I'm back! At least for now. It's been a summer full of travel and fun. And I've been working on some projects for work that have soaked up most of my study and writing time. but I'm trying to get back in the saddle, at least for now. I have a nagging impression that I should start applying to some graduate school programs. If that happens, this little internet ember will probably burn out for good.
But... to the point. I finally humbled myself enough to embark on President Nelson's systematic study of the Savior. I've heard him talk about it multiple times, and he challenged the young adults to do it in a YA broadcast, and then talked about it again in General Conference:
"Earlier this year, I asked the young adults of the Church to consecrate a portion of their time each week to study everything Jesus said and did as recorded in the standard works. I invited them to let the scriptural citations about Jesus Christ in the Topical Guide become their personal core curriculum.
I gave that challenge because I had already accepted it myself. I read and underlined every verse cited about Jesus Christ, as listed under the main heading and the 57 subtitles in the Topical Guide. When I finished that exciting exercise, my wife asked me what impact it had on me. I told her, “I am a different man!'"
I recently had a member of the ward ask about what sort of spiritual experiences the Prophet must have. As we talked, I thought about what President Nelson said in this talk, about how he was "a different man" after studying every reference to the Savior. I had a powerful realization: Here is the man who is as close to and as experienced with the Savior as anyone on earth. And what does he do to draw closer to Christ? He studies the scriptures. Just like the rest of us are supposed to do. If the President of the Church still fills the need to carefully study the scriptures, and he's going to share his approach, than I would be insane not to follow suit.
Anyway, the first entry is "Jesus Christ, Advocate." You can hit the Topical Guide for all the references and check them out for yourself, but the gist is that Christ is our advocate with the Father. This has always been one of my favorite titles given to the Savior. If you use the legal framework analogy for the plan of salvation, which the scriptures use from time to time, then you come to realize that our Judge, Christ, is also our advocate (or lawyer in modern terms). Just think about that. You've messed up, and you're in court. And the judge is also your lawyer. Literally the only way you can lose is to refuse him.
As Paul wrote in Hebrews 7:25, Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Boom.