES THE HOLY GHOST BEAR WITNESS OF AND
WHAT TRUTHS HAS HE BORNE WITNESS TO YOU?
- A testimony of the truth and divinity of the Lord's earthly work.
- He gives to men the power to keep his commandments and gain eternal life.
- The doctrines of salvation and the mission of Jesus Christ.
- All things pertaining to God and man.
Parley P. Pratt: "The gift of the Holy Ghost...quickens all the intellectual
faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions
and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful
use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies,
joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires
virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops
beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation
and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and
intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short,
it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes,
music to the ears, and life to the whole being." (Key to the Science
of Theology, pp100-101)
HOW CAN WE RECOGNIZE THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY GHOST?
He is Christ's minister. His commission is to bear record of the Father
and the Son and to reveal the truths of eternity.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against
such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)
"Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?
What greater witness can you have than from God?" (D&C 6:23)
- The reverse of this is also true. If we are living worthy of the Spirit,
we may have a feeling confusion or unsettledness if the matter is false
or we should not proceed. "But if it be not right...you shall have a
stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong."
Boyd K. Packer: "The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more
than you hear. It is described as a 'still small voice.' And while we speak
of 'listening' to the whisperings of the Spirit, most often one describes
a spiritual prompting by saying, 'I had a feeling...' ...Revelation comes
as words we feel more than hear." (Ensign, Nov 1994, p60)
Jesus Foretells His Death & Resurrection
JOHN 16:16-20. A little while, and ye shall not
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might
have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
HOW IS IT THAT THE TWELVE MIGHT HAVE PEACE WHEN THE MASTER HAS TALKED OF
"A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because
her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth
no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but
I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man
taketh from you." (John 16:21-22)
The Master uses the travail of birth in explaining to the Twelve that the
process of obtaining the peace may not be easy. What grief they will feel
when their beloved companion, their Master, is brutally taken from them.
What peace and unspeakable joy they will enjoy upon learning of the resurrection
and the real meaning of the Savior's sacrifice and also upon reception of the
The Intercessory Prayer - John 17
President David O. McKay said that this is "the greatest prayer ever
uttered in this world" (CR, Oct 1967, p5)
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true
God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (v3)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO KNOW THE FATHER AND THE SON?
1 JOHN 2:3-5. To know him is to keep all the
1 JOHN 3:1-6. He who has sinned cannot know God.
1 JOHN 4:6-8. He that is of God hears the servants
of God. He that loveth not is not of God.
Bruce R. McConkie: "To know God in that full sense which will enable
us to gain eternal salvation means that we must know what he knows, enjoy
what he enjoys, experience what he experiences. In New Testament language,
we must 'be like him.' But before we can become like him, we must obey
those laws that will enable us to acquire the character, perfections, and
attributes that he possesses." (CR, Apr 1966, p79)
JOHN 17:4-8. Jesus finished the work of the Father.
IN JESUS' PRAYER HE REPORTED TO THE FATHER THAT HE HAD FINISHED HIS WORK
ON EARTH. ACCORDING TO THESE WORDS, WHAT WAS THAT WORK?
To glorify the Father (v4).
To teach the people, particularly the Twelve, the words of the Father. He brought
them to a knowledge that He was sent of the Father (v8).
WHAT ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES IN THAT WORK?
When we have received the words of the Father and the Son it is our responsibility
to teach, by word and example, those around us: family, neighbors, associates,
and others that we come in contact with.
Why should we do otherwise? This is the work of eternity. There is no greater
message do be delivered.
JOHN 17:11, 20-23, 26.
- Speaking of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, President
Hinckley said: "They are distinct beings, but they are one in purpose
and effort. They are united as one in bringing to pass the grand, divine
plan for the salvation and exaltation of the children of God.... It is
that perfect unity between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost that
binds these three into the oneness of the divine Godhead." (Ensign,
Nov 1986, p51)
- WHAT IS THE KEY FACTOR FOR US IN ESTABLISHING UNITY?
- HOW HAVE YOU, YOUR FAMILY, OR YOUR WARD BEEN BLESSED WHEN THERE WAS UNITY?
When there is no unity, we forego blessings and may even do harm to ourselves.
Several years ago I had a strong disagreement with a bishop over the direction
of the youth program. My original intentions were good in wanting to best
serve the youth, but by not working with the bishop I fell out of harmony
with the bishop and made some decisions. I resigned my position
and became part of a negative group in that ward. I soon entered one of
the most difficult periods of my life.
We cannot progress as families, as wards,
as a church, unless we have this unity which Jesus prayed for in behalf
of his beloved followers. "For he who is not able to abide the law of
a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory" (D&C 88:22).
Those who obtain this great reward, must be in harmony with celestial principles.
If we are not unified, we cannot expect to have celestial glory.
Consider the words of President Benson:
is a 'union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; And Zion cannot
be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial
kingdom.' (D&C 105:4-5.) Among the required principles and attributes
is a unity of mind and heart. 'I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not
one ye are not mine,' is the Savior's injunction to His modern Church (D&C
38:27; John 17:20-23)." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p372)
Missionaries face a unique challenge when they leave home for the first
time and receive a companion with differences in opinion, differences
in the way he does things, and comes from a different background. Building
unity within the companionship was one of the greatest challenges of my
mission. Unity is fundamental to carrying forth the work. If there is disharmony
within a companionship, the work will suffer.
I had several fine companions while serving
on my mission. Several months into my mission, I was blessed to have a
wonderful companion who was completely dedicated to the work and made a
tremendous effort at working with me as his companion. In the four and
a half months we spent as companions, we developed great unity of purpose.
It was during this time that my testimony blossomed. We read, and studied,
and discussed the gospel together. We fasted on a weekly basis. I don't
think that it was a coincidence that the most productive period of my entire
mission were these four months. Unity of purpose in the missionary work
allowed the Spirit to lead and direct us. It allowed the Spirit to instruct
us as to what to say. Unity is fundamental.
- HOW CAN WE BUILD UNITY?
"And he commanded them that there should be no contention
one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having
one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and
in love one towards another. And thus he commanded them to preach. And
thus they became the children of God." (Mosiah 18:21-22)
- Look forward with one eye having one faith and one baptism.
- Having their hearts knit together.
HOW CAN WE GUARD AGAINST CONTENTION AND OTHER PROBLEMS THAT DESTROY UNITY?
- Brigham Young: "That perfect union, which must ultimately be enjoyed
by the Latter-day Saints, can only be brought about by every man and woman
living so as to keep their minds pure and unspotted like a piece of clean,
white paper, being constantly free from the love of the world, that the
spirit of revelation may easily indite upon the heart whatever is the mind
and will of the Lord. We cannot be truly the members of Christ's mystical
body without living in this way, that the Spirit may indite as easily upon
the heart the things of God, as these brethren, our reporters can write
with ink on paper." (JD, 11:19)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
The Master concludes his instruction to the Twelve by teaching them
of the Holy Ghost and then prays to the Father in their behalf. In a troubled
world, we stand in need of the calming and strengthening influence of the
Holy Ghost. We have been given that gift. Are we living worthy of it? Are
we striving to live in harmony with God's laws and with those around us?
As Christ prayed for the Twelve, that they might be one in Him, we too
should pray that we might be in harmony with the gospel and teachings of
the Church and that we can be one with our fellow Saints in this great
Record your thoughts on the Savior's teachings about the Holy Ghost. What
can you do to more fully invite the Spirit into your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards.
BYU Speeches of the Year.
Conference Reports (CR).
Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Key to the Science of Theology by Parley P. Pratt.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
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