The Gospel Doctrine lesson #8 manual objective is “To help class members understand their need for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and to teach them how to receive all the blessings of the Atonement.”
To recognize and then follow the example of Jacob as we apply our own learning to speak out and testify of the power of the Redeemer.
Chapter 6 of Second Nephi is our first introduction to the witness of Jacob, Lehi’s first-born in the wilderness. Lehi’s final words (2 Nephi 2) taught us that Jacob was a good kid. Despite the affliction of his older brothers, he was faithful and in his youth beheld the Savior’s glory. Lehi taught his son that he was redeemed, not because he was a good kid, nor because he had earned it through his faithfulness. Lehi taught that he knew Jacob was redeemed “because of the righteousness of [his] Redeemer.” Jacob was redeemed because of Christ’s righteousness offered through a covenant relationship with him.
Clearly, Jacob has been thinking about this legacy and his own relationship with his Redeemer. Although we don’t have direct references to the teachings of the women in his life, certainly his father is not the only one to leave a legacy. Jacob consistently considers the words of others. We see Jacob thoughtfully pondering Isaiah’s words and incorporating Nephi’s advice to “liken” the scriptures unto himself and his people.
Jacob shows concern and anxiety for the welfare of his people (2 Nephi 6:3), he teaches them that Isaiah’s words to the children of Israel (who have lost the knowledge of God) are also applicable to them—they are also the children of Israel though in a different time and situation. However, he doesn’t just repeat Isaiah’s words exactly, he reworks them to fit their current context. As he does this, he outlines and reiterates promises of a new world where the worldly structures of power are broken down, Jacob adds his witness that those who are faithful and wait on the Lord will not have any reason to be ashamed or to regret that they chose the Lord. The God of Israel follows through.
As Jacob works through Isaiah’s words, applying them to his people specifically, he testifies of the Savior and Redeemer and personalizes the message. Isaiah 50:4 calls the personal gift of learning, communication, and consolation imparted to “the weary” a gift of God. Jacob sees his skill of applying scripture to his own people’s situation a gift—God gave him “the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season unto thee, O House of Israel” (2 Nephi 7:4). Likewise, we all might have this same gift to use our own learning to love and teach those who are “weary” around us—our sisters and brothers. Learning is a gift to be shared.
As Relief Society General President Elaine Jack taught , “We are women with spiritual strength! We have within us the Spirit of the Lord to guide us on the path of righteousness. [As Jacob taught,] “To be spiritually-minded is life eternal” (2 Nephi 9:39). Our spirituality is also recharged by each other. Show charity for each other. Show understanding, not judgment; kindness, not blame; joy, not envy. Love as the Lord loves.”
Combine that spiritual strength and love with our own learning and the courage to speak out, and we have a power and a voice to teach, testify, and heal. As President Russell M. Nelson has most recently pled with us, “My dear sisters, whatever your calling, whatever your circumstances, we need your impressions, your insights, and your inspiration. We need you to speak up and speak out.”
As Jacob tailors his message to his own people, he particularly focuses on the title Redeemer. Often we use the titles, Savior and Redeemer, interchangeably. However, like his family examples, Jacob uses the term Redeemer more than Savior. They both include elements of saving and delivering. Yet, as Jennifer Lane of BYU-Hawaii eloquently teaches, the title Redeemer is more specific and more instructive title of Christ to those enslaved.
In the ancient world slavery was not dependent on race, but at certain times as much as half of the population was enslaved. Lose a war and suddenly you’ve lost any autonomy you thought you had. For an ancient people who intimately knew slavery, the concept of a Redeemer as one who buys them back is particularly poignant. Spiritually, we are all enslaved and worn down by sin. Jacob encourages us all to see that not only is the Savior powerful and willing to save us, but he has promised that he bought us back from sin and we can be his. We likewise have the opportunity and responsibility, as did Jacob, to testify of the “goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape” to she that is weary (2 Ne 9:10).
Related Mormon Women Project Interviews
Knowing Her Worth, Elizabeth Smart
I always knew that my Heavenly Father was with me and that he loved me. That really made a big difference to me, just knowing that he was there. And also knowing that Jesus knew exactly what I was going through, that he wouldn’t abandon me. I know that everything I have lost he will make up to me. I’m not left alone.
Women and the Priesthood, Sheri Dew
If I had not come to understand a little more about the Atonement and the healing power of the Atonement, I don’t know what would have happened. Those disappointments have led me to struggle for my own personal understanding of the Atonement. But they’re hard. There’s nothing easy about it.
Other Related Women’s Voices
Our Only Chance, Sheri Dew
Now, each one of us is on the path towards our eternal home. And for various reasons we all need rescue—rescue from loneliness and heartache, from despair and disillusionment, from the consequences of innocent mistakes and blatant sin. Where do we turn for help? ‘In the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way’ (Ether 12:11).
Is Faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ Written on Our Hearts?, Linda Burton
How does knowing our worth to [The Lord] increase our desire to help those who need to understand the Atonement as we do—way down deep? When each of us has the doctrine of the Atonement written deep in our hearts, then we will begin to become the kind of people the Lord wants us to be when He comes again. He will recognize us as His true disciples.
Looking for additional perspectives on this lesson? We recommend Mormon Sunday School, Meridian Magazine and LDSLiving.