Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Preview of One of the Lord’s Servants

In 3 Nephi 20, Jesus gives a lot of prophecy of things to come—of the establishment of the New Jerusalem, of the Lord’s people being given the land of Jerusalem.

Then there is something else about the Lord’s servant in these days.

43 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.
44 As many were astonished at thee—his visage was so marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men—
45 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
46 Verily, verily, I say unto you, all these things shall surely come, even as the Father hath commanded me. Then shall this covenant which the Father hath covenanted with his people be fulfilled; and then shall Jerusalem be inhabited again with my people, and it shall be the land of their inheritance. (3 Nephi 20:43-46)

I had always thought the marred servant was Jesus Christ, because of the crucifixion and all that. After all, this comes from a quotation of Isaiah 52:13-15, and we are used to being told to read these things with our testimony of Christ. But was Jesus’s face and body really marred more than any man? Yes, He suffered, but we don’t think of him as being disfigured like “marred” seems to imply.     Or, I had thought it represented Joseph Smith because of how our church extolls him to such an extent that his name is like a gem to the sanctified. But was Joseph Smith marred or disfigured? No.

It is my personal opinion (non-official, not doctrine) that these verses foretell a particular prophet to come.*  We are told his visage is so marred, more than any man, and that indicates this is no handsome figure of masculinity. He is going to have an ugly mug. His form is marred too—so he may be badly handicapped, perhaps missing limbs, perhaps suffering from some disfiguring syndrome. But he will be the Lord’s servant!

This man is the Lord’s servant, and he leads with the Spirit, dealing prudently and wisely, and he will be highly extolled for that. And when he meets with kings and presidents, they will be absolutely shocked. I speculate this shock arises from seeing that this servant has come to such prominence with his physical disadvantages. They will realize the Lord can work through even the weak. They will say to themselves, There is no way this man has gotten anywhere on his looks because he doesn’t have any. And charm isn’t enough, with his condition. And he doesn’t have the physical power either.
In short, this servant of God will be able sprinkle (or gather) many nations because of how the Lord works through him to touch others, in part through his physical deficits. In a world of “survival of the fittest,” the Lord can take his servants from among the weakest to demonstrate His power. While men tend to choose leaders among the handsome and strong, disfigurement makes this servant of the Lord all the more distinctive. The Lord’s choice demands that people look deeper than the surface. Even if this servant’s authority is questioned, his condition will call forth compassion in others’ hearts, softening them, allowing them to feel the Holy Ghost.

Why does the Lord share this information? Perhaps it prepares us to receive this servant. Perhaps it is to encourage the servant in moments of discouragement. Perhaps it is a sign we can look forward to that will tell us how close the Lord’s covenants are to fulfillment.

At any rate, if we can’t receive and obey the Lord’s servants now, we won’t be ready for the Lord’s future servants.

So, if we keep a look-out for a man who is more handicapped or ugly or disfigured than you’d ever expect a man to be, be sure to sustain the prophets and apostles of today.

*Prophets who are prophesied of are extra special. Remember Jesus said John the Baptist was “much more than a prophet” because John was the one Isaiah spoke of as the voice of one crying in the wilderness.