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Ponderize Alma 5:33-34 (10-16 Jan 2016)

The scripture I selected for the second week of January 2016 was Alma 5:33-34.  The reason I selected this scripture was that relates to our stake theme of coming unto Christ.
33 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you. 34 Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;
The Lord extends the invitation to all of us to follow him. This reminds me of the scripture that states that he stands at the door and knocks. (Revelation 3:20).  It also reminds me of the picture of Christ standing at the door and knocking on the door with no handle.  His invitation is for us to come to him. We are all invited.

The phrase that the arms of mercy are extended also brings up the image of the simile used several times in the scriptures where it states that he will gather us as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.  We have to allow Him to gather us in and protect us.  If we run away when the arms of mercy are extended, then we won’t receive the benefit of his protecting arms.

We know that the fruit of the tree of life is the greatest of all the gifts of God and is the most precious and desirable of all other fruits (1 Nephi 15:36).   God’s greatest gift was manifest when he sent His
Son to redeem his people.  Again, this scripture makes it clear that we must reach out and partake of the fruit.  Just as we have to accept the invitation to come unto him, we also have to reach and partake.  There is no force or coercion.  We simply have to make the choice to come to him.

The metaphor of the bread of life and the living waters is a reminder of the symbolism of the sacrament.  There is a long discussion about this topic in John 6:35-58.  It appears this scripture left the people confused by what the Savior meant.  While we can’t literally eat his flesh and drink his blood, we do it symbolically as a reminder of what he did for us.  The reminder physically helps us think about internalizing our commitment to Christ.  We need to make it a part of us.  As we replace the natural man with the man of Christ, the he replaces our old stony heart with an new heart.

Here are some additional cross references for your consideration:

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