Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: 'The First Great Commandment'
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Drawing from the teachings of the Savior during His life and ministry, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve reminded Church members of His powerful words, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
Elder Holland spoke Sunday morning of the interaction between Peter and the Savior, and the climate the apostles experienced immediately following the death.
"To them He hadn't been with them nearly long enough," Elder Holland said. "Three years isn't long to call an entire quorum of Twelve Apostles from a handful of new converts, purge from them the error of old ways, teach them the wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ and then leave them to carry on the work until they, too, were killed."
It was after the crucifixion that a crucial turning point of the apostolic ministry took place as the resurrected Savior asked Peter — the senior apostle who was fishing — three times, "Peter, do you love me?"
Peter replied, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee."
Elder Holland, in a non-scriptural elaboration, said Jesus asked, "'Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? ... What I need, Peter, are disciples — and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. ... It is the work of the Almighty and it is to change the world."
It is that work of discipleship that Church members still need to commit to today, Elder Holland said.
"So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can't quit and we can't go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before."
"To those who have not yet joined with us in this great final cause of Christ, we say, 'Please come.' To those who were once with us but have retreatedhe call is to come back, to stay true, to love God and lend a hand.
"To the youth of the Church rising up to missions and temples and marriage, we say, 'Love God and remain clean from the blood and sins of this generation. You have a monumental work to do, underscored by the marvelous announcement by President Monson yesterday morning. ...
"[T]he voice of Christ comes ringing down through the halls of time asking each one of us, while there is time, 'Do you love me?' And for every one of us I answer with my honor and my soul,'Yea, Lord, we do love thee.' And having set our hand to the plough, we will never look back until the work is finished and that love of God and neighbor rules the world."